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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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A Canada Council report states: "the health of the theatre cannot depend only upon its actors, directors and designers. It is vitally dependent upon its playwrights and upon the quality of the work they produce . . . The Council is of the opinion that living theatre demands living playwrights and that the Canadian theatre demands Canadian playwrights."

In response the Playwrights Workshop Montreal is founded just two years later in 1963, Canada's first play development centre, which goes on to nurture the work of, among others, David Fennario, Carol Bolt, Jason Sherman, Wendy Lill, Tomson Highway, Banuta Rubess, Vittorio Rossi, Shawna Dempsey, Michel Tremblay, Ann McLean, Kent Stetson, Don Druick, and Rahul Varma.

However, outside of some centres like Montreal, the work of these new Canadian dramatists seldom reaches main-stage theatres or achieves more than a single production. As a result, in 1971, when the Canada Council calls a dozen theatre professionals to meet at Stanley House in Gaspé, they produce "The Gaspé Manifesto", calling for 50% Canadian content at subsidized Canadian theatres.