CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Betty Lee.

Toronto, Simon & Pierre, c1982.
(Canadian Theatre History).
335pp, paper, $14.95.
ISBN 0-88924-131-7.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Marion Mintis.

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.

This volume, listed as the first in a series on Canadian theatre history, is described on the cover as "The Story of the Dominion Drama Festival and the Early Years of Theatre in Canada 1606-1972." The foreword is by Robertson Davies. The first chapter is devoted to the Dominion Drama Festival (DDF) held in Saskatoon in 1972. Chapter two is a brief but interesting review of the early days in Canada when most of our theatre was either local and amateur or imported, professional, and transient. The book then takes us, through the decades of the DDF, ending where it began, in 1972. The tone is conversational and often gossipy, and there are many anecdotes about such figures as Vincent Massey, Col. Henry Osborne, Lt. Col. Yves Bourassa, D. Park Tamieson, and Lord Bessborough, and their contributions to the DDF. Problems of regionalism and bilingualism as they related to the development of theatre in Canada are also explored. This is a well-written book, but it is a bit too much an insider's story, and this reader was left with the feeling that you had to have been there to appreciate the significance of who said what to whom at the DDF in 1933.

Marion Mintis, Bonar Law Memorial School, Rexton, NB.
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