Call Number: Mss 204 (A.05-34)
Title: Victor S. Cowie fonds.
Extent: 1.5 m of textual records. -- 18 photographs.
Biographical sketch: Victor (Vic) Spiers Cowie
was born on June 19, 1929 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Vic Cowie completed
a B.A. (Hons.) in English Literature at the University of Manitoba.
During this time he met his wife Geraldine (Gerry). They were married
for 48 years and had three children: Laura, Paul, and John. He undertook
post-graduate studies at the University of Toronto and graduated
with an M.A. in 1966. In 1956, Cowie was hired by the Department
of English at the University of Manitoba, where he taught until
his retirement in 1995. He continued to lecture as a part-time instructor
well after his retirement. Cowie specialized in the works of Shakespeare
and Milton. In 1970, Cowie received the Olive Beatrice Stanton Award
for excellence in teaching. He was also awarded the Certificate
of Excellence in the Teaching of English by the Modern Language
Association of America for the 1972-1973 academic year.
Aside from his academic achievements, Vic Cowie was actively involved
in theatre and film, both at the local and national level. Cowie
wrote, directed, and starred in And No Birds Sing (1969),
the first feature film produced entirely by students and staff at
the University of Manitoba. The film received the “Best Featurette”award
at the 1969 Vancouver Film Festival and won a Canada Film Award
in Toronto. In collaboration with Victor Davies, Cowie also wrote
three hour-long children’s musical plays that were featured
on the CTV national network: The Magic Trumpet (1975),
Reginald the Robot (1976), and The Curse of Ponsonby
Hall (1981). Vic Cowie was deeply involved in the University
of Manitoba theatre program and directed many productions for the
Black Hole Theatre. At the professional level, Cowie acted in several
Manitoba Theatre Centre Mainstage productions including Volpone
(1960), The Lesson (1960), Oh, Dad, Poor Dad (1961),
The Dybbuk (1973/1974), Amadeus (1984), as well
as his own adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV 1&2
entitled Falstaff (1989).
Vic Cowie starred in several Guy Maddin films including Archangel
(1990), Careful (1992), Cowards Bend at the Knee
(2003), and The Saddest Music in the World (2004). His
made for television movie credits include The Challengers
(1989), Lost in the Barrens (1990), Lost in the Barrens
II: The Curse of the Viking Grave (1991), Heads (1993),
The Diviners (1993), Trucks (1997), Escape
From Mars (1999), We Were The Mulvaneys (2002), The
Many Trials of Jane Doe (2002), and More Than Meets the
Eye: The Joan Brock Story (2003). Other film credits include
Black Ice (1992), Bordertown Café (1993),
Red Team (1999), and The Law of Enclosures (2000).
Vic Cowie died on March 8, 2004.
Custodial history: The fonds was donated to University
of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Gerry Cowie in
Scope and content: The fonds consists of records
relating to the academic and artistic career of Professor Victor
S. Cowie. The material includes personal and business related correspondence,
research and lecture notes, and a variety of research-based newspaper
clippings. Also included are handwritten and photocopied drafts
of the musicals The Magic Trumpet, Reginald the Robot,
and The Curse of Ponsonby Hall. In addition, the fonds
also includes drafts and documents related to the film And No
Birds Sing, as well as playbills, newspaper reviews and other
documents related to theatre productions in which Cowie was involved.
18 photographs related to University of Manitoba theatre activities
are also included in the fonds.
Source of supplied title: Title based on provenance
of the fonds.
Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this
Accruals: No further accruals to this fonds are
Finding aid: A printed finding aid is available
in the Archives reading room and an on-line finding aid is available
at the link below: