About Sharon Pollock


Photo by Darryl Pollock.

Photo by Darryl Pollock.

“Produced nationally and internationally, author of a long and varied canon, she has had a long and illustrious career in the theatre.  From backstage to onstage, from front of house to director’s chair, from actor to author, from teacher to mentor to artistic director of venues both large and small, Sharon Pollock remains an active, controversial and prolific participant in the Canadian theatre scene.” Cynthia Zimmerman, editor “Sharon Pollock Collected Works” Playwrights Canada Press. 2005.


Abridged Biography:

Pollock’s stage plays are produced throughout Canada and abroad. She writes for radio and television, has directorial credits at theatres across the country, and has led playwriting and theatre workshops within and outside Canada.  Her awards, among others, include a Canada Australia Literary Award for her body of work, Nellie Award for National Radio Drama,  Golden Sheaf Television Award,  Japan Foundation Award, and is an Officer of The Order of Canada.  She is the recipient of two Governor General’s Literary Awards for Drama and is a three time winner of the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Drama Award. 2006 - 15 she served as Dramaturg and artistic consultant with the Atlantic Ballet Company of Canada. Her latest play, “Blow Wind High Water”, will open Theatre Calgary 50th Anniversary 2017-18 season.


Full Biography:

Ms Pollock’s stage play have been produced by major and alternative theatres throughout the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, India, Japan, Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, and Canada.  She has scripted a large number of plays for Young Audiences, written for both radio and television, and led playwriting and theatre workshops and labs both inside and outside Canada.

Photo by Jennifer Pollock.

Photo by Jennifer Pollock.

She has received, in addition to other awards, two The Governor General’s Literary Awards for Drama, (1981 Blood Relations; 1985 Doc) and was shortlisted for the same award in 1986 for Whiskey Six Cadenza.  In 1987 she was the recipient of the prestigious Canada Australia Literary Award for her body of work; in 2008 the National Theatre School of Canada’s Gascon-Thomas Award; in 2012 her contribution to the arts was acknowledged with her investiture as an Officer of the Order of Canada. 
Her historical drama Walsh, based on the relationship between Chief Sitting Bull of the Oglala Sioux and James Walsh of the North West Mounted Police, was produced by Theatre Calgary as a major theatrical component of the 1988 Cultural Olympics held in conjunction with the 1988 Winter Olympics. In 1991 her play The Making of Warriors, one of six scripts commissioned internationally was produced by the C.B.C. in celebration of The Second International Women Playwrights Conference. Canada’s Stratford Festival Theatre has produced three of her works, Walsh, One Tiger to a Hill and Fair Liberty’s Call at the Avon, and Tom Patterson Theatre; Blood Relations at the Shaw Festival; Doc at Toronto’s prestigious Soulpepper Theatre.

She has visited numerous academic institutions at home and abroad as a guest speaker and visiting artist (Canada, United States, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Australia, Hungary, Taiwan, Sierra Leone, and Kosovo) as well as participating as a keynote speaker and/or guest panelist at various international conferences and gatherings including, among others, The International Olympic Arts Fair 1988; International Conference on Literature from English Speaking Countries, London, UK 1988; P.E.N. International: 54th World Congress, Toronto; Festival d’Ameriques Montreal 1989; The International Women Playwrights Conference 1991; Tokyo Canadian Theatre Festival, Japan 1994; Festival of Original Theatre & Film, Toronto, 1997; Taiwan International Conference on Canadian Studies, 1997; The Vancouver Institute, 2000; The Northrup Fyre Conference, N.B. 2002; Stratford Festival Celebration of Canadian Playwrights 2003; Distinguished Artist Residency; Drama Department, University of Alberta 2004.; National Conference of Women Playwrights 2006; 14th International Book Festival Budapest 2007; Kosovo: Visiting Artist 2008 and 2010. CBC hosted Pollock’s reviews of the city’s theatre productions 2006 to 2008, while her cultural and social commentary is often sought by media.

Positions held in the past include, among others: chairperson of the Advisory Arts Panel, Canada Council; Head of The Playwrights Colony at The Banff Center of Fine Arts; Associate Artistic Director of The Manitoba Theatre Center; Associate Director of The Stratford Festival Theatre and of Manitoba Theatre Centre; Artist in Residence at The National Arts Center, Ottawa; Playwright in Residence at Alberta Theatre Projects, at Theatre Calgary, and at Theatre Junction in Calgary; Writer in Residence at the Regina Public Library; Head of the Playwriting Lab at Sage Writing Experience, Sask.; Associate Director and Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary; founding member and Artistic Director of the Calgary’s inner city storefront theatre, The Garry; Executive Director, Alberta Playwrights Network; Director of Playwrights Lab APN; Director of APN’s. Bootcamp for Writers.

In addition to her on-going theatre work, she has served as Dramaturg and Librettist with the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada from 2006 – 2015, most recently for their national touring production of Ghosts of Violence. Current projects include a new work Hotel inspired by her time with Kosovar playwright Jeton Neziraj, development of a one woman play on American political activist, journalist and novelist Agnes Smedley, and final drafting of a commissioned work. She currently serves as a Mentor with The Alberta Playwrights Network’s RBC Mentoring Program, and as a Dramaturg on line with E-scriptSingle Lane Entertainment, Director Frank Moher. Her play The Komagata Maru Incident is included in Stratford Festival’s 2017-18 season while "Blow Wind High Water will open Theatre Calgary's 50th Anniversary 2017-18 season.


Photo by Darryl Pollock.

Photo by Darryl Pollock.

A cross-section of Awards include:

Officer of the Order of Canada
Gascon-Thomas Award; National Theatre School of Canada
ACTRA Nellie Award for National Radio Drama Sweet Land of Liberty
Golden Sheaf Television Award The Person’s Case
Governor General Literary Award for Drama Blood Relations
Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama Doc
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama Doc
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama Constance; Vol. I Collected Works
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama Kabloona Talk; Vol. III Collected Works
Chalmers Canadian Play Award Toronto (Doc)
Honorary Doctorate University of New Brunswick
Honorary Doctorate Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
Honorary Doctorate University of Calgary, AB.
Honorary Doctorate University of Alberta, AB
Canada Australia Literary Award
Japan Foundation Award
Harry & Martha Cohen Award for Sustained and Significant Contribution to Calgary Theatre




Professional Associations:

Dramatists Guild of America
Canadian Actors Equity Association      
Playwrights Guild of Canada
Alberta Playwrights Network              
Alberta Writers Guild