Award-winning playwright hits stage in Gan

·2 min read

An award-winning playwright has hit the stage at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque.

The Tom Hendry Awards, which were announced during an online ceremony by the Playwrights Guild of Canada on Sunday, Oct. 24, gave the Lifetime Membership award to Marcia Johnson.

“I’m really honoured,” said Johnson, playwright and performer, who is now performing at the Playhouse.

The award was presented earlier in the week by Monique Renaud, interim program director at PGC on stage following the curtain call at the Playhouse during the performance of “Serving Elizabeth.”

“It was a complete shock, I think everyone else knew but me,” said Johnson, who was given the award in personbefore the virtual ceremony.

Serving Elizabeth has been at the Firehall Theatre since Oct. 7 and runs until Saturday, Oct. 30.

“The recognition from the Playwright's Guild of Canada is certainly well-earned, not only as she is an integral voice in Canadian Theatre but also as a valued mentor to so many other playwrights,” said Brett Christopher, managing artist director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse.

Johnson, who lives in Toronto, allows she isn’t the most produced playwright in Canada but she’s always working toward her craft and helping others with theirs, which is why she believes she was recognized and nominated for the award.

Serving Elizabeth was inspired by an episode of the Netflix series The Crown when the Royals visited Kenya but the episode left the voices of black people out of the story.

The Playhouse was looking to form a Playwrights Unit and it was looking for plays on colonialism.

That’s when she proposed the play that gives a voice to black people who Elizabeth and Phillip would have met but with a twist, set in two places and times of modern day in London, England and back in 1952 in Kenya, said Johnson.

Not only is Johnson the playwright, she performs as Mercy/Patricia. The play was co-produced by Western Canada Theatre and the Thousand Islands Playhouse.

Christopher said “it has been a pleasure working with Marcia for the last five years on the development of her play.”

Johnson has worked on stage and on the backstage writing plays for more than 30 years.

She became a PGC member when her 90-minute play Perfect on Paper was commissioned for Sunday Showcase on CBC Radio in 2003. Her other plays include Say Ginger Ale and Binti’s Journey. Johnson has also appeared on television in American Gothic, American Gods and The Swap.

Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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