Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre
co-founder Tom Hendry has died. He and John Hirsch founded Canada's
first English-language regional theatre in 1958. Hendry served as the
company's first general manager until 1963. In 2008 on the 50th
anniversary of the company, the MTC Warehouse Theatre was officially dedicated to him.
was born in Winnipeg in 1929. He was expelled from the University of
Manitoba's Arts program in 1947 and later graduated as a chartered
accountant. In the early 1950s he began writing and acting for the CBC
and became active in Winnipeg's growing arts scene.
"He was among the few people who ever told me that he earned a living as an actor to put himself through accounting school," says Zaz Bajon, who served as general manager of MTC from 1980 until 2011.
"He was a starter. He started many things. He got things going, gave people advice and wrote reports and then moved on. He was a pioneer, restless individual."
Hendry was also producer of Winnipeg's Rainbow Stage
(1958-61). He was the first literary manager of the Stratford Festival
co-founded Playwrights Co-op
, Toronto Free Theatre
(TFT) and founded the
Banff Playwrights Colony
in 1974. He was invested as an officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.
He was also an accomplished playwright. His plays include Fifteen Miles of Broken Glass
(1976); Hogtown: Toronto the Good
(1981) and Not in My Back Yard
(1994). He also wrote scripts for CBC's King of Kensington.
"Writing was his passion," says Bajon, "yet he'll be remembered as the general manager of MTC."