Christopher Newton was born in Deal, England in 1936. He studied at the University of Leeds, Purdue University in Indiana, and the University of Illinois. In 1961, he began his career in Canada with the Canadian Players and the Stratford Festival. He became founding artistic director of Theatre Calgary (1968-1971) and was artistic director of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company from 1973 to 1979. In 1980 Newton joined the Shaw Festival as artistic director, aiming to transform it into an internationally renowned playhouse. Newton changed the mandate of the theatre beyond performing exclusively Bernard Shaw plays to those set in Shaw’s lifetime (1856-1950). As well, he encouraged younger actors and playwrights by establishing a philosophy of the ensemble of creators rather than company of actors. In addition to acting and directing, Newton also writes plays, including Slow Train to St. Ives (Manitoba Theatre Centre, 1966) and The Sound of Distant Thunder (Vancouver Playhouse, 1977). In 1995 Newton was named a Member of the Order of Canada, and he received an M. Joan Chalmers Award for Artistic Direction in 1996. In 2000, he received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. Newton retired as Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival in 2002. Upon retirement, he continued to be active in theatre as a freelance director and actor. Christopher Newton passed away in January 2022.
The fonds consists of house programs, photographs, slides, scripts, posters, postcards, reviews, correspondence, administrative files and notes relating to Christopher Newton's association with Theatre Calgary (1968-1971), the Playhouse Theatre Centre of British Columbia (1972-1977) and the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre (1977-1980). There are technical drawings from Drill Hall Potential (1975) and Odd Couple (1968) and one poster from the Vancouver Playhouse. Slides depict Theatre Calgary productions, costumes, etc.
Approx 10 m.
Further accruals are expected.
Call numbers XZ1 MS A545, XZ1 MS A546, XZ1 MS A547, XZ1 MS A548, XZ1 MS A549 and XZ3 MS A548. Some materials may not be in the online catalogue so also check with reference staff to see if there are additional inventories.