Canadian Plays Recommended by Playwrights - Marcia Johnson

About Marcia Johnson

Marcia Johnson has been a theatre artist in Toronto for over twenty-five years. Her plays include Binti’s Journey, an adaptation of the teen fiction novel ‘The Heaven Shop’ by Deborah Ellis (Theatre Direct Canada/Manitoba Theatre for Young People); Courting Johanna (Blyth Festival) based on Alice Munro’s ‘Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage’ and Late, an original piece produced by Obsidian Theatre Company.

Marcia has participated in playwrights’ groups at Obsidian Theatre Company, Theatre Passe Muraille, Ontario Arts Council Playwright’s Residencies at Blyth Festival and Roseneath Theatre. She also participated in Tapestry New Opera’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory, a musical theatre workshop with William Finn at Canadian Stage Company and the Siminovitch Prize Playwriting Master Class with Carole Frechette. She took a second Master Class with Ms. Frechette at Playwrights Workshop Montreal.

The short opera My Mother’s Ring for which she wrote the libretto with composer Stephen A. Taylor was nominated for a 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Award in Toronto. Their second collaboration, Paradises Lost based on the Ursula K. Le Guin novella had an excerpted concert performance in Portland, Oregon and had its full premiere at University of Illinois. Paradises Lost had a concert performance at Reed College (Third Angle Ensemble) in Portland, Oregon; The Gershwin Hotel in New York and Musical Works in Concert during the SummerWorks Festival.

CBC Radio Drama writing credits include Wifely Duty and The Revival Meeting (Sounds Like Canada); Say Ginger Ale (The Round Up) and Perfect on Paper (Sunday Showcase and Monday Night Playhouse).

Marcia was in the ‘Idle No More’ edition of The Wrecking Ball in Andrew Moodie’s Undertow. She was also in Andrew’s play The Real McCoy at Factory Theatre in Toronto and Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa and an original cast member for the 2007 Toronto Fringe runaway hit, The Gladstone Variations and had roles in several US and Canadian film and TV projects.

Currently, Marcia Johnson coaches musical theatre students on their acting monologues and teaches an introduction to playwriting course at Sheridan Technical Institute for Advanced Learning, School of Art, Animation and Design in Oakville, Ontario.

Marcia Johnson is Vice-President of Women Playwrights International.

Canadian Plays Recommended by Playwrights

I love going to plays. I don’t care if they’re in a repurposed industrial building or a gothic theatre with velvet-upholstered seats. Once the show starts, I (hopefully) get transported to whatever world the playwright created with the help of his/her cast, director and designers. I, as audience member, become the missing link. I bring my imagination and my willingness to suspend my disbelief.

I have this habit, when I’m seeing a particularly good play, of gripping my armrests for fear that I’ll get so caught up in the story that I’ll join the people on stage. I’ve managed to stay in my seat… so far.

I gripped my armrests for five plays listed. 


1. Afrika Solo by Djanet Sears 

A young black women's voyage of self-discovery as she questions where she came from and her relationship to the image of black people as portrayed on the screen.

To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Playwrights Guild of Canada:


2. Saint Bitch (solo version) by Edwige Jean-Pierre The world premier of "Saint Bitch" was staged by Theatre Arcipelago at the Papermill Theatre from April 24th to May 10, 2009.

To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Edwige Jean-Pierre


3. Salt-Water Moon by David French

On a moonlit night in 1926, Jacob Mercer returns home to Coley's Point to try and win back the heart of 17-year-old Mary Snow. A love story full of humour, poetry, and all the magic of a starry Newfoundland evening. Winner, 1985 Canadian Authors Association Literary Award and 1985 Dora Mavor Moore Award.

To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Playwrights Guild of Canada:


4. Tempting Providence by Robert Chafe 

Based on the life of Order of Canada recipient Nurse Myra Bennett. Four actors drive this no frills drama about a young British nurse assigned for 2 years to the most desolate coast of turn of the century Newfoundland, and the local man for whom she ended up staying for for 70 years.

To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Playwrights Guild of Canada:


5. Thy Neighbour’s Wife by Tara Beagan

1915 Alberta.  Jennie Hawkes is busy on the home front, what with rationing, attending meetings for the Women's Christian Temperance Union and making bandages for soldiers with the Red Cross.  Wilfred Hawkes is busy tending to his elderly neighbour's young wife, Rosella Stoley.  Inspired by the true story of the first woman sentenced to hand in Alberta, Thy Neighbour's Wife is a frank and scrutinizing look at marriage, manners, money and murder.  Aisling Corrigan, the Hawkes household's Irish maidservant, will be your eyes and ears as she guides you through the strained marriage of Jennie and Wilfred in this story that draws parallels between women wronged, overlooked and subsequently empowered.

To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Playwrights Guild of Canada: