Estate of Brian Blakey

Brian Blakey, born and educated in Northern England, and receiving B.A.(Hons), M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in French Studies from the University of Manchester, subsequently followed a distinguished academic career in the U.K. as Lecturer in French at the Universities of Manchester, Aberdeen and Lancaster before coming to Canada in 1969 to accept a Full Professorship in French at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., soon becoming Chair of the Romance Languages Department.

His exceptional language skills and feeling for style led him to begin translation/adaptations of French plays through the ages, the first of which were initially performed in 1976 at McMaster's Robinson Theatre: YOUR LATE MAMA  (Georges Feydeau's 1-Act Farce "Feu la Mère de Madame"), the Medieval French WASHTUB FARCE and THE IMPROMPTU COMEDY, Dorvigny's 18th century play "La Comédie à l'Impromptu". That same year, A STITCH IN TIME, his translation of the full-length Feydeau farce "Tailleur pour Dames", was produced at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa and at the Bastion Theatre, Victoria, B.C., then in 1980 at the Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster, U.K.  A BEE IN HER BONNET, a new translation of Feydeau's "La Puce à l'Oreille" commissioned by Manitoba Theatre Centre and directed by the Old Vic's Richard Cottrell, opened in Winnipeg in April 1979, three months before Dr. Blakey's tragically early death in July that same year.

In 1980, McMaster University staged the 1-Act Feydeau farce PLEASE....NOT IN THE NUDE! ("Mais n'te promène donc pas toute nue!"), his unfinished play translation completed by his widow, Dorothy, who had been his fellow-student at Manchester. Two of his original playscripts are as yet unproduced: a modern British farce and a historical drama. In 1998, PUC published A STITCH IN TIME, specially retranslated and adapted by Dorothy Lees-Blakey for Simon Johnston's 1920's Montreal-set production at Lighthouse Theatre, Port Dover.

Two Memorial Awards were established in 1979: the McMaster University Brian Blakey Memorial Scholarship in Canada and the Manchester University Brian Blakey Memorial Prize in England. Both continue to be awarded annually.