John Cook

John Cook took his first acting lessons at the Ottawa Little Theatre at the age of ten. Struck by the smell of grease paint and dazzled by the spotlights, he dreamed of making theatre his life work.

However life, children and many moves across the country came first and it was not until one week before his fortieth birthday that he managed to get back on the stage as an Amateur Night stand-up comic at an Ottawa comedy club. It was also around that time that he started to write a humour column for a community newspaper. Sadly the call from the nightclub agents never came, so John reluctantly took his loyal fan’s advice to “put down the mike and stick to writing.” This proved to be the right move as since then, he has written humour columns for a computer magazine, a Christian newspaper and another community paper.

His big acting break came in 1997 when he joined Vintage Stock Theatre, a community theatre group in the east end of Ottawa and became a regular in their productions. One of his more memorable roles involved wearing a tutu and tights during an Ottawa Theatre Challenge performance at the NAC’s Fourth Stage. “I did it for my craft,” he stoically recalls. John has also acted for 9th Hour Theatre Company (Eyes upon the Cross) and Phoenix Players (I Remember Mama and Rexy).

Knowing that writing was always his strong suit, in 2002 John managed to convince Vintage Stock to let him write one of their murder-mystery plays. Catching them on a good day, they agreed. John went on to write three more murder-mystery plays (one of which he directed), and co-wrote five Shades of the Evening productions for Vintage Stock with fellow guild member Susan Flemming.

In 2010, John founded Tale Wagging Theatre, a professional theatre company based out of the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans, Ontario and is their Artistic Director. As well as writing plays for Tale Wagging Theatre, John adapted Valentine Davies’s novel Miracle on 34th Street (in collaboration with Teri Loretto-Valentik and Nicole Milne) for Plosive Productions's 2012 Christmas Radio Show at the Gladstone Theatre.

He has studied under Canadian actor, playwright and author Alan Stratton at Theatre Ontario's summer courses and has taken playwriting courses at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama and The Acting Company.