Patti Flather

Award-winning playwright Patti Flather grew up in North Vancouver, B.C. surrounded by mountains and sea. Now she creates theatre in the spectacular summer days and dark cold nights of Whitehorse, Yukon. Her plays have been produced across the North, and from Vancouver to Toronto. They include Sixty Below (with Leonard Linklater), West Edmonton Mall, Where the River Meets the Sea, Street Signs (previously titled The Soul Menders) and Paradise. She also has been involved in devised theatre projects with the Ynklude group of artists. Her latest work is as a collaborator on the devised ensemble piece Map of the Land, Map of the Stars, co-directed by Yvette Nolan and Michelle Olson, which premieres in 2017.

Flather explores love, loss, and identity across cultures and landscapes, drawing on her Anglo-Canadian settler roots, her wanderings, points of contact and intersection between peoples, and her imagination. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of B.C. and is the Managing Artistic Director of Gwaandak Theatre in Whitehorse, which develops, produces and tours professional plays to empower Indigenous and northern voices. She co-founded the company with her husband Leonard Linklater in 1999.

Her first play Sixty Below, written with Leonard Linklater, premiered in Whitehorse in 1993 with Nakai Theatre Ensemble. It garnered seven Dora nominations for its 1997 Toronto production with Native Earth, directed by Vinetta Strombergs. It was published in Staging the North and as a chapbook. In 2000 Gwaandak Theatre and Nakai Theatre, with Society of Yukon Artists of Native Ancestry, toured this play to remote communities around the Yukon and the NWT's Mackenzie Delta region.

Flather's solo show West Edmonton Mall, directed by Michael Clark, toured the North, in a Gwaandak/Nakai co-production, and traveled to the Hysteria Festival. It also had a production at FemFest in Winnipeg. An excerpt is published in Going It Alone. The CBC Radio Drama adaptation was nominated for a Canadian Screenwriting Award.

Her play Where the River Meets the Sea won the 2005 Theatre B.C. Canadian National Playwriting Competition. UBC, Gateway Theatre, Nakai Theatre, Playwrights Theatre Centre, FuSha Theatrical Projects and Western Canada Theatre all supported its development. It premiered with Gwaandak and Nakai Theatres in 2006, directed by Michael Clark with dramaturgy by Strombergs, and was produced in 2009 at North Vancouver's Presentation House Theatre, directed by Brenda Leadlay.

Flather's Street Signs (previously titled The Soul Menders), a quirky romantic and family comedy, premiered in Whitehorse in 2009 in a Gwaandak Theatre-Guild co-production directed by Chris McGregor. She developed this play with support of the Banff Playwrights Colony and dramaturg Bob White, Playwrights Theatre Centre and Yukon Advanced Artist Award; the play was a top-10 finalist in the Herman Voaden Competition. This play "deals with affairs of the heart and the ever changing family dynamic...a charming, heartfelt, romantic comedy set against the tension of creating the perfect "Christmas tradition" - Chris McGregor

Her new play Paradise premiered in 2015 in Whitehorse in a Gwaandak Theatre co-production with MT Space, directed by Majdi Bou-Matar. An unemployed logger, a young man accused of terrorism, a family doctor and his daughter search for their humanity inside the systems that cage us all. This play explores human rights, mental illness and addictions, and our own personal complicity. MT Space hosted a three-week workshop and public performance of Paradise in November-December 2014 in Kitchener, ON and presented Paradise at IMPACT 15,  Nakai Theatre supported this play’s development with a commission and DD Kugler was primary dramaturg. Paradise is published in 2017 with Playwrights Canada Press.

Other plays in development include a new devised creation project, and The Matter of Light, exploring the lives of Mary and Claude Tidd in remote Yukon communities.

Flather and Gwaandak Theatre also have teamed up with the Yukon Association for Community Living to present two collective or devised creations featuring performers with and without disabilities: Go Angel Girlfriends in 2008 and Tell Me More... in 2009. Gwaandak Theatre also is developing new works by other playwrights. Under Flather’s artistic directorship the company commissioned, developed, produced and toured Café Daughter by Kenneth T. Williams and Justice by Leonard Linklater between 2011 and 2014.

As well, Flather has organized Gwaandak Theatre’s Indigenous Summer Play Readings each June in Whitehorse since 2010. She directed readings of Burning Vision by Marie Clements and Thunderstick by Kenneth T. Williams. She also has facilitated the company’s Yukon Voices playwriting circle since 2013.

Flather’s feature screenplay Kiss That Alaska Highway Before I Die was a winner at the Moondance International Film Festival. She also wrote the script for the dramatic short film Getting Real. Her fiction has appeared in literary journals including Prairie Fire, dANDelion, Room of One's Own and Nashwaak Review.

Flather lives in Whitehorse with husband Leonard Linklater. They have two fabulous daughters. And a sweet old Golden Retriever.

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