Wendy Lill

WENDY LILL is a playwright and former parliamentarian who has written extensively for radio, theatre and film. Lill is the author of The Fighting Days (1983), The Occupation of Heather Rose (1985), Memories of You (1988), Sisters (1989), All Fall Down (1993), Corker (1998), Glace Bay Miners’ Museum (based on the short story by Sheldon Currie) (1995), Chimera (2007), and most recently Messenger (2015). Her plays are produced in professional and community theatres and universities across Canada and internationally.  All of her plays are published by Talon Books. The Occupation of Heather Rose, All Fall Down, Corker, and Glace Bay Miners’ Museum have been nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Drama. Glace Bay Miners’ Museum has been translated into Japanese and performed in Japan. It was also been translated into French and won Les Masque Award, L‘Academie Quebecois du Theatre Award, 1998 for translation and adaptation. Memories of You has been translated to French and produced in Montreal (1993). The Occupation of Heather Rose has been translated into Danish and most recently, Czech. It has been published in a recent anthology of Czech Translation (2015) and will have a staged reading this spring in Prague. Her plays Sisters and Memories of You have been adapted to television for the Stage on Screen series. Lill's work has also resulted in two ACTRA awards, a Golden Sheaf Award (for the film Ikwe), and a New York Festival International Radio Programs and Promotions Award in 2011 for the popular radio drama series Backbencher.  Based on her experiences as a Member of Parliament, Lill created Backbencher and was the head writer for the CBC series (2009-2011). In 2011, Lill received the Merritt Legacy Award for her contributions to theatre in Nova Scotia and Canada. Her latest play, Messenger, inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s Enemy of the People, premiered in 2015 at Neptune’s Scotia Bank Studio Theatre, a co-production of HomeFirst and Eastern Front Theatres. In 2015, Messenger was nominated for three Merritt awards, including best play.

Lill was born in Vancouver and grew up in London, Ontario. She completed a BA in political science at York University in Toronto. Lill lived in Winnipeg from 1979 until 1984 doing freelance radio documentary work for CBC and School Broadcasts. During this time, she began writing plays and developed a productive association with Prairie Theatre Exchange and its artistic director, Kim McCaw.  In 1988, Lill moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia with her husband Richard Starr where she began another important artistic collaboration with artistic director, Mary Vingoe. In 1993, Lill co-founded the Eastern Front Theatre Company in Dartmouth with Mary Vingoe and Gay Hauser.

In 1997, Lill was elected as Member of Parliament for Dartmouth and re-elected in 2000 for a second term. During that time, she was the NDP critic for heritage and culture and persons with disabilities. Many of her views have been informed by her experience living with and advocating for her son with a disability. Lill lives in Dartmouth with Richard and is delighted to have their sons, Joe and Sam (and two sweet grandsons), living just a few blocks away. 

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