Tomson Highway is an acclaimed playwright and author. Two of his many plays, The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, made him a national celebrity. Both plays won Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Best New Play and Floyd S. Chalmers Awards for Best Canadian Play, and were nominated for Governor General’s Awards. In 1998, he released his first novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen, which received rave reviews and became a national bestseller.
For many years, he ran Canada's premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts (based in Toronto), from which has emerged an entire generation of professional Native playwrights, actors and more indirectly, the many other Native theatre companies that now dot the country.
Tomson holds three honourary degrees and is a Member of the Order of Canada. He is currently writing a book on Aboriginal mythology based on a course he taught at the University of Toronto. Maclean’s named him one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history. Tomson is a Cree from Brochet, a reserve in the extreme northwest corner of Manitoba.
Tomson Highway is with us for the second section of a three-part Canadian play text study that includes Acting, Directing, and Playwriting students. Together, they are developing a vocabulary for text analysis. The week will culminate in a workshop reading of Tomson’s The Rez Sisters. Tomson is also at the School for a one-week Playwriting residency.
Photo: Sean Howard Photography