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In Memoriam: John Murrell

With sadness, we share the news of the death of playwright and librettist John Murrell. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

Murrell received a bachelor of fine arts from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1968. He came to Canada in 1969 and settled permanently in Calgary in 1971, receiving his teaching diploma in drama from the University of Calgary in 1972. His first play, Haydn’s Head, won a provincial competition in 1971, but not until Power in the Blood won the Clifford E. Lee Award in 1975 did Murrell leave public-school teaching and begin to write full time. That year, he was appointed playwright-in-residence at Calgary’s Alberta Theatre Projects, which premiered the prairie history play A Great Noise, A Great Light (1976), about William Aberhart and the Depression, and his most popular play with Canadian audiences. Waiting for the Parade (1977), which features 5 Calgary women coping alone during WWII.

In recognition of his enormous contribution to dance, theatre, and music, Murrell was awarded the prestigious 2002 Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. That year he was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence, and in 2003 he was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada. The University of Calgary bestowed him with an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2006.”

(Biographical Information from The Canadian Encyclopedia)

For more, please see the article in the Calgary Herald:

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