In 1974, Wright co-founded PERSEPHONE THEATRE in Saskatoon with ex-husband Brian Richmond and sister Susan Wright. The most successful production at Persephone during their tenure (1974-76) was Cruel Tears, playwright Ken MITCHELL's clever musical adaptation (with the assistance of local folk group Humphrey and the Dumptrucks) of Shakespeare's Othello set in modern-day Saskatchewan. It was first performed in Saskatoon in March 1975 and the original cast included all three Wright sisters. It went on the Arts Club Theatre's National Tour, directed by Brian Richmond and assistant-directed by Wright, who played the role of Flora Deal. More than 30 years after she helped to introduce it to audiences in Saskatoon, the Persephone Theatre is a successful, well-established regional theatre.
Her next affiliation was with Vancouver Arts Club Theatre, where she became its first dramaturge. She honed her considerable acting skills there, appearing in lead roles in several plays, including Memoir, The Club, Miss Margarida's Way and Hedda Gabler. Wright has appeared in and directed more than 40 productions for the company.
As her reputation grew, she began to play prominent characters on stages across the country. She has appeared in several productions at Canada's foremost theatres, including The Seahorse at NEPTUNE THEATRE, Moon for the Misbegotten at THEATRE CALGARY, Not Wanted on the Voyage at Manitoba Theatre Centre and A Lie of the Mind at VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE.
Wright has forged a strong working relationship with the STRATFORD FESTIVAL in Ontario, as both an actor and a director. Her successful appearances there included a performance alongside her sisters Anne and Susan in an acclaimed production of Les Belles Soeurs. She later won praise for her masterful and insightful direction of Stratford's 1998 production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, starring Lally Cadeau in the lead role.
In addition to having a prolific career in Canadian theatre, Wright has established herself as an exceptional film actress, making countless appearances on TV and in movies dating back to the early 1970s. One of her earliest and best roles was a small part in Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Her most recognized movie role has been that of Ethel Shapford in director Wolfgang Petersen's A Perfect Storm, where she worked with George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane. She has received Genie nominations for her work on Canadian TV and won best performance by an actress in a leading role in 1992 for her work on Bordertown Café. She won a Gemini Award in 2003 for her supporting role in Betrayed.
Janet Wright is often recognized for her wonderful sense of humour and wry, self-deprecating wit, a testament to her strength and spirit. Her deep sardonic chuckle and sharp comedic timing were integral parts of her successful portrayal of Emma Leroy on CTV's Corner Gas (2004-09), perhaps the best-loved comedy in the history of Canadian TV.
Author P. VERBEKE
Links to Other Sites
The website for CTV's hit comedy series "Corner Gas". See cast bios, a blooper reel, an episode guide, and more.
Janet Wright discusses her home life, acting career, and the Rachel Davis Foundation, named after her daughter who was shot and killed in 2004. From canada.com.
Janet Wright, "Emma" on Corner Gas, on the die-hard fans she calls "Gassies"
Watch a CTV News video clip of actor Janet Wright talking about her role in the popular television sitcom "Corner Gas".