Eugene Stickland

Eugene Stickland, playwright (born at Regina 24 Sept 1956). Eugene Stickland grew up in Regina and attended Scott Collegiate. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English at the University of Regina in 1980 and began a Masters at the same university, planning a thesis on Shakespeare's The Tempest. While completing the course-work, he read an ad for York University's new Master of Fine Arts degree in playwriting and abandoned his scholarly work in favour of a creative track. He moved to Toronto where he worked with actors and directors from across Canada under the direction of voice teachers David Smukler and Michele George. He completed his MFA at York in 1984.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Stickland split his time between Regina and Toronto. He was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Playwrights Guild and wrote plays for Act IV Theatre Company, which produced 3 of his early plays: The Family (1984), Quartet (1985), and Darkness on the Edge of Town (1987).

Eugene Stickland moved to Calgary in 1994 and began his ongoing collaboration with Bob WHITE. Stickland became playwright-in-residence at ALBERTA THEATRE PROJECTS (ATP), a post he kept until 2004. During this period he wrote 6 plays for ATP, 3 of which went into second productions during the regular season: Some Assembly Required (1994) - dark comedy about a dysfunctional family over the holidays, which was translated into French, nominated for a 1995 Governor General's Award, and has been produced more than 50 times: A Guide to Mourning (1998) - a tragicomedy about a family unprepared to mourn their father's death, which won Betty MITCHELL Awards for best new play and best production in 1998; and Sitting on Paradise (1996). Other plays for ATP that received single productions include Appetite (2000), Midlife (2002) and All Clear (2004).

While at ATP, Stickland also wrote for other Canadian theatres: Excavations premiered at Theatre Network in 2002 and won the Alberta Playwriting Award in 1995; Closer and Closer Apart, a one-act exploration of Alzheimer's disease, premiered at Lunch Box Theatre in 1999 and was then produced at Edmonton's Theatre Network in 2007. Also produced at Lunch Box Theatre were the one-act plays Hen House and Yard Sale, both in 2006.

Stickland wrote a weekly column for the Calgary Herald from 2004-09, chronicling the life of an artist in Calgary's corporate climate. In 2008, he co-founded and became editor-in-chief of B House Publications, which published his plays Writer's Block (2008) - comedy about the trials of a prototypical Canadian playwright, premiered at Calgary's Ground Zero Theatre - and Queen Lear (2009), an exploration of generational language gaps and aging, which was produced by the feminist-oriented Urban Curvz Theatre. Queen Lear featured actor Joyce Doolittle and premiered at Joyce Doolittle Theatre at Calgary's Pumphouse Theatre. Queen Lear was translated into Turkish and produced by the Kenter Theatre in Istanbul, where it remained in production for several years.

In 2010 Eugene Stickland became writer-in-residence at St. Mary's University College in Calgary. He is a musician, and live music features into Quartet, Writer's Block, and Queen Lear, among others.