Brian Quirt

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Brian Quirt[1]

Brian Quirt is a leading Canadian dramaturg, director, and producer as well as the founder and leader of the Toronto-based theatre company, Nightswimming. He currently serves as the LMDA Board Chair.

Life and Career

In 1986 Brian Quirt graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in the areas of International Relations and Drama from the University of Toronto. He continued to pursue his education at the University of Toronto and graduated with a Masters of Art in Drama in 1987. After graduating, Quirt served as an Dramaturgical Associate at The Canadian Stage Company in Toronto from 1987 and 1991. In 1992, he started a seven year run as the Dramaturg at The Theatre Centre. In 1998, he joined Factory Theatre where he worked for 6 years as the Company Dramaturg. He has also worked as a dramaturg for many independent companies and artists, from Mirvish Productions and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre to directing national tours of two new works created with Ottawa’s Sleeping Dog Theatre [2].

Perhaps Quirt's most significant contribution to the Canadian theatre landscape was his creation of Nightswimming in 1995. Nightswimming is a theatre company based in Toronto that commissions, develops, and workshops new Canadian plays, performance works and dance. In lieu of producing these works itself, "Nightswimming seeks out other established performing arts companies as partners in an extended process leading to premiere productions by our partner companies."[3] Through the development of new works, the Nightswimming initiative is devoted to the advancing of Canadian dramaturgy and play development in Canada. Since its inception, Quirt has served as the Artistic Director of Nightswimming, which has commissioned and developed more than 30 new plays, dance works and musical pieces over its 21 year run[4].

Appointments and Accolades

Quirt has been nominated for three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, two for Direction and one for his adaptation of the Aurash. He is a two-time recipient of LMDA's (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas) Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy. He served as LMDA's President from 2006 to 2008 and, in February of 2014, it was announced that Quirt was elected to serve as the LMDA Board Chair from 2015 to 2018. Quirt has also served as Director of the Banff Centre Playwrights Colony since the spring of 2013[5].

In addition to his theatrical work, Brian specializes in dance and choreographic dramaturgy, and is an adjunct professor at York University’s Department of Dance[6].

Notable Works

Brian Quirt with Julia Sasso working on their Tarragon theatre play, Whirlpool[7].
Title Year Theatre Role
The Death of General Wolf 1999 Premiered at Theatre Passe Muraille Director
The Whirlpool 2000 Tarragon Theatre Adapter and Director
Portrait of an Unidentified Man 2005 National Arts Centre Director
Blue Note 2008 Nightswimming Co-Creator with Martin Julien
Whispering Pines 2011 Premiered at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Ottawa and commissioned and developed by Nightswimming Director
Same Same But Different 2014 Produced by Theatre Passe Muraille and Alberta Theatre Projects in association with Nightswimming Dramaturg and Director