Carol Bolt

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Carol Bolt (nee Johnson) was a Canadian playwright, and a founding member of Playwrights Cooperative, now Playwrights Guild of Canada, for which she served as President for many years.

She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on August 25, 1941.

Her mother was a teacher, and her father a miner and logger. She grew up in mining towns in Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia, and graduated with a BA from the University of British Columbia in 1961 [1]. After traveling to England and Israel, she co-founded a theatre for young audiences in Montreal. In the early 1970s, she moved to Toronto, and began working in theatre as a prop-maker and stage manager. She married actor David Bolt in 1969, and had a son [2].

Her first professionally produced play was Daganawida (Toronto Workshop Productions 1970) [3].

Buffalo Jump was commissioned and staged by Ken Kramer for the Globe Theatre in 1971, a documentary revue originally titled Next Year Country about the Great Depression and the On-to-Ottawa trek in 1935. Bolt reworked the play the following year with Paul Thompson at Theatre Passe Muraille, employing the resources of collective creation. The story of the struggle for social justice is told through song and dance, mime, speeches, and comic vignettes [4].

Bolt's best known play is the thriller One Night Stand, which was turned into a film in 1978. Her other plays include examinations of Canadian-specific motifs and political issues, such as Buffalo Jump (examining Canada during the depression era of the 1930s) and Red Emma (about radical anarchist Emma Goldman). Her last play was Famous, produced on stage in 1997 [5].

For television, Bolt’s writing credits included Tales of the Klondike, two episodes of the animated children's series The Raccoons, and a single episode of Fraggle Rock [6].

Bolt died of complications due to liver cancer on November 28, 2000, in Toronto, Ontario.

Following her death, the Canadian Authors Association renamed its CAA Award for Drama to the Carol Bolt Award in her memory. The award is now administered by the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and it is awarded annually to a PGC member for best original play premiered within the past year [7].



• Buffalo Jump (1972) • My Best Friend Is Twelve Feet High (1972) • Cyclone Jack (1972) • Gabe (1973) • Pauline (1973) • Shelter (1975) • Maurice (1975) • Finding Bumble (1975) • Red Emma, Queen of the Anarchists (1974) • One Night Stand (1977) • "Desperados" (1977) • Escape Entertainment (1981) • Love or Money (1981) • Famous (1997)


• Drama in the Classroom (1986) • The Book of Answers (1999)