Dora Mavor Moore

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Born Dora Mavor in Glasgow, Scotland, she moved with her family to Toronto in 1894, when her father, James Mavor (1854-1925), became a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto. She was the first Canadian student ever to be accepted at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and graduated in 1912 [1].

She made her professional début in 1912 with Ottawa's Colonial Stock Company, and then joined a Chautauqua tour in the United States [2].

In 1915 she married Francis Moore, an Army Chaplain, but separated from him in 1928. She had three sons: Francis Wilfrid Mavor, James Mavor (known as Mavor Moore), and Peter Mavor.

In 1938, she helped found an amateur theater group called the Village Players which performed Shakespeare plays in high schools of Ontario. After World War II, in 1946, she help found the New Play Society which was the first professional theatre company in Toronto founded after the war [3].

In 1938, with the help of her three sons, she bought an historic log home and barn for her family, which also became the home for a new theatre -- the Barn Theatre, and a new theatre company -- The Village Players, producing new Canadian plays such as John Coulter's The House in the Quiet Glen, with actors such as Don Harron and Vernon Chapman [4].

In 1947, the company presented its first Canadian play, Lister Sinclair's The Man in the Blue Moon. The Society also assisted in creating the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada. As well she helped to bring Tyrone Guthrie, the Tony Award-winning British theatrical director, to Canada [5].

She was awarded the Centennial Medal and Canadian Drama Award in 1967, Honorary Doctorates from Ohio University (1969) and the University of Toronto (1970), the Order of Canada (1970), and the First Drama Bench Award (1978). Toronto's annual theatre awards are named in her honour. [6].

Dora Mavor Moore died in Toronto, Ontario in 1979.