Iris Turcott (1954 - September, 22 2016) was a Canadian dramaturge, director, and actor. She was the co-founder and co-artistic director of Playbill Theatre. She spent fourteen years as company dramaturge at the Canadian Stage Company.
Iris Turcott was born in London, Ontario Canada in 1954. She began her training at the City Literary Institute in London, England. And which, she completed an Honours Degree in English and Drama at the University of Western Ontario as well as a Bachelor of Education specializing in theatre at the University of Toronto.
Prior to her focus on dramaturgy — the craft or techniques of dramatic composition — Turcott worked as a freelance actor and director creating and producing new Canadian plays. She was the co-founder an co-Artistic Director of Playbill Theatre.
Turcott spent seventeen years as company dramaturge at the Canadian Stage, and worked at the Stratford Festival in the development of Daniel MacIvor’s Best Brothers (2012) and Judith Thompson’s The Thrill (2013). Since 2013, Turcott served as a company dramaturge at Toronto’s Factory Theatre. Artistic director Nina Lee Aquino said Turcott was a personal mentor and demonstrated a passion for new Canadian plays: “She ushered in some of the most important seminal Canadian works in our country, and worked with some of the most prolific — but also emerging — Canadian writers. She was also a nurturer of new work. She was a force in the Canadian theatre community. Everybody knew who she was and what she stood for and what she was passionate about.”
Turcott was also involved in international co-commissions, including the Royal Exchange in Manchester, the Melbourne Festival and Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, and served on the board of directors for the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.
Iris Turcott was active in arts education and publishing. She taught at the National Theatre School of Canada, and served on the board of directors for the LMDA (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas). With Keith Turnbull, she edited Canada On Stage: Scenes and Monologues (Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2006).
In 2008, she was awarded the George Luscombe Award for mentorship in theatre. In 2013, she was selected as Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Honorary Award recipient for her devotion to Canadian theatre, and her work with Canadian plays and playwrights. Among many others, she worked with Adam Pettle, Joan MacLeod, Michel Marc Bouchard, Brad Fraser, Tomson Highway, Ronnie Burkett, Robert Chafe, Daniel MacIvor and Anusree Roy.
Iris Turcott died September 22, 2016 of cancer. In his recognition of her contributions to Canadian theatre, Robert Chafe wrote: "Iris was the purest artist I’d ever met. Money truly didn’t matter to her. Recognition didn’t matter to her. Story did. Being true to an audience did. Honouring them. She loathed sentimentality, but she loathed pretension more. She demanded emotional honesty. She demanded engagement.". Turcott is survived by her son, Merrick.