Bolt, Carol

Carol Bolt, née Johnson, playwright (b at Winnipeg, Man 25 Aug 1941; d at Toronto, 28 Nov 2000). A successful and prolific playwright, Bolt grew up in mining towns across Canada and was educated at UBC (BA 1961). As part of the alternative theatre movement of the early 1970s, her early works were all developed collectively. Buffalo Jump (1972), Gabe (1973) and Pauline (1973) deal with social issues and offer political reinterpretations of historical events, although Bolt emphasized energetic theatricality and romance over historical accuracy. The plays feature rapid, episodic scene changes and colourful characters, and are characterized by their belief in heroic and idealistic possibilities. Red Emma, Queen of the Anarchists (1974), set in New York in the 1890s, celebrates the fiery idealism of feminist Emma Goldman and was performed by the CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY in 1996. In One Night Stand (1977), a casual encounter between a young woman and a drifter she meets in a bar moves from situation comedy to suspenseful psychological thriller, evoking the frightening consequences of social games. Her adaptation of the play for Allen KING's CBC-TV film won 3 Canadian film awards in 1978.

Carol Bolt's other works include Shelter (1975), a comedy about a Saskatchewan widow's foray into politics, Escape Entertainment (1981) and Love or Money (1981). In addition to her plays for adults, Bolt wrote several innovative children's plays combining music, mime and parade, including My Best Friend Is Twelve Feet High (1972), Cyclone Jack (1972), Maurice (1975) and Finding Bumble (1975). She has also written a teacher's manual on theatre techniques, Drama in the Classroom (1986), and scripts for television, radio and film. Bolt was a founding member of the PLAYWRIGHTS UNION OF CANADA.