Henry studied acting at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh and after graduation came to Canada to audition for Toronto's CREST THEATRE. She played several roles at the Crest but was urged by actor and teacher Powys Thomas to resume her training at the NATIONAL THEATRE SCHOOL.
Martha HenryMartha Henry, nee Buhs, actress, director (b at Detroit, Mich 17 Feb 1938). Martha Henry, considered one of Canada's major actresses, has long been associated with the STRATFORD FESTIVAL and with Canadian regional theatres. Since her auspicious debut at Stratford as Miranda in The Tempest in 1962, she has played most of Shakespeare's major women, while her important non-Shakespearean roles at Stratford have included Sister Jeanne in The Devils, Mrs Proctor in The Crucible and Olga in The Three Sisters.
Henry studied acting at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh and after graduation came to Canada to audition for Toronto's CREST THEATRE. She played several roles at the Crest but was urged by actor and teacher Powys Thomas to resume her training at the NATIONAL THEATRE SCHOOL. The directors John HIRSCH and Robin PHILLIPS were influential in her development. Phillips directed her in her highly praised performance of Isabella in Measure for Measure in 1975 as well as in Farther West by John MURRELL at THEATRE CALGARY in 1982 and in the film adaptation of Timothy FINDLEY's The Wars, for which she won a GENIE at the 1984 Canadian Film Awards.
In 1980 Martha Henry won her first Genie as best actress for her performance in The Newcomers. She was also named best actress at the 1986 Genie Awards for her performance as Edna in Dancing in the Dark and best supporting actress in 1994 in The Mustard Bath. In 1996, Henry was awarded a Genie for best actress for her performance in the film adaptation of Long Day's Journey Into Night.
For her work on television she received GEMINI AWARDS in 1988 for Mount Royal, in 1989 for Glory Enough For All and in 1999 for her guest role in Emily of New Moon. She was artistic director of the GRAND THEATRE in London, Ont, from 1988 to 1995, where she directed A Moon for the Misbegotten, Blood Relations, The Miracle Worker, Miss Julie and The Dining Room. She returned to Stratford in 1994 to play Mary Tyrone in the acclaimed production of Long Day's Journey Into Night, a role she repeated in 1995. She also played Marian Raymond in Timothy Findley's The Stillborn Lover during the 1995 season at Stratford. In 1996 she played "A" in the Canadian premiere of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women at the CITADEL THEATRE in Edmonton. During her 22nd season at the 1996 Stratford Festival, Henry played Regina in Little Foxes and Princess Kosmonopolis in Sweet Bird of Youth.
Martha Henry has continued her long and distinguished association with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. In 2007, she succeeded David Latham as principal of the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training at Stratford. She has maintained her busy schedule of acting and directing at Stratford, appearing with her husband, Rod Beattie, in Macbeth in 1999 as well as in The Trojan Women and All's Well That Ends Well in 2008. She has appeared in non-Shakespearean productions at Stratford, among them as Martha in Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2001). She has directed a number of plays at Stratford including Timothy Findley's Elizabeth Rex (2000), Richard III (2002), Of Mice and Men with Graham GREENE (2007) and Chekhov's The Three Sisters (2009).
Henry has maintained a busy schedule as an actor for film and television as well. She played Audrey in The Republic of Love (2004) directed by Deepa MEHTA, and Rosemary Hauser in Clean (2005), directed by Olivier Assayas. She played Julia, the prime minister's mother, in Paul GROSS's miniseries H2O (2004) and Lucy, the owner of the Chateau Rousseau, in Ken Finkleman's At the Hotel (2006). She was nominated for Gemini awards for the latter 2 roles.
The Life and Times of Martha Henry was broadcast in 1997 on the CBC television network.
Martha Henry has received many honours, including the Toronto Drama Bench Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Theatre (1989), the GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD for Lifetime Achievement in the Performing Arts (1996), the ORDER OF CANADA (member 1981, promoted to companion 1990) and the ORDER OF ONTARIO (1994). She has received honorary degrees from the University of Toronto, York University, University of Guelph, Lawrence University (Wisconsin), University of Windsor, University of Western Ontario and University of Waterloo.