Allan A.W. Hawco, actor, writer, producer (born 28 July 1977 in Goulds, NL). Arguably the hardest-working actor in Canadian show business, Allan Hawco co-founded Toronto's The Company Theatre and co-created, executive produced, wrote and starred in the popular CBC Television series Republic of Doyle (2010–14).
Early Years and Education
The youngest of four children, Hawco grew up in St. John’s, where his mother was a teacher and his father a part-time fisherman and ferry operator. Extremely active in high school, Hawco played hockey, took Tae Kwan Do (he now holds a black belt), headed the Student Council, participated in the drama club and worked several part-time jobs. Through his older brother, Greg (a composer who has written music for Republic of Doyle), he became good friends with Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle.
After graduating from high school, he “took a detour” and studied business at Memorial University of Newfoundland before dropping out to focus on his first love, acting. He appeared in various plays around St. John’s, including a Shakespeare by the Sea production of Macbeth. In 1997, he was one of 13 people selected from thousands of applicants to attend the National Theatre School (NTS) in Montréal.
After graduating from the NTS in 2000, Hawco worked onstage in Montréal and Toronto with such noted theatre companies as Centaur, Soulpepper, Canadian Stage and Theatre Passe Muraille. In 2003, he landed guest roles in the syndicated TV series Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye and Mutant X, and the CTV series The Eleventh Hour. In 2004, he scored a supporting role in the CBC TV movie H2O, a political thriller written by and starring Paul Gross.
Hungry for more quality work, Hawco and actor Philip Riccio co-founded The Company Theatre in 2004, and drew rave reviews with their debut production of Tom Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark, co-starring Hawco. The play was praised by the Toronto Star’s Richard Ouzounian as “the most muscular piece of theatre we’ve seen in Toronto for some time” and received two 2005 Dora Award nominations, including Outstanding Production.
Hawco then landed supporting roles in the CBC miniseries Above and Beyond (2006), about the Ferry Command during the Second World War, Sir Richard Attenborough’s feature film Closing the Ring (2007), with Christopher Plummer, Shirley MacLaine and Neve Campbell, and the H2O sequel, The Trojan Horse (2008). He also had lead roles in The Movie Network’s Balkan War miniseries, ZOS: Zone of Separation (2009), and John N. Smith’s feature film Love & Savagery (2009), about a Newfoundland man who falls in love with a convent-bound woman in 1960s Ireland. That performance earned Hawco an ACTRA Award nomination for Outstanding Male Performance.
In 2008, he co-starred with Eric Peterson, Rosemary Dunsmore and Nicholas Campbell in The Company Theatre’s adaptation of the Danish Dogme film Festen (The Celebration), which was nominated for three 2009 Dora Awards, including Outstanding Production of a Play.
Republic of Doyle
With his star on the rise, Hawco pitched CBC TV an idea for a populist comedy-mystery series about a father-son private eye team in St. John’s, which would borrow heavily from The Rockford Files and Magnum, P.I. while foregrounding the local colour of its Newfoundland setting. Hawco not only starred in the show, which he co-created through his production company, Take the Shot Productions, but also served as executive producer and head writer.
Upon the debut of Republic of Doyle, the Toronto Star called it “smart and fun… [and] cause for some genuine excitement on the Canadian TV front.” The lighthearted, upbeat series became one of the most popular Canadian television shows of its time, averaging two million viewers in its first two seasons and earning 2010 Gemini nominations for Best Dramatic Series and Best Actor in a Leading Dramatic Role. It has since been broadcast in more than 90 countries.
Following the end of Republic of Doyle in 2014, Hawco played Solomon Lindo in Clement Virgo’s adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, as well as a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan in Paul Gross’s action drama Hyena Road (2015).
Hawco was slated to produce and star in Caught, a CBC TV series based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Lisa Moore, and to co-star with Molly Parker in Nineteenseventysomething (2016), a period drama written by Daniel McIvor and directed by Bruce McDonald. It was also announced in November 2015 that Hawco’s production company, Take the Shot, was co-producing Frontier, an action-adventure series set during the 18th century fur trade. The series is set to co-star Hawco and debut on Discovery Canada and Netflix in 2016.
In 2011, Hawco received the Gascon Thomas Award from the NTS for “exceptional contribution to the growth of theatre,” as well as the Outstanding Achievement Award from Playback’s Canadian Television Hall of Fame, which was presented to him by Gordon Pinsent.
Gascon Thomas Award, National Theatre School (2011)
Outstanding Achievement Award, Playback’s Canadian Film and Television Hall of Fame (2011)