Andrew Edward Fairbairn Allan

Andrew Edward Fairbairn Allan, radio-drama producer, actor, writer (b at Arbroath, Scot 11 Aug 1907; d at Toronto 15 Jan 1974).

Andrew Edward Fairbairn Allan

Andrew Edward Fairbairn Allan, radio-drama producer, actor, writer (b at Arbroath, Scot 11 Aug 1907; d at Toronto 15 Jan 1974). Seeing radio as the national theatre of Canada, through his taste, judgement and intelligence he brought the art of radio drama to new heights during his long career with the CBC, and set standards internationally.

Allan came to Canada at age 17 and graduated from University of Toronto, where he edited the Varsity. His first radio job was with CFRB Toronto in 1933. He was working for the BBC in England when war broke out in 1939 and was returning to Canada with his father on the Athenia when it was torpedoed and sunk. His father was killed.

Allan joined the CBC in Vancouver 1942, and produced the "Stage" series of over 400 dramas in Toronto 1944-56. It included some classics and some newly created works by writers such as Lister Sinclair, Ted Allan, Len Petersen, Tommy Tweed, Mavor Moore and many others who wrote scripts for emerging stars Lorne Greene, Lloyd Bochner, Budd Knapp, Jane Mallett and John Drainie. Robert Fulford has observed that Allan's CBC "Stage""gave many of us ... our first hint that there were Canadian writers who had something interesting to say."

He retired in 1962, unable to transfer his great talents to TV. He was the first artistic director of the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 1963-65, and continued writing, acting and directing for TV and radio until his death in 1974.


Further Reading

  • A. Allan, A Self Portrait (1974).