Stewart Lemoine

He staged his first play, All These Heels, at Edmonton's first fringe festival in 1982. He had a breakthrough in 1986 with Cocktails at Pam's, a real-time, on-stage depiction of a cocktail party that goes horribly wrong.


Stewart Lemoine

 Stewart Lemoine, playwright, director, producer (born at Winnipeg 1 May 1960). Stewart Lemoine moved to Edmonton in 1968 and attended St. Francis Xavier High School; he credits his high school drama teacher with introducing him to theatre, playwriting and directing. Lemoine began writing plays for fun while briefly attending the University of Alberta.

Plays

He staged his first play, All These Heels, at Edmonton's first fringe festival in 1982. He had a breakthrough in 1986 with Cocktails at Pam's, a real-time, on-stage depiction of a cocktail party that goes horribly wrong. The play features 11 actors on stage at once, speaking to each other and never to the audience - which builds a sense of verisimilitude that Lemoine had not seen on stage before.

In 1995 Stewart Lemoine staged Evelyn Strange, a murder-mystery featuring a woman with amnesia who finds herself in a luxury box-seat at an opera house; discovering a ticket in her pocket, she learns she is supposed to be at this performance but all else is a mystery (compounded by murders) that she and the audience must resolve.

Another success came in 1997 with Pith!, featuring a man and 2 women who improvise a trip to South America by storytelling. The plain stage - a carpet and chairs - and compact plot contrast with the excitement experienced by the characters as they travel imaginatively, taking the audience with them. Lemoine has written more than 70 comedies, many set in his Edmonton home town. Described as contemporary fairytales for adults because of the whimsical reflections made by his characters, Lemoine's plays combine quirky plots with humorous dialogue. They deal with topics ranging from Gertrude Stein's dinner parties to romantic adventures in 1930s Budapest; he satirizes soap operas, Nazis, Ibsen, journalism and other equally disparate subjects.

Teatro La Quindicina and Bambino

At the 1982 Edmonton Fringe Festival, Stewart Lemoine formed Teatro La Quindicina, the theatre company that produces his original works and new comedies by Edmonton-based playwrights. In 1993 Lemoine moved Teatro into Varscona Theatre, a former firehall in Edmonton's historic Old Strathcona neighbourhood. Known simply as "Teatro" to Edmonton theatre-goers, the company's name - Quindicina - means "fortnightly" and is a reference to Graham Greene's novel Travels with my Aunt.

Lemoine was Teatro's artistic director (1982-2007) before becoming playwright-in-residence (2008), a role that combines working on his own comedies and mentoring Teatro's new, young writers. In the 1990s he formed Teatro Bambino, an adjunct company of young performers. Lemoine leads playwriting workshops and has taught basic dramatic writing skills to public school students.

Awards

Stewart Lemoine won a DORA AWARD for The Vile Governess and Other Psychodramas (1986). He has received Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards for The Glittering Heart (1990), The Book of Tobit (1993), The Noon Witch (1995), Pith! (1998), At the Zenith of the Empir (2006), The Oculist's Holiday (2009) and Witness to a Conga (2011). In 2004 Lemoine's remount of Pith! earned him the New York International Fringe Festival's Award for Overall Excellence in Playwriting. In September 2008 he won the $50 000 Tommy Banks Performing Arts Award, and in 2010 he was inducted into Edmonton's Arts and Culture Hall of Fame.