Tom WoodTom Wood, actor, playwright, director, teacher (born at Dawson Creek, BC 5 May 1950). Tom Wood, a theatre artist of multi-dimensional impact, has turned a starry national career as an actor - with credits in all the major theatres in this country including the SHAW and STRATFORD Festivals - into an ever-expanding career as a playwright and a director. Often associated with comedy as both an actor and playwright, Wood has enriched the Canadian sense of comedy, both in depth and breadth. Even at their most manic and farcical, his comic characters have emotional dimensions and shadings.
This intense and versatile artist grew up in Edmonton and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from the University of Alberta in 1972. His contributions are intimately attached to the stories of Edmonton's large regional theatre, the CITADEL, and a small company, the Phoenix. At the former, Wood played Mercutio to Brent CARVER's Romeo in the John NEVILLE production of Romeo and Juliet that launched the Citadel's brick and glass playhouse, to which the company relocated in 1976.
Under Phoenix artistic director Bob BAKER (1982-87), the company gained a national profile for bold, provocative, contemporary programming and polished Baker productions. One of these was Wood's furious high-speed TV satire North Shore Live, co-written with Nicola Cavendish. Another, Wood's manic comedy B-Movie: The Play with its movie-besotted hero (starring the playwright) and its technical challenges, was a seminal event in Edmonton theatre. It went on to become one of the biggest hits in Canadian theatre history, with runs in Toronto, Boston, Halifax and at the Edinburgh Festival, and winning a CHALMERS and 5 DORA Awards.
Tom Wood's breakthrough as an actor was at the VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE in the Canadian premiere of Equus, Peter Shaffer's explosive psychological thriller, opposite Christopher NEWTON. After 3 seasons in the company there (1973-76), Wood joined the Stratford Festival, where his starring roles in 7 seasons included Simon Bliss, the son of the family whose domestic eccentricities are the fabric of Noel Coward's Hay Fever, and the Fool in Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well.
While Wood was a Shaw Festival leading man (1982-87), he returned to Edmonton in winter seasons to star at Phoenix in such Baker productions as Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Christopher Durang's gleeful anti-Catholic satire, and Harvey Fierstein's portrait of a drag queen, Torch Song Trilogy.
For Toronto's CANADIAN STAGE COMPANY, Wood's roles include such formidable characters as Roy Cohn, the Reagan-era fixer of Tony Kushner's two-part Angels In America; Valere, the anarchist street playwright of David Hirson's La Bete; and the English mathematician/logician Alan Turing in Hugh Whitemore's Breaking The Code. He also starred there in his own backstage theatre satire Claptrap. It was at Canadian Stage that Wood made his directing debut, a production in High Park of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Since 1998, when Bob Baker took over the artistic directorship of the Citadel and the pair (domestic partners) returned to Edmonton, Wood's career has increasingly oriented itself to writing and directing. His starring roles span a spectrum from Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof to Willy Loman in Death Of A Salesman to Scrooge in Wood's own hit adaptation of A Christmas Carol (an Edmonton Yuletide tradition of 12 seasons' standing). His performance in Conor McPherson's Shining City garnered a best-actor STERLING AWARD.
As a playwright, Tom Wood's adaptations, which command a startling range of comic nuance and ingenuity, include a Klondike setting for the Goldoni farce A Servant Of Two Masters, and original versions of Peter Pan, Pride And Prejudice, The Three Musketeers, and Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (Vanya), set in 1928 Alberta.
Tom Woods's Citadel directing credits include The Sound of Music, Doubt, The Glass Menagerie, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He has taught at Langara and Ryerson colleges, as well as the Banff/Citadel Professional Theatre Program. In 1997 Wood was the Distinguished Visiting Artist at his alma mater.