Craig Walker is Professor and Head of the Department of Drama, and is also cross-appointed to the Department of English. Currently, he is on sabbatical leave until July 2014.
Walker earned his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where he had taken his earlier degrees in English. He has taught courses in most subjects in the Department of Drama at one time or another.
Prior to graduate school, Walker worked as a professional actor, spending seasons with companies such as Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, and the National Arts Centre English Company, as well as appearing at various Toronto theatres ranging from the Poor to the Royal Alex. After acting in Robert Lepage’s production of Macbeth at Hart House Theatre in 1992, his next Toronto appearance was not until June 2002, when he acted in and directed The Turn of the Screw for Theatre Kingston at the Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space. In the interim, however, he appeared in several productions with the Thousand Islands Playhouse and with Theatre Kingston. More recently, he has acted with the St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, playing Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing in 2006, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2007, and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and Duke Vincentio in Measure for Measure in 2009.
As a director, for the Queen’s Department of Drama, Walker has directed a double-bill of Michel Tremblay’s Counter Service and Nina Shengold’s Lives of the Great Waitresses (2012), Thornton Wilder’s Our Town (2010), his own adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Drums In the Night (2008), John Lazarus’s Meltdown (2005), Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles Soeurs (2003), Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth (2000), his own translation of Odon von Horvath’s Judgement Day (1999), Richard Rose and D.D. Kugler’s adaptation of Timothy Findley’s Not Wanted on the Voyage (1997), the medieval morality play Everyman (1996) and Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine (1993). For six summers, from 2001-2006, he also wrote and directed the touring children’s plays performed by The Barefoot Players, a group of Queen’s Drama students who are hired through the Department of Drama to produce and perform for the children of the Kingston area.
(Photos from Counter Service)
From 1997 to 2007, Walker was Artistic Director of Theatre Kingston, during which time the company produced 54 plays, 36 of which were Canadian, including 18 world premieres. For that company, he has directed many productions, including Marianne Ackerman’s L’Affaire Tartuffe, Ann-Marie MacDonald’s The Arab’s Mouth, Wallace Shawn’s Aunt Dan and Lemon, Fred Euringer’s Night Noises, Judith Thompson’s Lion in the Streets, Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and Candida, John Lazarus’ Village of Idiots and Rough Magic, Daniel David Moses’ Brebeuf’s Ghost, George F. Walker’s Problem Child, William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Aeschylus’s Oresteia (which was performed with a Proteus, a satyr play Walker wrote to replace the lost work by Aeschylus that originally followed the trilogy), and Ibsen’s The Master Builder in his own adaptation. His other work as a director includes seasons in the 1990s as an Intern Director at The Shaw Festival and an assistant director at The Stratford Festival, Much Ado About Nothing (2008) for DreamNorth Theatre and Death and the Maiden (2012) and Private Lives (2013) for Plosive Productions at the Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa. For the St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott, Ontario, apart from the acting previously mentioned, he has directed Romeo and Juliet in 2007, As You Like It in 2008, Measure for Measure in 2009, Trouble on Dibble Street (John Lazarus’s adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor) in 2010 and Twelfth Night in 2011, a production which won the 2012 Prix Rideau Award for Outstanding Production. In 2014, he is directing that company’s production of The Tempest.
(Photos from The Oresteia and Meltdown.)
Walker’s writing for the theatre includes his adaptation of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake which played in Kingston and also at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and the book, music and lyrics for Chantecler: a musical (adapted from the French verse tragedy by Edmond Rostand), which was directed with great invention and wit for Theatre Kingston by his distinguished colleague and friend, Tim Fort. Lately, he has been writing two new plays, One Last Night With Mata Hari, which is a piece of music theatre that he is creating in collaboration with composer John Burge, and Needless Matters, a play about Henry Irving, Bram Stoker and “Buffalo” Bill Cody that was developed through the 2013 Playwrights’ Unit of the Thousand Islands Playhouse.
On the academic side, Walker is the author of The Buried Astrolabe: Canadian Dramatic Imagination and Western Tradition (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001) and co-editor (with Jennifer Wise of the University of Victoria) of The Broadview Anthology of Drama: Plays from the Western Theatre, Volumes I and II (Broadview Press, 2003) and The Broadview Anthology of Drama, Concise Edition (Broadview Press, 2005). He has also edited Shakespeare’s King Lear (Broadview Press, 2011) in a version that features parallel Folio and Quarto texts, and which was also published in The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. His other publications include chapters in The Oxford Handbook to Canadian Literature (Oxford University Press, 2014), Solo Performance: Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre, Volume Twenty, ed. Jenn Stephenson (Playwrights Canada Press, 2011), Sharon Pollock: Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre, Volume Ten, ed. Sherrill Grace and Michelle La Flamme (Playwrights Canada Press, 2008), George F. Walker: Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre, Volume Five, ed. Harry Lane (Playwrights Canada Press, 2006), Judith Thompson: Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre in English, Volume Three, ed. Ric Knowles (Playwrights Canada Press, 2005), Sharon Pollock: Essays on her Work (Guernica Press, 2000), Compass Points: Navigating the 20th Century (Between the lines, 1999), and The Legacy of Northrop Frye (University of Toronto Press, 1994). He has written a number of articles for The Canadian Encyclopedia and The Literary Encyclopedia, and for journals such as Modern Drama, Theatre Research in Canada, Australasian Drama Studies, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Journal of Canadian Studies, English Studies in Canada and Canadian Theatre Review. He was Book Review Editor for Modern Drama for two years, from 1998 to 2000. In 2009, he was appointed as a Corresponding Scholar at the Shaw Festival.