In the history of playwriting in English-Canada, men have most often been considered as the pioneering figures. But just as Charles Heavysege was preceded by the dramatic writing of Eliza Lanesford Cushing in the Montreal Literary Garland in the 1840s, the beginning of contemporary playwriting was not initiated by Robertson Davies' 1948 Overlaid and Fortune My Foe as is commonly thought. Of equal significance were the productions of Gwen Pharis Ringwood's Dark Harvest and The Rainmaker in 1945 and Elsie Park Gowan's The Last Caveman in 1946.

Les hommes sont considirés le plus souvent dans l'histoire de la dramaturgie du Canada anglais comme les pionniers. Il y avait cependant avant Charles Heavysege les écrits dramatiques d'Eliza Lanesford Cushing dans la Literary Garland de Montréal des années 1840. De la même façon, ce ne sont pas les pièces de Robertson Davies, Overlaid et Fortune My Foe, qui, en 1948, marquent le début de la dramaturgie contemporaine, comme on le croit. La création en 1945 de Dark Harvest et de The Rainmaker de Gwen Pharis Ringwood, et de The Last Caveman en 1946 d'Elsie Park Gowan était d'une importance au moins aussi significative.

The question of whether Canadian theatre and drama should be judged by local, national or international standards and dramatic models has been much debated over the past several decades.1 Canadian theatre history provides a number of cases in which actors, directors, adjudicators and critics from abroad have publicly commented on the immaturity of dramatic and theatrical developments in this country. In the mid-1970s Gina Mallet, at the Toronto Star, and Brian Brennan, at the Calgary Herald, aroused considerable controversy by emphasizing in their reviews the frequent lack of artistic stature of Canadian playwriting and theatre production compared to the U.S., Great Britain and Europe.

In 1940 the English actor-manager Maurice Colbourne incensed the entire Canadian theatre community by writing in the New York Times, following a ten-city Canadian tour with the Colbourne-Barry Jones Company, that Canadian theatre was 'moribund' and lacked 'at present even the will to live.'2 One of the fiercest critics of Colbourne was the Edmonton playwright Elsie Park Gowan. Refuting Colbourne's assertion that Canadian Little Theatre players were mere 'exhibitionists,' Gowan declared in the Edmonton journal:

When it comes to exhibitionism, what would you call it when he drags 52 people across Canada to perform in second-rate plays? ... Perhaps the reason his tour was not a success is because the Little Theatre in Canada does better
plays ...
I had a few words with Mr. Colbourne when he was here. When it was mentioned that I wrote plays, he remarked that he would like to see them on the London stage, for if they remained in Canada they would be performed only by amateurs. I told him that I was not concerned whether they appeared in London or not, for inexperienced amateurs sometimes were able to express more real emotion on the stage than the professional.3

Elsie Park Gowan's own playwriting and theatre work in Edmonton in the 1930s does indeed suggest that Canadian theatre was far from 'moribund.' On the contrary, as Dr. R.C. Wallace, president of the University of Alberta and honorary president of the Edmonton Little Theatre, declared on the occasion of the premiere of Gowan's drama The Giant Killer in April of 1934, Alberta was 'forging ahead more rapidly in the field of the theatre than in any other of the arts.'4

But what kind of dramatic art was this to be? In February of 1935, the University of Alberta Dramatic Club entered Gowan's God Made the Country in the Alberta Regional Dominion Drama Festival. Gowan's play centers around an unhappily married wife of a homesteader trapped by her environment and a husband indifferent to her desires to educate herself .5 Freda feels 'chained to a homestead like a dumb beast, with weeds and wind and hail killing everything you'd hoped for.' Though carrying her husband's child, she is in love with Hugh, a more understanding neighbour willing to raise the infant as their own. The two agree to run off together to find happiness somewhere else but Hugh is struck down by a tree felled in one of the wind storms that have been wreaking havoc in the region. The dramatically effective play concludes with Freda, robbed of all hope for escape and happiness, preparing a couch for Hugh's body and telling her husband, 'Yes, bring him in to me - for tonight.'

Reviewing the 1935 Dominion Drama Festival for Saturday Night, the regional adjudicator Malcolm Morley used the production of God Made the Country as an all-out attack on what he termed 'Canada's Drama:'

It was the kind of play of which I had heard so much and read so many. If I had conceived an idea of the country from the plays that had come my way before my journey, I should have thought of Canada as a land of kitchen stoves from end to end. Outside the kitchens would be those wide open spaces about which old ladies sitting in rocking chairs before the said stoves moaned and groaned. The kitchens were in endless chain in the native dramas I first knew and the air outside held death waiting to claim a victim in time for the curtain to fall.6

Morley found this type of play unrepresentative of Canadian life and suggested other dramatic models:

I was to find other folk in Canada as well as the dwellers in these plays. They were people who enjoyed the amenities of life, who had comfortable homes, luxurious homes, and who never moaned and groaned from a rocking chair but sat in the happy surroundings of their home or club and conversed with a brightness that might have given tips to such fashionables as Frederick Lonsdale, Benn Levy or Noel Coward, to mention dramatists of the English smart set. 7

In a letter to the editor published in Saturday Night, Gowan sarcastically apologized for 'thrusting yet another kitchen stove upon Mr. Malcom Morley' and pointed out that 'outside our best hotels and transcontinental trains, so many Canadians will live in one-room houses.'

It's just Mr. Morley's bad luck that we misguided playwrights have tried to create a drama distinctively Canadian. We believed that the quality of our lonely land might be found in its far places ... that its reality might be best known by those who live close to its prairies and forests and mountains. We imagined a dramatic theme in the impact of these tremendous forces on the spirit of man.8

Elsie Park Gowan and Gwen Pharis Ringwood were the leading playwrights in the 1930s and 1940s attempting to create such a 'dinstinctively Canadian' drama. Like Ringwood, Gowan came to Canada as a young child. Elsie Park Young was born in Helensburgh, Scotland, on 9 September 1905 and came to Canada in 1912. In 1930 she graduated with first class honours in history from the University of Alberta, having served as president of the Dramatic Society, president of the Literary Society and as women's editor of the student publication, The Gateway. Like Ringwood, she was influenced and inspired by the pioneering director and drama educator Elizabeth Sterling Haynes9 and acted in a number of her productions. In 1933 she married Dr. Edward Hunter Gowan, a Rhodes Scholar and member of the University of Alberta Physics Department, 'the only man I had ever met who was willing to let me go as far as I could.' 10

Gowan was a complete woman of the theatre, serving on the executive of the Edmonton Little Theatre from 1933 to 1948, writing plays, acting and directing. In 1936-37 Gowan and Ringwood pioneered playwriting for radio in western Canada. At the request of Sheila Marryat, director of the University of Alberta CKUA Radio and director of the CKUA Players, the two wrote ten historical plays each for the series 'New Lamps for Old.' The series was such a success that the CBC broadcast 'New Lamps for Old' from Winnipeg in 1937-38 over its western regional network.

While Ringwood's scripts for CKUA Radio helped her to win a Rockefeller scholarship to major in playwriting at the University of North Carolina, she rarely again wrote for the medium.11 Gowan, on the contrary, went on to write approximately 250 radio scripts over the next twenty years. Her plays were heard all across Canada on such regional and national CBC series as 'Vancouver Theatre,' 'Prairie Playhouse,' 'Winnipeg Drama,' 'CBC Ottawa Workshop,' 'Montreal Playhouse,' 'Montreal Drama,' and 'Halifax Theatre.'She wrote for leading radio producers such as Andrew Allan, Esse W. Ljungh, Emrys Jones and Rupert Caplan.

Many of her radio plays reached an international audience. Her five scripts for the 1943 NBC Inter-American University of the Air 'Lands of the Free' series were beamed by short wave to South America. Two of these scripts, 'Canada Comes of Age' and 'The Road to Alaska,' were aired by the Australian Broadcasting Commission the following year. In 1948-49, the CBC International Service broadcast Gowan's weekly serial about a Canadian family, 'The Barlows of Beaver Street,' to the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

Reflecting on her three decades of work in the theatre and playwriting in 1959, Elsie Park Gowan recalled that 'when I was a youngster growing up in Edmonton, all art and literature was from far away.'

A poem was what Mr. Wordsworth wrote about daffodils, a play was something produced in London and a book was always written about somewhere else ... The world we saw reflected was never our own.
But now we have books, plays and pictures that mirror our own environment.12

Gowan's contribution towards creating such a Canadian imaginative self-reflection was critically recognized and encouraged from the beginning. Her surprisingly vehement anti-war drama The Giant-Killer was selected as the prize-winning script in the 1934 Carnegie Trust playwriting competition. The Royal Touch won the same award the following year. Reviewing the Edmonton Little Theatre premiere of The Giant-Killer, directed by Gowan herself, one critic noted that 'although still a very young playwright, this clever artist has a distinct flair for the presentation of clever, witty and sharply drawn drama.' 13

W.S. Milne, in his survey for Letters in Canada: 1937, highly praised Gowan's scripts for the 'New Lamps for Old' and 'The Building of Canada' series. He declared that her radio plays 'educate, painlessly, and they are excellent entertainment at the same time ... One has to confess that the Eastern stations have not yet discovered as brilliant a script-writer as has CKUA.' 14

In contrast to Ringwood's more poetic dramas with their frequent thematic focus on man's relationship and struggle with nature, Gowan's plays feature predominantly contemporary social or historical subject matter. Unlike Ringwood, Gowan resisted the dramatic model of the folk play taught from 1937 to 1941 by Dr. Frederick Koch, founder of the Carolina Playmakers and head of the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina, in his summr playwriting courses at the Banff School of Fine Arts. 'I always felt he was trying to turn us back,' she recalled in a 1980 interview. 'The people who were there in his writing classes were living in modern communities and this business of the folk play was kind of phony.' 15

Gowan's dramas, virtually all one-act in form, are marked by lively characterization and dialogue, satire and swiftly moving action. Her plays frequently present independent, quick-witted female characters trying to better themselves or their community. Their main or sub-plots often touch on subject matter considered risqué  in the 1930s and 40s: pacifism in The Giant-Killer; marital infidelity in God Made the Country; the role of the monarchy in contemporary society in The Royal Touch (1935); bigamy in A Toss For Father (1940); women's liberation in Back to the Kitchen, Woman! (1941); and inter-racial marriage in the radio play One Who Looks at the Stars (c. 1946).

This contemporary social focus strongly predominates in Gowan's writing for radio. Even for her historical dramas, her method was to 'invent a family and follow the history through the family.' 16 In series such as the 16-part 1943-44 'The Town Grows Up,' Gowan dramatized the story of community progress through individual co-operation. The 1943 19-part 'These Are My Neighbors' addressed 'such problems of present-day living as one-parent homes, overcrowding, uprooted young people, rehabilitation, shifts of employment, working mothers, disabled wage earners, and dependent old age.'17

Gowan was aware of the fact that the human-social content and didactic intent of her radio plays required a distinct dramatic form. Discussing her 6-part 1955 series 'Judge for Yourself,' she declared:

For years playwrights have made strong theatre out of courtroom drama. Early in the job, I realized that the time honored cliches had no place here. No pointing finger, no surprise witness, no clash of brilliant minds. The elements of conflict are present, certainly, in hate, love, fear and hope. But very often the scene in the courtroom itself is brief. The case goes back to the counsellor, or is referred to psychiatric help. The dramatic turning point may be the quiet moment when Charlie begins to understand the sources of his hostile behavior. This is a salvage operation on Canadian homes and lives ... 18

Gowan was also sensitive to the charge that dramatic writing for radio was artistically inferior to writing for the stage. Disputing Graham McInnes' assertion that radio drama was a poor, thin shadow of live stage plays, she declared in 1949 that

A dramatic radio show is a very real thing. It is a way of telling a story as old as the human story itself. It goes back to the minstrels and ballad singers of castle halls and poor men's cottages ... the story told to the small audience, sometimes one listener, who is watching the drama played out on the stage of his own mind. Story-telling as it was in the beginning, before the first stage scenery was painted. 19

Yet as early as his 1940 Letters in Canada drama survey, W.S. Milne referred to Gowan as 'a dramatic writer of great promise, who has probably been sidetracked into radio because of the lack of practical recognition of drama in Canada.' 20

Gowan had two prime opportunities for establishing a greater literary reputation for herself as a stage playwright. In 1936 she collaborated with William Irvine, the leftist ex-member of parliament for Wetaskiwin in the Alberta Legislature, on the full-length political farce You Can't Do That: 'I rewrote You Can't Do That from start to finish. His plot, my dialogue.'21 Yet when the play was published by Nelson in Toronto the same year, only Irvine was listed as its author: 'Bill was very apologetic about not informing Nelson of the collaboration.'22

The nature of that collaboration, and Gowan's contribution to the play, is clearly apparent from W.S. Milne's review of Irvine's political drama The Brains We Trust and You Can't Do That in Letters in Canada: 1935. Milne criticized The Brains We Trust for its puppet-like characterization, reported action and clichéed dialogue. You Can't Do That, 'while equally pre-occupied with national problems,' he declared 'as delightful as the other was tedious.' Milne stated that the play's author 'has viewed his theme more objectively, humanized his characters, and retained his sense of humour. As a result, he has written one of the wittiest and most amusing comedies I have encountered for some time:'

The plot sets forth how a bachelor prime minister's niece kidnaps the members of the cabinet and maroons them on an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, while she, by forged credentials, runs the country. The farcical situation is merely the starting point of a dramatic plot, well built-up and closely knit, in which a threat to cancel the banks' charters brings them to heel, and enables the government to embark on measures of national credit and unemployment relief.23

Gowan's most significant piece of dramatic writing, using local incidents, characters and locales to raise issues of national and international importance, was The Last Caveman, premiered by the Edmonton Little Theatre 4 February 1938. Subtitled 'An Alberta Comedy of Law and Order,' it was first written in 1937 and was 'based on an incident near our summer cottage on Lake Wabamun ... The Davy family, who are the core of the story, were the poor whites lured to Canada by the CPR propaganda in the early '20s.' 24

W.S. Milne, who had been encouraging Canadian playwights to abandon the one-act play for full-length works more suitable for production by professional theatres,25 highly praised Gowan's script for its form and content. ''The Last Cave-man" deserves special mention, for it is that rare bird, a native three-act comedy,' he declared in Letters in Canada: 1937.

The humour is robust, the dialogue sure. Like Merrill Denison's most characteristic work, it deals with the fun incidental to mixing up city types with primitive backwoods squatters of the hill-billy sort. A love interest and some pacifistic ideas are stirred into the concoction, to make a well-constructed field-day for good character-actors. Its author, Elsie Park Gowan, is to be congratulated on a delicious bit of work, well sustaining throughout the exacting requirements of the full-length form. 26

Gowan had high hopes that The Last Caveman could transcend the confines of amateur theatre production and, as part of a socially engaged theatre, speak meaningfully to a much wider audience. Reporting on the Banff School of Drama in the August 1937 Edmonton People's Weekly, she declared that Banff 'has always been a good school. This summer it has become a force of great social significance. It is creating a people's theatre for Alberta.'

Yesterday I read part of my new comedy 'The Last Caveman.' It is a plea for international order, and takes its text in an Alberta back yard ... Today our characters wear overalls and sweaters and gingham aprons. They are farmers and miners, grocers and housewives. We are building drama on the humor and tragedy, the triumphs and defeats, the magnificent courage of the people of the Canadian West.27

Gowan's hopes for The Last Caveman were realized to a great extent when Sidney Risk produced the play as part of his 75-town November 1946-May 1947 tour by the Everyman Theatre, the Western Canada Repertory Company. One of the first attempts to establish an indigenous professional theatre company in Canada after W.W. II, Everyman toured Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest and Caveman, preceded by Chekhov's The Marriage Proposal as a curtain raiser, from Vancouver to Winnipeg.28

The Last Caveman was generally well received critically for its writing, direction, acting and scenery on its four province tour. It was largely appreciated for its comic qualities though one critic observed that 'the author has attempted to super-impose semi-comic dialogue, situations and characters on what is obviously for her a very serious undercurrent of ideas.' 29

The Last Caveman reached a still wider audience when Andrew Allan produced the play on 'CBC Stage' 7 May 1950 over the CBC TransCanada Network. This radio version was closely based on the script for the 1946-47 Everyman Theatre tour with only the occasional expletive sanitized.

The hero in the 1938 premiere of the play had been a young professor, rather than a veteran, fired from his college because of his radical views who falls in love with Miranda, a geology instructor. Besides changing the names of some of the characters for the 1946 tour, Gowan also made Howard 'Mrs. Potter's nephew and introduced a love rivalry. (In the original he was her husband.)' 30

The Last Caveman was again produced in 1967 at the Ross Sheppard Composite High School in Edmonton where Gowan taught creative writing and matriculation English from 1959 to 1969. Topical references were updated and Gowan has since rewritten the 1946 version 'several times to keep up with world affairs. This, I now realize, is a hopeless proposition.' 31 Since no script of the 1938 premiere appears to be extant, it is the 1946 Everyman touring version of The Last Caveman which is published here for the first time.

In the 1950s and 1970s, Elsie Park Gowan continued to reach a large public with outdoor pageants commemorating the history and accomplishments of Albertans. Several of these, particularly the 'historama' The Jasper Story (music by Jack McCreath) staged 1956-1960 and 1976-1979, were viewed by audiences numbering in the tens of thousands.32 These later works reiterate a theme common to many of Gowan's dramas: the power of the Canadian frontier to transform those willing to struggle for their dreams. As the Trader concludes in the 1949 Breeches From Bond Street, there is 'always hope, in the West, if we got the spirit in us. Always hope.'

In the history of playwriting in English-Canada, men have most often been considered as the pioneering figures: Charles Heavysege in the 1850s; Merrill Dension in the 1920s and Robertson Davies in the late 1940s. But just as Heavysege was preceded by the dramatic writing of Eliza Lanesford Cushing in the Montreal Literary Garland in the 1840s, the beginning of contemporary playwriting was not initiated by Robertson Davies' 1948 Overlaid and Fortune My Foe as is commonly thought. Of equal significance were the productions of Gwen Pharis Ringwood's Dark Harvest and The Rainmaker in 1945 and Elsie Park Gowan's The Last Caveman in 1946.

Compared to Merrill Denison's comedies of the 1920s, Gowan's The Last Caveman constitutes a significant step forward in the history of playwriting in English-Canada. While Gowan's Davy family recalls Denison's farcical Ontario backwoodsmen, Gowan's characterization is marked by a much greater degree of humanity and good-natured humour. We laugh at the Davy's country folk speech and comic eccentricities but fully empathize with their dream of a better life in Canada.

Within the three-act structure of The Last Caveman, Gowan has skillfully intertwined farce, romantic comedy and a play of ideas. The comedy and romance of the play do not overshadow the serious theme of finding meaning from the horrors of World War II and creating a better world. Instead, the farce/comedy of the Davys fighting for their land actually underlines the play's theme of the necessity for individual nations to give up their right to wage war so that the federation of mankind, as advocated in John Duncan's manuscript, The Union of the Free, can be realized.


1 See for example MAVOR MOORE, 'An Approach to Our Beginnings: Transplant, Native Plant or Mutation?' Canadian Theatre Review No. 25 Winter 1980
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2 MAURICE COLBOURNE 'A Tour Across Canada' New York Times 28 January 1940 Section 9 p 1
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3 'Colbourne Is "Just Peeved" Answer by Little Theatre.' Unidentified clipping, Elsie Park Gowan Scrapbook, 1933-1944. Fiche 1. Microreproduction published by the University of Alberta Archives. On reaction to Colbourne, see also 'Mr. Battler Makes a Break' Curtain Call Vol 11, No 6, March 1940 p 3. Colbourne toured with Shaw's Geneva and Tobias and the Angel and his own play, Charles the King.
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4 'Experimental Theatre Plays Are Well Done'E.P. G. Scrapbook 19331944 Fiche 1
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5 The drama was based on Gowan's first play Homestead written in 1931 after a summer in the bush country at Rocky Mountain House.
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6 MALCOLM MORLEY 'Canada's Kitchen Drama,' Saturday Night Vol 50, No 40, 10 August 1935 p 12
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7 Idem
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8 ELSIE PARK GOWAN 'Another Kitchen Stove' Saturday Night Vol 50, No 44, 7 September 1935 p 8
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9 See ELSIE PARK GOWAN ed. Remembering Elizabeth. Edmonton, Committee for Elizabeth Haynes Theatre Event 1974
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10 'An Interview With Elsie Park Gowan, Edmonton, Alta. 8 February 1980 by Marilyn Potts'p 5. 1 am grateful to Marilyn Potts for making a transcript of this interview available to me.
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11 See ANTON WAGNER 'Gwen Pharis Ringwood Rediscovered' Canadian Theatre Review No 5, Winter 1975
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12 KATHY HASSARD 'Culture No Longer Needs Import Label' Undated summer 1959 Vancouver Sun clipping. E.P.G. Scrapbook 19601975 Fiche 1
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13 'Experimental Theatre Plays Are Well Done.' op cit
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14 W.S. MILNE 'Drama' in Letters in Canada: 1937 Toronto, University of Toronto Press 1938 p 367
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15 'An Interview With Elsie Park Gowan - - .' op cit p 6. In her interview, Gowan does concede that Ringwood, influenced by Koch, Paul Green and Samuel Selden at the University of North Carolina, wrote 'the best one-act play ever written in Canada, Still Stands the House. Gowan played Hester in one of the first Canadian productions of the drama, at the Edmonton Little Theatre 10 December 1938.
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16 'An Interview With Elsie Park Gowan...' op cit p 10
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17 Undated CBC programming guide EPG Scrapbook 1944-1954 Fiche 1
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18 ELSIE PARK GOWAN 'Judge for Yourself!' Undated CBC programming guide EPG Scrapbook 1954-1955 Fiche 1
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19 ELSIE PARK GOWAN 'Radio - A Shadow?'. Undated 1949 CBC programming guide EPG Scrapbook 1944-1954 Fiche 2. For Gowan on playwriting, see 'Wanted - a Playwright's Workshop' Stage Door Vol 6, December 1947; 'Technique -Playwriting in Western Canada' Western Theatre Vol 1, WinterSpring 1950; 'A Playwright Looks at the One-Act Play' Alberta English Teacher June 1963; and most importantly 'History into Theatre' Canadian Author and Bookman Vol 51, No 1, Fall 1975.
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20 W.S. MILNE 'Drama' in Letters in Canada: 1940 Toronto, University of Toronto Press 1941 p 304
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21 Letter to Anton Wagner, Edmonton, 10 July 1979
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22 Idem
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23 W.S. MILNE 'Drama' in Letters in Canada: 1935 Toronto, University of Toronto Press 1936 p 390
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24 Letter to Anton Wagner, Edmonton, 26 June 1979
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25 See for example W. S. MILNE 'Drama' Letters in Canada: 1936 Toronto, University of Toronto Press 1937 p 369. Milne observes that 'the oneact play has practically no place in the professional theatre today, and as long as playwrights are dependent on the tender mercies of amateur production, they will continue to write within the scope of the society with which they are in closest touch.'
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26 W. S. MILNE 'Drama' in Letters in Canada: 1937 Toronto, University of Toronto Press 1938 p 363
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27 ELSIE PARK GOWAN 'Powerful Social Force at Banff Drama School' Edmonton People's Weekly 14 August 1937
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28 For the aims of the company and the dates and locations of the tour, see the pamphlets 'The Everyman Theatre (Western Canadian Repertory Company)' and 'The Everyman Theatre Western Canada Repertory Company On Tour November 18th, 1946 to May 17th, 1947.' Elsie Park Gowan describes the company in her 'I Visit Everyman Theatre' Stage Door Vol 5, No 1, January 1947.
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29 J.N.K. 'The Last Caveman' Unidentified February 1946 University of Manitoba publication. EPG Scrapbook, 1944-1954. See also Vincent Tovell's review of the play, with which I strongly disagree, in Letters in Canada: 1946 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1947 p 265.
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30 Letter to Anton Wagner, Edmonton, 10 July 1979
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31 Letter to Anton Wagner, Edmonton, 26 June 1979
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32 Gowan credits Frederick Koch for introducing her to the outdoor historical pageant form by bringing copies of Paul Green's The Lost Colony to one of his playwriting courses at Banff. See 'An Interview With Elsie Park Gowan...' op cit p 30.
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Homestead (Alternate title The Man Who Wouldn't Fight Back) One-act first produced: Edmonton Little Theatre 31 March 1933

The Giant-Killer One-act fp: Edmonton Little Theatre Experimental Division, Masonic Temple, 26 April 1934

God Made the Country One-act fp: University of Alberta Dramatic Club, Alberta Regional DDF, Grand Theatre, Calgary 7 February 1935

The Royal Touch One-act In Curtain Call Vol 6 No 8 May 1935 and in Canadian School Plays EM Jones ed Toronto: Ryerson 1948 fp: Lacombe High School Concert 7 March 1935

The Hungry Spirit One-act fp: Edmonton Little Theatre, Empire Theatre 6 April 1935

On the Romany Trail One-act skit with music fp: Llanarthney School for Girls 1935

The Unknown Soldier Speaks (Written with Aubrey Proctor) One-act fp: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Rialto Theatre, Edmonton 10 November 1935

You Can't Do That (Written with William Irvine) Three acts fp: Commonwealth Youth Movement, Masonic Temple, Edmonton 13 March 1936

Glorious and Free One-act fp: Orange Hall, Camrose 14 April 1937

The Last Caveman Three acts In Theatre History in CanadalHistoire du Tbidtre au Canada Vol 8 No I Spring 1987; fp: Edmonton Little Theatre, Masonic Temple 4 February 1938

A Toss for Father One-act and Thumbleweed Short comic sketch fp: Edmonton Little Theatre, Saint's Parish Hall 23 February 1940

The Shop in Toad Lane or Password to Liberty One-act Edmonton, Alberta Co-operative Wholesale Association, 1940 and in Co-op News (1940?); fp: Olds School of Agriculture 1940

Back to the Kitchen, Woman! One-act Edmonton, Extension Department, University of Alberta 1941 fp: Banff School of Fine Arts 25 August 1941

Airman's Forty-Eigbt (Written with jean Duce) One-act Edmonton, Extension Department, University of Alberta 1942

Maestro One-act Edmonton, Department of Extension, University of Alberta, 1942 and in Curtain Rising WS Milne ed Toronto, Longmans, Green 1958 fp: Banff School of Fine Arts 26 August 1942

The Princess Who Dreamed Too Much One-act Edmonton, Department of Extension, University of Alberta (1943?) and Edmonton, Alberta Department of Culture nd fp: Queen's University Summer School 1946

Breecbesfrom Bond Street One-act Toronto, Samuel French, 1952 and in Prairie Performance Diane Bessai ed Edmonton, NeWest Press 1980 fp: Provincial Players, Studio Theatre, University of Alberta 4 March 1949

Who Builds a City Pageant fp: Edmonton Gardens 8 October 1954

The jasper Story Outdoor pageant fp: jasper, Alberta, July 1956

Portrait of Alberta Outdoor pageant fp: Edmonton Grandstand 1956

A Treatyfor the Plains Outdoor pageant fp: Dried Meat Hill, Alberta 1977


*indicates full annotation and script holdings are listed in Howard Fink's

Canadian National Theatre on the Air 1925-1961 CBC-CRBC-CNR Radio

Drama in English Toronto, University of Toronto Press 1983. CBC scripts are 30 minutes in length except where noted.

Coming of Power; Elizabeth Fry; Erasmus of Rotterdam; Mary Wollstonecraft; New Napoleon; Story of Radium; Visions in Stone Broadcast on 'New Lamps for Old' series, CKUA Radio, 1936-7; CBC western network, 19 Nov 1937-? (10 30-minute historical plays including the above)

Raleigh, Prophet of Empire; On This Rock; Kings of Acabia; He Was No Gentleman; Frontenac, the Fighting Governor; The Dragon from the Sea; Under One Flag; The Price of Loyalty; Grenville's Sword; Silver Chief, Seven Oaks; "Patriots of '37; Radicaljack; Eagle of Oregon; The Argonauts; The Figurebead; From Sea to Sea; Red Star in the West; Saddle and Plow; No More Heroes Broadcast on 'The Building of Canada' series, CKUA CFRN CFCN 1937; CKUA CBC 28 Sept 1938 - 8 Feb 1939

"Enter the Marquis 'Winnipeg Drama' series 3 July 1939

* Clementine Steps In 'Winnipeg Drama' series (1939?)

'Plays of Our Province' Series arranged by Elsie Park Gowan for CKUA CFCN and CFRN 12 Feb 1940-?

Printing, Messenger of Life Edmonton local station 1940

"'The Altar of the Moon' 7-part serial based on Francis Dickie's novel 8 Jan - 19 Feb 1941

*Indians in Paris (Francis Dickie) 20 March 1940; Raleigh, Prophet of Empire (John Buchan) 24 June; The Pirate of Peace River (Francis Dickie (ours) 29 July; The Hungry Spirit 26 August; St. Paul's of London 14 October; Souvenirfor Suzanne 26 March 1941; Garibaldi Remembers 6 May; Family Reunion (Francis Dickie) 9 September; The Eagle of Oregon 18 November; Maestro 28 April 1942 Broadcast on 'Theatre Time' series

*Back to the Kitchen, Woman! 'CBC Ottawa Workshop' series 16 Jan 1941 The Men in the News Broadcast from Winnipeg 12 March 194 1. Published as Confederation in Prose and Poetry for Canadians J W Chalmers ed Toronto: Dent 1951

*Appointment With Yesterday (Francis Dickie) 'Drama' series 12 Aug 1941

*When Freedom Was a Dream 14 Jan 1942; *Radicaljack 11 Feb 1942'Birth of Canadian Freedom' series

Script on Frank Oliver for 'Heroes of Canada' series 1942c

*The Strong and the Free 'Montreal Drama' series 30 Sept 1942

-The Call to Health and Happiness' 4-15 minute scripts 4 Nov - 25 Nov 1942

North After Seals CBS Columbia School of the Air series 'Tales from Far and Near' 1943

The Case of the Unofficial Parents; Ann Grierson and the Bogeyman. Broadcast among 19 weekly 15 minute episodes on 'These Are My Neighbors' series, CJCA and CFRN, 1943

How Big Is Edmonton QJ CA and CFRN 1943

Canada Comes of Age; The Clipper Ship; (script on air transportation and the Canadian north); The Alaska Highway (or Road to Alaska); Canada the Refuge. NBC Inter-American University of the Air 'Lands of the Free' 1943

Series of 4 plays on cancer for the CBC May 1943

*Love Story 'Montreal Playhouse' series 9 Aug 1943

Water; Communication; Police Protection Broadcast among 16 episodes of 'The Town Grows Up' series 12 Nov 1943 - 25 Feb 1944

"Hasty Postwar Marriages; Mary Is a Person, Sergeant; Marriage Is for Adults Only Broadcast among 36 episodes of 'The People Next Door' 3 Nov 1944

- 2 March 1945 and 5 Nov 1945 - 28 Jan 1946

One Who Looks at the Stars CJCA Edmonton and the CBC western network 1946 c Published in The Alberta Golden Jubilee Anthology William George Hardy ed Toronto: McClelland and Stewart 1955

George Leonidas and His Indigestion; Laura Valadon; Cancer of the Skin Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation series 'The Hopeful Side' 1946

Breeches from Bond Street Among 10 15 minute scripts for 'This Is Our Story' series, CBC CJCA 1946 c

*A Valentine to a Western Lady 'Panorama' series 14 Feb 1946

"The Courting of Marie Jenvrin (Gwen Pharis Ringwood) 'Radio Repertory' series, 4 April 1946

Bump On a Log (Ted Belt) 'Vancouver Theatre' series 17 Oct 1946

Lift Up the Towers CJCA and CBC trans-Canada network 26 April 1947

*The Barlows of Beaver Street' series 34 weekly episodes CBC International Service 8 Nov 1948 - 27 June 1949

*Steamboat Bill and the Pirate 'On Stage' series CBC International network 31 Oct 1949 (15 minutes)

*The Gateway 'In Search of Citizens' series 29 Nov 1949

*Breeches from Bond Street 'Curtain Time' series 5 April 1950

"Search for Martin Carlisle 'In Search of Ourselves' series 25 April 1950

*The Last Caveman 'CBC Stage' series 7 May 1950

*John Lundberg - Advocate of the People 'Summer Fallow' series 31 July 1950

What About Oil Cross Section series 29 March 1951

.'The Ghost of Grandma Fraser 18 Nov 1952; Thirty Minutes Past Noon 25 Nov 1952; The High Green Gate 2 Dec 1952; The Reluctant King Wenceslaus 9 Dec 1952; Curfew Shall Not Ring 14 Dec 1952; Sister Bridget and the Tramp 23 Dec 1952 'Down Our Street Today' series Maestro in Spite of Himself 'Prairie Playhouse' series, 27 Aug 1953

*'The Ferguson Family' 6 part series, 26 Jan - 2 March 1954

*Home Town 1954 'Summer Fallow' series 26 July 1954

*The Unquiet Spirit 'Saturday Playhouse' series 14 Aug 1954

This Is Our Heritage CJCA Drama Club on CBC trans-Canada network 1955

* This I Know 'As Children See Us' series, 21 March 1955

.'The Man Who Ran Away 28 March 1955; The Second Son 4 April 1955; From Lillian - Without Love 11 April 1955; The Girl From a Good Home 18 April 1955; The Facts of the Case 25 April 1955; To Break the Chain 2 May 1955 'Judge for Yourself' series

"Burning Their Bridges Behind Them 'Halifax Theatre' series 17 Jan 1956 (Elsie Park Gowan and D. Wilson)

*The Blue Heron 'Prairie Playhouse' series, 25 June 1959

* This Land for My Sons 'Summer Fallow' series, 19 Oct 1959


Stage Coach Bride CBC TV 'On Camera' series 19 Nov 1956 (Retitled Breeches from Bond Street)

I am grateful to Moira Day for production information on The Royal Touch, The Hungry Spirit, The Unknown Soldier Speaks and Glorious and Free.