Rory Runnells Retirement

March 6, 2017 | MAP News

After 34 years at the helm of the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, Artistic Director Rory Runnells is stepping down.

March 3, 2017
Artistic Director Rory Runnells to step down after 34 years

(Manitoba Association of Playwrights, Winnipeg, MB) After 34 years at the helm of the Manitoba
Association of Playwrights, Artistic Director Rory Runnells is stepping down.

“Without Rory, there would be no Manitoba Association of Playwrights. And without MAP, countless made-in-Manitoba plays would never have seen the light of day,” said Board of Directors’ Chair, James Durham. “His work behind the scenes creating opportunities to develop Manitoba plays and playwrights has had a huge influence on the theatre scene locally and nationally over the past four decades. When MAP was founded, the local playwriting community was almost non-existent. Now, Manitoba plays are frequently presented in local professional theatres as well as across Canada and internationally.”

Founded in 1979, MAP provides support to playwrights through workshops, mentorship, seminars, readings, and exchanges. During Rory’s tenure, the Manitoba Association of Playwrights has helped develop notable Manitoba writers such as Sharon Bajer, Rick Chafe, Ginny Collins, Tricia Cooper, Brian Drader, Maureen Hunter, Bruce McManus, Ellen Peterson, and two Governor General’s Award winners, Ian Ross and Vern Thiessen. Other notable achievements during Rory’s tenure include a series of Canada-Denmark playwright exchanges; the wildly successful Scirocco Drama High School Playwriting Contest; the Harry Rintoul Award for Best Manitoba Play at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival; the Reg Skene Award for Emerging Theatre Artist; and the establishment of a library/archive/theatre resource centre which houses important documents related to Manitoba theatre and playwrights.

In addition to being an arts administrator, Runnells also works as a writer, editor, and independent theatre producer. He is a regular contributor to Manitoba Opera’s house program, and he co-wrote the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s 50th anniversary history book. He is currently Drama Editor for Prairie Fire, and has edited two collections of Manitoba plays. In 2008, Rory received the Making A Difference Award from the Winnipeg Arts Council. Last year, his production of Harold Pinter’s Old Times played to critical acclaim at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.

“There is no doubt that Rory is MAP. Audiences may not know Rory’s name, but anyone who has attended theatre in Manitoba since 1983 has felt his influence,” says Durham. “We are very grateful to Rory for the dedication he has shown to our community over the years.”

A search for the next Artistic Director will commence immediately. The transition to the new Artistic Director is expected to take place in the summer of 2017.

For more information, please contact James Durham, Chair of the Board of Directors, Manitoba
Association of Playwrights, email: