Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 21, 2005

Playwright Guillermo Verdecchia U of G’s Writer-in-Residence

Guillermo Verdecchia, a Governor General Award-winning playwright, is the 2005 writer-in-residence at the University of Guelph. Verdecchia, who is also a director and actor, will give a reading March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in Lower Massey Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“The writers-in-residence program is an important initiative developed with support from both the College of Arts and the Canada Council,” said Jacqueline Murray, dean of the College of Arts. “It allows us to bring in fine writers whose presence benefits our students and faculty to the amazing literary community that characterizes Guelph.”

Alan Shepard, director of the School of English and Theatre Studies said “I am delighted that we were able to recruit Guillermo back to campus to work as writer-in-residence this winter semester. He has taught acting and play writing for us previously, and in 2002, we produced his play Final Decisions: War. It was a great success.”

Verdecchia said that his 1993 one-person play, Fronteras Americanas, which received both a Governor General’s Award for drama and a Chalmers Canadian Play Award, “was an attempt to figure out where I lived. It was an attempt for me to resolve this division that I felt in terms of my position as a Latin American living in Canada. ”

Verdecchia also wrote and starred in a short film adaptation of Fronteras Americanas, called Crucero/Crossroads, which played at film festivals around the world and received nine international awards.

As a theatre maker, Verdecchia said one of his main goals is to challenge whose voice is considered valuable in Canadian theatre. In addition to making those challenges through his own writing, Verdecchia just finished a five-year term as artistic director of Cahoots Theatre Projects, a company dedicated to the development and production of new Canadian plays that reflect the country’s cultural diversity.

While at Guelph, Verdecchia hopes to dedicate time to working on a new play that he’s co-writing with Canadian theatre director and writer Daniel Brooks. “It will be informed by the idea of ecology in terms of environments and ecological systems, and also in terms of families as an ecology.”

He and Brooks have collaborated on several other plays, including The Noam Chomsky Lectures, which received a Chalmers Canadian Play Award and was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award nomination, and Insomnia. A Line in the Sand, a play he co-authored with Marcus Youssef, also received a Chalmers Canadian Play Award.

As well as writing plays, Verdecchia writes screenplays and short fiction. He published a collection of short stories called Citizen Suarez and says he’s currently working on a piece of prose.

Verdecchia will be on campus Mondays and Tuesdays until the end of the semester to meet with anyone in the community interested in talking about their own writing or in asking Verdecchia about his writing process or the business of writing. To book an appointment, contact Elizabeth Gilbertson, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53147, or

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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