Saskatoon theatrical group mourns lack of actor, mentor Henry Woolf – Saskatoon

The Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival has identified the late Henry Woolf as a pillar of the Saskatoon theater community.

The former actor, artistic director and professor of acting at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) passed away last week.

“Of course there are many heavy hearts … even if 91 is an amazing age, but I am still surprised. I think I kind of feel like he’s just going to keep going, “said Skye Brandon, interim festival curator.

“We owe him a lot, just for unforgettable productions and enthusiasm, and simply as champions for the theater and for the city of Saskatoon as a whole.”

“The acting department and art and science in general named the North Studio after him. Now we see the Henry Woolfe Theater in this lobby every day, so I’m very grateful that it happened for him before he died. “

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While Woolf was born in the UK, USask drama professor Dwayne Brenna said that Woolf considered himself a Saskatonian.

“There’s a story floating around about Henry and (wife) Susan. They met, of course, when they were staging a production of Marat / Sade on Broadway in New York, ”said Brenna.

“And the apocryphal story is that one day an old lady asked Henry where he and his wife met and he said, ‘Well, we met on Broadway,’ and she said, ‘Broadway, where are five corners? ‘

“Henry knew from then on that he was a Saskatonian, he loved the place. I mean, he went back to London whenever he wanted, of course, and to New York too. But his home was here. “

Brandon met Woolf in 1997 while he was a student at the USask drama department.

“My first year in the acting department as an acting student was his last year as a department head before he retired,” said Brandon.

“(Woolf was) larger than life, although his stature, as you know, many will say that he was not a great man, just his personality, his warm heart, his stories. The word I think I heard once: narrator.

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“I’ve always seen him as a really lively person. Yes, he had a snappy joke … I found him physically just impressive. He caught people’s attention. He was extravagant without being over the top. “

Click here to play the video: 'USask prof.  says Henry Woofl and Peter O'Toole were friends.

US ask Prof. says Henry Woofl and Peter O’Toole were friends

US ask prof. says Henry Woofl and Peter O’Toole were friends

Woolf starred in the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show and had a USask performance space named in his honor, but Brenna said his crowning achievement was family and friends.

“I think his greatest achievement has been his friends and relationships. I mean, if you had asked him, he would probably have said his family was his greatest achievement, ”Brenna said.

“Henry was a mentor to me and later a friend.

“He was a wonderful experimenter. I mean, at some point it would have been synonymous with the Royal Court Theater, where new plays were and are being developed in London … And that is where the Rocky Horror Picture Show actually took place as a stage play for the first time. “

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Both Brenna and Brandon said their mentor’s legacy will be the people he taught.

“Far-reaching. People he taught or directed are now the ones who run and teach organizations … I think it will be an ongoing legacy, “said Brandon.

“Film and theater, and in terms of playing six degrees of separation, you can tell that this community is actually quite small and that you may be a Saskatoon artist or based in Saskatoon, but in just a few steps you are touching this long, deep story Legacy of the theater. “

“It was a great loss. Henry cannot be replaced. Not just as someone with infinite talent and enthusiasm for the job. He had his hand at practically every theater in town, ”said Brenna.

“I think the theater was a much better place because of his presence here, and I think that’s his legacy. You will see actors who will work for the next 25 years under Henry’s guidance.

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