French English Canadian Relations Essay Topics

French – English Relations Essay

A great man once said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself…" Unfortunately in Canada, that is not the case. For many years, hostility has existed between the two largest ethnic denominations in our country, the French and the English Canadians. Both have tried to undermine one another in aspects of religion, language, culture and politics. To understand the cause of this continuing bitter saga, one must take a journey back in time. Throughout the course of Canadian history, there were many occasions wherein the French and English Canadians have clashed but three major historical events tore the relationship into pieces. It all basically started with the Red River Rebellion which angered the English Canadians because they found Riel as a threat to the British Empire. Then a couple of years later, a war has started in 1914 which then led to the conscription act of 1917 which angered and forced the French into fighting in the war. Half a century later when things were looking good between the French and English Canadians, the October Crisis had hit which angered both the English as well as the French Canadians. Even though the feud between Canada's original ethnic groups, the French and the English started long time ago it still continues today with no sign of change towards peace and forgiveness.

The Red River Rebellion, led by Louis Riel, was one of the first major events that created the rift between the French and English Canadians. In 1869, when the Hudson's Bay Company sold the vast territory known as Rupert's Land to the Canadian government, the Métis were worried. The Métis descended from the intermarriage of Europeans with indigenous peoples and they possess elements of both cultures. They feared that the government would disregard their ownership of the Red River Settlement because they did not have papers to prove they owned the land. Louis Riel, a Métis man, took leadership and stood up for the rights of his people. He set up a provisional government in Manitoba. This act angered the English Canadians and was thought by the Canadian Government as an act of rebellion. These feelings of resentment and hostility further elevated with the execution of Thomas Scott. On the other hand, in the Roman Catholic province of Quebec, many people said Riel's actions were justified. They felt sympathetic toward Riel and his government. As one can see, this event led by a man of deep conviction and faith drove a wedge into a crack between the French and the English Canadians. Francophones regarded the Red River Rebellion a noble cause and Louis Riel a hero who stood up to protect the rights of the French-speaking Métis. The Anglophones saw the rebellion as a threat to Canada's sovereignty and Riel a traitor. This conflict of emotions would remain until the next major...

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Proclamation Act Of 1763 Essay

465 words - 2 pages The Proclamation Act of 1763 was a major change for both the English and the French. The English wanted to assimilate the French. This was necessary for two reasons. One, the British had, after all, conquered them, and wished to create a full British Empire. They thought that the only way to do this was to assimilate all other cultures (except the Natives) into their culture. Two, the French were still a threat, and Quebec was the foothold...

Similarities that caused Conflict Essay

1548 words - 6 pages Conflicts in of 17th century colonial British North America have mainly been portrayed as a clash between Europeans, Native Americans, African Americans, and the French due to differences in culture, race, and religion. However, recently historians such as Ann M. Little author of Abraham and Arms and T.H Breen and Steve Innes co-authors of Myne Owne Ground, have been gathering evidence that may dispute these claims. These historians suggest that...

Eastern Woodland Indians and the Seven Years' War

1005 words - 4 pages War is always destructive and devastating for those involved leaving behind a trail of death and barren landscape leading to heartbreak and shattered lives. War has its subjugators and its defeated. One enjoys complete freedom and rights while the other has neither freedom nor rights. Defeated and broken is where the Eastern Woodland Indians found themselves after both the Seven Years' war and the American Revolution. The Europeans in their...

French and Indian War

1336 words - 5 pages The French and Indian war also known as the Seven Years war lasted from 1754 to 1763. The French and Indian war altered relations between the British and American colonies through political, economical and ideological aspects. The war was fought between the English and the American colonists in what was called the New World.The war that raged in North America through the late 1750's and early 1760's was but one part of the larger struggle between...

Quebec Separatism

1745 words - 7 pages Canada is known by outsiders to be a very peaceful country. But if you ask any Canadian they well tell you that is unfortunately not the case. For there is a large ongoing conflict between Canadians. The conflict is between the French and the English, or more specifically between Quebec and the rest of Canada. As a result of this conflict, along with some wrongdoing and propaganda. Quebec has considered and has gone as far to hold referendums...

Analyze the cultural and economic responses of TWO of the following groups to the Indians of North American before 1750: Brits, French, Spanish.

972 words - 4 pages Lucy Shen 9/9/07 1st pd. When Christopher Columbus first set foot upon the New World and began trading with the natives he incorrectly dubbed "Indians", he had no idea that his bartering would eventually lead to immense contact between the Native Americans and Europeans. Cultural and economic influences flowed both ways in this exchange of societies between Native Americans and both the French and British.France, a...

Ethnic and Linguistic Canada

1471 words - 6 pages Ethnic and Linguistic CanadaCanada has long struggled with issues of ethnicity and linguistics as the nation's large French-speaking minority struggles to maintain its linguistic and cultural heritage. However, the French-speaking Canadians are not the only political players north of the border, and as Canada becomes increasingly diverse, its politics become increasingly complex. According to a 1991 Canadian census figure, almost one...

Show how code switching can be used for strategic purposes. In what way is code switching similar to or different from style shifting as a strategic tool.

2365 words - 9 pages Codeswitching and style shifting are the two common means of communications today. The definition of code switching by Swann (2002) is "The switch between languages or language varieties, during the course of a single interaction". For example, codeswitching from the English to Swahili a seen in "Wache Mimi nielekee tauni tukutane this evening". (Let me go so...

Future of English

1456 words - 6 pages English has established itself as a world language. Like no other language English dominates different aspect of our lives. These aspects are culture, politics, finances and many others domains related to public and international life. I will have a look at some scenarios such as English losing the status of a world language or English becoming a so called dead language. I will consider English not only as a world language, but also as a language...

The History of Quebec Separatism

1679 words - 7 pages How close was Canada from being radically different from how it’s known today? 1.16%. From coast to coast, Canadians have taken pride in being united as one, which was exemplified by the exceptional patriotism showed during the recently completed Sochi Olympics. However, there is one province that seems to be opposed to the norm. One of the founding provinces of Canada, Quebec, has been lobbying for separation for decades. Québécois or the people...

Early Colonization

976 words - 4 pages In the late 1500s and early 1600s, the Americas had been discovered and establishment of the New World had begun. Spain, Portugal, England and France all led the way in early colonization. European nations were involved in the colonization of North and South America, but all had different approaches. Spain and Portugal were similar in the way they inhabited the land but had...

Essays and Documents

The Bard's Beer coaster created by Sleeman's Brewery in Guelph in conjunction with the special Elizabethan brew created for the Shakespeare Made in Canada Festival


Canadian Shakespeares (Borrowers and Lenders)

Shakespeare Made in Canada: Contemporary Canadian Adaptations in Theatre, Pop Media and Visual Arts

Shakespeare and French Canada: Critical Writing Anthology

Canadian Theatre Review
College Literature
Research Essays, Dissertations, and Books
Theatre Program
Special Topics


CASP regularly makes available online a wide range of essays, documents, and books concerning Shakespearean criticism and Shakespearean theatrical adaptation in Canada. Our policy in selecting these documents has been to allow for a range of differential voices and positions to be heard, including playwrights, critics, policy makers, graduate students, and so forth. The range of materials to be found on this page is significant: from complete versions of special issues of Canadian Theatre Review devoted to Shakespeare in Canada, through to graduate essays and dissertations, and academic essays that address Shakespearean adaptation in Canada.

Additionally, we have added a range of relevant documents in which Shakespeare figures, including the full version of the influential Massey Commission Report, the first program ever used at the Stratford Festival, and a range of other textual artefacts associated with the production of Shakespeare in Canada.

Essays and/or documents have been scanned with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and are fully searchable. Useful links to major documents have also been provided. You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader to read these documents; visit the Adobe website to download the reader for free.

Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, Volume 3, No. 1, 2008: Canadian Shakespeares, edited by Daniel Fischlin. Borrowers and Lenders, winner of the CELJ Best New Journal Award in 2007, is a peer-reviewed, online, multimedia Shakespeare journal ( The journal is indexed in the MLA Bibliography, World Shakespeare Bibliography, and other databases. General Editors: Christy Desmet and Sujata Iyengar; Associate Editor: Robert Sawyer; Assistant Editor: David Schiller. In this special issue, contributors examine issues of Shakespearean adaptation and appropriation in relation to Canadian national contexts. Essays focus on such topics as aboriginal and First Nations relations to Shakespeare; French Canada and Shakespeare; postcolonial culture and Shakespeare; and contemporary Canadian playwrights Judith Thompson and Rod Carley on their re-makings of Shakespeare via adaptive encounters.

Shakespeare Made in Canada: Contemporary Canadian Adaptations in Theatre, Pop Media and Visual Arts:

  • Fischlin, Daniel, and Judith Nasby, eds. Shakespeare Made in Canada: Contemporary Canadian Adaptations in Theatre, Pop Media and Visual Arts. Guelph: Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, 2007.

    From January to May 2007, the Shakespeare Made in Canada festival featured theatrical and musical performances, museum exhibitions, a speaker series, educational programs, and more throughout the Guelph-Wellington region. At the centre of the festival was the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre’s exhibition that explored contemporary Canadian adaptations in theatre, pop media, and visual arts in a stunning testament to the Shakespeare effect in Canadian culture.  The Shakespeare Made in Canada exhibition brought together for the first time hundreds of rare artifacts, including the Canadian-owned Sanders portrait, contemporary Canadian theatre designs, Shakespeare in French Canada, contemporary Aboriginal adaptations of Shakespeare, new portraiture, an innovative mixed media Learning Commons for youth, an adult literacy and Shakespeare audio installation (Tongues in Trees), as well as new and archival material from the Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project, the L. W. Conolly Theatre Archives (University of Guelph), and the Stratford Festival of Canada.

Co-curated by Daniel Fischlin and Judith Nasby, the exhibit was attended by thousands of people over a six-month period. On this page CASP is making available in electronic form the book that was published in tandem with the exhibit, a rich archive of essays and visual materials that brings together the many voices of the talented scholars, artists, and theatre practitioners who contributed to the design and content of the exhibit.



       To purchase a copy of Shakespeare Made in Canada: Contemporary Canadian Adaptations, click here.


Shakespeare and French Canada: Critical Writing Anthology:

A growing number of scholars are turning their attention to the critical role Shakespeare has played in French Canada. Visit CASP's unique anthology of writings from some of the experts working in this field.

  • Bolster, Charles Gordon.  "Shakespeare in French Canada."  MA thesis.  Unpublished.  University of New Brunswick, 1970.
    Bolster chronicles productions of Shakespeare in French Canada between 1945 and 1968 with extensive primary research. New reproductions of some of the material from the Appendices are presented seperately here in an effort to restore the poor quality originals:

    • Appendix B -- Alfred Pellan's design drawings for Les Compagnons de St. Laurent's 1946 production of La Nuit des rois, directed by Father Emile Legault.  [bolster_appendix_b.pdf]

    • Appendix D -- Photos of Gisèle Schmidt (as Katharina) and Gilles Pelletier (as Petruchio) from Télé-théâtre de Radio-Canada's 1953 production of La Mégère apprivoisée directed by Jean Boisvert.  [bolster_appendix_d.pdf]

    • Appendix H -- Jean Gascon's article "Pourquio Shakespeare?' from the program for Théâtre du Nouveau Monde's 1962 production of Richard II, directed by Gascon.  [bolster_appendix_h.pdf]

    • Appendix K -- Photos of La Nouvelle Compagnie Théâtrale's 1966 production of La Mégère apprivoisée directed by Pierre Dagenais. [bolster_appendix_k.pdf
  • Gagnon, Chantal.  "Le Shakespeare Québécois des Années 1990."  This article was originally published in Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches théâtrales au Canada 24.1-2 (2003): 58-75. CASP is grateful for permission to re-publish the article here. Any use of this article should use the citation from TRC/RTC given above. Following on Brisset's research findings that between 1968 and 1988 Quebec translations of foreign plays were linked to the nationalist discourse, Gagnon investigates Quebec translation in the 1990s.  Focussing on three translations of Shakespeare's The Tempest, Gagnon finds that "the Quebec theatre institution has taken up the task and it struggles for its own cultural, economic and symbolic survival."
  • Gascon, Jean. "Pourquoi Shakespeare?" This piece by Jean Gascon was included in the foreward to the program for Théâtre du Nouveau Monde's 1962 production of Richard II. Gascon addresses key issues relating to Shakespeare's use and appropriation by French Canada suggesting that Shakespeare represents a cultural summit that is the apogee of theatrical achievement. In doing so he restates conventional tropes about Shakespeare's genius. Nonetheless Gascon went on to play a key role in naturalizing Shakespeare to both Québécois and English speaking audiences, the latter most noticeably in his tenure as Artistic Director at The Stratford Festival of Canada.
  • Leanore Lieblein. "Pourquoi Shakespeare?" Lieblein's essay, from Shakespeare Made in Canada: Contemporary Canadian Adaptations in Theatre, Pop Media and Visual Arts (eds Fischlin and Nasby, 2007), the book published in association with the Shakespeare Made in Canada exhibit (January-June 2007), documents the multiple ways in which French Canada has addressed Shakespeare along with an hisotrical overview of some of the key French Canadian Shakespearean productions.
  • Leanore Lieblein.  "Shakespeare: Prince of Quebec." paper presented to the James McGill Society at McGill University on February 17, 2005.
  • Salter, Denis. "Between Wor(l)ds: Lepage's Shakespeare Cycle." In Theater sans frontières: Essays on the Dramatic Universe of Robert Lepage, ed. Joseph I. Donohoe, Jr. and Jane M. Koustas. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2000. 191-204. This essay first appeared in Theater 24.3 (1993). 61-70. It also appeared in Polish as "Miedzy Slowami, Mienzy Swiatami," translated by Halina Thylwe, in Dialog (November 1994). [129]-136. This essay won the Richard Plant Prize of the Association for Canadian Theatre Research for the best article in English in 2003.
  • Salter, Denis. "Blood... Sex... Death... Birth: Paula de Vasconcelo's Le Making of de Macbeth: an interview." Australasian Drama Studies 29 (Oct. 1996): 66-83.

    This interview was originally published as “Blood…Sex…Death…Birth: Paula de Vasconcelos’s Le Making of De Macbeth: an interview,” in “Theatre and the Canadian Imaginary,” ed. Joanne Tompkins, a special focus issue of Australasian Drama Studies 29 (October 1996): 66-83.  I am grateful to Professor Tompkins and to Professor Veronica Kelly, editor of Australasian Drama Studies for permission to republish this interview. The copyright remains with the author.
    Please visit the Image Gallery for stills from Le Making of De Macbeth production.

  • Salter, Denis. "Outside Shakespeare/Inside Québec: Paula de Vasconcelos's Metonymic Performance Text Le Making of de Macbeth." The Performance Text, ed. Domenico Pietropaolo. New York, Ottawa, Toronto: Legas, 1999. 152-177.
    This chapter was originally published as “Outside Shakespeare / Inside Québec,” in The Performance Text, ed. Domenico Pietropaolo (New York, Ottawa, and Toronto: Legas, 1999): 152-177.  I am grateful to Professor Pietropaolo and to Leonard Sbrocchi of Legas for permission to republish this chapter.  The copyright remains with the author.


French Canadian Theatre: Online Resources:

CEAD: Le Centre des auteurs dramatiques:
"Le Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD) œuvre depuis 40 ans pour la dramaturgie québécoise et franco-canadienne.

Depuis sa fondation en 1965, le CEAD se voue au soutien, à la promotion et à la diffusion de l'écriture théâtrale québécoise et franco-canadienne. Fondé et dirigé encore aujourd'hui par des auteurs, qui trouvent en lui un moyen de se concerter et de se doter de structures susceptibles de les aider dans leur démarche de création, le CEAD s'applique, au fil des ans, à donner droit de cité à notre dramaturgie et à la faire résonner autant ici qu'à l'étranger.

Les fonctions que remplit le CEAD sont multiples et variées. Les auteurs membres - ils sont maintenant 224 - y trouvent un lieu de recherche où ils peuvent, hors de tout contexte de production, mettre leur travail à l'épreuve de diverses manières: lectures commentées, parrainages par des auteurs chevronnés, activités diverses de travail sur le texte avec des acteurs et des metteurs en scène, lectures publiques... Pour l'ensemble du milieu théâtral ainsi que pour les enseignants, les étudiants, les journalistes et les visiteurs de l'étranger, le CEAD constitue un centre important de ressources et d'information: son centre de documentation––accessible par ce site Internet - met à la disposition du public quelque 3300 titres de pièces québécoises et franco-canadiennes, publiées ou inédites, ainsi que des archives considérables sur tout ce qui touche à cette dramaturgie, depuis ceux qui l'écrivent jusqu'à ceux qui la produisent. Outre la Semaine de la dramaturgie annuelle, le CEAD s'occupe du soutien dramaturgique, de la Résidence québécoise des auteurs dramatiques, de la Carte blanche aux auteurs, de la diffusion en langue anglaise, des échanges internationaux et de l'animation du Fonds Gratien Gélinas pour la relève en écriture dramatique.

Enfin, organisme national de promotion et plaque tournante de la circulation de notre dramaturgie dans le monde, le CEAD propose quotidiennement des textes dramatiques à des professionnels du Québec, du Canada et d'ailleurs."

Cahiers de Théâtre Jeu Les Cahiers de théâtre Jeu: trimestriel de format livre, sont entièrement consacrés aux arts de la scène. Chaque numéro, abondamment illustré, propose des dossiers thématiques bien documentés et des textes de réflexion susceptibles de rejoindre tout autant les spectateurs de théâtre que ses artistes et artisans.

Dramaturges Éditeurs: Dramaturges Éditeurs a pour mandat de publier tout ce qui touche de près à la dramaturgie, et plus spécifiquement les pièces de théâtres d'auteurs canadiens. Dramaturges Éditeurs occupe un créneau particulier étant la seule maison d'édition à se spécialiser en dramaturgie au Québec.

Théâtrales: A collection of French-language texts and hypertexts about theatre maintained by l’Université du Québéc à Montréal.

Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada: A journal published twice a year collaboratively by the University of Toronto Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, the Association for Canadian Theatre Research/Association pour la Recherche Théàtrale au Canada, and the Department of Drama, Queen's University.


Canadian Theatre Review:


College Literature:


Research Essays, Dissertations, and Books:

  • Crawford, Alexander W. and Hiram Corson. Hamlet, An Ideal Prince and Other Essays in Shakespearean Interpretation (1916) and An Introduction to the Study of Shakespeare (1889). CASP is pleased to make available the full 1916 version of Hamlet, An Ideal Prince and Other Essays in Shakespearean Interpretation, which represents the earliest known extended Canadian critical scholarship on Hamlet and indeed Shakespeare, by the University of Manitoba Professor of English Alexander W. Crawford. Crawford was distinguished for also offering a course in Canadian poetry at the University of Manitoba in 1919-20 (this at a time when English Literature courses in Canadian literature were rare), and has been recognized as a pioneer in the early teaching of Canadian literature. In 1909 the Departments of Electrical Engineering, English, Political Economy, and History were established at the University of Manitoba.  E.P. Fetherstonhaugh, A.W. Crawford, A.B. Clark, and Chester Martin were appointed as Chairs of these new departments.Crawford, in addition to publishing Shakespeare criticism, published The Philosophy of F. H. Jacobi in 1905. He received his M.A. from the University of Toronto and his PhD at Cornell in 1902 working with Hiram Corson (1828-1911), who had published An Introduction to the Study of Shakespeare in 1889. Both works taken together, and made available for the first time as a pair, show the evolution of early Shakespearean criticism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in the U.S. and Canada. It is not surprising that there are pedagogical connections between the scholars producing this early criticism.

  • Dickinson, Peter. "Duets, Duologues, and Black Diasporic Theatre: Djanet Sears, William Shakespeare, and Others." Modern Drama 45.2 (Summer 2002): 188-208.
    Dickinson examines how Djanet Sears's Harlem Duet simultaneously displaces Shakespeare's Othello and replaces that text with/in a chorus of other(ed) literary voices. (Link to Modern Drama .)
  • Filewod, Alan. "The Theatrical Federalism of Vincent Massey." From Performing Canada: The Nation Enacted in the Imagined Theatre. Textual Studies in Canada Monographs. Kamloops: University College of the Cariboo, 2002: 35-58. This essay details relations between Vincent Massey's vision of theatrical federalism as given shape in both the Massey Commission/Report and the founding of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival (1953). For a link to Textual Studies in Canada click here. (Please see the The Massey Commission/Report .)
  • Filewod, Alan. "National Theatre and Imagined Authenticities." From Performing Canada: The Nation Enacted in the Imagined Theatre. Textual Studies in Canada Monographs. Kamloops: University College of the Cariboo, 2002: 1-10. In this chapter, Filewod examines how nation and theatre produce each other in what he calls "the elation of spectacle."
  • Fischlin, Daniel. "The Bard Gets Sporty." Download Daniel Fischlin's Foreword toShakespeare's Sports Canon by Chris Coluluzzi and Matt Toner, an anthology of comic and satiric plays that adapt Shakespeare's complete works into a variety of sports contexts (2006).
  • Fortier, Mark. "Undead and Unsafe: Adapting Shakespeare (in Canada)." From Shakespeare in Canada: A World Elsewhere? Ed. Diana Brydon and Irena Makaryk. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2002. 339-352. Fortier explores certain aspects of adapting Shakespeare by examining a specific set of Canadian adaptations alongside Žižekian theory.

  • Frever, Trinna S. "Adaptive Interplay: L.M. Montgomery, William Shakespeare, and Virginia Woolf's Shakespearean Sister." Frever examines the inflence of Shakespeare in the works of that best-known icon of Canadian literature, L.M. Montgomery, author of, among others, the Anne of Green Gables series.

  • Keefer, Michael H. "Rooke's Hooker: Prolepsis, Natural Law, Decentring in Shakespeare's Dog." Keefer examines the use of prolepsis, the rhetorical figure of anticipation, in Leon Rooke's novel, Shakespeare's Dog: throughout the narrative, Hooker, Shakespeare's dog, anticipates a number of Elizabethan literary events.

  • Knowles, Ric. "'The real of it would be awful:' Representing The Real Ophelia in Canada." From Shakespeare and Canada: Essays on Production, Translation, and Adaptation. Bruxelles: Peter Lang, 2004: 117-36. Knowles examines how representations of Ophelia in Canadian adaptations "raise … the question of who controls women's passage into representation." For further information on Ophelia's symbolic life in various adaptations, click here . See also Margaret Clarke's play Gertrude and Ophelia: A Play, archived in CASP's Online Anthology.


  • Lieblein, Leanore: On Shakespeare in Quebec.  A  useful summary of the various ways in which Shakespeare has been represented in Québec.
  • Makaryk, Irene R.: On Shakespeare in Canada.  A  useful summary of the various ways in which Shakespeare has been represented in Canada.
  • Moore, Don. Re-imagining Ethics, Rethinking Politics and Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare: A Hauntological Theory of Adaptation.
    This article attempts to articulate a methodological framework for understanding how Canadian adaptations of Shakespeare uniquely take up/take apart nationalistic uses of "Shakespeare" as a universal, or "globalized" symbol of canonical authenticity, "high" cultural distinction, and even as an alibi for promoting particular ethico-political discourses of "humanity" and "human rights." The essay argues that particularly in the post-9/11 global climate, examining what is uniquely Canadian about Canadian adaptations of Shakespeare can help to underline the coextensions and contradictions in the ways in which certain hegemonic local and/or national contexts (such as the U.S.) tend to be held up as identical with the universal or global, often through the symbolic caché of Shakespeare as seemingly universal and singulary local all at once.
  • McKinnon, James. "Towards a Dramaturgy of Appropriation: the Re-Vision of Shakespeare in Two Canadian Plays." McKinnon's M.A. Thesis, completed at the University of Alberta in 2002, argues that both O’Brien’s Mad Boy Chronicle (1995) and Sears’s Harlem Duet (1998) exploit their links to the Shakespearean canon in order to interrogate Shakespeare’s place in contemporary theatres, schools, and culture. In this latter regard the thesis identifies and evaluates specific dramaturgical tactics of adaptation.
  • J. Clark Murray of the Philosophy Department at McGill University published a paper in the April 1899 issue of the International Journal of Ethics entitled "The Merchant of Venice: as an Exponent of Industrial Ethics." The essay articulates––at the turn of the century––an insightful (Canadian?) perspective on how to interpret this controversial play.
  • Schagerl, Jessica. 'A Shakespearian View Of It': Shakespeare in Canada, 1848-1891. Schagerl's M.A. Thesis, completed at the University of Ottawa in 2001, explores how "Canada's comic press developed a complex and extensive pattern of verbal and visual satire drawing on the powerful resonances associated with the idea(l) of Shakespeare" (Abstract). Contains significant information on J. W. Bengough including a large number of images in which Shakespearean referents figure in relation to Canada. View Appendix. (Please see our page on Bengough's Cartoons.)

  • Somerset, Alan. "Label Me a Sceptic, Tentatively, I Think ..." This essay was originally delivered at the conference, “Picturing Shakespeare,” organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and Records of Early English Drama, at the University of Toronto in November 2002.   Professor Somerset discusses the authenticity of the painting based on an examination of the paper label affixed to the back of the ‘Sanders’ portrait.  



  • Death of a Chief(2006) Drawing parallels between this classic tale of power and betrayal (based on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar) and the lives of Native people in Canada today, Death of a Chief presents an array of intimate performances and discussions that include personal stories, dance, movement, and song. Co-adaptors/co-directors: Yvette Nolan & Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon.
  • An Approach to Staging Shakespeare's Works(1961) Michael Langham. Langham, who succeeded Tyrone Guthrie as the Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival (1955-67), in a lecture given at McMaster University, sets out some of the distinctive features of his approach to staging Shakespeare: "The philosophy of this Canadian Stratford is omething like this … the stage will not be some literal, fixed location, but at any given moment will constitute the crucible in which the living elements of the play will interact … We ask [our audience] to indulge with us in the game of make-believe, but to retain sufficient objectivity to be conscious of the parallel between real life and this heightened ritualistic performance of it (23-24).
  • Le Cycle des Rois (The Cycle of Kings) press reviews. CASP is pleased to present an online version of the huge array of critical writing in the popular press in French and English on the Jean Asselin directed cycle of three Shakespeare plays (Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V) done by Théâtre Omnibus at the Espace Libre in 1988 (March 30-May 14). In this wealth of materials are interviews, reviews, photos, and press announcements. Asselin himself asserts: "Je n'aime pas parler du Shakespeare d'aujourd'hui parce que ça ne veut dire rien. Les valeurs qu'il défendait seront toujours là. On n'a pas encore fini de découvrir des choses sur lui, sur son génie théâtrale. C'est lui qui a donné un sens a l'histoire anglaise bien plus que les historiens" [I don't like speaking about the Shakespeare of today because it doesn't mean a thing. The values he defended will always be there. We still haven't finished discovering things about him and his theatrical genius. He gave much more meaning to English history than did historians].
  • The Massey Commission/Report: The Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (1949-1951).  "Vincent Massey, the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada, was chairman of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (1951). This report recommended the creation of the Canada Council and federal government spending on university education, a provincial responsibility. The Commission was an early expression of the need for Canadians to strengthen their cultural institutions in order to avoid being dominated by American cultural influences." (from ). See the Commission's Report on "The Theatre" and see also the following brief presented to the Massey Commission from the Writers and Players Club (Ottawa), which argued that "encouragement be given to the writing and production of 'native' Canadian plays - that is, drama dealing with: 1. the mythical-legendary or 'pre-lhistoric' [sic] Canada 2. the period from the earliest historical contact of white with Indian, on through the French and British regimes to the present era of Canadian nationhood."
  • The Massey Commission Report on "The Theatre," is written, at least in part, by Robertson Davies. There is some confusion as to how much of this section was written and / or influenced by Davies, in his alter-ego as humorous essayist Samuel Marchbanks. CASP has pursued this research problem as a Special Topic.  To see what CASP has uncovered, view Davies' correspondence (regarding the section of the Massey Report on the Theatre), and read the personal brief that Davies submitted to the Commission, see Special Topics:  Robertson Davies and the Massey Report on the Theatre.

  • Smyth, E. C. A Description of a Production of Macbeth in Victoria, British Columbia. (c.1860)
    "...The house was a good one, scarcely an empty place to be found, not that that was very wonderful, since a piece in which there is plenty of bloodshed and a liberal display of the mediaeval bowie-knife cannot fail to be attractive; the only drawback in the eyes of a genuine Far-Westerling being perhaps that in Macbeth's time the revolver was not invented."
  • Davin, Nicholas Flood.  "The Davin Report."
    The "Davin Report" was a study of the way in which Americans socialized young Natives in residential schools, which led to the establishment of the residential school system that had such a devastating effect on aboriginal culture in Canada.
    Link to Anthology: The Fair Grit; or The Advantages of Coalition. A Farce (1876)
    Link to Database

  • Davin, Nicholas Flood. "Interview with Riel: His Parting Messages to Mankind."
    Davin disguised himself as a priest and, pretending to deliver Riel's last rites, got the last interview with Louis Riel before his execution (published days after Riel was executed). CASP is pleased to make this rare and disturbing document available online for the first time.
    Link to Anthology: The Fair Grit; or The Advantages of Coalition. A Farce (1876)
    Link to Database

  • True Stories of New England Captives: Carried to Canada During the Old French and Indian Wars (1897), by C. Alice Baker. In the first chapter, Baker recounts a description the kidnapping of a group of Aboriginals near the mouth of the Penobscot River by George Weymouth in 1605. She writes: "Mr. Higginson tells us that Weymouth's Indians were the objects of great wonder in England, and crowds of people followed them in the streets. It is thought that Shakespeare referred to them in The Tempest a few years later" (12).

  • Canadian Jewish Congress. "Finding the Right Stage for The Merchant of Venice."
    This study guide prepared by the Canadian Jewish Congress aims to contexutualize Shakespeare's play for high school students who often ecounter it for the first time in Grade Nine. For theatrical engagements with issues of anti-Semitism, please see CASP's holdings on Tibor Egervari's play Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in Auschwitz and Mark Leiren-Young's play Shylock.


Theatre Programs:


Special Topics:

  • Michael Langham and the Stratford Shakespeare Seminars: In 1960, Michael Langham, the Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, proposed an academic symposium that would be held during the theatre season. Involved would be academics, university professors, critics, actors, directors, producers, teachers, and most importantly to Langham, the growing number of everyday Canadians that were coming to the Stratford Festival. Langham hoped that this would enable diverse discourses on Shakespeare. Starting in 1960 and running until 1969 the annual Shakespeare Seminar was held in the Festival Theatre and was accompanied by theatre tours, actor panels, formal discussion groups, and banquets. CASP is pleased to make these seminars available online for the first time.
  • Herbert Whittaker and "Shakespeare In Canada" In August of 1964, well known theatre critic and designer Herbert Whittaker delivered an essay at the fourth annual Seminar on Shakespeare at the Stratford Festival. Whittaker examines the history of Shakespeare, including the onslaught of colonialism and predominant British values and the early adaptations and performances by Canadians.

Key French Canadian Collaborations at the Stratford Festival.

Ken Ludwig is an American playwright, who has had his play, Lend Me a Tenor, performed across Canada. This play features two characters on the stage in blackface, which references the legacy of racial stereotypes and colonial mentality that permeates from the American minstrel period. This play is exemplary of cultural transmission and the damaging effect it can have a nation if not questionned critically.

  • Orlando John Stevenson
    Orlando John Stevenson, head of the English Department at the Ontario Agricultural College (Guelph) from 1919 to 1939, was the foremost critical interpreter of Shakespeare’s plays during the early twentieth century for Canadian students and their teachers. This article explores Stevenson's editions of Shakespeare and his early contributions to the study of Canadian literature.
  • “Sophisticated Pleasure”: The Stratford-Tobacco Connection

    This essay explores the connection between Shakespeare and tobacco advertising, particularly in terms of tobacco sponsorship of the Stratford Festival in Canada through donations and paid advertisements.  From the 1920s, tobacco companies have used William Shakespeare to endorse and legitimize their products by creating Shakespeare themed marketing campaigns.  Yet, the Stratford Festival has demonstrated that Shakespeare may rely on tobacco just as much as tobacco relies on Shakespeare.  From its inception in the 1950s, the Stratford Festival has relied on the tobacco industry for financial sponsorship.  Thus, the two seemingly unrelated entities—tobacco and Shakespeare—actually seem to share a symbiotic relationship—they each depend on the other for success and survival.

  • Acting Prime Ministers: The Trudeau Legacy on Shakespeare’s CBC
    Through exploring screen dramatisations and fictionalisations of Canada's political history, Jonathan Blair Brandon considers the multitude of Shakespearean references that establish the theatricality of both on-screen and real-world contemporary Canadian politics.  Director Charles Binamé of H2O  (2004), in particular, brings this dynamic to the fore by intertwining Shakespeare with the calculated manipulation of emotionally-charged Canadian cultural iconography and the political legacy of the Trudeau family.
  • A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare
    A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare textually and visually examines quotations and passages laden with flower and plant imagery. This article explores how Gerard Brender à Brandis and F. David Hoeniger have created a visual adaptation of Shakespeare through the juxtaposition of linguistic text and printed image.
  • To Thine Ownself Be Excellent

    In “To Thine Own Self Be Excellent,” Chris Beard examines the cultural event that was the Manitoba Theatre Centre’s 1995 production of Hamlet, starring Keanu Reeves.  He argues that it was an unprecedented example of what happens when Shakespeare, Hollywood and Canadian culture collide.

  • The Festival of Original Theatre 2006: Performing Adaptations
    Hosted by the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama at the University of Toronto, this annual conference attracts academics and artists from around the world. The 2006 program highlighted here featured discussions of adaptation and "its potenial for inter-disciplinary discussion and collaboration".

  • Voltaire, Shakespeare, and Canada
    A page devoted to the circulation and misquotation of Voltaire's infamous comments on Shakespeare, Canada, and "drunken" savages.

  • Robertson Davies and the Massey Report on the Theatre
    A page detailing CASP's investigation into the relationship between Robertson Davies and the Massey Report on the Theatre.

  • The Margaret Eaton School of Literature and Expression
    The Margaret Eaton School of Literature and Expression opened in Toronto in 1907, beginning nearly twenty years of instruction and influence that would create ripples throughout the Little Theatre movement (and indeed influence the development of Canadian theatre generally). The School's curriculum was based on classical Greek and Shakespearean values, with the goal of developing a strong Canadian creative practice based on cannonical texts. Its unique role in creating a place for women in Canadian Theatre has been largely overlooked, and CASP is pleased to present this brief history with links to further reading.


Disclaimer:This site has been designed with only non-commercial, academic uses in mind. Although every effort has been made to secure permission for materials uploaded on the CASP site, in some circumstances we have been unable to locate copyright holders. Links may be made to our site but under no conditions are the texts and images to be copied and mounted onto another site server. Researchers using the site should accredit it following standard MLA guidelines on how to do so. Correct citation of information from the site is as follows:

Fischlin, Daniel. Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project . University of Guelph. 2004.
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