Neil Munro, Director at Shaw Festival, Dies at 62

Obituaries   Neil Munro, Director at Shaw Festival, Dies at 62
Neil Munro, a longtime resident director at Canada's Shaw Festival Company known for challenging audiences with his ambitious, sometimes dark productions, died July 13 at London, Ontario's University Hospital after a lengthy illness. He was 62.

Mr. Munro directed dozens of plays at the festival, including recent productions of Somerset Maugham's The Circle and Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke. Other Shaw Festival credits include Michael O'Brien's adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel The Invisible Man, The Constant Wife, Something on the Side, Man and Superman, Harlequinade, Misalliance, The Plough and the Stars, Detective Story, Chaplin (The Trial of Charles Spencer Chaplin, Esq.), The Man Who Came to Dinner, Laura, Time and the Conways, You Can't Take It With You, All My Sons, Joy, Berkeley Square, Counsellor-at-Law, Saint Joan, The Front Page, The Petrified Forest, Rashomon, Marsh Hay, The Seagull and all of the Festival's productions of the works of Granville Barker including The Voysey Inheritance, The Marrying of Ann Leete, Rococo, Waste, The Madras House, The Secret Life and His Majesty.

Born in Musselburgh, Scotland, Mr. Munro moved to Toronto at an early age. He dropped out of high school at Vaughan Collegiate, having flunked Grade 10. After graduating from the National Theatre School of Canada, he performed at the National Arts Centre, the Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Tarragon and the Toronto Free Theatre, as well as at the Shaw and Stratford Festivals.

In 1986, he was struck with stage fright during a performance of Waiting For Godot at Toronto Free Theatre. He quit acting that very night.

Mr. Munro also appeared in many television and radio productions and feature films, most notably in "The Jonah Look," which he also wrote, and as Beethoven in the Emmy award-winning "Beethoven Lives Upstairs." Mr. Munro played the title role in CBC Radio's "Investigations of Quentin Nickles" series.

Mr. Munro also wrote for the stage. His adaptations for The Shaw included Feydeau's Something on the Side and Ibsen's Rosmersholm. His productions of Crossing Over and Bob's Kingdom at the Factory Theatre in Toronto won critical praise and in 1991 his adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, entitled Hamlet's Room, was recognized by Toronto theatre critics as one of the year's ten best plays. He received a Best New Play Dora Award for Bob's Kingdom and a Best Director Dora Award for Hamlet's Room. He was also the recipient of two ACTRA awards and was a Chalmers Award nominee for best new play for Extreme Close Up.

He is predeceased by his wife Carole Galloway and is survived by his sister Anna Munro, nephew John Munro and his mother-in-law Stella Galloway and sister-in-law Jackie Martinez.

Details regarding a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

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