The UBC School of Creative Writing mourns the loss of Associate Professor Bryan Wade, who passed away on Thursday, February 3, 2022.
Bryan Wade joined the Creative Writing program in 1986. He was a playwright, screenwriter and radio dramatist who held an MFA degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Bryan will be remembered as a kind, caring and sensitive teacher. His passion for playwriting changed the lives of so many students, and his work was integral to the School of Creative Writing. He will be greatly missed,” says Director Alix Ohlin.
Numerous productions of Bryan’s stage plays were produced in various theatres across the country. Some of these include: Factory Theatre Lab (Toronto), Toronto Free Theatre, Tarragon Theatre (Toronto), the Blyth Festival, Playwrights Workshop (Montreal), Quinzaine Internationale du Theatre Festival (Quebec City), Theatre Calgary and Vancouver’s New Play Centre. He was also Playwright-in-Residence at Factory Theatre and the Blyth Festival, and an invited artist at the Playwrights Colony at the Banff School of Fine Arts and the Stratford Festival. His adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Lady From the Sea, was produced by Theatre UBC.
“Bryan will be remembered as a kind, caring and sensitive teacher. His passion for playwriting changed the lives of so many students, and his work was integral to the School of Creative Writing. He will be greatly missed.”
He was also passionate about podcasting, and shared his knowledge at many writing conferences over the years. Some of the radio drama series he wrote for include: Nightfall, Morningside, Vanishing Point, Stereo Theatre and Sunday Showcase, and were broadcast nationally across Canada and internationally in Australia. Several of his plays have been published by Playwrights Press, including an anthology of five plays called Blitzkrieg and Other Plays.
Bryan was the founder and driving force behind the successful Brave New Play Rites Festival which has been running for 36 years. He edited Brave New Play Rites (Anvil Press, 2006), a collection of short one-act plays written by students in the Creative Writing Program at UBC and produced at the annual festival, Brave New Play Rites, for public performances. Many successful writers have had their plays produced in the festival, including Dennis E. Bolen, Stephanie Bolster, Aaron Bushkowsky, Kevin Chong, and Maureen Medved. Second and third productions of BNPR scripts have been staged in New York, Toronto, and Scotland.
“Bryan’s legacy is unquestionably the Brave New Play Rites Festival. As an educator, he understood that there is no better learning experience for an emerging playwright than to witness their own work in production in front of a live audience.”
“Bryan was a kind, low-key teacher whose quiet, gentle passion for theatre and wry, understated humour inspired generations of dramatists who passed through our program,” says Lecturer Sara Graefe.
“Bryan’s legacy is unquestionably the Brave New Play Rites Festival. He had a simple idea: get playwriting students to write short plays, find a theatre space, recruit directors and actors to bring those plays to life, and then invite the public to attend. As an educator, he understood that there is no better learning experience for an emerging playwright than to witness their own work in production in front of a live audience. Now in its 36th year, Brave New Play Rites is the longest running new play festival of its kind in western Canada.”
A celebration of Bryan’s life and work will take place later this spring, and all members of the UBC Creative Writing and Theatre communities will be invited to attend. This year’s Brave New Play Rites Festival will continue in memory of Bryan from March 22 to March 28.