"Norm Foster is Canada's most-produced dramatist, and no wonder. His snappy dialogue, everyday situations and gently balanced characters dare to represent that great, under-represented middle of North American society." - Halifax Daily News


BIO

Norm Foster has been the most produced playwright in Canada every year for the past twenty years. His plays receive an average of one hundred and fifty productions annually making him, by far, the most produced playwright in the history of his country.

Born in Newmarket, Ontario on St. Valentine's Day and raised in Toronto, Norm attended West Hill Collegiate Institute and then went on to study Radio & Television Arts at Centennial College in Toronto and then Confederation College in Thunder Bay. Upon completion of his studies, he began a radio career that would span 25 years and which would take him from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg to Kingston and finally to Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was in Fredericton in 1980 that Norm was introduced to the world of theatre.

"A friend of mine was going to audition for a community theatre production of 'Harvey' and he asked me to go along. I went, just to see what this theatre thing was all about, and I ended up getting the part of Elwood P. Dowd. I had never even seen a play in my life before this."

Foster fell in love with the theatre right then and there, and two years later he penned his first professionally produced play, Sinners. It was produced by Theatre New Brunswick and directed by Malcolm Black, who would also direct Foster's next effort, the highly successful, The Melville Boys. The Melville Boys would go on to be produced across Canada and in the United States, including a well-received run off-Broadway in New York. It would become Foster's signature play, and the one which would bring his name to the forefront of Canadian theatre. Since then, Norm Foster has produced an astonishing output of work. Over fifty-five plays in all, including The Affections of May, the most produced play in Canada in 1991.

" One of the curses of being a playwright is that you're never ever completely satisfied with your finished product. There is always that one line which you think you could improve. And when you improve that line, you find another. You must know when to stop."

Foster's plays are known mainly for their comedic qualities, but they are not without their serious moments as well. "I find it far more satisfying if I can make an audience laugh and feel a little heartache within the same story. The farces (Sinners, Self-Help) are a lot of fun to write but it's the stories that touch an audience's heart as well as it's funnybone that are the most rewarding."

Foster has had several plays published by Playwright's Union Press. They are; Sinners, The Melville Boys, The Affections of May, The Motor Trade, Wrong For Each Other, Office Hours, Opening Night, The Long Weekend, Old Love, Skin Flick, Mending Fences, The Foursome, The Ladies Foursome, The Gentleman Clothier, On a First Name Basis and Ethan Claymore. He has also had his work published in various compilation volumes such as 'Vintage Foster', 'One Act-manship', 'Triple Play', and 'The Foster Season'. Looking and The Love List are published by Samuel French.

Norm Foster does not limit his efforts to writing though. He also appears on stage as an actor several times each year.

"Acting is great fun, but writing is my first love. A lot of people out there like the 'idea' of being a writer. The romance of it. The notion that we all sit around in cafes and talk about our writing with other writers. Personally, I would rather do it than talk about it. The actual process of writing is what excites me. Creating a world from the ground up and populating it with characters I've pulled out of my head. "

When asked to try and pin down a common theme that runs through his plays, Foster says, "I think for the most part, they're about ordinary people just trying to get by in life. I never set out with a monumental purpose in mind. I'm not trying to teach an audience a lesson or pass along some profound message, because I don't think I'm qualified. What I am trying to do is make them feel a little better about this world, and that's not easy these days."

 

"One of the curses of being a playwright is that you're never ever completely satisfied with your finished product." -- Norm Foster

 

Chronology of plays and their first productions

Renovations For Six...........The Foster Festival, St. Catharines, ON, 2018

Come Down From Up River......The Foster Festival, St. Catharines, ON, 2018

Lunenburg........The Foster Festival, St. Catharines, ON, 2017

Screwball Comedy ........The Foster Festival, St. Catharines, ON, 2017

Halfway There ........The Foster Festival, St. Catharines, ON, 2016

For Life (with Michael Doherty & Tania Breen)......Sudbury Theatre Centre, Sudbury, ON, 2016

Jonas and Barry in the Home........Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, ON, 2015

The Gentleman Clothier ........Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Port Dover, ON, 2014

The Ladies Foursome ........Upper Canada Playhouse, Morrisburg, ON, 2014

A Snow White Christmas (with David Warrack)........Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, ON, 2013

The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby........A Missing Link Theatre Company, London, ON, 2013

Hilda's Yard ........Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, 2012

On A First Name Basis........BMDS, Hamilton, Bermuda, 2012

Mrs. Parliament's Night Out........Neptune Theatre, Halifax, NS, 2012

Ned Durango....(with Leslie Arden).....Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ontario, 2011

Under The Bright Sun....(one act).....Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary, Alberta, 2009

Skin Flick....................Neptune Theatre, Halifax, NS, 2009

The Christmas Tree....(one act).....Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary, Alberta, 2008

Bob's Your Elf....................Upper Canada Playhouse, Morrisburg, Ontario, 2008

Old Love....................Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Port Dover, Ontario, 2008

One Moment (with Steve Thomas)..........Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ontario, 2007

The Death Of Me.......(one act).....Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary, Alberta, 2007

Mending Fences..........Theatre In Port, Port Dalhousie, Ontario, 2006

My Narrator..........(one act)......Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary, Alberta, 2006

Jenny's House Of Joy..........Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Port Dover, Ontario, 2006

Bedtime Stories.........Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ontario, 2006

Looking.........Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia, Ontario, 2005

Sitting Pretty (with Steve Thomas)......Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Port Dover, Ontario, 2005

Outlaw......Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ontario, 2004

The Love List.......Thousand Islands Playhouse, Gananoque, Ontario, 2003

Storm Warning......Bluewater Summer Playhouse, Kincardine, Ontario, 2003

Dear Santa......Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ontario, 2002

Race Day (with Steve Thomas).....Theatre On The Grand, Fergus, Ontario, 2002

Self-Help......Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton, Ontario, 2002

Kiss The Moon, Kiss The Sun......Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ontario, 2001

Jasper Station (with Steve Thomas)......Theatre-On-The-Grand, Fergus, Ontario, 2001

Small Time......Theatre-On-The-Grand, Fergus, Ontario, 2000

Maggie's Getting Married......Theatre-On-The-Grand, Fergus, Ontario, 2000

Sadie Flynn Comes To Big Oak......Festival Antigonish, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 2000

Ethan Claymore......Grand Theatre, London, Ontario, 1998

Drinking Alone......Festival Antigonish, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 1998

The Foursome......Theatre-on-the-Grand, Fergus, Ontario, 1998

A Foggy Day (with John Mueller)......The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1998

The Last Resort (with Leslie Arden)...... Thousand Islands Playhouse, Gananoque, and Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ont. 1997

Here On The Flight Path......Piggery Theatre, North Hatley, Quebec, 1997

Jupiter In July......Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton, 1997

Office Hours......Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1997

The Long Weekend......Festival Antigonish, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 1994

Ned Durango Comes To Big Oak......Grand Theatre, London, Ontario, 1994

The Sitter.......(one act).......Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary, Alberta, 1994

Wrong For Each Other......Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1993

The Motor Trade......Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1991

The Affections of May......Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1990

Opening Night......Piggery Theatre, North Hatley, Quebec, 1989

Bravado......Magnus Theatre, Thunder Bay, Ontario, 1988

My Darling Judith......Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1987

Windfall......Theatre Plus, Toronto, 1986

The Melville Boys......Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick,1984.

Sinners......Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1983.