June 14, 2021
The Board and staff of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre is sad to announce the passing of Jenny Munday, PARC's long serving former Artistic Director (1997-2017) on Thursday, June 10, 2021. Jenny had battled cancer previously and had learned recently it had returned. Though she had started chemo treatments again, when things took a bad turn last week she made the decision to end the suffering as she had lived - on her own terms and surrounded by laughter and friends to the end. There are no words to express the loss to the Atlantic Canadian theatre community, and her contribution, both here and nationally, is impossible to understate. On behalf of PARC, we send condolences to all who held her dear or who benefitted from her tremendous wisdom, guidance and support.
PARC's Chair, Jamie Bradley, had this to say:
Jenny Munday was a force. A driving force. A force of Nature. A force to be reckoned with. After receiving the news of Jenny’s death, I had to re-watch her PARC 30th Anniversary interview; mainly to see her and hear her voice one more time, but also to reflect on what an amazing person she was and how important she is to the success of PARC. Jenny worked so hard and beat down so many obstacles to make our organization the success it is. If you were fortunate, you saw her rule the stage; if you were very fortunate, you got to work with her; and if you were very, very fortunate, you were her friend. We all, experienced and emerging theatre artists alike, will never be able to fully appreciate the great debt we owe to Jenny Munday.
PARC Past Chair, Peter Guilford, who worked many years with Jenny, offered:
I first met Jenny Munday in the early 1990’s when I was working for the Culture Division for Nova Scotia and Jenny was Artistic Director at Mulgrave Road Theatre. Jenny was never shy to share her frustration about the perpetual unchanging amount of funding available though fortunately her frustration was always directed to the situation, not to me personally. I believe one of earliest meetings was at her little house overlooking Chedabucto Bay when she worked in Guysborough. It was a leisurely lunch during which we discussed not just our professional lives but also our personal lives and I remember laughing a lot. Jenny was always a passionate voice for PARC and, as a Board member and then Chair of PARC, I got see closer up the commitment and drive she brought to her work. After taking some time off to deal with her health, Jenny made the decision in the fall of 2016 to retire as PARC’s Artistic Director at the end of May 2017. At the AGM that fall the Board named Jenny a Lifetime Honourary Member of PARC recognizing her 20 years of service and dedication to the organization. In the last two years I have been kept informed of Jenny’s pursuits by my brother-in-law, Don Hannah. I know, like all her close friends, he will miss her dearly. Jenny was always a force to be reckoned with but I will remember the twinkle in her eye and her laughter.
Artistic Director, Pamela Halstead, says:
The Canadian theatre community has lost a titan. Jenny was a warrior for Atlantic Canadian writers. She influenced, mentored, championed, inspired, impassioned, and sometimes infuriated, a whole generation of writers in her over 20 years at the helm of PARC. For an organization of writers, it feels like there are not enough words to express this loss. Jenny recently completed this interview for PARC's 30th anniversary. So we will leave the last word to her. (Watch Jenny's interview here.)
Jenny Munday dedicated much of her career to the development of new Canadian work for the stage. She was a playwright, actor, dramaturge, and arts administrator. From 1997 to 2017, she was the Artistic Director of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre. She had been Crake Drama Fellow at Mount Allison University, Artist in Residence at NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival, Writer in Residence and Artistic Associate at Theatre New Brunswick, Artistic Director of Mulgrave Road (Co-op) Theatre, and Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of The Comedy Asylum. In 2013, Jenny was awarded the New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor's Award for high achievement in the performing arts. She has been awarded a lifetime membership in the Canadian Association for Theatre Research. She was the recipient of the inaugural Mallory Gilbert Award, acknowledging 'creative, inspired and sustained leadership in theatre in Canada' and was awarded a Theatre Nova Scotia special Merritt Award, acknowledging her outstanding contribution to theatre in the province. As an actor, Jenny worked with companies across the country, including: Eastern Front Theatre, Blue Munday Productions, Neptune Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Rising Tide Theatre, Ship's Company, Mulgrave Road, Gros Morne Theatre, Festival, Blyth Festival, The National Arts Centre, The Grand and the Banff Playwrights' Colony. Plays she has written and co-written (Battle Fatigue, The Americans Are Coming, The Last Tasmanian, Have You Ever Been to Bombay, Relatively Harmless, Never Drive East Before Noon and The Bunk Beds) have been produced by companies including Mulgrave Road, The Comedy Asylum, Upper Canada Playhouse, Theatre New Brunswick, Ship's Company Theatre and Live Bait Theatre. Born in Toronto, Jenny made her home in Atlantic Canada for most of her life. She grew up in New Brunswick and Quebec, lived for many years in Fredericton, NB, Guysborough, NS, Sackville, NB, and most recently, Halifax, NS. In 2017, she was made a lifetime member of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre.