Parkinson pushes growth of theatre community

Brian Parkinson, a professor in the Department of Theatre and the Dramatic Arts and associate dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, saw potential in the University of Lethbridge when he first arrived on campus more than 30 years ago. He quickly recognized the growth that was possible for the dramatic arts and has been a leader in both establishing a theatrical culture on the U of L campus and taking that to the broader southern Alberta community.

With more than 150 productions to his credit, Parkinson has directed in both academic and professional companies in both England and Canada and he was the founding director of the University's TheatrXtra summer stock company that now operates as a student focused second season in the Department of Theatre & Dramatic Arts. For the department's Mainstage season, Parkinson has directed a significant number of productions including, in recent years, Arcadia, Into The Woods, The Lark, The Mikado and Macbeth.This spring he is directing Shakespeare's Hamlet (Feb. 14-18).

Parkinson has worked for many years at establishing professional theatre in southern Alberta and his productions have played in both Alberta and British Columbia. He was the founding artistic director of Fort MacLeod's Great West Theatre and directed the company for seven years before becoming the founding artistic managing director of Lethbridge's New West Theatre Company. During his nineteen years in this position, he also directed the majority of the company's productions.

Parkinson is a past board member of both Theatre Alberta and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research. He has been a nominee for both the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management and for the Lt. Governor of Alberta Arts Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts. For his work with New West Theatre he was awarded the Alberta Centennial Gold Medal.He has also been recognized as one of the 100 Alberta theatre practitioners who, over the past century, have made a significant and lasting contribution to Alberta's theatrical heritage.