John Murrell


John Murrell’s plays have been translated into more than 15 languages and performed in more than 30 countries. While revered as a playwright, John was also a highly respected arts leader, advocate, mentor and consultant.

His work for the stage includes Waiting For The Parade, Memoir, Farther West, Democracy, and The Faraway Nearby. And he has written librettos for four operas: Filumena, Frobisher, Lillian Alling, all with music by John Estacio, and The Inventor, with music by Bramwel Tovey. Murrell employed his knowledge of French and Italian in numerous translations.

John Murrell worked as playwright-in-residence at Theatre Calgary and Alberta Theatre projects, as associate director of the Stratford Festival, as head of the Banff Playwrights Colony, head of the Theatre Section of the Canada Council for the Arts, and as Artistic Director/Executive Producer of Theatre Arts at the Banff Centre.

Upon receiving the inaugural Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award, Murrell said, “Words are my life. But the honour and humility which I feel to receive this inaugural award are beyond what words can express.”

John Murrell was an Officer of the Order of Canada and a University of Calgary Honorary degree recipient. He received the National Theatre School of Canada’s Gascon-Thomas award; the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellency in the Performing Arts; and the Alberta Order of Excellence. In 2008, he was awarded the Governor General of Canada’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award.

John Murrell died on November 11, 2019 at the age of 74 years.


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