Christopher Dafoe, Narrator

Christopher Dafoe, Narrator

Christopher Dafoe was born in Winnipeg in 1936 and was educated in Winnipeg and later at Stanford University and in England. He began his career as an actor in the 1950s and 60s with work in the theatre and on CBC radio and television, appearing in such works as Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Shaw’s St. Joan, Waiting for Godot, The Mikado, South Pacific, and John Hirsch’s play for young people, Destination Planet Dee, as well as in stage adaptations of Treasure Island and Robin Hood, in which he appeared as Blind Pew and The Sherriff of Nottingham. In the late 1950s he appeared in the first television drama produced for the CBC Prairie Region by Arthur Zigouras. In the summer of 1961 he was scriptwriter for a CBC TV late-night variety show, Nightcap.

He has written many plays and literary adaptations for CBC radio, including a thirteen part series about the music in Shakespeare called Enter the Musicians and dramatic adaptations such as Mrs. Caudle’s Curtain Lectures, The Diary of a Nobody, How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear and Falstaff and Sparkler: A Midnight Ramble with Charles Dickens. In the i980s he wrote the script for the popular “Time Wall” in the Canadian Pacific pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver.

He was for many years a theatre, film and literary critic in Winnipeg and Vancouver. As a freelance writer he has contributed articles and criticism to the Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Vancouver Sun, the Jerusalem Post and British newspapers, including The Times, The Guardian and the Yorkshire Post.  From 1985 to 1997 he was editor of the Canadian history magazine The Beaver and Vice-President of Canada’s National History Society.

His stage play “Two Friends” was presented at the Manitoba Theatre Centre in 1960. Another stage play, The Frog Galliard, has been performed in theatres across Canada and in London, England.

His books include a history of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Dancing Through Time, Heart of the Continent, a history of Winnipeg, and a comic novel, The Molsheim Meadowlark, the biography of a deadly and indestructible opera diva.  In 2000 he was awarded the medal of the Manitoba Historical Society for his book on Winnipeg . In 1984 he toured Greece and Egypt with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, covering the tour for Canadian newspapers and CBC radio. His lecture series on the history of Journalism was delivered at the University of British Columbia in 1999.

At 75 he continues to write, having recently completed a comic novel, The Remittance Men, and a book about Canadian journalism in the late nineteenth century and the early life of his grandfather, the celebrated editor John Wesley Dafoe. He has been married since 1960 to Nancy Cosgrave of Cork, Ireland, and has three children – Christopher, a lawyer, and Sarah and Alexander, both actors and writers. His cat William recently turned 21. They all live in Vancouver and, in summer, at the Dafoe cottage in Manitoba, a family retreat since 1911.