Herman Voaden

Doctor of Letters

Playwright and producer, Herman Voaden will receive an honorary doctor of letters (DLitt) in recognition of his pioneering work as a Canadian playwright and his efforts as a crusader in a fight to obtain governments patronage of the arts through the Canada Council. He was born in London, Ontario and received his Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees at Queen’s University. He also attended Yale University.

Mr. Voaden was a pioneering playwright who, during the 1930s and 1940s, created a style he called “symphonic expressionism” which combined acting, scenic design, music, chorus and lighting effects to create a total theatre experience. In addition, he taught English in Ontario schools and was director of a summer course in drama and play production at Queens.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Mr. Voaden was a strong advocate of state involvement in the arts. He was the first president of the Canadian Arts Council, which led to the establishment of the Canada Council in 1957. Mr. Voaden also served as president of the Canadian Guild of Crafts, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He received the Canadian Drama Award in 1937, and is a member of the Order of Canada. He is now at work on a book of his collected dramatic works.