Michael Bawtree has worked in Canadian theatre and television for over 50 years, as playwright, director, educator, actor, TV host and producer. Founding artistic director of the Atlantic Theatre Festival, he has also worked as Associate Director of the Stratford Festival, and has directed plays, musicals and operas in Toronto, New York, Banff, Chicago and Cincinnati.
Much of Michael’s work has involved experiments and training programs bringing together different arts and art forms. He was a founding member of the Centre for Communications and the Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver in 1965, where he gave lectures on the German Bauhaus and created programs on the bridging of art forms. He was appointed Arts Planner at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Banff Alberta in 1979, later being appointed Director of InterArts, and finally serving for six years as founder and artistic director of the internationally famous Banff Music Theatre Studio Ensemble, which brought together writers, composers, designers, actors, dancers and singers in one collaborative ensemble. Under his leadership the Ensemble created and produced over fifty new works of music theatre.
Michael’s book on music theatre, titled The New Singing Theatre, was published by Oxford University Press in 1990. He has also written the play The Last of the Tsars (presented at Stratford Ontario in 1966 and published in 1972) and a novel for children, Joe Howe to the Rescue, published in 2004. The first volume of his memoirs will be published in the UK later this year.
Michael first came to Finland in 1987, directing theatre students in a musical at Tampere University. Since then he has directed for the Sibelius Academy and Tampereen Teatteri, and has worked with Pirkkoliisa Tikka and Marjo Hämäläinen in many music theatre training programs all over the country.