Morris Panych


Morris Panych, one of Canada’s most celebrated playwrights and directors, made his Pacific Opera Victoria debut in 2012 as director of Pacific Opera’s co-production with Opéra de Québec of Verdi’s Macbeth. He then directed Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in a 2016 production that has been remounted at opera companies across North America. Morris returns in 2020 to direct Pacific Opera’s Canadian première of Flight.

Mr. Panych has directed over 90 productions across Canada. His plays have been produced in over Two dozen languages and have garnered two Governor General’s Literary Awards for Drama (for The Ends of the Earth and Girl in the Goldfish Bowl), 14 Jessie Richardson Awards, and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Productions of the much lauded Vigil, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, Gordon, The Trespassers, and Lawrence and Holloman are being mounted throughout Canada, the US, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Recent premières of his works include The Shoplifters at Arena Stage Theatre in Washington DC, Sextet at Tarragon Theatre, and The Waiting Room at Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre.

Panych’s groundbreaking work The Overcoat has toured worldwide to great acclaim and its film version, which Mr. Panych also directed, won an honourable mention at the Prix Italia. An acclaimed opera version, The Overcost – A Musical Tailoring, was co-produced by Canadian Stage, Tapestry Opera and Vancouver Opera, with music by James Rolfe and libretto by Morris Panych.

Mr. Panych’s opera directing credits include The Threepenny Opera and Susannah, both for Vancouver Opera. Other theatre directing credits include Parfumerie, The Government Inspector, Blithe Spirit (Soulpepper), The Arsonists, Art, Take me Out, Vigil, Amadeus, Sweeney Todd, Hysteria (Canadian Stage Company), Sweet Charity, The Doctor’s Dilemma, A Little Night Music, Nothing Sacred, You Never Can Tell, Design for Living (Shaw Festival), The Amorous Adventures of Anatol, 7 Stories, Vigil, Lawrence and Holloman, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, The Dishwashers, Benevolence (Tarragon Theatre). The much lauded A.C.T. (San Francisco) production of Vigil starring Olympia Dukakis and Mario Barricelli was remounted at the Mark Taper Theatre in Los Angeles in fall 2011.

Acting credits include guest starring roles on Just Cause, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Beggars and Choosers, Cold Squad, and a recurring role on the hit series The X-Files as well as over 50 stage productions. He starred in a highly successful production of Vigil at Vancouver Playhouse recently and was featured in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot for Birdland Theatre in Toronto.

Mr. Panych made his Stratford Shakespeare Festival directorial debut in 2008 with his highly successful adaptation of Moby Dick, followed by The Trespassers the following season. In the same year he premiered two new works, Benevolence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and The Amorous Adventures of Anatole at The Vancouver Playhouse.


Both respectful and imaginative, Panych’s direction did justice to the Shakespearean drama’s mysterious atmosphere, with the Witches’ sombre apparitions emerging from a cauldron in Act III and a final battle portrayed with dance-like gestures inspired by martial arts.

Irene Brisson (trans. Raynald Desmeules), Opera Canada, Review of Macbeth, Opéra de Québec (Co-production with Pacific Opera).


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