The landscape of Canadian theatre would look a lot different without Tom Hendry.
Hendry, who died Sunday (December 2), had a hand in establishing theatre companies and organizations around the country.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Hendry worked with director John Hirsch to found the Manitoba Theatre Centre (now the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre) in 1958. It was the first English-language regional theatre in the country, and he was the company's first general manager, holding that position until 1963.
But that wasn't the end of his work setting up theatres. In 1971, he co-founded, along with John Palmer and Martin Kinch, Toronto Free Theatre, one of the important venues for the writing and performance of new Canadian scripts in that renaissance period of Canadian theatre. (TFT later joined with CentreStage to become Canadian Stage; its home on Berkeley Street is still a hub of Toronto theatre).
Hendry was involved in more than new companies. He became literary manager of the Stratford Festival in 1969, co-founded the Playwrights Co-op (now the Playwrights Guild of Canada) in 1971 and helped create the Playwrights Colony at the Banff Centre in 1974, which he ran until 1976.
Those endeavours didn't take up all his time, for he was also a prolific playwright for stage and television. Among his theatre works were Fifteen Miles Of Broken Glass, Gravediggers Of 1942, How Are Things With The Walking Wounded? and Satyricon; as well, he wrote for the long-running TV show King of Kensington.
Also respected as an arts administrator and consultant, Hendry was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.
The Playwrights Guild is collecting memorials and condolences from the community for his family. Those interested in submitting can write firstname.lastname@example.org.