2015 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Theatre)
Diana Leblanc has received nationwide acclaim as an actress and director for theatre, opera, film and television. She is a member of the National Theatre School of Canada’s first graduating class, a member of the original Neptune Theatre (Halifax) company, a former artistic director of Théâtre français de Toronto, and a founding member of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company. Fluently bilingual, this intuitive and dedicated artist has worked in both English and French across the country.
Ms. Leblanc was born in Montreal in 1943 to an Anglo-Irish mother and a Francophone father. She began her studies in the National Theatre School’s French acting program, but switched to the English program after her first year.
She has directed for such leading companies as the Stratford Shakespeare Festival (notably her landmark 1994 production of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night), National Arts Centre, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Théâtre français de Toronto, Citadel Theatre, Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Mirvish Productions, and Tarragon Theatre, and for the Canadian Opera Company, Calgary Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, and the International Opera Centrum in Amsterdam.
As an actress, she has appeared at the Shaw Festival, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, National Arts Centre, Soulpepper, Théâtre francais de Toronto, and Tarragon Theatre, in plays ranging from classics to contemporary works. Her film and television roles include Remedy
, Murdoch Mysteries
, This Is Wonderland
, Snakes & Ladders
, Trudeau II
, More Tales of the City
, Further Tales of the City
, North of 60
, and La Maison suspendue
“I’m interested in the truths that lie deepest in the human heart,” she says. “As an actress and as a director, that’s what I try to find, and try to help others find.”
Diana Leblanc’s awards and honours include a Gemini Award, the Gascon-Thomas Award (National Theatre School of Canada), the Silver Ticket Award (Dora Mavor Moore Award), the Sterling Award, and the Prix Alliance (Alliance française de Toronto).