R. H. Thomson
2015 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Theatre)
An intuitive and versatile artist, R. H. Thomson is acclaimed for his ability to bring Canada’s stories and characters to life. As a stage, film and television actor he has played such diverse roles as Glenn Gould, Frederick Banting, Hamlet and Cyrano, and he has directed at theatres nationwide. He spearheaded the commemorative projects Vigile 1914–1918 Vigil
and The World Remembers / Le Monde se souvient
, and is a passionate advocate for Canadian culture.
R. H. (Robert) Thomson was born in Richmond Hill, Ontario, in 1947. He obtained a BSc from the University of Toronto and studied at the National Theatre School and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
He has acted in or directed over 70 productions at theatres across the country, and appeared in dozens of films and television programs. He wrote and performed The Lost Boys
, a play inspired by his five great-uncles’ WWI letters. He co-created Vigile 1914–1918 Vigil
, a national commemoration of Canadians killed in WWI, and The World Remembers / Le Monde se souvient
, a five-year international project naming the millions killed in WWI from Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Australia, the Czech Republic and other nations.
Mr. Thomson is known for his dedication to his country and his profound belief in the importance of arts and culture. He chaired (2000–04) the Artists Leadership Council of the International Network for Cultural Diversity, and helped create Theatre Museum Canada’s Legend Library, an interview series with Canadian theatre artists that will preserve our theatrical heritage for future generations.
“The story of my country means a lot to me,” he says. “When you hear the narratives of a nation, you understand it better than through the headlines.”
R. H. Thomson is a Member of the Order of Canada (2010). Other distinctions include the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Gascon-Thomas Award (National Theatre School of Canada), ACTRA Award of Excellence, two Geminis, a Dora Award, a Merritt Award and a Genie.