St. Francis Xavier University to award honorary degree to celebrated Canadian playwright Djanet Sears at Fall Convocation 2023

Djanet Sears
Celebrated Canadian playwright, acclaimed theatre director, and University of Toronto assistant professor Djanet Sears, seen here, will receive an honorary degree from StFX during Fall Convocation 2023

StFX to graduate close to 300 students 

St. Francis Xavier University will award an honorary degree to celebrated Canadian playwright, acclaimed theatre director, and University of Toronto assistant professor Djanet Sears during Fall Convocation 2023 taking place Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. at the Charles V. Keating Centre. 

During the ceremony, StFX will graduate nearly 300 students. The ceremony will also be live-streamed at the following link:

Ms. Sears is an award-winning playwright and director and the recipient of numerous awards including a Governor General's Literary Award, Canada's highest literary honour for dramatic writing. 

While on campus, Ms. Sears will deliver a guest talk hosted by the StFX English Department (and led by Dr. Kailin Wright and Dr. Laura Estill.) During the lecture, “Shakespeare, Shaw and Me: Repositioning Center; Confessions of a Reluctant Playwright,” Ms. Sears will discuss two of her plays, Harlem Duet and The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, and their relationship to works by William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. The event takes place Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. in Coady 265 and is co-sponsored by the StFX English Department and the Offices of the Academic Vice President, the Dean of Arts, and the Associate Vice President, Research. All welcome. 

Honorary Degree Recipient 
Djanet Sears

Djanet Sears is a celebrated Canadian playwright, an acclaimed theatre director, and an assistant professor at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Her work has graced the stages of Mirvish Productions, Nightwood Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Black Theatre Workshop, Centaur Theatre, National Arts Centre, the Public Theatre, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Crossroads Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Soulpepper Theatre, St. Louis Black Repertory, Canadian Stage, and Factory Theatre. Additionally, her plays have been widely published and translated. Her play The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, won six META Awards (Montreal English Theatre Award), after a successful run at the National Arts Centre and The Centaur Theatre. Harlem Duet, another of her multiple award-winning plays, is a non-chronological prequel to Shakespeare’s Othello, and was featured as part of Nightwood Theatre, Stratford Shakespeare Festival and Tarragon Theatre’s seasons. As well, her production of Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto, garnered rave reviews and ran to sold-out houses. Ms. Sears has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University, where she both taught playwriting, and directed a production for the Drama Department.  She has also been awarded a Creative Fellowship at the Royal Shakespeare Company, in association with Warwick University. This fellowship included collaborating as part of the creative team on the world premiere production of Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, a co-production between the RSC in the UK and the National Arts Centre in Canada. Ms. Sears is the recipient of a Governor General's Literary Award (Canada's highest literary honour for dramatic writing), a Canadian Screenwriting Award, the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, a Gold Prize at the International Radio Festival of New York, the William Kilbourne Toronto Arts Council Award, a Reel Black Award, and a Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in the Cultural Industries. She has been the artistic director of the AfriCanadian Playwrights Festival. Ms. Sears is a founding member of the Obsidian Theatre Company, and the editor of two anthologies: Testifyin': Contemporary African Canadian Drama, Vols. I & II (firsts of their kind in Canada). She is currently working on two new works for the stage.