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Merrill Denison at Hart House Theatre, May 5, 1971

This rare video was a 16mm film at the Cloyne Pioneer Museum (donor unknown). There is no sound with this video. It was digitized so it could be shared and preserved years ago. We know little about this short film although it appears to commemorate Merrill Denison with the unveiling of a plaque at Hart House Theatre in Toronto.


We need viewer's help in identifying people in the video. Merrill is obviously the focus of the video but who are the others? Viewers can assist by letting us know who you recognize. If you know someone, share the timecode of the video with us in the comments below.


For instance, the late John Savigny can be seen with his hands folded at timecode 0:14 wearing glasses and a red/white striped shirt. John and his wife Mary were close friends of the Denisons. In fact, Mary authored the book 'Bon Echo - The Denison Years'.


'Merrill Denison was a playwright of realistic dramas and satire born in Detroit, Michigan, 1893, died in San Diego, California, 1975. He is considered to be one of Canada's first important 20th century playwrights.

He graduated from the University of Toronto, and then studied architecture in the US. In 1921, Roy Mitchell invited him to Hart House Theatre as a stage designer and art director.

His one-act play, Brothers in Arms was produced at Hart House Theatre in 1921, and went on to become one of the most often produced English-Canadian dramas. Set in the Ontario bush, it comprises a satiric debate between a pompous Major and an uneducated backwoodsman on war, industry and responsibility.It was published in the anthology The Unheroic North (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1923), which also included one of his most important works, Marsh Hay. The latter was produced in 1974 and professionally at the Shaw Festival in 1996.' Source: Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia.


The inscription on the plaque at timecode: 2:22 reads as follows:

Brothers in Arms by Merrill Denison

Produced by Roy Mitchell (Director)

Cast: Charles Thompson, Heasell (sp?) Mitchell, Walter Bowles, and Merrill Denison

Hart House Theatre

April 1921


Part of the CDHS Archives

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Uploaded on January 28, 2019