Sep19

Joyce Doolittle’s Order of Canada Celebrated

It was a day to remember for Joyce Doolittle. Surrounded by residents, family and friends, Joyce was recognized recently at United’s Garrison Green community for earning the Order of Canada.

She was named to the Order of Canada in January but received the award from Governor-General Julie Payette at a ceremony in Ottawa in September.

When she returned to Calgary, staff and residents were treated to a standing-room-only special event that honoured Joyce’s achievements in theatre.

“I’ve been very blessed to be able to work and create in an artistic area that I have loved my whole life,” said Joyce. “I am honoured to receive the Order of Canada. It is very special because of the recipients who have won it before. I’m in good company!”

Joyce and Eugene Stickland share a humorous moment

Joyce and Eugene Stickland share a humorous moment

Joining her for the event was good friend, author and poet Eugene Stickland, writer-in-residence at United’s partner, St. Mary’s University.

“Joyce has been a key figure in theatre in Calgary. She was instrumental in creating the theatre scene we have in Calgary today while also teaching at the University of Calgary. This included leading the drive to turn an old city water pumping station into today’s Pumphouse Theatre. When she retired, she turned to performing. When she turned 80 in 2009, she asked me to write a play for her – Queen Lear. That was the only time she performed in a play in the theatre named after her at Pumphouse Theatre.

Our friendship really consolidated after that. She is my mentor. I look up to her immensely. I can always go to Joyce. She is a deeply authentic person.”

Joyce remains modest about her lifetime achievements, but there is no doubt the impact she has had on Calgary theatre. Her clippings, posters and playbills speak for themselves.

Photo credit: Sherana Productions. Video credit: Rogers TV

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