Sterling Haynes, Elizabeth

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Sterling Haynes, Elizabeth

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        Elizabeth Sterling Haynes was born on December 7, 1897 in Seaham, County Durham, England. In 1905 her family immigrated to Ontario, Canada. Elizabeth attended the University of Toronto, University of Victoria College and completed her Bachelor of Arts in 1916. In the following year Elizabeth took part in the founding of the Victoria College Women’s Dramatic Club and served as vice-president and then president in 1918-1919.

        Following university Elizabeth moved to New York to teach. In 1921 she married dentist Nelson Willard Haynes. Elizabeth and Nelson moved to Edmonton, Alberta the following year in 1922. In Edmonton, Elizabeth began directing theatre productions at the University of Alberta (U of A). While at the U of A, Elizabeth founded the Alberta Drama League with Ernest Sterndale Bennett. In 1929 Elizabeth began teaching drama to school theatres in the U of A’s department of education.

        Elizabeth assisted with the development of Edmonton Little Theatre and was the company’s first artistic director from 1929 to 1932. The following year in 1933, she became the provincial drama specialist for the Department of Extension at the U of A, in this role she helped expand the Alberta theatre community traveling around the province coaching theatre groups. In 1933 Elizabeth co-founded the Banff Centre for the Arts and in 1952 she founded the Canadian Women’s Theatre Guild.

        Due to her declining health, Elizabeth and her husband moved to Ontario in 1955. Elizabeth died on April 26, 1957 in Toronto, Ontario. Edmonton awards the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award, also known as the Sterling Award, in honour of Elizabeth.


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