by David Ferry
Peter was one of the generation of Canadian stage and film artists who was born just before the Baby Boom. He had a very good career, but like many Canadian artists, his name was never a household one.
Peter was born in Montreal to Paul and Dorothy Jobin and studied theatre at George Williams University. After two seasons at Stratford in 1966 and ‘67, Peter moved to London. In his first week there he was offered a small role in “Zigger-Zagger.” It opened at the Strand Theatre in March, 1968. It was a great introduction to the late 60’s London scene.
On the recommendation of William Hutt, Peter was cast in the NYC production of “Hadrian VII” opposite Alec McCowan. He went from NYC to lead roles at Birmingham Rep and to London (where he shared a flat with Richard Monette) and then into a BBC film about the Chicago Seven. In 1971 he had a fateful dinner with Timothy Bond, who asked Peter to write screenplays with him (Peter went on to write 20 films/TV series.) Peter was cast in “Charles Manson: AKA Jesus Christ” for Theatre Passe Muraille. Theatres doing new Canadian work were opening up and Peter became a founding company member at Toronto Free Theatre. Prior to his death Peter had completed work on his historical account of the early days at Theatre Passe Muraille (“Beyond Walls”) which will be published in November by The Porcupine’s Quill. He leaves his siblings Mark Jobin and Cathy Dunfield.
David Petersen | 1947-2018
by Jeremy Long and Nick Hutchinson
Here comes the roller coaster. Put on your clown nose and sniff out the new normal. Find more in each current moment. Submit to the Deities of Circumstance. Give thanks for the goo twixt your ears. Breathe. (Message from David - June 7, 2018)
David and I first met in the late sixties during our years at the University of B.C. We spent the early years of our post-university careers with Tamahnous Theatre (originally the Vancouver Theatre Workshop). Tamahnous was a collective theatre company in which members participated in all aspects of production. In the early 70s the company performed in numerous venues and on tour throughout the province. In 1975 we became resident company at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.
Of particular note to me were David’s outstanding performances as the Count in Dracula and as Jim Dandy, the heroic Muscovy Duck in Eighty-Four Acres.
Bruce Ruddell remembers David as a Qing Dynasty Prince in the Theatre of the Ridiculous play titled Eunuchs of the Forbidden City, the perfect Prince in the finest blue silk gown and tall silk hat. Late in the play he was castrated, offstage of course. Just as David’s last scream ended two tiny white ping-pong balls tied together with a bit of string rolled and hopped across the stage.
Stephen Miller and Suzie Payne remembered David writing the children’s piece Forest with Feet which the company toured to schools throughout the province, as well as his film work on Zale Dalen’s Skip Tracer and numerous other major films.
In all David worked in more than 20 Tamahnous productions up until the mid-seventies when he redirected his boundless energy towards raising a family and working with Caravan Farm Theatre.
David joined the Caravan Stage Company in 1978 but found it overwhelmingly exhausting though it was there he met Gillian Cran who was to become mother of his two children, Nadja and Wyatt. From then on he became a much loved fixture at the Caravan Farm Theatre. The part that fitted David perfectly was Jacques in As You Like It, twiddling his bushy eyebrow, gently, quizzically, humorously pondering the world and all the players in it.