An Ensemble member at the Shaw Festival since 1986, Guy Bannerman takes on the roles of Edward in The Philadelphia Story and Spedding in The Philanderer this season. Guy appeared last season as Lieutenant Brannigan in Guys and Dolls and Parker in Lady Windermere’s Fan.
He has appeared in more than 50 productions at The Shaw including Ragtime, His Girl Friday, On the Rocks, John Bull’s Other Island (2010), Harvey, Star Chamber, The Stepmother, The President, Summer and Smoke, The Kiltartan Comedies, The Crucible, You Never Can Tell, Bus Stop, Man and Superman, Caesar and Cleopatra (2002), The Doctor’s Dilemma, In Good King Charles’s Golden Days (1997), The Secret Life, Rashomon, The Petrified Forest, Busman’s Honeymoon, Saint Joan (1993), Drums in the Night, This Happy Breed, Peter Pan (1987-88), and Geneva.
Guy was born in Vancouver, and soon moved to Centre Island in Toronto Harbour, where he had his early schooling. He made his professional debut in 1958 at the Crest Theatre, followed by several summer stock appearances with the Straw Hat Players in Port Carling and Peterborough. In 1967 (Canada’s centennial year), Guy and other Ottawa friends, including writer/director John Palmer and actor Saul Rubinek, formed the New Vic Theatre to present three original Canadian plays in the Black Swan Coffee House in Stratford. Shaw Festival founder Brian Doherty saw the company there, and invited them to the Shaw Festival for a Labour Day performance for Shaw company members in the Court House Theatre.
Guy also spent several seasons with the Stratford Festival, including Stratford’s brief tenure at the new National Arts Centre as resident English-language company (1969-70), and then moved to Barrie, Ontario, as a founding member of the Gryphon Theatre Company. In the mid-1970’s he returned to Toronto to join Leon Major’s company at the St. Lawrence Centre.
Returning to Vancouver in1977, Guy spent several seasons with the Vancouver Playhouse and participated in many workshops and performances through the New Play Centre. Guy further developed these skills during seven residencies at the Banff Centre Playwrights’ Workshop.
It was in Vancouver that a personal dream was realized when Guy met his famous theatrical cousin Tennessee Williams, while both were working on the author’s The Notebook of Trigorin at the Vancouver Playhouse. The playwright graciously confirmed their connection through their common American ancestor, Preserved Fish.
In 1983 Guy moved to London, Ontario, to join Robin Phillips’ Grand Theatre Company. In more recent years, Guy has appeared in Toronto in Factory Theatre’s production of Missing (directed by David Ferry), in the Studio 180/Mirvish production of David Hare’s Stuff Happens (directed by Joel Greenberg), and frequently at Rochester’s Geva Theatre Center.
Television series credits include Leo and Me with Brent Carver and Michael J. Fox, Love and Hate: The Colin Thatcher Story, and Lt Murphy in the teenage detective series Daring and Grace on CBC/YTV. Guy is heard as Mr. Bear in the animated series Rupert Bear. Recently he has been seen on Warehouse 13 (Syfy), The Firm (NBC), and Murdoch Mysteries (Shaftesbury).
As a teacher at The Shaw, Guy joins actress Sharry Flett for Manners of the Mandate, a program devised by Sharry and others to introduce company members to the customs and costumes of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. This very popular program has also been presented at several universities, especially as preparation for student productions from The Shaw’s mandate period (1856-1950, the lifetime of Bernard Shaw). A shortened version is available to the public.
Guy’s creative talents also extend into the fields of writing and directing. He has been active as a guest director and artist-in-residence, and has written articles on contemporary theatre. After early university studies in modern languages, he received an MA (Drama) from Essex University (UK) in 1988. He permanently resides, with his wife and two children, in Niagara-on-the-Lake.