Radio and Theatre

World’s First Radio Broadcasts of Religious Services

The Way of the Spirit: CBC brochureIn 1927, at the very beginning of the Age of Radio, The Rev. James Edward Ward pioneered radio broadcasting of religious services on CFRB and short-wave station VE9GW from St. Stephens. It was the first Canadian church to broadcast by direct wave across the ocean and attracted a huge international following. Broadcasts continued until Canon Ward’s death in 1958.

Theatre History

His radio work led Canon Ward to write 75 religious plays for radio, many in collaboration with Earle Grey, as well as poetry and music. Canon Ward wrote a weekly religious drama series for the CBC called “The Way of the Spirit”, which received an American award for outstanding spiritual and dramatic quality. From time to time his plays were presented live in the church by a cast of professionals including founders of the Canadian theatre scene such as Dora Mavor Moore, Mavor Moore, and the Earle Grey Players. This historical connection with the arts continues today.

Note: In the centre is Earle Grey, costumed for a performance at St. Stephen's.Note: actor pictured in the centre is Earle Grey, costumed for a performance at St. Stephen's.Earle Grey was a dominant figure in early Canadian theatre. Originally from Dublin, he appeared with the Abbey Players, at Stratford-Upon-Avon, and at Oxford Playhouse. He lived in Canada for several years, and was the founder of RATS [Radio Actors of Toronto Society], which became ACRA [Association for Canadian Radio Actors], and finally ACTRA. ACTRA presents the Earle Grey Award annually for outstanding performance.

Dora Mavor Moore theatre billPlay directed by Dora Mavor Moore at St. Stephen's

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