Robert Chafe - Biography

Robert Chafe is one of Newfoundland and Labrador's most prominent playwrights. Born in Newfoundland in 1971, Chafe studied philosophy at Memorial University. Since then he has acted in productions on stage and before cameras: in 2006, he acted in the mini-series Above and Beyond, a depiction of Gander’s involvement in the Second World War. Though he has written and co-authored many plays, few of his plays have been published. In 1999, Canadian Theatre Review published Charismatic Death Scenes, a solo show starring Chafe that premiered at the LSPU Hall in St. John's in 1998. His first book, Two Plays (2004), containing Tempting Providence and Butler’s Marsh, was nominated for the Governor-General’s Award in 2004. Place of First Light, co-authored with Selina Asgar and Sean Panting, was staged as an interactive play/historical tour in which audience members were bussed around Bell Island to view a living interpretation of the island’s history in theatrical form; audience members even entered a mine where Chafe acted as one of the miners. First Light Productions, of which Chafe was a member, and which produced Place of First Light, brought a number of plays to Newfoundland including A Midsummer's Black Light Dream, set in a Bell Island mine shaft. He was Playwright in Residence in 2003 for the theatre company Artistic Fraud, where he is now an artistic associate. He often collaborates with director/designer Jillian Keiley and director Danielle Irvine. Chafe's play Belly Up went on a national tour in 2007. Afterimage, Chafe's adaptation of a story by Michael Crummey, won the 2010 Governor-General's Award for Drama in English. Chafe lives in St. John’s.