Theatre founder Wood's star to shine on Granville

The late Frederic Wood, a driving force of theatre development at UBC and in the province, was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame Society Oct. 13.

Wood, a former UBC professor of English, came to UBC when it opened its doors in 1915 and founded the UBC Players Club, the longest continuing dramatic society in Canada.

From the 1920s through the 1940s -- a time when quality live theatre in B.C. was rare --Wood took the Players Club spring production on the road to appreciative audiences in B.C.'s interior.

The 400-seat Frederic Wood Theatre, which opened on campus in 1963, is named for him. Wood died in 1976 at the age of 89.

"Freddy was a very ascetic, intelligent, stern man -- a perfectionist," says Norman Young, Hall of Fame Society vice-president and a professor emeritus of Theatre. "He demanded that everything put on the stage be perfect, from props to people."

Wood also mentored many UBC students who became stage and screen performers and writers. The list includes playwright and host of CBC Radio's Ideas program Lister Sinclair, actor Arthur Hill, Theatre Under the Stars leader Bill Buckingham and Dorothy Somerset, the first head of the UBC Theatre Dept.

A round, black granite plaque with gold lettering inscribed `Frederic Wood, Theatre,' joins others that are part of the Starwalk in the sidewalk outside the Orpheum Theatre on Granville St.

Musical performers Charlene Brandolini and Gillian Campbell, trumpet player Bob Reid, radio personality Vic Waters and dance legend Anna Wyman were inducted with Wood.

There are now 100 plaques honouring B.C. people who have made outstanding contributions to entertainment since the inauguration of the Starwalk in 1994.

"UBC is a hotbed of talent," says Young. "Including Wood, UBC graduates account for 19 members in Starwalk."

Among them are actors Robert Clothier, Ruth Nicol, Brent Carver and Nicola Cavendish, director Daryl Duke and singer Ann Mortifee.