A Career Begins
Peterborough is a good many great things, but it is not an ideal city from which to launch a playwriting career and so, in the fall of 1983, Dave moved to Toronto. In the mid to late 1980s he worked at the Playwrights Union of Canada, as that organization's editor. He was responsible for their play publishing program and catalogues, and was the founding editor of CanPlay. The brainchild of PUC's then-executive director, the imaginative and energetic Jane Buss, CanPlay is still published and remains the essential source of information for the Canadian playwriting community.
In 1988 Dave wrote Midnight Madness, a romantic comedy, which premiered in a three-way co-production with the Muskoka Festival, Arbor Theatre in Peterborough and Toronto's Tarragon Theatre. Directed by Bill Glassco, it starred John Dolan and Michelle Fisk, with Graham Greene playing the offstage voice of Mr. Bloom. Midnight Madness has since had dozens of productions across Canada. Stylistically, Midnight Madness and its 1998 sequel, Two Ships Passing, are Dave's two most naturalistic plays. He would soon move into more uncharted territory with his writing.
Midnight Madness was published in 1989 by Summerhill Press. Michelle Maynes was series editor and the cover art was by John Etheridge.
Dave went to CBC Radio in 1990, beginning a long association there as a script editor. Originally hired by Damiano Pietropaolo, Dave worked with him and then James Roy in opening up the network programming to dozens of new writers. Initially Dave was responsible for the daily dramas on Morningside, before moving on to Stereodrama, Sunday Showcase, Monday Night Playhouse and Monday PlayBill.
The mentorship aspect of playwriting and editing is important to Dave, who has been helped by countless individuals during his own career. Mentors included the late Robert Weaver and the late Margaret Laurence - surely two of the most generous persons in the history of Canadian writing. Dave's employment at the Playwrights Union and CBC have placed him ideally to continue that tradition, and he finds immense fulfillment in bringing forward a "new voice". His love of mentoring was rewarded with the 2012 Maggie Bassett Award.