Dave Carley
Photo credit: Stephanie Hanna


... And that's where I stand now. Not Shrimp. Not Baby-face. Not Peach-face' or 'Squib'. Definitely not 'Do It Yourself Mowat'. In the last few minutes everyting has changed. We just got our marching orders. We're shipping out tonight... The grand adventure. It's about to begin...

(FARLEY, And No Birds Sang)


Dave Carley is a Canadian playwright. His plays for stage and radio have had close to 500 productions across Canada and the United States, and in many countries around the world. They include Writing with our Feet (nominated for the Governor General's Award), The Last Liberal, The Edible Woman and, most recently, Twelve Hours, and Canadian Rajah. He is completing work on a new drama, Hope is a Bird, and beginning an adaptation of Farley Mowat's war memoir And No Birds Sang

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Many of Dave's plays can be ordered directly online from his publisher, Scirocco Drama. They include Canadian Rajah, Twelve Hours, The Last Liberal and Three Plays (Writing with our Feet; Midnight Madness; and Into).

what's new...


Save the date! Here's a taste of what's in store at the Port Hope Arts Festival. In addition to the downtown full of ten-minute plays, there are readings at Furbys Bookstore, a farmers market, craft fair, rides and music... 


Mark Your Calendars!

The Port Hope Arts Festival takes over the entire downtown on Saturday, August 10. This year it includes 14 plays being performed free and al fresco! Dave is 'curator' of the theatre component and his own comedy, Like A Blueberry Goldfish, is being produced, directed by Anne Page and starring Alison Beckwith, Wyatt Lamoureux and Jean Parker. 


New Mooning with Bev!

Great news! Beverley Cooper and I have received support from Lighthouse Festival to continue work on our dramatization of Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I have had the pleasure of working with Bev for a couple of decades now, and look forward to the new collaboration! For more on Bev and what she's up to these days (and it's quite a lot!) visit her website...


Another Sighting of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker!

The perhaps/probably/possibly/optimistically not extinct woodpecker is the subject of Dave's new drama Hope is a Bird. (What would you do if you saw an extinct bird?) Hope is a Bird is being presented as part of the Waterworks Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia. May 17-June 2. Director Adrienne Oliver. 


And No Birds Sang...

I am having the great privilege - and pleasure - of dramatizing Farley Mowat's war memoir, And No Birds Sang. It's an exceptional book, dramatic in its arc and wonderfully ambitious in scope. Farley Mowat headed off to fight in World War II - a young man, idealistic, relishing the prospect of fighting fascism. And, of course, stuff happened, much of it heart-rending, tragic, and occasionally funny.

Mowat looked young for his years, and was perpetually teased for his boyish looks - and inability to grow even a decent mustache. (See picture, below.) His war memoir ends with the Allied invasion of Sicily and then Calabria, and in the amazingly brief time between enlistment and the full-on battle to liberate Italy, Mowat became wise, far beyond his years and youthful demeanor.

It's a moving memoir, and a big responsibility. I'm being assisted in this task by Rob Kempson, Artistic Director of Port Hope's Capitol Theatre, and the process is unfolding within the warm embrace of that theatre's Playwrights Creation Unit, which includes Celia McBride and Trish Allison. 


Dave Across the Pond!

Dave is back for another season at UK's INK Festival, a huge celebration of plays for stage and radio. This year Dave has shows in both categories: short play (Jim at my Door) and Radio (Mister In-Between). David Frias-Robles is directing. More info and links to follow...


Dave Carley's Shorts!

Act 2 Studio celebrates short form theatre with ELEVEN short works by Dave... This March/April at Toronto's AKI Studio, 250 Dundas St East.

On Censorship...

My play Taking Liberties was first produced in 1992, as part of the New Ideas Festival at Toronto's Alumnae Theatre, in co-production with CBC Radio's Stereodrama program. Stephen Ouimette directed and Heather Brown produced the radio version. Stephanie Morgenstern originated the role of Sara Munro.

Later that year Taking Liberties had its stage premiere at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Celine Richmond played the role of Sara, and my talented sister Jan Carley directed. The Toronto stage premiere of Taking Liberties came in November 1992, at Factory Theatre Cafe. Stephanie Morgenstern returned in the role of Sara and Dixie Seatle and Tom McCamus (pictured here in the published version of the play) were also featured in the cast, along with Michael Caruana and Gary Reineke. In the years following, Taking Liberties has been produced across Canada, including five versions in Toronto.

Taking Liberties was/remains my response to encroaching censorship and social intolerance. The play consists of five interlocking monologues. Sara's speech was inspired by real events in my hometown of Peterbrough, Ontario, when a group of zealots attempted to have Margaret Laurence's powerful novel The Diviners banned from a local high school. To its eternal credit, the county school board did not cave to the pressure of the would-be censors. I was present at some of the public meetings, including a crucial one where a high school student passionately defended the novel. I will never forget the young woman's courage in the face of vocal abuse and taunts from the book banners. I wish more people - especially those in positions of authority - possessed her courage today.

Sara's monologue includes brief excerpts from The Diviners. It is attached here. 

Coming to the Windy City... a little radio noir...

Don't confuse Mister In Between with that little lament by Burl Ives. This play is an urban saga of confused love, reeking alleyways, and misleading billboards. And it's part of the Crashbox International Festival this month...

Later - Mister In Between came, was seen and conquered - winning the Festival's Audience Choice Award!


Port Hope Arts Festival - 2023 - A look back as we prepare for 2024 (August 10)

The loveliness of downtown Port Hope is the setting for the third annual 10 Minute Play Festival. Mark your calendars to come and see a full day's worth of short plays at a variety of outdoor venues. It's a dramatic free-for-all that's free for all, courtesy of the Town of Port Hope. One of the works will be Dave's collection of moments from the beginning chapters of Farley Mowat's war memoir And No Birds Sang. Mowat (pictured below) was a long-time resident of Port Hope and the play, which stars Aaron Macpherson, will be staged appropriately in Farley Mowat Park, on the east side of the Ganaraska.

Dave's short play He Won't Marry Me is also being produced at the festival, starring Alison Beckwith and Hayden Finkelshtain.

More info on some of the other shows by a wide range of authors, as well as the Playwrights Canada-sponsored playreadings, to come...


He Won't Marry Me

 On Beauty - in the UK...

On Beauty at Britain's INK Festival, in April. Some phyical comedy trigged by the Stendhal Syndrome. Cast: (rear L to R) Adam J. Carpenter and Isaac Franklin. About to faint in the foreground Madeline Salter. Vincent Franklin directed. Julia Sowerbutts, Artistic Director.

For the text, go to Short Plays - Love - On Beauty or read it here

Canadian Rajah - hot off the press!

Canadian Rajah has just been published, as part of Scirocco Drama's 2021-2 season. The book includes a forward, afterword and a special reminiscence by Esca Brooke Daykin's granddaughter, Joan Brown. Order your copy!

Megan Follows Records Emily of New Moon Adaptation - NOW RELEASED!

Megan Follows has recorded an audiobook presentation of the Lucy Maud Montgomery classic, Emily of New Moon. This new adaptation, by Dave Carley and Beverley Cooper, is available, in a Voices in the Wind Audio Theatre Production from Blackstone/ Audible.

Megan Follows' interview about the project with Chris de la Torre on CBC's Afternoon Drive...

Popinjay hits You Tube...

Hear - and see - it on You Tube!

Friends of Freddy is nearly 40. For the first time, the registered US charity is having a virtual convention, "Cyberboro". And the jewel in the crown - or maybe the feather in the cap - is a You Tube puppet play, Popinjay. It features a script by Dave Carley, freshly torn from the pages of Brooks' Freddy and the Popinjay (widely regarded as one of the best in the series) + amazing puppets created by Mary French + text voiced by the uber-talented Mark Brownell + produced by the equally uber-talented Glenda MacFarlane...

Popinjay goes live on You Tube at 7 pm Saturday October 17. Prior to that there is a glittering 6 pm Zoom reception...

JUST CLOSED: Taking Liberties at Campbell House! THANK YOU TORONTO - 12/18 performances sold out!!! 6 Terrific talkbacks! Two amazing galas! 

"In these fractious times, Dave Carley's play Taking Liberties is more important than ever... Taking Liberties, with its focus on civil liberties, freedom of speech, responsible journalism - not matter how unpopular th opinion - makes it as timely today as it was 30 years ago when the play was first performed... Dave Carley's bracing, challenging play is more vital and important than ever before. Alas." (Lynn Slotkin, The Slotkin Letter)


A new production of Taking Liberties is coming to Toronto. This is its fifth production in Toronto since it was written thirty years ago. For more information on the February 2020 presentation, check out the Taking Liberties website.

The Campbell House production of Taking Liberties is cast - and it's a great one! The actors re Alison Beckwith, Tristan Claxton, Hayden Finkelshtain, John Jarvis and Cecily Smith (below). Cecily is also directing.

The play and Venue

Thirty years later... Taking Liberties returns for another production in Toronto. The venue is the ballroom at Campbell House Museum and the play will run in the museum's ballroom for three weeks in February, from the 5th to the 23rd. A series of seminars and readings will run in conjunction with the production, highlighting the play's focus on civil liberties issues.

4 Classic Horror Stories

Beverley Cooper and I have adapted four classic horror stories for audio, and they are now available from Audible. The collection includes Bewitched by Edith Wharton, The Black Cat and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and The Body Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson. Each story is chillingly enhanced by  music and sound effects, by audio producer David Farquhar. 

Digging Up Hoffa

The 1975 disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa continues to fascinate North Americans. A great deal of time and money has been spent looking for Hoffa's body. Meanwhile, in a tiny house in a Detroit suburb, a mother worries about her future, and that of her grown son. She's a resourceful woman - and decides that desperate times require bold action.

Digging Up Hoffa is now available from ArtAge. 

Digging Up Hoffa is a one act play and its current production schedule bears out our ongoing fascination with Hoffa, even fictionally. 2017 has seen three productions thus far, and one more about to happen...

- A live recorded presentation by Radio Theatre Project in Tampa in January
- Shakespeare in the Burg, Williamsburg VA March
- North Park Theatre, San Diego CA May
- Boxfest, Detroit Michigan, Aug 19-26 

Digging Up Hoffa

Here's Jimmy in livelier times:

Urban Nun Published...

Urban Nun, the stand-alone opening monologue from INTO has just been published in 'Red Bull Shorts', a volume of short plays celebrating the best of the Red Bull Theater Short New Play Festival. Urban Nun was produced at the New York City festival in 2012. The Steele Spring publication also features short plays by John Guare, David Ives and Jen Silverman, among others.