Brad Fraser

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Brad Fraser (born June 28, 1959 in Edmonton, Alberta) is a Canadian playwright, screenwriter and cultural commentator.[1] He is one of the most widely produced Canadian playwrights both in Canada and internationally. His plays typically feature a harsh yet comical view of contemporary life in Canada, including frank depictions of sexuality, drug use and violence.[1]


Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, produced by Workshop West Theatre.

Fraser's most noted early play was Wolf Boy;[2] first staged in Edmonton in 1981, its 1984 production in Toronto by Theatre Passe Muraille was later noted as one of the first significant acting roles for Keanu Reeves.[3]

Fraser first came to national and international prominence as a playwright with Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, an episodically structured play about a group of thirtysomethings trying to find their way through life in Edmonton, while the city is haunted by a serial killer. Written while Fraser was playwright in residence with Alberta Theatre Projects,[4] it was a hit at ATP's playRites '89, and became his national and international breakthrough.

Coming three years after the 1991 Robert Mapplethorpe controversy in Cincinnati, Poor Super Man inspired international headlines when the board of directors of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati temporarily canceled the production because of its anticipated obscenity.[5] After a public outcry, the production was reinstated. Poor Super Man opened without incident.

Fraser also has written two films, Love and Human Remains and Leaving Metropolis, which were both adaptations of his plays; Denys Arcand directed Love and Human Remains, while Leaving Metropolis was Fraser's debut as a film director.[6] He has also written for the television series Queer as Folk;[6] was host of his own television talk show, Jawbreaker, for PrideVision;[6] and for a period of time wrote a biweekly column for the Canadian gay magazine fab.

His most recent play, Kill Me Now, premiered in 2014.[7] As of 2021, two film adaptations of Kill Me Now were in development in Canada and South Korea.[8]

A memoir by Brad Fraser, All the Rage, was published by Doubleday Canada in May 2021.[8]


Fraser won the Alberta Culture award for best full-length play in 1989, for Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love.[9]

He is a two-time winner of the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, in 1991 for Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love and in 1996 for Poor Super Man.[10] He won the Genie Award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 15th Genie Awards for Love and Human Remains.[11]

Fraser won London's Evening Standard Award for Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love in 1993.[12]

He is a two-time nominee for the Governor General's Award for English-language drama, receiving nods at the 1995 Governor General's Awards for Poor Super Man[13] and at the 2016 Governor General's Awards for Kill Me Now.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Fraser is openly gay, and his plays often focus on LGBTQ storylines.[15] In 2003 he became the executive story editor on Showtime's Queer As Folk.[15]


  • Wolfboy - 1981[2]
  • Mutants - 1981
  • Rude Noises (for a Blank Generation) - 1982[16]
  • Chainsaw Love - 1985
  • Young Art - 1987[17]
  • Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love - 1989[4]
  • Return of the Bride - 1989
  • The Ugly Man - 1990[18]
  • Prom Night of the Living Dead - 1991, with Darrin Hagen[19]
  • Poor Super Man - 1994[1]
  • Martin Yesterday - 1997[20]
  • Outrageous - 2000, musical with composer Joey Miller[21]
  • Snake in Fridge - 2000[22]
  • Cold Meat Party - 2003[23]
  • True Love Lies - 2009[24]
  • 5 @ 50 - 2011[1]
  • Kill Me Now - 2014[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Gaetan Charlebois and Anne Nothof, "Fraser, Brad". Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia, June 2, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Ray Conlogue, "Wolfboy proves a real howler". The Globe and Mail, April 5, 1984.
  3. ^ Jamie Portman, "Wolfboy bites into British theatre scene: Canadian playwright Brad Fraser is a hot, young dramatist in Britain these days, and directors are rediscovering the power of his early work". Edmonton Journal, October 6, 1999.
  4. ^ a b Martin Morrow, "Playwright braced for controversy". Calgary Herald, January 11, 1989.
  5. ^ Chris Jones (May 16, 1994). "Poor Superman". Variety.
  6. ^ a b c Valerie Fortney, "Playwright undergoes rogue reversal: Brad Fraser's Bad Boy vitriol makes way for seasoned artistry". Calgary Herald, October 3, 2002.
  7. ^ a b Janet Smith (October 10, 2018). "Brad Fraser's play Kill Me Now wrestles with love, laughs, and agony". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Richard Burnett, "The rage of Brad Fraser". Fugues, May 4, 2021.
  9. ^ "Alberta playwrights share award". The Globe and Mail, March 4, 1989.
  10. ^ William H. New (2002). Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 63-64. ISBN 9780387201092.
  11. ^ Jane Stevenson, "They dreamed of Genies: And for a lucky few the dreams came true last night". Hamilton Spectator, December 8, 1994.
  12. ^ "'Arcadia' and 'City of Angels' earn top theater awards". Oshkosh Northwestern, December 1, 1993.
  13. ^ Alan Hustak, "5 locals up for literary prizes". Montreal Gazette, October 27, 1995.
  14. ^ Mark Medley, "Short list for G-Gs is a serious case of déjà vu". The Globe and Mail, October 5, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Klemm, Michael D. (April 2004). "Tugging On Superman's Cape: An Interview With Brad Fraser". Cinemaqueer, reprinted from Outcome. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  16. ^ Ray Conlogue, "Rude Noises flunks out". The Globe and Mail, March 19, 1982.
  17. ^ John Fitzgerald, "Young writer explores time-honored themes". The Globe and Mail, January 17, 1987.
  18. ^ Bob Clark, "The ugly truth about Fraser's Ugly Man". Calgary Herald, March 31, 2004.
  19. ^ Liz Nicholls, "Youthful exuberance in abundance". Edmonton Journal, April 28, 1991.
  20. ^ Stewart Brown, "Provocative gay play lays bares emotions and much more". Hamilton Spectator, October 25, 1997.
  21. ^ Gord McLaughlin, "Outrageous-ly funny as a musical: It began as a book, then became a film. Now Brad Fraser's stage adaptation adds lyrics and music". National Post, September 16, 2000.
  22. ^ "Snake eyes for Brad Fraser?". The Globe and Mail, November 23, 2000.
  23. ^ J. Kelly Nestruck, "Poet of profanity cleans up his act: But Brad Fraser swears he has not lost his edge". National Post, September 25, 2004.
  24. ^ Liz Nicholls, "Brad Fraser's funniest play comes home; Acclaimed playwright realizes a dream at Citadel". Edmonton Journal, April 3, 2011.

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