Herman Voaden

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Herman Arthur Voaden
Born (1903-01-19)January 19, 1903
London, Ontario
Died June 27, 1991(1991-06-27) (aged 88)
Toronto, Ontario
Genre playwright
Notable awards Order of Canada

Herman Arthur Voaden, CM (19 January 1903 – 27 June 1991)[1] was a Canadian playwright.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in London, Ontario,[1] he received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in 1923 and a Master of Arts degree in 1926 from Queen's University.[3] He also studied at the University of Chicago and at Yale University.

His father, Dr. Arthur Voaden, pioneered vocational teaching in Ontario. His mother, Luisa Bale Voaden, was also a teacher. Voaden studied modern drama at Queen’s University, 1920–1923, and wrote his 1926 Queen’s M.A. thesis on Eugene O’Neill.[4]

Political activity[edit]

A member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation,[4] he ran for the Canadian House of Commons in the western Toronto riding of Trinity in the 1945 elections, 1949 elections, 1953 elections, and a 1954 by-election. He lost each time.


Voaden was a member of Toronto's Arts and Letters Club, the Dominion Drama Festival, and a founding member and first president of the Canadian Arts Council (which became the Canadian Conference of the Arts in 1958).[1] As president of the CAC, he was one of several Canadian representatives to the first UNESCO conference, held in Paris in 1946.


In 1974, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honor, "in recognition of his contribution to the performing arts as a playwright, producer and teacher, and his services in fostering support for all the arts and crafts".[5] He was made a Fellow in the Royal Society of Arts in 1970.

Following his death, Queen's University created the Herman Voaden Playwriting Competition to honour new works by emerging playwrights.[6]


  • The White Kingdom - 1928
  • Northern Storm - 1929
  • Northern Song - 1930
  • Western Wolf - 1930
  • Fragment - 1931
  • Wilderness - 1931
  • Earth Song - 1932
  • Rocks - 1932
  • Hill-Land - 1934
  • Murder Pattern - 1936
  • Ascend As the Sun - 1942
  • Libretto for the opera, The Prodigal Son (music by Frederick Jacobi) - debuted 1945


  1. ^ a b c Herman Arthur Voaden at The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ Herman Voaden at The Literary Encyclopedia.
  3. ^ Herman Voaden at the Encyclopedia of Canadian Theatre.
  4. ^ a b "Herman Arthur Voaden fonds". York University. Retrieved June 1, 2006. 
  5. ^ Order of Canada citation
  6. ^ "Workshops focus on two winning plays". Kingston Whig-Standard, August 16, 1997.