Born in England in 1941, and educated at Downing College, Cambridge, Robert Fothergill came to Canada in 1963 to pursue graduate work at McMaster University and the University of Toronto. His PhD dissertation was published as Private Chronicles: a Study of English Diaries by Oxford University Press in 1974. After teaching for many years in the English Department of Atkinson College at York University, he joined the Department of Theatre in the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1994, serving as Chair for five years.
An early play, Something To Do, won a prize in a one-act play competition at the University of Toronto in 1965, but for a number of years he was more involved in film, founding the Canadian Filmmakers’ Distribution Centre in 1967, with Lorne Michaels and David Cronenberg, and making the controversial TV news simulation, “Countdown Canada,” in 1970.
Paul talked with Robert mainly about four of his plays: Detaining Mr. Trotsky (1987), Public Lies (1993), The Dershowitz Protocol (2003) and Borderline (2004). These plays were published in the book, Public Lies and Other Plays. A fascinating conversation about the value of re-creating the past in historical fiction and the political and societal mirror his plays provide for the audience.