Elizabeth Sterling Haynes

Elizabeth Sterling Haynes (December 7, 1897 – April 26, 1957) was an Alberta theatre activist.

Born in Seaham, County Durham, England in 1897, her family emigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1905. As a young woman, she studied at the University of Toronto. In 1921, she married Nelson Willard Haynes, a dentist, and they moved to Edmonton, where she soon established herself as a director, actor and teacher. In 1928, she helped organize the Alberta Drama League (which became a model for the Dominion Drama Festival).

In 1933, she became provincial drama specialist at the Department of Extension of the University of Alberta, and it was from this post that she began to recreate much of Alberta's theatre scene. She wrote technical works and broadcast her reviews and lessons on radio. She travelled the province, to school and community groups, coaching them, demonstrating and adjudicating competitions. 1933 was also the year she co-founded the Banff Centre for the Arts. Failing health began to play a role in her life soon after, though she continued to stay as active as physically possible until her death in 1957.

Said Gwen Pharis Ringwood of her:

Elizabeth was a force; a creative energy unleashed at a time when creativity was suspect and in a place where creativity was often ignored in the hope that it would go away.

Edmonton's Sterling Awards are named in her honour.

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