Born in Glasgow in 1888, teacher and director Dora Mavor Moore arrived in Toronto eight years later. She devoted her long life to creating theatre and theatre companies in her new home. Her contributions to Canadian professional theatre are immeasurable.
She was the founder of the University Extension Players and the Hart House Touring Players with the innovative playwright and teacher Herman Voaden. In 1938 she formed the Village Players to tour Shakespeare to Ontario high schools. She was also the mother of three sons, including well known actor, author and critic, Mavor Moore.
Her New Play Society is remembered for its annual satiric revue Spring Thaw (1948 to 1971). In its twenty-five years the company presented some 200 plays, including many new Canadian works. In 1949 the New Play Society mounted the first Canadian play ever to run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (To Tell the Truth by Morley Callaghan).
Dora Mavor Moore was instrumental in bringing Tyrone Guthrie to Canada to found the Stratford Shakespearean Festival. A recipient of many awards and honours, including the Order of Canada (1970), she was truly one of the key founders of professional theatre in Canada and a fitting namesake for Toronto’s professional theatre awards.