Bryna Wasserman ~ Assignment
250-word write-up on Bryna Wasserman
Sikander Ziad Hashmi
Jour 201, Concordia University
Bryna Wasserman is the artistic director of the Saidye Bronfman Centre Theatre and the Yiddish Theatre, both located in Montreal. Born in Vienna in 1948, she immigrated to Canada at the age of two with her mother Dora Wasserman (known as the “Grande Dame of Montréal Theatre”), her father Sam, and elder sister Ella.
Wasserman grew up watching her mother foster Canada’s only Yiddish theatre. She left Canada for New York in the late 1960s, where she studied theatre at New York University’s Tisch School of Fine Arts. There she earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Her talent took her to a number of theatres including the Vivian Beaumont at Lincoln Centre, Mercer Street, Vancouver Opera House, and American Place.
While in New York City, she directed The Karl Marx Play, The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria and The House of Bernarda Alba among others.
In 1996, she began directing the Yiddish Theatre in Montreal. At around the same time, her mother suffered a stroke and Wasserman assumed her mother’s responsibilities at the theatre.
Bryna Wasserman was offered the post of artistic director of the English theatre in 1998, which she accepted. She holds the position to this day.
Since becoming artistic director, Wasserman has received a number of distinctive honours such as the Masque, MECCA, and Montreal English Critics Circle Awards. She was awarded the former two for her English theatre productions and the latter for the Yiddish Theatre's production of The Great Houdini and the Threepenny Opera.
(Source: The Gazette Montreal, Que.: March 6, 2004. p. H2; Encyclopedia of Canadian Theatre: www.canadiantheatre.com; Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts: www.saidyebronfman.org)