Canadian stage actor, director Martha Henry dies at 83 of cancer

Canadian stage actor, director Martha Henry dies at 83 of cancer
Festival organizers say Henry died just after midnight Thursday of cancer at her home in Stratford, just 12 days after gracing the stage for the last time.

Artistic director Antoni Cimolino says their “hearts are shattered,” and calls Henry “the most inspiring mentor and an unforgettable, original talent.”

Organizers say Henry spent 47 seasons at the southern Ontario theatre festival between 1962 and 2021, performing in more than 70 productions and directing 14 more.

The festival says Henry received her cancer diagnosis not long before the pandemic shuttered a 2020 production of “Three Tall Women.” When shows resumed this summer, Henry used a walker throughout rehearsal and early performances, but about a month into the run in September, she moved into a wheelchair.

Her final performance was on Oct. 9. The festival says the show was filmed and it hopes to secure the rights to share it publicly.

Cimolino praised Henry for working “tirelessly,” despite her illness.

“Her sense of responsibility to the theatre was so profound that it enabled her to endure pain and face down her terminal disease to complete an astoundingly truthful performance as a dying woman in ‘Three Tall Women,’” Cimolino said Thursday in a release. “Her life became art.”
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