Being a playwright was something Michael Grant never planned on.
Grant studied theatre at Humber College and acted for a number of years professionally before he and his wife Sherry moved to Elmira in 2000.
When he joined the local theatre company he came up with an idea to perform children’s plays for the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. At the time he could not find any plays about maple syrup and he ended up writing
three different scripts for the festival.
“I never intended to become a writer,” said Grant. “I went off to theatre school to be an actor and then gravitated to directing when I got involved with Elmira and now this writing thing has just taken over.”
Grant’s play “Hamish,” a comedy about a Canadian couple who travel to Scotland and discover about their family roots, has been chosen to be a part of a new anthology entitled Grassroots.
The book, released Wednesday, is a collection of five full-length plays that have premiered in community theatres in Ontario, all written by local playwrights. The common theme running through the plays is the examination of family roots and how they affect the choices families make.
“It’s about the importance of family, heritage and love,” said Grant. “That feeling of having roots and the connectedness seems to be the common thread through the plays.”
Inspired by the adoption of their first son, Brendan, Grant began to examine his own Scottish roots which led to him to write “Hamish.”
“It took about four years to write,” said Grant. “I offered to direct the play in Elmira in 2007 and from the success of that it was picked up and performed in Kincardine in 2008.”
Dennis Johnson, Theatre Ontario’s community theatre coordinator, suggested that Grant submit the play to the anthology.
“I was on cloud nine when I found out it had been chosen,” said Grant. “My dream was just to have it performed and now it is in a book – that is just beyond my expectations.”
Grant, who works as an operations manager for Bell Canada, hopes the inclusion of his play will lead to more writing gigs.
“That would be the ultimate goal, to write for a living,” said Grant.
As for any future plans to revisit “Hamish,” Grant jokingly says “I’m holding out for the movie deal.”