The Red Priest

Trapped in a loveless and abusive marriage, the young un-named woman is forced by her husband, a rich patron of virtuoso violinist Antonio Vivaldi's, to take violin lessons from the aging and desperate composer and within six weeks play a concerto for the court in Paris in 1741. All for a bet. The delicate, complex and combative journey they embark on will not only decide her future, but also change both of them in ways they never imagined. A powerful story about the healing power of music.

1 M, 1 F
Running Length:
1 hour 15 minutes


Finalist for the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama (Canada)
Winner of the 2005 Carol Bolt Prize (Canada)
Nominated for 2003 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards for Outstanding New Play, Production, Actor and Costume Design (Edmonton)
Nominated for 2003 Betty Mitchell Awards for Outstanding New Play and Actress (Calgary)
Finalist for the Writers Guild of Alberta Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for New Drama in 2004 (Alberta)
Finalist for the National Arts Centre/Canadian High Commission (UK) co-presented 4 Play Canada Reading Series at the Old Vic Theatre, London, UK.

Japanese by Toyoshi Yoshihara

Published by:
Playwrights Canada Press

Production History:

Alberta Theatre Projects (Calgary, Canada) Premiere:
Starring Mieko Ouchi and Ashley Wright
Directed by Ron Jenkins
Run: January 22-March 2, 2003

Workshop West Theatre (Edmonton, Canada):
Starring Mieko Ouchi and Ashley Wright
Directed by Ron Jenkins
Run: March 28-April 6, 2003

The Globe Theatre (Regina, Canada):
Starring Kevin Kruchkywich and Daniela Vlaskalic
Directed by Joey Tremblay
Run: 2004

The Tarragon Theatre (Toronto, Canada):
Starring Mieko Ouchi and Ashley Wright
Directed by Ron Jenkins
Run: March 30-May 2, 2004

Thousand Island Playhouse (Gananoque, Canada):
Starring: Shane Carty and Jody Stevens
Directed by Kathryn Mackay
Run: June 1-30, 2007

Isis Theatre (Idyllwild, California, USA) American Premiere:
Starring Susan Hegarty and Howard Shangraw
Directed by Howard Shangraw
Run: September 14-16, 2012

Alberta Theatre Projects (Calgary, Canada):
Starring David McIlwraith and Jamie Konchak
Directed by Vanessa Porteous
Run: April 29 to May 17, 2014

2002 at the Enbridge playRites Festival - Platform Play (Calgary)
2002 at the On The Verge Festival at the National Arts Centre (Ottawa)
2001 at the Kaboom Performance Series at Workshop West Theatre (Edmonton)
1999 at the Springboards New Play Festival at Workshop West Theatre (Edmonton)

Quotes from Reviews:

“an elegant, moving meditation” Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal

“This moving, intricate, constantly surprising play……unfolds like a sonata or a rare bloom” Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal

“dazzling orchestration of theatrical virtuosity” Alexandra Gill, The Globe and Mail

“The Red Priest… …is destined to blaze a trail across the Canadian theatre scene as vivid and bright as Antonio Vivaldi’s shock of flaming red hair.” Alexandra Gill, The Globe and Mail

“…a precisely written and rich set of variations on themes of freedom, order and loneliness.” Bob Clark, The Calgary Herald.

“The writing in The Red Priest looks back to a halcyon time in theatre…” Bob Clark, The Calgary Herald

“Where other playwrights might imagine a brief torrid affair between the Italian composer and his patron’s young wife, Ouchi envisions something less sensational but ultimately more satisfying-a meeting of sympathetic minds that succeeds in overcoming class, sex, age and even genius.” Martin Morrow, Fast Forward

“…this Edmonton based playwright/filmmaker has pulled off a theatrical coup as multi-layered and energetic as a good recording of The Four Seasons.” Gilbert Bouchard, See Magazine