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Marjorie Chan

Marjorie Chan is a Toronto-based actor, playwright and librettist. She was born in Toronto to parents who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong and she grew up in Scarborough in the eastern reaches of Toronto. Chan is a graduate of the Actor Conservatory at George Brown Theatre School in Toronto. In addition to performing on the stage, Chan has written and voiced radio dramas. From February 2006-2009 Chan was the Associate Artistic Director and Writer-in-residence of Cahoots Theatre Company. Today (January 2022), Chan is the artistic director at Theatre Passe Muraille. Libretti for opera that Chan wrote include Sanctuary Song, The Lesson of Da Ji (Toronto: Centrediscs, 2015), M’dea Undone and The Monkiest King (Toronto: Centrediscs, 2020).

Book cover of China Doll


China Doll

Winnipeg, Man.: Scirocco Drama, 2004.
PS8605 .H355 C45 2004

Publisher’s Synopsis

Su-Ling, an open-minded and intelligent young woman in Shanghai, has her feet bound by her grandmother, Poa-Poa. Despite the pain and the crippling effects, custom decrees that the smaller and daintier the foot, the more marriageable the woman. … Poa-Poa has high hopes that her granddaughter will marry well and bring prosperity to them both. Then Su-Ling meets the merchant Li, who enlarges her world by teaching her to read. As Su-Ling grows into womanhood, she makes choices that lead her toward independence, and which have consequences for everyone in her world.

Awards and Honours

2005 Governor General’s Literary Award–Drama–English (Nominated)


“China Doll.” In Love + Relasianships: A Collection of Contemporary Asian-Canadian Drama. Volume 2, ed. Nina Lee Aquino. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2009, 129-196.
PS8309 .A75 L68 2009


Lady Sunrise

Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2022.
e-book (Access restricted to members of the university community)

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

From the glittering high-rise condos to the desperate streets of Vancouver, powerful stories told by women reveal the fraying social fabric among the wealthy and hangers-on in the city’s Asian Canadian community.

Lady Sunrise introduces us to six women who are risking everything, all motivated by the need for more money and the freedom it could buy, whether it’s the allure of expensive items and real estate to substitute what’s been lost or the safety of not being in abusive debt to anyone else just to survive. This heartbreaking examination of the effects of today’s hyper-consumerist society will challenge perspectives of strength and power, exposing painfully raw consequences.

Awards and Honours

2022 Governor General’s Literary Award–English drama (Finalist)



A Nanking Winter

Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2009.
PS8605 .H355 N36 2009

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Irene Wu has dedicated years of her life to researching the invasion of Nanking, China. Through the winter of 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army led a horrific campaign through the streets of China’s capital, an event that has been left unknown and untold to the world. Irene is on the brink of releasing her research when her publisher voices doubts about the book.

Anthology (Drama)

Where is Here? The Drama of Immigration. Volume 2

Chan, Marjorie, “Spring Arrival,” In Where is Here? The Drama of Immigration. Volume 2, ed. Damiano Pietropaolo. Winnipeg: Scirocco Drama, 2005.
PS8309 .I49 W49 2005

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

[The play] returns a sick woman to the cultural misunderstandings of her first day in Toronto from Hong Kong to cheer up her daughter and patients in the hospital ward.

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

Scott, Shelley. “Nightwood Theatre, Asian Canadian Women, and China Doll: the Ties That Bind.” In Asian Canadian Theatre, ed. Nina Lee Aquino and Ric Knowles. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2011, 148-157.
PS8089.5 .A8 A835 2011


Personal website of Marjorie Chan

Cahoots Theatre Projects website

Theatre Passe Muraille website

Publisher J. Gordon Shillingford, owner of the Scirocco Drama imprint

Publisher Playwrights Canada Press

CMC Canadian Music Centre, retailer of Centrediscs recordings