Max Wyman    WGS 1950-1958              Source: Peter Bryan 1950                   Home

Unesco, Theatre and Dance Critic, Author, member 2010 Winter Olympic bid team.... all starting from holiday work with the Evening Telegraph and I think if I remember correctly the puppet Club.   Peter Bryan (1950)


Writer, critic, b Wellingborough, England, 14 May 1939, naturalized Canadian 1979. He studied piano and theory as a youth and began his career in journalism with the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph at 14. After studies at Nottingham University he worked 1960-7 as an editor, arts critic, and feature writer for London newspapers and magazines. He moved to Canada in 1967 and served 1968-79 as music and dance critic for the Vancouver Sun. In 1980 he became a columnist, dance, and theatre critic, and books editor for the Vancouver Province. He became a contributing editor for Performing Arts in Canada in 1973 and wrote regular British Columbia columns 1968-76 for Opera Canada and 1970-5 for the Canada Music Book. He has also written for the Canadian Composer, Musicanada, Music Scene, various dance periodicals, and other magazines and newspapers in Canada, the USA, and England. He is a contributor to EMC, The New Grove Dictionary, and the Canadian Encyclopedia, and has prepared reviews and commentaries for CBC radio and TV. Wyman has on occasion lectured about dance or criticism at Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Community College. He served 1972-4 as a governor of the CCA and received an award of merit from the Community Arts Council of Vancouver in 1987. He is the author of The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: The First 40 Years (Toronto, New York 1978), Dance in Canada (Vancouver 1989), and Evelyn Hart: An Intimate Biography (Toronto 1991).   From:


The Defiant Imagination, by Max Wyman   By George Fetherling

Douglas & McIntyre, 243 pp, $22.95, softcover.

From the late '60s to the late '90s, Max Wyman was by turns the Vancouver Sun's dance critic, music critic, drama critic, arts columnist, and book-review editor. Since retiring, he has represented Canada on a UNESCO cultural-policy commission. All that experience seems to figure in this "manifesto for wholesale change in the way we as a society regard and value cultural activity". But even though the book is clear and firm--"I am convinced more than ever that we need a cultural contract between government and society," a kind of charter of cultural rights--The Defiant Imagination: Why Culture Matters is hardly a manifesto in the usual tub-thumping sense.

The nature of the subject requires a lot of summarizing before the thesis picks up speed. For example, a brief history of opposition to government support for the arts segues into a survey of arguments used by arts organizations in trying to get private-sector money, including the ever-popular "economic impact" chart, showing the spin off benefits of every dollar spent on culture. Without gainsaying their approaches, he gives down-to-earth advice to grant- and gift-seeking groups, which often alienate potential patrons by wolf-crying and condescension.

Wyman believes more sophisticated strategies are needed now. He looks at new technology and new media to prompt a return of something like "the Renaissance view of art, science and religion as holistically integrated". He challenges the arts to be more truly multicultural, because "as the role and makeup of the modern city evolve, the opportunity exists for the cultural sector to establish (perhaps more accurately, reclaim) for itself a role that places it firmly at the centre of public debate."

In Wyman's view, the key is better arts education. He argues in detail for a national task force on cultural education to put his ideas about technology and diversity into a single equation. He doesn't address how to keep policy consistent across all levels of government or how best to preserve gains whenever governments change hands. Ars longa, Heritage ministers ain't.



Minister Announces Appointments to Canada Council

 OTTAWA, April 28, 1995 Canadian Heritage Minister Michel Dupuy today announced four appointments to the Canada Council.


Born in Wellingborough, England, Max Wyman is a writer whose works include "Evelyn Hart: An Intimate Portrait" (1991), "Dance Canada : An Illustrated History" (1989), "The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: The First Forty Years" (1978), and "Vancouver Forum: Old Powers, New Forces", published under his direction in 1992. He has contributed to many publications, including "Grove's Encyclopedia of Music" (London), the "International Encyclopedia of Dance" (New York), and the "New Canadian Encyclopedia", and has written numerous magazine articles and scripts for radio, television and film. Recipient of Canada Council research and travel grants, Mr. Wyman received the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 1977 and, in 1986, was named Man of the Year by the Vancouver Community Arts Council. His travel writings have covered Europe, Russia, the South Pacific, South- East Asia, and elsewhere. The writer is currently engaged on an authorized biography of Oleg Vinogradov, the artistic director of the Kirov Ballet of St. Petersburgh.