Fonds UBCA-ARC-1471 - Douglas H. Bankson fonds

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Douglas H. Bankson fonds

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  • Sound recording
  • Photographic material
  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the fonds

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31 cm of textual records
61 photographs
8 audio recordings (reel-to-reel and cassette)

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Biographical history

Playwright, theatre director, and professor of theatre, literature and writing, Douglas Henneck Bankson (May 13, 1920, to July 14, 2015) was born in Valley, Washington. After earning a BA in journalism from the University of Washington in 1943, Bankson enlisted in the US Navy and served as an officer on a sub-chaser in European and Philippine waters. While in the service, he married his high school sweetheart Beverly Carson (1922-2009) of Tacoma. After his discharge after the war, the family moved to Seattle.
Bankson worked for the Seattle Post Intelligencer while pursuing his Ph.D. in Victorian literature at the University of Washington. He served as the first Research Director of the Frye Public Art Museum in Seattle (1951/52). While living for a year in Sicily, he co-wrote an unpublished novel with fellow English graduate Wallace Graves. Bankson spent two years teaching English and humanities at the University of Idaho before moving on to the University of Montana, first as an assistant professor of English (1957-1959) and then as associate professor of drama, associate director theatre and resident playwright (1959-1965). He also served as the Masquer Summer Theatre director in Missoula, Montana (1961-1965). While at Montana, his colleagues in the Fine Arts Department included Walter Hook, Jay Rummell, and Rudy Autio, which helped nurture Bankson's artistic interests. Throughout his lifetime Bankson produced wooden sculptures that have been exhibited in public museums and private galleries in the US and Canada. However, he preferred to create for private collectors and his enjoyment.
In 1965, Bankson accepted an invitation to join UBC's new Department of Creative Writing. He taught drama and writing for stage and radio from 1965 to 1985. In addition to teaching, Bankson wrote prolifically. Many of his plays were produced and broadcast in Canada and the US during this time. While at UBC, Bankson became involved in campus and community affairs. Bankson participated in the University's Contemporary Arts Festival and as a drama editor for Prism International. He was also a governor for the Dominion Drama Festival. In 1970, he co-founded with Sheila Neville the New Play Centre (NPC), which, based on writing techniques used by Bankson, provided a forum for developing, producing, and promoting original plays. The NPC fostered several recognized theatre stalwarts, including Sharon Pollock, Margaret Hollingsworth, Leonard Angel, Tom Cone, Sherman Snukal, Sheldon Rosen, John Lazarus and Ted Galay. It maintained a steady stream of productions for more than twenty years.
Bankson replaced Robert Harlow as head of the Creative Writing Department in 1978 and remained until his retirement in 1985. In recognition of his significant contributions, Bankson was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement in Theatre Award by the Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance in 1984. He and Beverly moved to Gig Harbour, Washington, where Bankson continued writing and sculpting after his retirement.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists predominantly of copies of Douglas Bankson’s plays, scripts and short stories. It also includes photographs from two Bankson plays and of his artwork, as well as different posters and recordings from miscellaneous Bankson productions.

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Materials transferred by the Bankson family in 2015.


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No further accruals are expected.

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