An Acre of Time
by Jason Sherman
Inspired by the book by Phil Jenkins

In 1997, we commissioned Governor General's Award-winning playwright Jason Sherman to adapt Phil Jenkins' popular book about Ottawa, An Acre of Time. Collaborating with Ottawa's Great Canadian Theatre Company and Toronto's Tarragon Theatre, we spent four years, several workshops, and two full productions creating the final version.

An Acre of Time tells the story of one acre of what is now the Lebreton Flats in downtown Ottawa. Tracing the land's story from its geological creation through its aboriginal, French, English and finally Canadian owners, An Acre of Time is a microcosm of Canadian, and indeed all, history.

An Acre of Time is also one of Jason's most moving plays, blending insight into urban planning with an understanding of grief and the rage that often accompanies it. Jason found drama in the humour and eloquence of the book by Phil Jenkins, and offered Susan Coyne a wonderful lead role. Her work was deservedly recognized by a Dora Award nomination for Outstanding Performance. The play was subsequently published by Playwrights Canada Press (ISBN 0-88754-609-9) and nominated for the 2001 Governor General's Award for Drama.

Our thanks to the cast and staff at the Great Canadian Theatre Company where An Acre of Time premiered in 2000, and to the great team at the Tarragon, where a revised version premiered in 2001.

Published by Playwrights Canada Press 2001; contact


Production History

Tarragon Theatre, Toronto
March 7 to April 15, 2001

Directed by Brian Quirt
Featuring Pierre Brault, Susan Coyne, Tim Hill, David Jansen, Lisa Norton and Kristen van Ginhoven
Design by Carolyn M. Smith and Paul Mathiesen
Music by Ian Tamblyn
Assistant Director, Naomi Campbell

Great Canadian Theatre Company, Ottawa
May 8 to 27, 2000

Directed by Brian Quirt
Featuring Pierre Brault, Dennis Fitzgerald, Marie-Josée Lefebvre, Catriona Leger, Gordon White and Beverly Wolfe
Design by Julie Fox and Martin Conboy
Music by Ian Tamblyn

View Production photos...




Susan Coyne, Lisa Norton, Pierre Brault
photo by Nir Bareket


 "Jason Sherman's most poetic and poignant play."
- CBC Radio

"The fact Jason Sherman managed to transform this work of non-fiction into a drama that brought tears - yes, tears - to the eyes of audience members... makes An Acre of Time... not just a run-of-the-mill success; it makes it a triumph."
- Bert Archer, Today Tonight

"Jason Sherman's An Acre of Time traces the story of a mother mourning the death of her daughter, invokes vanished communities and whisks through centuries of land claims and bureaucracy. And after doing all that, Sherman still found time to infuse his play with wit, emotional resonance and historical signicance."
- Kamal Al-Solaylee, Eye Weekly

"Director Brian Quirt adds dramatic depth to An Acre of Time."
- NOW Magazine