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UPDATED: Joshua Semchuk remembers Richard Winnick; Memorial planned for September 18 at Festival Place

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UPDATED: Joshua Semchuk remembers Richard Winnick; Memorial planned for September 18 at Festival Place

Updated information on memorial for Richard: 
A Tribute to Richards’s Life and Directing work will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 18 at Festival Place, 100 Festival Way Sherwood Park, Alberta, T8A 5T2.
There will be an open mic in the lobby after the tribute, so please bring your instruments and your songs and thoughts to share. This will start at 4:00 p.m. or so and go until we can go no more…..
Memorial donations may be made in Richard’s name to Yellowhead Youth Centre, 12320 – 124 Street, Edmonton, AB, T5L 0N4, Attn: Richard Winnick Fund.
To send condolences, please visit


You can view the obituary for Richard Winnick online at Remembering.ca

On Sunday August 14, in the early evening, I called my friend Jon Shields at his home. He had been trying for a week to get director Richard Winnick to talk about the play Ordinary People which Jon is directing this fall for Horizon Players. Richard missed a meeting with him earlier that week which was highly unlike him. Richard was lousy at returning calls or emails but never missed a face to face artistic or production meeting.

 Jon joined me at Richard’s house along with our other good friend Norm Usiskin as we watched the paramedics and police walk around his house. Richard died earlier that week, alone in his home. I remember thinking to myself many years ago that I needed to check in often to make sure he was ok, to avoid exactly what happened that day. But truly, Richard was never alone in the specific sense of the word. He was surrounded by friends who loved him. He loved us too, and reminded us by involving us in the many plays and musicals he directed since the late 1980s. 

 He was an artistic director for Walterdale Theatre, Festival Players in Sherwood Park, and Horizon Players in Spruce Grove. He sat on the boards of ELOPE and Sherard and directed for them as well. There wasn’t an actor, designer, technician, or manager involved in community theatre in the Greater Edmonton Area who hadn’t worked with Richard. 

 To honour him and his work, the people who loved him will be singing songs from his favourite musicals and reading from his favourite plays on Sunday, September 18, starting at 2:00 p.m. at Festival Place in Sherwood Park.

 We’ll never forget Richard Winnick. It occurred to me, sitting on his stairs waiting for our friends to arrive, it was the last day of the Fringe Festival. I posted on my facebook page a message reminding everyone he would have wanted us to keep watching theatre, keep listening to theatre music, keep creating. That is what we’re doing, what we’ll keep doing. In his name, in his memory, and with many of the messages and advice he offered. “Careful what you wish for,” he’d say. I wish for us all to create great theatre as he did.

– Joshua Semchuk


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