Judy Unwin Death, Obituary – Judy Unwin was an actor, a director, an artistic director, an administrator, a board member, a fund-raiser and donor, a theatre lover and lobbyist; with her untimely death at the age of 76, we’ve lost a true pioneer in the arts, a public-spirited artist who played many roles in the proliferation of live theatre in this theatre town. We’ve also lost an artist who was public-spirited. We’ve lost Judy Unwin. She even spent numerous summers working as a critic for the Fringe theater festival. Her efforts are numerous and varied, and they can be found well beyond the stage door, in other areas of the community. She was born with the gene for volunteering in the public sector.
Judy’s family is well known in the theatre community in Edmonton, and her father Jack Unwin was one of the city’s most famous directors. Judy spent her childhood involved in the arts. She plays an important role in the early history of both the Walterdale, our venerable community theater, and the civic kids theatre that was established here. She started out as the ringlet ingenue in the very first Walterdale Klondike melodrama in 1965, and then she went on to direct many of them after that. After that, she sat on the board, and eventually she was promoted to the position of creative director.
She became fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) at the time that she was directing the first Edmonton production of Mark Medoff’s Children of a Lesser God at Walterdale, and she maintained contacts with the Deaf community throughout her life. She served on the board of directors of the Varscona Theatre during its transformation into a theater consortium. She was instrumental in the planning of the Sterling Awards from the very beginning, playing an important and hands-on role. She was someone who took the initiative.