Greer Allen, Rita, 1918-2010

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Greer Allen, Rita, 1918-2010

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Rita Greer Allen, writer, broadcaster and artist, was born Marguerita Foulger Wayman in Erith, Kent, England, on 25 September 1918 to parents Joshua Edwin Wayman and Margaret Tilley Potts. After moving to Canada at the age of five, Marguerita, who became known as Rita Weyman, attended East York Collegiate Institute in Toronto before enrolling in a first-year pass arts program at Trinity College, University of Toronto, in 1940. Her studies were interrupted by marriage to Robert Greer Allen, a Trinity College graduate and Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps private, on 13 June 1941. For the duration of the World War II, Rita followed Robert to Halifax, Moncton, Kingston, Montreal and Vancouver and attended the Nova Scotia College of Art, Mount Allison University, and Queens University. In collaboration with Robert, who worked for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio during the war, Rita wrote and submitted dramatic radio scripts for broadcast with some success, with a number of scripts broadcast on Trans-Canada Network radio program "Stage 45". In the early 1950s, the Greer Allens returned to Toronto, and Rita began her prolific freelance scriptwriting career, writing and researching her own radio scripts for the CBC, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Though many of her scripts were adapted literary dramas, Rita was equally successful as a writer for documentary-style radio programs and educational programming for high school students. Her writing for radio included scripts for documentary series "As children see us", and dramatic adaptations of "Barometer rising" and "The Duchess of Malfi". By the mid- to late-1950s, Rita turned her attention to television, appearing as a panellist on the CBC quiz show "One of a kind" in 1958 and 1959. She also wrote dramatic scripts for television, including "The Gioconda smile", "Lord Arthur Saville's crime", and "The grass harp", but the majority of her work in the 1960s and early 1970s was for CBC television current events program "Take 30", for which she conducted interviews, researched and wrote scripts, and presented her work on-screen. In the 1970s, Rita continued to write dramatic scripts, finding success in 1976 with her original CBC television drama "The raku fire", which was directed by Rita's brother, Ronald Weyman, a successful screenwriter and director in his own right. In the late 1970s, Rita focused her attention on developing her artistic skills, particularly the practice of raku pottery, and exhibited her sculptural nudes in the early-to-mid 1980s. Her study of Jungian psychology during this period led to a collaboration with Jungian Marion Woodman, with whom she wrote "Leaving my father's house: a journey to conscious femininity" (1993). Rita Greer Allen died in Toronto on 30 May 2010.


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