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Posted: Tuesday March 23, 2010
Marcus Youssef

Many of Marcus’s plays were written or created with friends and colleagues. They include Winners and Losers, Leftovers, Jabber, How Has My Love Affected You?, Ali and Ali and the aXes of Evil, Adrift, Peter Panties, and A Line in the Sand. These have been performed across North America, Australia, and Europe, and recently off-Broadway. Marcus’s plays are also translated into multiple languages and published by Talonbooks and Playwrights Canada Press.

Major awards include Alcan Performing Arts, Chalmer’s Canadian Play, Arts Club Silver Commission, Seattle Times Footlight, Vancouver Critics’ Choice Innovation, and numerous local awards in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Marcus is the winner of the 2017 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for writing – the award is given for outstanding artistic achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist.

Well-known in Vancouver as a cultural advocate, Marcus is artistic director of Neworld Theatre, co-founder of Progress Lab 1422, and chair of the city of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council.

LATEST Marcus Youssef NEWS

July 2018 : Talonbooks authors win Jessie Awards

June 2018 : King Arthur’s Night and Peter Panties has arrived!

January 2018 : Talon plays on stage now in Sudbury, Halifax, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Belleville, New York state, Ottawa, Richmond, and Pennsylvania state!

November 2017 : Marcus Youssef wins the Siminovitch Prize!

October 2017 : Marcus Youssef wins City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award!

September 2017 : Marcus Youssef nominated for Siminovitch Prize!

January 2017 : “Winners and Losers” opens in Calgary tomorrow!

May 2016 : Talonbooks will be at Congress 2016 this weekend

January 2016 : No fewer than nine Talon plays on stage across Canada this spring!

January 2016 : Two Talon classics at Toronto’s Factory Theatre this spring!

October 2015 : Two GG Nominations for Talon this year!

September 2015 : Jabber is here!

June 2015 : Now Available! The Talonbooks Fall 2015 Catalogue

June 2015 : Talon’s Monthly E-Newsletter for June 2015

April 2015 : All the Winners and Losers in Edmonton

January 2015 : Announcement: New Books for Spring 2015!

January 2015 : Winners and Losers Is a Winner!

August 2013 : Volume Two of Modern Canadian Plays (5th Edition) Has Arrived!


Winner, Siminovitch Prize (2017)

Winner, City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Theatre (2017)

Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (Canada Council for the Arts, 2016)

Rio-Tinto Alcan Award for Performing Arts

Floyd S. Chalmer’s Canadian Play Award

Arts Club Silver Commission

Seattle Times Footlight Award

Vancouver Sun Critics’ Choice Award for Innovation (three times)

Jessie Richardson Awards (numerous)

Masques Awards (Montreal)

Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Toronto)



Best New Text, Montreal English Language Theatre Awards, 2013

One of the top 30 Plays of 2013, Stageworthy


Winners and Losers

Finalist for the 2015 Governor General’s Awards (Drama)


A Line in the Sand

Winner of 3 MECCA Awards (2009-2010)
Winner of the 1997 Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award



“Smartly probes the lives of high schoolers struggling with peer expectations and identity problems. As they attempt to navigate the minefield that is the high school hallway, they are warned repeatedly that actions have consequences.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Not afraid to deal with difficult subject matter such as discrimination, domestic abuse, sexuality, and the danger of online sharing on social media.”
Charlebois Post Review


Winners and Losers

“As the gloves come off, the intensity increases. The guiding theory behind the game is that you can’t have two winners sitting next to each other; for there to be a winner, the men reason, there has to be a loser.”
Globe and Mail

Winners and Losers is a loser if you want a traditional, controlled theater experience that doesn’t make you squirm at its awkward, winding vamps and volleys. … [but] Winners and Losers is a winner once it starts to think big. … An ethical high ground is at stake. … the personal becomes intensely political. … victimhood rears its ugly head and the (finally) resonant competition has you leaning in by its pitch-perfect, heavy ending. … What gets in your head are the spot-on depictions, large and small, of people abusing candor and bending the rules in an inescapable race to come out on top.”
Washington Post

“A sure-fire winner … disturbingly entertaining”
Vancouver Observer

Winners & Losers provides pleasure and unease … Exploration of the psyches of two very different men teases viewers with insights into themselves … at the heart of the show is the central question of how to be an artist, a man, a father — how to be a person, really — when you are smart enough to recognize your extraordinary privilege but self-aware enough to still feel the pain of your history. … it isn’t always clear which parts are improvised and which are scripted. That tension gives the evening a terrific sense of immediacy and danger. … a funny, fierce, unsettling theatrical experience that refuses to let you go after you’ve left the theatre.”
Vancouver Sun

Winners and Losers looks a lot like open heart surgery. Metaphoric blood is spilled but, strangely, the experience for the audience is exhilarating. The possibility that friendship can survive or even be strengthened by such excruciating honesty is inspirational and opens up floodgates of introspection.”
Vancouver Courier

“Ground-breaking … truth-daring … a fascinating, disturbing, and original experience … It is easy to imagine a second act … If you see this play you will want to talk about it immediately. It’s a winner.”
BC Bookworld

“Invigorating, hilarious, infuriating, and it may very well have you examining your own friendships and [beliefs]”
Vancouver Presents

“The performances are raw and the lines between reality and stage are completely blurred. The show however, is definitely a Winner”
– Fun Fun Vancouver

“Simply amazing … the show I’d suggest to anyone to see to understand what’s going on in [experimental theatre in] Canada right now.”
– Andrew Templeton, playwright, on the NYC World Theatre Day blog



“ …a minor miracle not merely of adaptation but of historical translation too. Adrift highlights the way we suffer the same losses over and over again, raining revenge on revenge. Our struggle, in essence, never changes.”
Globe and Mail


Adventures of Ali & Ali and the aXes of Evil, The

The Adventures of Ali & Ali … is solid and polished … shockingly poignant, seriously funny, humbly powerful, intelligently goofy …”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer


King Arthur’s Night and Peter Panties

Praise for King Arthur’s Night:

“Enchanting images, sounds, and words wash over you in King Arthur’s Night … Take a deep breath and enter another world. It’s Camelot like you’ve never seen it before. And it’s for everyone. … A bracingly fresh, radically inclusive take on the Arthurian legends. [The script] is original, poetic, and full of surprises. … Elements of the story thread in and out in a nonlinear, dreamlike fashion … The play is a poetic collage of powerful theatrical moments; its dialogue is terse, contemporary, and full of surprising images. … King Arthur’s Night is a rare opportunity to see what inclusion really looks like – and to let its beautiful sounds and images wash over you. Don’t miss it.”—Kathleen Oliver, Georgia Straight

“With a neurodiverse cast and an emphasis on text and metaphor deconstruction, King Arthur’s Night is a compelling, comedic, and critical take on cultural myths and dynamics of power.”—Jocelyn Pitsch, alt.Theatre

“An epically imagined work of theatre, a revolutionary act of inclusion, and a moving story of friendship … The project, created with composer-musician Veda Hille and directed by James Long, doesn’t patronize and it defies preconceptions. … Mythical, highly musical, and lavishly designed. It is also a rallying cry for change in theatre. But more than anything, it’s an extraordinary story of friendship.”—Georgia Straight

“Picture the legend of King Arthur ‘made fresh for our eyes,’ where lovers give birth to an upstart goat, a sixteen-piece choir accompanies phone-recorded melodies, and the cast features actors with Down syndrome.”—Metro Vancouver

“A lovingly made adventure … a refreshingly diverse reimagining of a well-known story … King Arthur’s Night weaves together elements recognizable and personal: it is based on Arthurian legend while incorporating elements of the life of McNeil, who also plays King Arthur. … The characters are lovingly drawn and well-rendered by their actors. … McNeil’s Arthur is commanding and compelling, both traits juxtaposed by his confident, impatient and humorous dialogue. … [The songs] are powerful and atmospheric … Ultimately a play about friendship and loyalty, King Arthur’s Night reflects the long-running partnership of its co-playwrights and invites the audience to share in that warmth …”—The Ubyssey

Praise for Peter Panties:

“Peter Panties’s frankness and freedom are liberatingly funny … McNeil and company loosen the corset of Barrie’s Victorian masterpiece and let its flesh hang out. … McNeil’s syntax is eccentric and his language forceful; the result is poetry. Nowhere is this more exciting than in [Veda] Hille’s songs. … The tremendous thing about [this play] is that it acknowledges the audience’s involvement in creating the theatrical reality. We’re included. And inclusion is what this show is all about.”—Georgia Straight

“If Veda Hille’s extraordinarily deviant musical reworking of Peter Pan was noticed by a savvy, Broadway-connected producer there would be little keeping Peter Panties from being a bigger smash than the Rocky Horror Picture Show. … Hille’s slithery melodies and punchy rock tracks are fleshed out in the most deliciously lurid fashion by artfully devious lyrics from Niall McNeil and Marcus Youssef …”—Toronto Star


A Line in the Sand

“Mesmerizing … compelling and ambiguous … Verdecchia and Youssef pull off the tricky task of crafting a complex interpersonal drama that is also a potent allegory. … A reference to the then-recent Oka crisis creates provocative parallels between the Israel/Palestine divide and the ongoing effects of North American colonization. … [In 2016] A Line in the Sand inarguably remains relevant. Given its content, it seems likely that Verdecchia and Youssef will celebrate the day when this play doesn’t need another revival.”
Toronto Star

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