Born in Seattle, raised in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, and a graduate of the University of Victoria's Theatre Program, Janet Munsil studied design and directing. In 1992, she joined the staff of Intrepid Theatre, producers of the Victoria Fringe Festival, Uno Fest, Winterlab, OUTstages and other presenting and development programs. She was the longest-serving Canadian Fringe Producer and in 2016 celebrated her 25th year as an Artistic Director and Festival Producer - and her 50th Festival as a producer.
Her work as a playwright has been seen internationally, including Canada's National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, The Tarragon (Toronto), Soho Theatre (London), Arts Club Theatre Stanley Playhouse (Vancouver), Prague Fringe, Belltable Arts Centre (Ireland), the West Yorkshire Playhouse (Leeds), Citizen's (Glasgow) and others. She has been in residence at the Banff Centre Playwrights Colony several times (including 2015), and in 2012 was part of the Stratford Festival Playwrights Retreat.
Other plays include The Ugly Duchess, Emphysema (a love story), Be Still, Influence, Circus Fire, and I Have Seen Beautiful Jim Key - a new play for young audiences.
Her play That Elusive Spark was a Finalist for the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Literature. Her adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, commissioned and first produced by Theatre Calgary and the NAC (Ottawa), will be included in The Arts Club’s 2015/16 season at the Stanley Theatre in Vancouver. She is currently working on a new play, Act of Faith, for Vancouver’s Realwheels Theatre, and a commission for The Powerhouse Theatre.
Munsil's books and plays have been published by Oberon Press, Oxford University Press, Annick Press, Signature Editions, and Playwrights Canada Press. She is in the process of releasing her body of professionally-produced but unpublished work under her own imprint, Missing Page Co.
She is currently an Artist in Residence in the University of Victoria's Centre for Studies in Religion and Society for 2016/17, and will be Writer in Residence at the Caetani Cultural Centre in Vernon BC for October 2016.
Munsil began her professional writing career at the age of 16, when Annick Press published her book Dinner at Auntie Rose's. She published three books for children, one of which has been translated into several languages. She started playwrighting in 1992, and is now the author of eleven full-length plays and numerous short works for theatre, many of which have been seen internationally.
Recent accomplishments include deer-proofing her garden, directing a cross-gender production of Twelfth Night, becoming a Canadian citizen, learning to drive a car, accepting the Mayor's Medal Award for the Arts in her home of Victoria BC, and taking the train across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver.