PETER COLLEY Playwright-Screenwriter



Peter Colley is an award-winning Canadian writer based in Los Angeles and Toronto.  His stage plays have been produced in 32 countries, 48 of the 50 states in the US and every province in Canada.  He was nominated for the 2000 Humanitas Prize for screenwriting and was a semi-finalist for the 2006 and 2007 Eugene O'Neill awards, the winner of a 2008 New American Play Award from Theatre Communications Group (TCG), 2009 winner New Zealand's NAPTA award for "Best Play".  In 2010 his musical CAGNEY was the winner of the Florida Theatre Award (Carbonell) for "Best New Work".  In 2015 it had a successful sold-out run Off-Broadway at The York Theatre, breaking a box-office record. It was given the New York Theatre Guide Award as one of "The Top Five Shows Of The Week". It reopened in a larger theatre in New York (The Westside Theatre) in May 2016 and has now celebrated its 500th performance.  The Los Angeles premiere is in October 2017 and it begins a pre-Broadway tryout at the Pioneer Theatre in Salt Lake City in 2019. 

"Cagney" nominations include: OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS: Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical. Outstanding Actor (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Outstanding Choreographer (Broadway or Off-Broadway); DRAMA DESK AWARDS: Best Actor in a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway), Best Choreographer (Broadway or Off-Broadway); OFF-BROADWAY ALLIANCE AWARDS: Best New Musical; THE ASTAIRE AWARDS: Outstanding Female Dancer in an Off-Broadway Show, Outstanding Male Dancer in an Off-Broadway Show, Outstanding Choreography in an Off-Broadway Show.

From his start as one of the youngest playwrights ever produced at Canada's National Arts Centre, he has gone on to win one international, eight national and six regional awards for writing.  His plays have been translated into several languages (including sign-language for the deaf).  One of his plays (I'll Be Back Before Midnight) was named in a Toronto Globe & Mail retrospective on Canadian theatre as  "the most produced Canadian play ever".  This play has grossed over $30 million worldwide.

Among Mr. Colley's most popular other plays are: You'll Get Used To It - The War Show, a musical about Canada's involvement in World War II which has been produced from coast to coast in Canada,  the  historical drama The Donnellys which opened at The Grand Theatre in London and transferred to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa,  the thriller The Mark of Cain (also known as "The Murderer In The Mirror"), and the comedy When The Reaper Calls.  

His latest plays: The Man In The Desert based on the life of Lawrence of Arabia after his Arabia days just opened to rave reviews in 2007, his thriller Murder In Noirville was nominated for 2 Calgary Theatre Awards after it premiered in 2008, and his new musical Cagney!  just opened to rave reviews and a sold-out run in 2009 at The Florida Stage, and was the winner of the 2010 Carbonell Award (Florida Theatre Award) for "Best New Work".  

For his work on The War Show, the Record called Mr. Colley "a national treasure".

Peter Colley has been published by Samuel French Inc., (New York and London), Baker's Plays, Macmillans, and Simon & Pierre.  Two of his plays have been made into feature films, with Mr. Colley writing both screenplays.  I'll Be Back Before Midnight was made into a film called Illusions for SHOWTIME starring Heather Locklear, Ned Beatty, Susannah York, and Robert Carradine, and The Mark of Cain was made into a feature film starring Wendy Crewson  (co-star of Air Force One and The Santa Clause).  He has written extensively for CBS Television (including the Canadian/U.S. series Due South), and pilot scripts for WNET-TV in New York, and Nelvana Communications in Toronto, and for the TV series Watership Down for British (ITV) and Canadian television, based on the classic novel.  Peter is also the creator of an educational software program for writers called Great Dialogue Software™.  This software has been sold in 44 countries. 

He has written many episodes of  the TV series Mythic Warriors for CBS - an animated series that dramatizes the Greek myths - and  The Zack Files, a TV series for the Fox Family Channel.  He was a nominee for the 2000 Humanitas Prize for his script "Cadmus & Europa", for CBS based on the Greek myth.  His adaptation of his play Stolen Lives won a 2001 Harold Greenburg Screenwriting Award (The Movie Network).  

RESUME: (Click on underlined Hyperlinks for more information)


"HIGH FLIGHT" - Producers Diane Robison (Tri-Laurel Prods) and Charles Floyd Johnson (Prod: NCIS, JAG, Rockford Files).  In development.   

"SWEET DECEIT" - Cinepartners /  Prodigy.  In development.    

"ENDGAME" -  Cinepartners / Prodigy - In development. 

"ILLUSIONS" - Crystal Sky Prods/ Apricot Entertainment. (1993) Starring Heather Locklear, Ned Beatty, Robert Carradine, Emma Samms and Susannah York. Based on the stage play "I'll Be Back Before Midnight!" by Peter Colley. Sole credit screenplay. Associate Producer. Prism Entertainment domestic/C.I.C. (Paramount/ Universal) foreign. Premiered on SHOWTIME, played on The Movie Channel / E! Entertainment Channel / U.S.A. Channel.

"THE MARK OF CAIN" - Vestron/Brightstar Films. Starring Wendy Crewson (co-star of "The Santa Clause/Air Force One"), and August Schellenberg (co-star "Free Willy"/"Blackrobe"). Based on the stage play "The Mark Of Cain" by Peter Colley. Co-wrote the screenplay.

STOLEN LIVES" - unproduced screenplay based on the stage play by Peter Colley.  Winner of the 2001 Harold Greenberg Fund Award (The Movie Network).  


THE ZACK FILES" - Fox Family Television. 2000-2001. Decode Entertainment. New series based on the books by Dan Greenberg. Episodes: “Total Rewind” and “The Switch”, plus consulting on series creation and numerous episodes.  

"WATERSHIP DOWN" - ITV Television (Britain) 1999. Decode Entertainment.  New animated series based on the classic novel by Richard Adams.  

"MYTHIC WARRIORS" - CBS Television (CTV Canada). New animated series based on Greek Mythology, premiered Fall 1998. Co-produced with France 3 TV, and Nelvana Communications. Episodes written: “Pegasus & Bellerophon”, “Atalanta & The Calydonian Boar”, “Perseus & Medusa”, “Persephone & Hades”, “Jason & The Argonauts”, “Jason & Medea”, “Cadmus & Europa” and “Phaeton & Helios“.   Cadmus & Europa was  nominated for the 2000 Humanitas Prize.  

"DUE SOUTH" - CBS Television. 1994-96 (96-98 in Canada). Alliance Communications. 1 hour comedy-drama series. Script consultant episodes #2 through #9. Co-wrote story Episode #8.  

"CYBERCHASERS" - WNET Television, Channel 13, New York 1998. Commissioned pilot script for new TV series. 

"TRAILBLAZERS" - Nelvana Communications. 1998. Commissioned pilot for new animated action-comedy series.

STAGE (Selected):

"GHOST ISLAND LIGHT" - Lighthouse Festival Theatre 2015, Theatre Orangeville 2016, Guelph and Brighton Barn in 2017.

"CAGNEY!" - (Musical)  Premiered at The Florida Stage.  Winner of the 2010 Carbonell Award (Florida Theatre Award) for "Best New Work".  Premiere broke the Florida Stage's 24-year old box office records, selling out the entire run and grossing $570,000 in six weeks before the star of the show had to return to Broadway.  The original script was the winner of winner of a 2008 New American Play Award from Theatre Communications Group (TCG).  Canadian premiere at Drayton Entertainment and the Huron Country Playhouse, also played at the Riverside Theatre (Florida) in 2010 where it helped that reach a million-dollar in subscription sales for the first time.  It ran over 500 performances in New York and a large scale version did a pre-Broadway tryout in 2019. 

"MURDER IN NOIRVILLE!" - New film noir style thriller, just premiered in 2008 to rave reviews at The Vertigo Theatre in Calgary and several theatres since. 

"THE MAN IN THE DESERT" - (Drama)  Premiered at Theatre In The Park, Raleigh, North Carolina, north Carlolina's largest theatre.  The story of Lawrence after Arabia.  Semi-finalist for the 2007 Eugene O'Neill awards. 

"I'LL BE BACK BEFORE MIDNIGHT!" - (Mystery-Thriller) Canada's most produced stage play with thousands of productions in 32 countries, including major professional productions in the U.S., Canada (including a French-language version in Quebec), Britain, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia (Croatian tour + Zagreb run), Italy (Rome & Sicily), Cyprus, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa and Barbados (an all-black version), The Isle of Man, Colombia, South America, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Bermuda, Ireland, Jamaica (an all-black production), Kenya, Denmark, Malaysia, Sweden and Turkey.  The play had extensive runs at the Vancouver Playhouse and Toronto’s Saint Lawrence Centre and Tarragon Theatre. Published jointly by Samuel French Inc. (New York), and Baker's Plays (Boston) in the U.S., and Samuel French Ltd., in London. National British tour in 1988, Canadian tour in 1992. Produced in 1995 at Italy’s Todi Festival of Arts and transferred to Theatre Ghione in Rome in 1996. Performed in 1999 in Switzerland and Italy on radio by Radio Svizzera Italiana.  Translated into several languages including a sign language version in 1998 by the Idaho Deaf Theatre.  In 1999 it received a production at the prestigious Theatre Royal, Windsor in England starring Dennis Waterman star of British TV’s “Minder” and “The Sweeney” series, and in 2001 it was the lead-off show of the English Theatre of Hamburg’s 25th anniversary season, its second production at that theatre.  In 2003 it was produced at Manchester's Coliseum Theatre.   In 2004 and 2005 it was on a record-breaking National Tour in the UK where it played at many of Britain's most prestigious theatres including  Theatre Royal Winchester, The Capitol Theatre, Hull New Theatre, Theatre Royal Margate, The Darlington Civic, The Grand Theatre Swansea, The Lighthouse Theatre at Poole, Devonshire Park Eastbourne.  Ian Dickens Productions, the largest UK producer of touring plays (300+ productions), announced that the 2005 tour broke the company's box office records. It was produced in 2007 by the famous Cambridge University Footlights Revue where Monty Python, Beyond The Fringe and Borat began.  2008 productions in Denmark, Munich, Germany, and across the USA including one on a historic Mississippi showboat.  2009 productions in Spain, and Rome (Italy) and numerous professional regional theatres including 2010 at the American Heartland Theatre, Kansas City.  In 2011 there are productions at The Showboat Theatre (Canada) and the Shanghai Modern Theatre (in Mandarin) and multiple world-wide productions that are currently playing. 

"WHEN THE REAPER CALLS" - (A Mysterious Comedy) Premiered at The Gryphon Theatre, Ontario, (A 700 seat Equity theatre). Subsequent professional productions at the Lakeshore Summer Theatre, The Upper Canada Playhouse (1998), and the Abqaiq Theatre in Saudi Arabia (1998).  Sell-out production in 1999 at the Blyth Festival Theatre, Ontario, and remounted there in 2000. Other productions in 2000 include The Western Canada Theatre Company and The Gateway Theatre, Vancouver and in 2006 at the Sudbury Theatre Centre.   Produced in 2004 at the English Theatre of Hamburg, Germany.  Published in 2006 by Samuel French Ltd, London England.  There have been two productions in New Zealand in 2009 (The Dolphin, Aukland, and the Whangerie) as well as the Dundee Playhouse in Scotland, 2011 at the Showboat Theatre, plus many others in the UK, US, Canada and Italy. 

"YOU'LL GET USED TO IT! - THE WAR SHOW" - (Musical)  Professional productions include The Grand Theatre in London (Ontario, Canada), The Performing Theatre Company in Toronto and other regional theatres.  Canadian tour ending in a sold-out run at the Muskoka Festival Theatre.  Record-breaking productions at The Gryphon Theatre and The Lighthouse Theatre.  Sold-out production at the Drayton Festival Theatre and Mississauga Music Theatre (both productions added performances due to ticket demand), productions at The Sunshine Festival in Orillia and The Stirling Festival and the Western Canada Theatre Company and The Port Summer TheatreThe Huron Country Playhouse and the King’s Wharf Theatre, The Hanover Civic.  2005 at the Langham Court Theatre, Victoria BC and 2007 at the Kanata Theatre, Ottawa and the Newmarket Stage Company, 2010 at The Rose Theatre (Brampton) and revived for the third time at Drayton - The St Jacob's Playhouse and the Huron Country Playhouse.  Published jointly by Simon & Pierre/The Dundurn Press and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. 

"STOLEN LIVES" - (based on the true story of Albert Walker). Premiered at the Blyth Festival Theatre summer 2000. The National Post called it: “a spellbinding experience”, “a thrilling piece of contemporary drama”, “an absorbing and frightening glimpse into the mind of Albert Walker”, and “a mature and thoughtful work”.  The London Free Press called it "chilling", and “gripping”.

"THE MARK OF CAIN" - (Psychological Thriller) Also titled “THE MURDERER IN THE MIRROR”. Professional productions: the Muskoka Festival, the Lighthouse Theatre, the Victoria Theatre, Kawartha Festival, Rainbow Theatre (1994), Gravenhurst Opera House (1996), Live Bait Summer Theatre (1998), New Brunswick.  The U.S. premiere was in 2001 at the S.T.A.G.E. Theater in San Antonio, Texas and productions in 2005 at The Domino Theatre, Kingston, Theatre Windsor, and Theatre Saint Bruno in Quebec and the CentreStage Theatre and the Putnam Playhouse in the US in 2009.   It was made into a feature film by Brightstar Films (Vestron Video) starring Wendy Crewson (co-star Air Force One, The Santa Clause) and August Schellenberg (co-star "Free Willy"/ "Blackrobe").. 

"THE DONNELLYS" - (Drama) Professional productions include the premiere at The Grand Theatre in London (Ontario, Canada), where it broke the theatre's 70-year-old box office records in the historic 1200 seat former opera house, and The National Arts Centre in Ottawa (Mr. Colley was one of the youngest playwrights ever produced at Canada's national theatre).  Numerous school, university and community theatre productions.  2006 productions at the Windsor Theatre Festival and the Texas Theatre Festival.  Published by MacMillans (Anthology) and Simon & Pierre and The Dundurn Press.  Required reading for certain schools and universities - portion filmed by TV Ontario for educational programming and also by Maclean Hunter Television.  


"LOOK BOTH WAYS" (MacMillans) Text book for schools and universities. Text of "THE DONNELLYS" included.

"BEHIND THE SCENES" (Simon & Pierre) Monologues for actors. Section of "YOU'LL GET USED TO IT!" included.

"THE PERFECT PIECE" (Playwrights Canada Press) Monologues for actors. Section of "THE DONNELLYS" included.  For more information click here: The Perfect Piece

"THE WRITER'S MARKET" 1994 (Writer's Digest Books) Section on Playwriting.  

"LET'S GO TO THE GRAND!" 2001 (Natural Heritage Books)  The history of the Grand Theatre, London, Ontario.  Anthology - two stories included.   


Scholarship to: The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England (Founded by royal charter of Queen Elizabeth I in 1562).

B.A. (Honours) University of Sheffield, England.  The University of Sheffield was named in 2014 as one the world's "Top 100" universities, and the Times of London awarded it Britain's "University of The Year" in 2012.  

Courses from:

University of Western Ontario, Canada (M.A. Post-graduate).

U.S.C. Film School. U.C.L.A. American Film Institute (Hollywood).

Robert McKee Story Structure. Artists & Writers Workshop (L.A.).


Writers Guild of America, West (WGA). Dramatists Guild (New York). Playwrights Guild of Canada, Writer's Guild of Canada.

AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS: (For more details click here)

Ø 2010 New musical CAGNEY! winner Florida Carbonell Award "Best New Work". 

Ø 2010 New musical CAGNEY! nominated for 7 Florida Carbonell Awards including "Best New Work". 

Ø 2009 Winner New American Play Award from Theatre Communications Group (TCG). 

Ø 2009 Nominee for 9 New Zealand NAPTA Awards (Northern Area Performance Theatre Awards) Best Play.  

Ø 2008 Nominee for 2 Theatre Calgary Awards.    

Ø 2007 Eugene O'Neill Awards semi-finalist.  

Ø 2006 Eugene O'Neill Awards semi-finalist.  

Ø Winner of a 2001 Harold Greenburg Screenwriting Award (The Movie Network) for STOLEN LIVES.   

2000 Humanitas Award for screenwriting.  

Ø Winner of “International Cultural Personality” Award (Italy) 1996 from the Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et du Commerce International.

Ø Inducted into the WHO'S WHO of Canada in 1986 (Less than four of every 100,000 Canadians have a biography in Canadian Who’s Who).  

Ø Winner: 1991 Petro-Canada "Stage One" Award for Drama.

Ø Winner: 1993 Petro-Canada "Stage One" Award for Drama

Ø Resident Playwright (3 years) Grand Theatre (then Canada's largest regional theatre with 1200 seats).

Ø 5 Canada Council National Arts Awards for Drama.

Ø 4 Ontario Arts Council Provincial Awards for Drama.

Ø Sole adjudicator: Canadian National Playwriting Competition.

Ø One of 5 playwrights selected for CANADA ON STAGE - celebrating Canada’s 125th anniversary in 1992.

Ø Writing Instructor for the Second City Comedy Troupe and Theatre Ontario.

Ø Yorkshire Arts Council (England) Touring Award (Midnight).

Ø Resident Playwright: Actors Alley Repertory Theatre, Los Angeles 1991-94.

Ø Winner “Victor Laudorum” (two years running) for athletics: Royal Grammar School, Buckinghamshire, England, described by Wikipedia as one of Britain's top sporting and academic schools.  For the school's website click here:

For more information on Peter's school days click here.  


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