Elaine Campbell, a co-creator of the longest running musical in Canadian history, Anne of Green Gables, died Friday in Charlottetown.
Campbell was one of the lyricists for the musical and part of the team—consisting of her husband, Norman Campbell, Don Harron, Mavor Moore and Alan Lund—that brought the internationally famous L.M. Montgomery book to Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre of the Arts in the 1960s. The show is now in its 43rd year.
Harron, the only surviving member of the creative team, said Elaine Campbell shaped the character of Anne.
“She brought a sensitivity. Norman and I were showoffs and Elaine was not. And she brought a real sense of the inner Anne,” he said. “She doesn’t get enough credit for what she did.”
Campbell, who was born in northern Ontario in 1925, spent her summers in Prince Edward Island and her winters in Toronto.
She wrote lyrics for three other musicals and contributed to specials for CBC Television, Rideau Hall and two Royal galas. She also established an endowment fund to the Confederation Centre in her husband’s name.
Her connection with Prince Edward Island, and the festival, was maintained for over 40 years.
“She’s never missed an opening that I know of in terms of the opening of the summer festival,” said Wayne Hambly, chair of the board of the Confederation Centre.
“Every year she comes down from Toronto to stay at their summer home. She brings to the centre a great level of excitement and a great level of pride in the accomplishments of the cast and crew.”
Campbell is best-known as a writer for the theatre and patron of the arts.
However, she also served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, spent time on the board of the National Ballet of Canada and was a Jane Austin scholar.
She was an avid traveller. Her final trip, in the last year of her life, was to Libya.
Campbell leaves five children and one grandchild. There will be a private celebration of her life held on P.E.I. A public event will take place later in Toronto.