Martha Henry

Martha Henry, CC OOnt (born February 17, 1938) is an American stage, film, and television actress, perhaps best known for her work at the Stratford Festival in Canada.

Martha Henry

Martha Buhs

(1938-02-17) February 17, 1938
Other namesMartha Henry-Beattie
OccupationActor, director
Spouse(s)Rod Beattie, (1990-????; divorced)
Douglas Rain (19??-19??; divorced)
Donnelly Rhodes (1962-19??; divorced)


Martha Buhs was born in Detroit, Michigan to Kathleen (née Hatch) and Lloyd Howard Buhs. She grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and attended the Kingswood School (today Cranbrook Kingswood School) before moving to Canada in 1959.[1] She later adopted the stage surname Henry, which is the legal surname of her first husband, actor Donnelly Rhodes.

She was one of the first graduates of the National Theatre School in Montreal, receiving her certificate of studies in acting exceptionally in 1962.[2]

Leading actress at Stratford

Martha Henry's first season at the Stratford Festival was in 1962, playing Miranda to William Hutt's first Prospero in The Tempest. She became a leading actress at the Stratford Festival in the late 1960s, and has since appeared in some 65 productions at the Festival, 30 of them plays by William Shakespeare. She won acclaim for several roles including Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1969), Isabella in Measure for Measure (1976), Olga in Three Sisters (1976) and Paulina in The Winter's Tale (1978).[3][4] Ms Henry has worked for 10 artistic directors.

She and a team of three other directors were hired to lead Stratford's 1981 season after the resignation of Artistic Director Robin Phillips. The team was dismissed a few months later, causing Henry and some other Stratford veterans to work away from the Festival for several years.[5]

Ms Henry received the prestigious Stratford Legacy Award[6].[7] in October 2014.

In 2018, her 44th season, at age 80, Ms Henry played Prospero in The Tempest, directed by Antoni Cimolino, and was Director of the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction. Chris Jones, theater critic for the Chicago Tribune in praising Henry's performance wrote, "in all my years watching shows at this theater, a miragelike fountain of excellence . . . I have never seen anything quite like the experience of watching Henry . . .".[8]

Artistic director and awards

She was artistic director of the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario from 1988-94. In 1993 she traveled to Guyana, South America where she starred in Darrell Wasyk's film, Mustard Bath, winning a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actress. She returned to the Stratford stage to play Mary Tyrone in the widely respected 1994-95 production of Long Day's Journey into Night.

She won a Best Actress Genie award for the 1996 film version that followed.[9][10][11] In February 2007, she was appointed director of Stratford's Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training.[12]


She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981, and promoted to Companion in 1990.[13] She was made a Member of the Order of Ontario in 1994. Henry received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for her lifetime contribution to Canadian theatre in 1996.[14] As a recipient of the Order of Canada She has been awarded the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992, the Canadian Version of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Canadian Version of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Television roles

Notable television roles include Catherine in Empire, Inc., the Prime Minister's mother in H20 and the owner of the Chateau Rousseau in Ken Finkleman's At the Hotel. In 1994, she starred in the TV film And Then There was One.[15]


  1. Base, Ron (October 11, 1986). "Leon Marr's a word-of-mouth success story". Toronto Star.
  2. "Biography". Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  3. Martin Knelman, A Stratford Tempest. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982; ISBN 0-7710-4542-5.
  4. "Martha Henry acting and directing credits". Stratford Festival Archives. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  5. Profile, Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia website; accessed August 24, 2014.
  6. Stratford Festival (2014-08-28), Martha Henry Legacy Award | Stratford Festival 2014, retrieved 2018-05-13
  7. Stratford Festival, The Tempest house program distributed May 12, 2018.
  8. Jones, Chris (July 26, 2018). "Report from Stratford Fest". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  9. Profile, Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia website; accessed August 24, 2014.
  10. Information and theatre tickets for The Grand Theatre and other London Ontario plays and presentations Archived 2008-05-31 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed August 24, 2014.
  11. Profile,; accessed August 24, 2014.
  12. Martha Henry appointed Stratford conservatory director Archived 2015-03-31 at,
  13. "Ms. Martha Henry, C.C., O.Ont". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  14. "Martha Henry biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  15. Martha Henry on IMDb
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