David Woods began writing drama while a student at Dalhousie University (1977-1981). It was after watching a televised performance of the play For Ceremonies for Dark Old Men by Lonne Elder on PBS that Woods decided that he would try his hand at writing plays. British playwright Harold Pinter, South African Athol Fugard, and African American Ntzake Shange were early influences. His first staged play was his 1982 production For Elsie Dorrington – a play about Black teenagers growing up ‘in the projects’ in northend Halifax in the 1970’s. Since that time he has written drama for both stage and radio. He has also written dramatic sequences for film and video and librettos for musical performances.
Woods’ plays are usually explorations of African Nova Scotian community experiences both contemporary and historical. His heroes are outsiders- alienated individuals (and communities) with unresolved pasts struggling to fit into contemporary life. He produces most of his own plays through his performance company Voices Black Theatre Ensemble which he founded in 1990.
His play Part of the Deal was broadcast nationally by CBC in 1991 to great critical acclaim. Another of his
plays Once Africville Storie won the George Elliott Clarke Literary Competition (1998) his first major prize as playwright.