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Playwrights Guild of Canada Announces 

the 2020 Tom Hendry Awards Short Lists

 

Ontario, September 29th, 2020Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) proudly announces the short lists for its 2020 Tom Hendry Awards. The short lists for the Robert Beardsley Award, the RBC Emerging Playwright Award, the Sharon Enkin Plays For Young People Award, as well as the Playwrights Guild Comedy and Musical Awards, and the Carol Bolt Award have been released by their respective juries, and there are nine impressive nominees this year for the Bra d’Or Award offered by PGC’s Women’s Caucus. Join PGC throughout the week of October 25th as we host online events each night, celebrating an award per evening and announcing the winning recipients. Schedule and event details can be found here

 

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Bra D’Or Award – 2020 Finalists

This annual award celebrates people who amplify, honour, and support the work of women playwrights in Canada. It was inaugurated in 2006 by PGC’s Women’s Caucus, whose members put forth the yearly nominations, but all PGC members vote for the award winner. PGC is excited to announce the recipient(s) of this year’s Bra D’Or Award at the Tom Hendry Awards. The finalists are: Avery Jean Brennan, Marjorie Chan, Kara Flanagan, Heather Inglis, Thomas Morgan Jones, Anna Pappas, Caroline Russell-King, Bronwyn Steinberg, and the Wet Ink Collective’s Co-Artistic Directors, Susinn McFarlen, Loretta Seto & Lynna Goldhar Smith.

 

Robert Beardsley Award

The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto Foundation’s 2020 Short List

This award is to be granted to a full-time secondary or post-secondary student within the GTA for the creation of a one-act play script. JURY: Yolanda Bonnell (Chair), Julia Lederer, and Myekah Payne.

Audrey Krieger-Pottruff (ON) for Tragedy: A Comedy, 

Nam Nguyen (ON) for CAEZUS,  and

Micaela Robertson (ON) for I’ll Miss You a Little.

 

RBC Emerging Playwright Award – 2020 Short List

This award is given annually for the best play by a PGC-member who is an emerging playwright. JURY: Muriel Hogue (Chair), Warona Setshwaelo and Yvonne Wallace.

Makram Ayache (ON) for Harun, 

Megs Calleja (BC) for Twentysomething, and

Gabe Maharjan (QC) for Eva in Rio.

 

Sharon Enkin Plays For Young People Award – 2020 Short List

This award is given to a new TYA play or one that has had a professional production in the last year. JURY: Pablo Felices-Luna (Chair), Maggie Mercredi, and David Woods.

Herbert Barnes (ON) for Bent Boy, 

Josh MacDonald (NS) for #IAMTHECHEESE,  and

Jared Mallard (NB) for A Year In The Stars And Rain.

 

Playwrights Guild Comedy Award – 2020 Short List

This award is given annually for a new comedy by a PGC-member, which has not yet had a premiere production. JURY: Jeff Pitcher (Chair), Rachel Peake, and Brie Watson.

David Paquet, Translated by Leanna Brodie (BC) for The Shoe, 

Paul Van Dyck (ON) for Siberian Summer,  and

Jamie Williams (ON) for Pinkerton Comes to Prospect.

 

Playwrights Guild Musical Award – 2020 Short List

This award is given annually for a new musical work by a PGC-member, which has not yet had a premiere production. JURY: Daniel Maté (Chair), Deanna Choi, and Farren Timoteo.

Sara Farb, Music & Lyrics by Britta Johnson (ON) for KELLY v. KELLY, 

Matt Murray Music & Lyrics by Colleen Dauncey & Akiva Romer-Segal  (ON) for Grow: A New Musical,  and

Molly Reisman, Book & Lyrics & Emily Chiu Book & Music (ON) for Keaton and The Whale.

 

Carol Bolt Award – 2020 Short List

This award is given annually for the best work by a PGC-member that has premiered in the past year. The Carol Bolt Award is in loving memory of both David and Carol Bolt. JURY: Eda Holmes (Chair), Jennifer Dawn Bishop, and Jenn Deon.

Keith Barker (ON) for This is How We Got Here, 

Emma Donoghue, Music & Lyrics by Cora Bissett & Kathryn Joseph (ON) for Room,  and

Sébastien Harrisson, Translated by Leanna Brodie (BC) for From Alaska.

 

Synopses of Shortlisted Plays

 

The Robert Beardsley Award:

Sponsored and Presented by the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto Foundation.

 

Tragedy: A Comedy by Audrey Krieger-PottruffAfter a frantic, disjointed writing session four of Shakespeare’s tragic heroines come back to life in Shakespeare’s home. None too happy about having been killed off Tragedy: A Comedy follows Ophelia, Juliet, Lady Macbeth, and Goneril as they bicker, banter, and eventually have their revenge.

CAEZUS by Nam Nguyen, Music by Maks ChupovAn industrial hip hop adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

I’ll Miss You A Little by Micaela RobertsonTwo potential playmates meet in a ballet class. They dance around the idea of friendship until eventually, they fall for each other in the way that kids do; completely and naively. The two girls thrive together, a real team, until the 2009 economic recession changes their lives, and their friendship, forever. Living in a more rural region, P1 feels the effects of the economic collapse more drastically than P2. Hedge stores open, unemployment spikes, and her parents begin to worry. They worry that once their children are of age, they’ll move away and leave them alone in a town that’s been abandoned by any sense of hope. P1’s parents proactively move their family across the ocean. Though the girls solemnly swear to stay Best Friends, the connection between them is pulled taut by distance and by growing up in spaces radically different. And so the story goes; two playmates meet in a ballet class, they have a fourteen-year friendship, they fall out of touch. ‘I’ll Miss You a Little’ explores losing a first friend like losing a first love.

 

The RBC Emerging Playwright Award:

Sponsored by the RBC Emerging Artists Fund.

 

Harun by Makram AyacheHarun’s mother discovers he’s gay, she is killed in a tragic accident in Beirut. A year later, Harun is struck with a dystopian vision and a wilting Angel comes to him with a dire warning. As he and his friends organize a counter protest against white-supremacist uprising, worse turns worser as the veil between the political and the spiritual thins.

Twentysomething by Megs CallejaTwentysomething explores messy, heartbreaking moments between people who love each other deeply but have bittersweet timing. The vignette play explores four relationships shattered by abandonment, set in the exact moment of unwanted happenstance. Each reunion is inescapable as couples are trapped in elevators, rescue cabins, rooftops, and prison cells, forced to confront years of unsaid conversations. Twentysomething is an unapologetic look at the truth behind what we do for love, why we hurt those closest to us in the name of love, and what it means to sit in second chances. In 29 Floors, fallen-out best friends Ted and Josie meet—and get stuck in—an elevator, four years after Ted abandoned their friendship with no warning. In 28 Clicks, brothers Pete and Finn wind up in the same wilderness refuge cabin during a fluke storm while hiking independently, three years after Pete left and cut all ties with the family. In 27 Cards, ex-fiancées Erin and Michael run into each other at a holiday party and wind up locked out on the rooftop in an effort to grab a smoke, two years after Erin left Michael at the alter. In 26 Cents, first loves Bailey and Linden find themselves in the drunk tank together, having no contact for a year since Linden left Bailey a three-sentence breakup voicemail. And in 25 Hours, a series of interwoven flashbacks follows each of the duos in the final hours leading up to a pivotal breaking point for their relationships. 

Eva in Rio by Gabe Maharjan20 year old Eva wakes up in Rio de Janeiro to attain her final form. With her gender confirmation surgery scheduled for that day, she goes on a last-ditch attempt to secure some vitamin D before her 8-week post-surgical celibacy. Along the way, she encounters larger-than-life characters in this wonderland––from instagramming with soundcloud rap star Christ the Redeemer, to getting caught in the flashing lights of the paparazzi. When her perfect man and perfect body aren’t enough, her surreal ambitions fall apart as she’s brought back to reality. In the hyper-sexualized gender-negative culture she’s grown up in, how will Eva reconcile the difference between her 20 year old fantasy self and the teenage life she is living?

 

Sharon Enkin Plays For Young People Award:

Sponsored by The Enkin Family.


Bent Boy by Herbert BarnesWhen a small native village learns of a danger approaching they must send out Bent Boy to seek out an ancient treasure to protect the village. The only problem is the village disagrees with the choice the chief makes so in secret they send out their choice to follow Bent Boy. The two must learn to work together even though neither wants the other to be there in order to save the future of the village.

 

#IAMTHECHEESE by Josh MacDonald#IAMTHECHEESE is a reimagining of the 1977 novel for young adults, originally written by American author Robert Cormier. In the play, now set in 2019, a badly traumatized teenager named ADAM FARMER struggles to recall deeply suppressed memories of his past, through a series of interviews with a female analyst named BRINT. Beginning with just a wisp of a children’s nursery rhyme—“The Farmer in the Dell”—Adam begins to reassemble his sense of self, bit by bit. Eventually, Adam remembers the social stigma of his preteen years, when his parents inexplicably banned the use of the internet: no cellphones, no computer, no wifi, etc.. But Adam dares to begin a relationship with a girl from his school named AMY HERTZ, and it’s a relationship which blooms in cyberspace (via public access computers at the library). The more that Adam remembers about Amy, however, and about his own parents, the closer the boy comes to recognizing that a massive, faceless danger might be surrounding him still…

 

A Year In The Stars and Rain by Jared MallardChloe and Stan are social pariahs.

Gradually, little by little, through conversations in the summer rain and an ever-growing pile of Lord of The Rings books, Chloe and Stan fall for each other.

They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re impractical and dizzy, and you feel as if you have everything because of this one person.

A Year in The Stars and Rain is a portrait of young love itself, the tiny moments, and new feelings. It is a story of how your first love can affect your life, no matter how old you grow. It is a story of sorrow, bravery and beauty that will stay with you forever.

 

Playwrights Guild Comedy Award:

Sponsored by the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

 

The Shoe by David Paquet, Translated by Leanna Brodie – Melanie’s son Benoit, age 8, has a pain that won’t go away, so she takes him to the dentist. Naturally, this results in an epic meltdown. You see, with Benoit, nothing is ever simple. So of course, the dentist discovers that Benoit has a lot more than cavities inside his mouth… At last, Melanie – with the help of a kindly alcoholic receptionist, and a dentist who prefers plants to people – must face the fact that her son’s problems are much larger than a simple toothache. Le Soulier is a bipolar comedy, a hilarious and unsettling play in which empathy triumphs over illness.

 

Siberian Summer by Paul Van Dyck Siberian Summer is a comedy about three retired women and one of their sons on a journey of self-discovery as they travel the Trans-Siberian Railway from St. Petersburg to Beijing.

The story follows Louise, Beatrice, and Deborah, as they drink, laugh, and bicker their way across a continent. Along for the ride is Peter, Deborah’s apathetic son who’s waiting a little too patiently for his life to begin. The cast of characters is rounded off with Sonya, their formidable young Russian tour guide who refuses to sugarcoat her controversial country.

As Louise deals with her drinking problem by having another drink, Beatrice can’t get over the death of her husband, who was apparently more boring alive than dead. Meanwhile Deborah forces Peter to keep carrying her baggage, figuratively and literarily, as Sonya seems to carry the weight of a corrupt country on her shoulders. But between the five of them, they discover that through love and friendship life’s adventure is far from over, no matter what your age.

From Lenin’s Tomb to Lake Baikal, from the Gobi Desert to The Great Wall of China, Siberian Summer is part history lesson, part geography lesson, and all life lesson.

 

Pinkerton Comes to Prospect by Jamie WilliamsDoc Hennessy is in trouble, deadly trouble. Tallahassee Trigger, wanted outlaw and gunslinger, is coming for him . Too tied down to the Town of Prospect where he is mayor, sheriff and dentist, Doc’s only option is to hire a proxy gunfighter, William Pinkerton of the world famous Pinkerton National Detective Agency: problem is he’s got no money. So, turning to his only family, his niece Lacey, for the money- without her knowing- seems the best plan… until Lacey catches him with the key to her safety box. Angry and betrayed yet unable to leave him in a lurch Lacey gives over. All they have to do now is wait and hope Pinkerton arrives before Trigger does. But when the unexpected surveyor and cartographer Herschel Penkerten arrives first, feverish with an abscessed tooth, amidst the panic and chaos a misunderstanding takes place. Doc, Lacey, and Amos the town drunk, take Penkerten for Pinkerton. Hypnosis, love, death, gold, and finding out what you really stand for, drive this fast paced high action western comedy that careens ridiculously towards the inevitable showdown with the infamous and deadly Tallahassee Trigger.

 

Playwrights Guild Musical Award:

Sponsored by the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

 

Kelly v. Kelly by Sara Farb, Music & Lyrics by Britta JohnsonInspired by true events from 1915 in New York, KELLY v. KELLY reveals the story of a mother and daughter divided by passion, money and what it means to be an autonomous woman at a time of huge societal change.

Eugenia Kelly was an heiress in New York in 1915 who lived with her dominating single mother, Helen. At age nineteen, Eugenia felt the lure of the new tango craze sweeping New York City and began sneaking out at night to attend tango clubs. There, she became acquainted with liquor, cigarettes, and the seductive tango dancer Al Davis.

Helen Kelly was apoplectic. Eugenia started coming home at three and four in the morning on a nightly basis, showing no regard for her social standing or for her own mother. Helen begged her to stop but Eugenia wouldn’t listen. Finally, after trying everything she could, Helen had her daughter arrested on charges of incorrigibility and had her tried in a court of law. The trial captivated and scandalized the city.

KELLY v. KELLY is about how hard it is for children to imagine the emotional lives of their parents, the gulf between childhood and adulthood and adolescence ending before it has begun. 

 

Grow: A New Musical by Matt Murray, Music & Lyrics by Colleen Dauncey & Akiva Romer-SegalBefore they must commit to the Amish faith forever, nineteen-year-old twins Hannah and Ruth leave the comfort of their sheltered community to explore the outside world for the first time. After finding themselves stranded in one of Toronto’s roughest neighbourhoods, all their plans go up in smoke and they end up working at an illegal marijuana grow-op. Grow is an outrageously fun, big-hearted musical, that explores sisterhood, community, and the legalization of a once-forbidden weed.

 

Keaton and The Whale by Molly Reisman (book & lyrics), & Emily Chiu (book & music) Keaton and The Whale is a whimsically irreverent musical with a freewheeling, original score based on the real life 52-hertz whale, also known as The Loneliest Whale In The World because he sings at 52-hertz, a frequency no other whale in the world can hear. The Whale has been swimming alone and singing only to his shadow since forever, until one day a mysterious voice responds. He sets off on a journey to find the source of this voice, and in doing so unwittingly brings together three unlikely kindred spirits, each lonely in their own way: Keaton, pretentious PhD candidate who is not pretentious enough for Academic Arte, Riley, marine biology eco-warrior/delinquent who skips period 3 English to track whales at the docks, and the lonely Whale himself, who wakes up every day, asking, “Can anyone hear me?” Keaton and The Whale is a story about loneliness and the beauty of being vulnerable and brave enough to connect to the world around you.

 

Carol Bolt Award:

Sponsored by Alberta Playwrights’ Network, Playwrights Canada Press, Manitoba Association of Playwrights (MAP), Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC), Playwrights Theatre Centre and Playwrights Guild of Canada.

 

This is How We Got Here by Keith BarkerIt’s been a year since Paul and Lucille’s son Craig committed suicide, and their once-solid family bonds are starting to break down. While the now-separated couple tries to honour their son, Lucille’s sister Liset and her husband Jim refuse to discuss their nephew. The ties that keep the four together as sisters, best friends, and spouses are strained by grief and guilt… until a visit from a fox changes everything.

 

Room by Emma Donoghue, Music by Cora Bissett & Kathryn JosephAdapted from Donoghue’s 2010 novel in which a five-year-old boy welcomes us into his life in the ten-by-ten-foot room he was born into: a world of domestic routine and fun with his fond, energetic young Ma. ROOM is a play about the triumph of love over horror.

 

From Alaska by Sébastien Harrisson, Translated by Leanna BrodieOne summer evening, a retired librarian is “taken hostage” in her suburban home by her tough-talking teenaged neighbour. Time passes with the unpredictable rhythms of grief – the slowness of healing, the fast-forwards of distraction. Meanwhile, the old woman and the young man discover what they have in common: the one they love most in all the world has just gone away… Gliding effortlessly between street-smart humour and lyrical elegance, Harrisson explores love in all its pain, confusion, and unexpected joy.

 

List of the Playwright’s Bios

 

The Robert Beardsley Award – Shortlisted Playwrights

Audrey Krieger-Pottruff is an aspiring theatre, film, and television writer based out of Toronto, Ontario. She is currently studying to obtain her Bachelors of Fine Arts in screenwriting and gender and women’s studies from York University. She has written and directed several short films, and written several plays including the Waterloo County English Award winning Tragedy: A Comedy. She is passionate about feminism and many other social issues that she aims to explore through her writing.

Nam Nguyen is a playwright & lyricist based in the Greater Toronto Area.

Micaela (Mick) Robertson is an emerging writer, actor, and director. Her writing credits include ‘The Rhythm Method’ and ‘Lone Island Lovers’, both of which earned the President’s Award for Best Production (U of T Drama Festival, 2018 and 2019). Her acting credits include ‘Concord Floral’ (Canadian Stage), ‘Spice it Up’ (Lisa Pictures), and ‘I am in the World as Free and Slender as a Deer on a Plain’, by Sofia Banzhaf, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was named one of the 6 best Canadian films at TIFF ‘19 by Maclean’s Magazine. Most recently, Mick directed the short film ‘Eating is a Very Tender Thing’, which was commissioned by the 2020 TIFF: Next Wave Film Festival, and wrote ‘Milk’, a visual monologue presented at the virtual 2020 Toronto Fringe Festival. This summer, Mick graduated with high distinction from the University of Toronto.

 

RBC Emerging Playwright Award – Shortlisted Playwrights

Makram Ayache is a community-engaged playwright, performer, anti-oppression educator, and activist who splits his time between Edmonton and Toronto. His playwriting currently explores meaningful representation of queer Arab voices and his relationship to Lebanon. He creates culturally specific work that speaks into a Canadian context. His plays have been workshopped at the Banff Centre through the Playwrights’ Lab, have been independently produced in Alberta and Ontario, and have been nominated for several awards including four Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, he acted as co-devisor and Story Weaver with Azumith Theatre’s devised project “All That Binds Us,” directed by Reneltta Arluk and in collaboration with Jenna Rodgers, Lebogang Disele, and Amena Shehab. Most recently, he is developing his latest play, “The Hooves Belonged to the Deer,” through a commission by the Alberta Queer Calendar Project. Find him at www.makramayache.com.

Megs Calleja is a Canadian-Maltese performing artist and writer. Born in Toronto, she discovered community musical theatre programs at a young age, and her deep love of reading encouraged her to craft a career focused in the arts. Having trained across the globe in the theatre arts, she has also lived an academic life studying human behaviour, anthropology, and environmental studies. Megs remembers overwhelming moments of insecurity and anxiety throughout her childhood, and her first memory of feeling confident was on stage, auditioning for a sixth grade play. Writing and performing has been her way of making sense of the world around and inside her. Megs finds no greater joy than combining writing and acting, and starred as Josie in Twentysomething’s 2019 world premiere. She has also written her first young adult fantasy novel, Acorns & Roots, published October 2020. Megs is inspired by the space between the words, dark comedies, the skipping of a heartbeat, and the beauty in its break. In her spare time she dances ballet at her kitchen counter, teaches acting for kids and teens, and crochets many blankets.

Gabe Maharjan (they/them) is a playwright and performer originally from Tiotiá:ke/Montreal. They graduated from the Dome Performance Program in 2017, and has since gone through the Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal’s (PWM) Young Creators Unit (where they started writing “Eva”), as well as PWM’s Translation Mentorship in partnership with Le CEAD. They recently participated in the Buddies in Bad Times Emerging Creators Unit in Tkarón:to/Toronto, where they co-created and presented a CCA-supported Digital Original called “E-TRANSFERS” with Merlin Simard. They are currently developing a commissioned TYA adaptation for Geordie Theatre, as well as an adaptation of a Hesse novel as artist-in-residence at Imago Theatre. Select performance credits include La Somnambule (META nominated – Lead Performance), the award winning Bouffon Fringe show Don’t Read the Comments (Sermo Scomber), and Primus Vita (Epsilon Games). Find out more about Gabe at gabemaharjan.com.

 

Sharon Enkin Plays For Young People Award – Shortlisted Playwrights

Herbert BarnesHerbie, an Anishnabe from Aundeck Omni Kaning On Manitoulin Island. An Actor , Director , Writer and Teacher. He has directed across North America with plays like Music Man (TIFT), Oliver the Musical (Bluff City Theatre), Inheritance (Alley and Touchstone Theatre) and Tales of an Urban Indian (Public Theater) and has been nominated for a John Hirsh Award nominated for directing. 

As an actor he’s played varied staged from Main stage National Arts Centre to a city bus running through cities’ routes throughout North America. Some of Herbie’s best-known stage roles include Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, or as Norval Morrisseau in Copper Thunderbird or singing and dancing as a Wikersham Brother in Seussical The Musical.

Josh MacDonald — Josh is the award-winning writer of the feature films THE CORRIDOR (IFC Films) and FAITH, FRAUD & MINIMUM WAGE (eOne Entertainment). His short film as a writer-director, GAME, has won prizes at festivals worldwide, been acquired by Blumhouse’s CryptTV, and viewed over a million times online. Josh’s stage plays HALO, WHEREVERVILLE, and THE MYSTERY PLAY have been produced at home and around North America, been published by Talonbooks, and become curriculum titles in high schools and universities. Josh has written series television for the CBC, the National Film Board, the Smithsonian Channel, Reelz, Blue Ant, AMI, Eastlink and Teletoon. Josh has taught screenwriting and playwriting at NSCAD and Dalhousie University, respectively. He is also a professional actor for the stage and screen.

Jared Mallard is a multiple award winner on a provincial, national and international scale having won awards and contests in Canada and the United States. His plays include the comedy Princess Ashley and The Battle of Goblin Swamp (2013), Amongst the Monsters (2015), Captain Overalls (2016), Harwich Hollow (2018), The Diary of Every Samson (2019), 22nd Century Digital Boy (2019). 

 

Playwrights Guild Comedy Award – Shortlisted Playwrights

Leanna Brodie is a playwright whose work has been performed from Halifax to Vancouver, from London to Auckland. She is also a leading translator of Québécois playwrights, with 2019-2020 productions in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, and Chicago as well as four English-language premieres: David Paquet’s Wildfire (Upstream Theater, St. Louis MO) and Annie Broccoli’s Stella and the Time Machine Journey (Lune Rouge, Arlington TX) took place, while Joe Jack et John’s Violette (Espace Libre, Montréal QC) and Sébastien Harrisson’s From Alaska (Ruby Slippers/Gateway Theatre, Vancouver BC) were postponed due to the pandemic. Her plays The Vic, For Home and Country, The Book of Esther, and Schoolhouse are published by Talonbooks. Brodie is an Artistic Associate at Ruby Slippers Theatre and an Associate of Playwrights Theatre Centre, where she is co-writing Salesman in China with Jovanni Sy. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Calgary. www.leannabrodie.com

David Paquet, a 2006 graduate in playwriting of the National Theatre School of Canada, lives in Montreal. His plays Porc-épic, 2h14, Appels entrants illimités, Les Grands-mères mortes (co-writer), Le Brasier, Histoires à plumes et à poils (co-writer), Le Soulier, and Le Poids des fourmis – as well as Papiers mâchés and Le Voilier (manifeste du fragile), two one-man-shows of “stand-up poetry” which he performs himself – have garnered international praise and been produced in more than 12 countries all over North America and Europe. They have cumulatively won the Governor General’s Award, the Prix Michel-Tremblay, the Prix Sony-Labou-Tansi (twice), the Quebec Critic’s Choice Award for TYA (twice) and the Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui Audience Choice Award. (2020)

Paul Van Dyck is a writer, director, performer, and Artistic Director of Rabbit in a Hat Productions, a Montreal based theatre company with a mandate to produce new Canadian plays.

Paul’s work has been presented across Canada and around the world. He has received numerous awards including The Revelation Award (Montreal English Critics Circle), Outstanding Direction (Montreal English Theatre Awards), and Best Production (New York Frigid Festival, Atlantic Fringe Festival, and Montreal Fringe Festival).

Paul is a past participant of the Shaw Festival’s Neil Munro Intern Directors Project, the Lincoln Center generated Directors Lab North in Toronto, Directors Lab Mediterranean in Beirut, and was a past National Forum Representative of Quebec for the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Presently, Paul is pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. www.paulvandyck.ca

Jamie Williams – As an actor Jamie has performed across the country in over eighty productions on stages that include the Stratford Festival, the National Arts Centre and the Citadel. As a playwright, Pinkerton Comes to Prospect is his second completed work . The first, It’s Your Funeral, a farce which Jamie directed himself, premiered at Upper Canada Playhouse in June of 2018, and was subsequently produced at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre directed by Simon Joynes. Presently he is at work on two new scripts and looks forward to performing alongside Norm Foster in Theatre Orangeville’s production of The Writer in 2021.

 

Playwrights Guild Musical Award – Shortlisted Playwrights

Sara Farb (book writer) and Britta Johnson (composer/lyricist) met in 2014 when they were paired up as part of the Musical Stage Company’s Noteworthy program and have been friends and collaborators ever since. They were nominated for a Dora award for their short musical “He Is Coming” as part of Musical Stage Company’s Reframed, presented at the AGO. Britta has worked on numerous award-winning productions with many collaborators including her original musical Life After, which had an award-winning run at Canadian Stage before opening at the Old Globe in San Diego. It is set to open at Washington’s Arena Stage in 2021. Sara recently returned from a year on Broadway in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and has spent five seasons at Stratford as an actor. Her original one-woman show R-E-B-E-C-C-A premiered at Theatre Passe-Muraille, and Bremen Rock City, for which she wrote the book is, available for license and has been performed by youth theatres across Ontario.

Matt Murray is the book writer for Grow in collaboration with Colleen Dauncey and Akiva Romer-Segal, which is slated to receive its world premiere at London’s Grand Theatre. Grow was workshopped as part of Sheridan’s 2019 Canadian Music Theatre Project, where it was first developed in 2016. Grow was also part of Goodspeed’s 2020 Festival of New Musicals. He is the book writer for Going Under, another collaboration with Colleen Dauncey and Akiva Romer-Segal. Matt has written three Ross Petty Panto – Lil’ Red Robin Hood, The Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol – all at Toronto’s Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre. A Christmas Carol was recorded for broadcast by CBC/Family Channel. Matt also co-wrote My Bonnie Lass (book, music, lyrics) in collaboration with acclaimed recording artist Johnny Reid. My Bonnie Lass received a workshop production at Theatre Sheridan where it was first developed as part of the 2017. My Bonnie Lass will receive its world premiere at the Savoy Theatre in Cape Breton this spring.

Molly Reisman is a Canadian lyricist and librettist who is endlessly curious about how humans connect, empathize and interact with the world around them. She holds a B.F.A in acting from Ryerson University and an M.F.A from NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.

Molly was recently awarded the New Voices Project Award from New Musicals Inc. and Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as the inaugural Eric H. Weinberger award for Emerging Librettist for her piece “Keaton and The Whale” from New York’s Amas Musical Theater, and she has served as an artist in residence at the Fingerlakes Musical Theater PiTCH Festival. www.mollyreisman.com

Emily Chiu is an internationally-based, Taiwanese-American musical theater writer and composer who loves to tell stories about sea creatures, grandmas, food – and how they bring us together in times of darkness.

Writing credits include: American Girl Live! (US National Tour – Mills Entertainment, Mattel Inc.); Bak Chang <肉粽> (commissioned by the 5th Ave Theater); Unshelved <圖書館奇妙夜> (2020 Xintiandi Festival, Shanghai Conservatory of Music); Keaton and the Whale (Eric Weinberger Emerging Librettists Award, AMAS Musical Theater, the PitCH @ The Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival); Apollo (Highland Arts Theatre, Tisch New Musicals Workshop), Zookeeper (National Asian Artists’ Project), You Gave Me A Sheep (National Asian Artists’ Project); Life, Love, Food, and Monsters (Mr. William Finn’s New Artists On The Horizon). She holds a BA in music from Brown University and an MFA from NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program. www.emilychiu.net

 

Carol Bolt Award for Playwrights – Shortlisted Playwrights

Keith Barker is a Métis artist from Northwestern Ontario and the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. He is a graduate of the George Brown Theatre School and worked as a Theatre Program Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts. He is a recipient of a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, a SAT Award for Excellence in Playwriting, and a Yukon Arts Audience Award for Best Art for Social Change. His play This is How We Got Here was a 2018 Finalist for the Governor General Award for Drama. Keith is the Co-General Manager of his Arts League Hockey team, The Friendly Giants, and is a below average player.

Emma DonoghueBorn in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an award-winning writer of drama for stage, screen and radio as well as the contemporary and historical fiction for which she’s best known. She did a PhD in English in Cambridge before settling in London Ontario in 1998. Her books include The Pull of the Stars, The Wonder (shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize) and Room (winner of the Rogers Writers trust Award), which she adapted into a film for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Bafta. Her Selected Plays are published by Oberon Books.


Leanna Brodie is a playwright whose work has been performed from Halifax to Vancouver, from London to Auckland. She is also a leading translator of Québécois playwrights, with 2019-2020 productions in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, and Chicago as well as four English-language premieres: David Paquet’s Wildfire (Upstream Theater, St. Louis MO) and Annie Broccoli’s Stella and the Time Machine Journey (Lune Rouge, Arlington TX) took place, while Joe Jack et John’s Violette (Espace Libre, Montréal QC) and Sébastien Harrisson’s From Alaska (Ruby Slippers/Gateway Theatre, Vancouver BC) were postponed due to the pandemic. Her plays The Vic, For Home and Country, The Book of Esther, and Schoolhouse are published by Talonbooks. Brodie is an Artistic Associate at Ruby Slippers Theatre and an Associate of Playwrights Theatre Centre, where she is co-writing Salesman in China with Jovanni Sy. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Calgary. www.leannabrodie.com

Sébastien Harrisson – Born in Quebec in 1975, Sébastien Harrisson was trained in playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada.  The author of 15 plays which have been performed both nationally and internationally, he has developed a writing style that combines lyricism and fantasy and is aimed at both young and adult audiences. Since 2013, he has directed the Montreal-based theatre company Les Deux Mondes and, with his creative partner, director Eric Jean, has developed a signature aesthetic that integrates text and video. Their most recent creation, Becoming Chelsea, a drama loosely based on the life of American activist Chelsea Manning, premiered in Montreal at Prospero Theatre in 2020 and was a resounding success.

 

Bra D’Or Award Finalists

Avery Jean Brennan – Nominated by Kai Taddei

“Avery Jean Brennan is a powerhouse of empathy and determination. In this past year, they: 1) made Canadian theatre history by being the first trans woman to appear on Neptune Theatre’s stage; 2) taught multiple workshops at theatres across the country on how to make theatre inclusive to trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) folks; 3) fought the CAEA to include a non-binary gender option on their website; and, 4) began work on a new musical for an all-trans ensemble.”

Marjorie Chan – Nominated by Julie Phan

“When she first met me, I was anxious, overwhelmed, and lost; in that first meeting alone, she calmly helped me put the pieces of my show together and helped me restore confidence in myself. In subsequent months, she introduced me to members in the community who have further developed and have become involved in my work. I would not be where I am as an emerging artist without Marjorie. There are countless other people who have worked with Marjorie who continually point out how her kindness and generosity stands out to them.  Aside from being a very accomplished theatre creator herself (as a writer, director, actor, and artistic leader), and being a writer who continually centers the diverse voices of Asian womxn within her own work, Marjorie is a champion for all womxn theatre creators.” 

Kara Flanagan – Self Nominated

In 2018, Kara Flanagan founded Theatre Carpe Diem, a Victoria, BC based theatre company, dedicated to Canadian playwrights with a mandate focused on stories about women. Kara has been running this company for two years and has been instrumental in creating a platform for Canadian women playwrights to tell their stories. […] Kara recognizes that supporting Canadian female playwrights takes more than simply choosing a play written by a Canadian woman. It takes three key ingredients: education and mentorship to support new theatre artists who understand the importance of female storytellers and stories; a vision that empowers and celebrates women; and courage to take a risk to achieve a mandate that supports Canadian women playwrights telling empowering stories about women.”

Heather Inglis – Nominated by Beth Graham

“She has been dedicated to dramaturgy and new play development with credit as a director and dramaturg on well over one hundred workshops and staged readings of new Canadian plays, many of them by women. […] Throughout her career, Heather has not only encouraged and championed plays by women playwrights but she has also produced their work, notably with her company Theatre Yes.” 

Thomas Morgan Jones – Nominated by Alissa Watson

“For a mid-career artist, Thomas has a substantial resume, and one that is multifaceted. He is a respected performer, playwright, movement coach, director, and arts administrator. However, one of his most important attributes is his advocacy for female playwrights. […] During his time at Theatre New Brunswick, Thomas programmed new works/world premieres by Tania Breen, Kim Parkhill, Gabrielle Houle (who co-wrote alongside Thomas and Richard Lee), Kira Smith (a high school student who wrote TNB’s Theatre for Young Audiences touring show as her first play), and Mona’a Malik, a prose writer, whose story he assisted in adapting into a touring TYA play (with support he helped acquire from Young People’s Theatre in Toronto). He also programmed a play by Judith Thompson. 

I think it is outstanding that for several playwrights, myself included, it is Thomas who made our professional playwriting debut possible. Establishing the Emerging Playwrights Unit, in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, was one of Thomas’s first accomplishments at PTE. The EPU has sixty percent female representation – of which I am fortunate to be one of the members – and has become a safe and inspiring place for emerging writers.”

Anna Pappas – Nominated by Claire Dunn

“Anna Pappas, as the Founder and Artistic Director of Canada’s Ergo Arts Theatre, decided her power as a gatekeeper was best used to throw that gate open wide to female and marginalized gender playwrights. […]Anna created Pink, the arm of Ergo Arts dedicated to supporting emerging (young and older), female-identifying and marginalized genders; and in 2018, she launched Ergo Pink Fest (EPF), a festival to mentor and give visibility to female-identifying and gender-marginalized playwrights. To enter, playwrights have to meet three criteria with their one-act plays to showcase the stories of women and non-binary characters: 1. The script must feature at least two women/non-binary people, who both have names; 2. These two people talk to each other; 3. They talk about something other than a man. (Those of you familiar with the Bechdel-Wallace Test will recognize the criteria!)”

Caroline Russel-King – Self Nominated

“She has always championed playwrights, especially women and underrepresented populations. She is the dramaturg in residence for Calgary’s only community theatre, Urban Stories, developing new works almost exclusively by women. With her own company, Dramaturgy on Demand, Caroline continues to work with both professional playwrights and emerging playwrights. She ran the Petro Canada New Play Development series for Lunchbox Theatre for three years, working with Colleen Curran, Tracy Power, Judith Clark, Katherine Koller, and Michelle Deines. As a dramaturg, she has worked with African Canadian Maira Crooks to bring three of her plays to the stage.”

Bronwyn Steinberg – Nominated by Margo MacDonald

“Through her theatre company, TACTICS (Theatre Artists Co-operative – The Independent Collective Series), Bronwyn has been working for years to amplify the creative voices of independent artists in the Ottawa area – primarily women artists. She has helped numerous new plays written by women to receive time, space, money, and encouragement through the workshop stage to public readings, and even through to full productions. […] Bronwyn has given work to numerous professional women playwrights, directors, actors, designers, and production team members working in independent theatre – providing opportunities to develop work too ambitious and large in scope to be done at, say, the Fringe Festival level. This was particularly needed in Ottawa, and Bronwyn, along with her TACTICS team, are constantly looking for ways to adapt what they do to provide better support to these artists.”

Wet Ink Collective (Susinn McFarlen, Loretta Seto & Lynna Goldhar Smith) – Nominated by Barbara Pollard

“Wet Ink Collective directors encourage and champion female writers (plays and screenplays) in a remarkable series of well-constructed workshops that the three creators tirelessly facilitate at great personal expense. And we are seeing incredible results with more plays getting public readings, and plays and screenplays being produced.”

 

List of the Jury and Chair Bios

Robert Beardsley Award – Chair and Jury

Yolanda Bonnell (Chair) (She/Her) is a Queer 2 Spirit Ojibwe and South Asian mixed performer, playwright and poet from Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, ON. Now based in Tkarón:to, and a graduate of Humber College’s Theatre Performance program, Yolanda and Michif (Métis) artist Cole Alvis began manidoons collective; a circle of artists creating Indigenous performance. In February 2020, Yolanda’s recently four-time Dora nominated solo show bug was remounted at Theatre Passe Muraille. She has performed on stages in institutions such as the Stratford Festival, the NAC and The Cultch on the unceded Coast Salish territory. She was recently nominated for a Dora award for her performance in Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin/ Gállábártnit.

Julia Lederer – Julia’s plays have been produced in cities across North America and in Europe. Her work has been described as, “brash, poetic and fiercely original,” (NOW Toronto),  “laced with sophisticated poetry and wry insight,” (The Los Angeles Times), and as “ris[ing] to a rare level of universal truth, all while making us laugh. A lot.” (New City Stage Chicago). Julia has written films that have been selected for festivals all over the world, including: The Toronto International Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Palm Springs International Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, etc. You can find her film, SPOONING, streaming on CBC Gem. She was selected from 800 applicants to work on KIM’S CONVENIENCE (Thunderbird/CBC) in the emerging writers room. Her film adaptation of her acclaimed play, WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN, was selected for the Whistler Film Festival’s Screenwriters Lab, short-listed for the Sundance Feature Development Lab and at the Austin Film Festival. It will go into production in 2021, when such things are safe again.

Myekah Payne is a Developmental/Production Dramaturg based in the city of Toronto. She completed a 2 year new play dramaturgy program while working on her BA at York University and also possesses a diploma in Musical Theatre Performance. She currently works as a production dramaturg for Driftwood Theatre, a new play dramaturg with Obsidian theatre and as an intern/associate Dramaturg with Nightswimming Theatre. 

 

RBC Emerging Playwright Award – Chair and Jury

Muriel Hogue (Chair) is a playwright, actor for stage and film, director and producer. She has her own independent company called Red Hen Productions under which many of her plays have been produced. As her first discipline was music, some of her plays incorporate stories from female musicians. Familiar to the Fringe circuit, she also has received praise for independent works such as the award winning Scar Tissue. She is a member of PGC, MAP, ACTRA,  and Equity.

Warona Setshwaelo is a storyteller, mother and advocate. Since moving to Tiohtià:ke 12 years ago, Warona has immersed herself in the theatre community, both locally and nationally. Apart from performing with several theatre companies in Montreal, such as Tessri Duniya, Repercussion Theatre,  Geordie Theatre, Black Theatre Workshop, The Segal Centre, Tableau d’Hote and Scapegoat Carnivale she has performed in Toronto at the Tarragon Theatre as well as at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Company in Winnipeg and the Belfry in Victoria. Her credits also include Death Wish, The Disappearance, 19-2, Quantico, The Detectives, Fatal Vows as well as  several video games including Assassin’s Creed Origins, The District and John Clancy’s Ghost Recon. She also sat on the board of ELAN (English Language Arts Network) 2015 – 2017, she presently sits on the board of the Quebec Drama Federation as well as it’s advocacy committee and she is the coordinator of the Artist Mentorship Program at Black Theatre Workshop since 2016.

Yvonne Wallace (Ucwalmicw) from the Lil’wat Nation. Graduated the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree program at Capilano University. She is currently working on her Master’s in Education Leadership at UBC. Her enthusiasm for theatre began while she worked at The Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Later, she graduated with honours from Humber College Theatre Acting program.She has written three plays “Smothered Sweetly”, “The Last Dance”, and “ustzan (to make things better)”a play dealing with language reclamation and her first language fluency progression. Utszan premiered in Whistler, in 2019, Yvonne’s traditional Territory and has toured to Dawson City, Whitehorse. She is honoured to be scheduled into season at The Cultch in May 2021 as playwright and performer. 

 

Theatre for Young Audiences Award – Chair and Jury

Pablo Felices-Luna (Chair) is the Artistic Director of Manitoba Theatre for Young People. He was born and raised in Peru, and came to Canada more than 30 years ago to pursue a career in theatre. Throughout his career, Pablo has worked as a director, stage manager, technical director, production manager and translator. He has worked for reputed companies like Roseneath Theatre and Theatre Beyond Words, and toured shows into Young People’s Theatre, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Youtheatre and various Children’s Series in the U.S.

Pablo co-founded Castlemoon Theatre, which he led from 2001 to 2006, to create original works for preschool-age children. In 2007, he was appointed Artistic Director of Carousel Players, a Theatre for Young Audiences company operating out of St. Catharines, Ontario since 1972. He directed 15 productions and worked with 9 different playwrights to premiere 7 new plays in his eight years at Carousel Players before joining MTYP in November of 2014.

Working with Professor Gyllian Raby from Brock University, Pablo co-led Commotion, a three-year creative research project that studied the process of play-devising with high school students. He has also worked with young people through Showboat’s Young Company in Port Colborne and the main stage Young Company program at Theatre Orangeville. Pablo and his wife Carrie are partners in the adventure of raising their audacious daughters Emma, Alejandra and Isabel.

Maggie Mercredi, Dene found a love for the performing arts in the original Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC)’s production of “Matonabbee”, a northern play about a Dene leader’s journey in the mid 1700s, during the French and English wars for colonial domination. No coincidence, as today Maggie helps to educate communities on the affects of colonization.

These roles led to being part of the NACC Studio Theatre Group where she honed her skills in roles such as Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Christine in “I Remember Mama” and Mary in “How The Other Half Loves” to name a few. She developed more of her comedic skills through roles in brilliant writings for “Land of the Midnight Sin” and how adapted versions of plays can thrill local audiences as they did in “Yellowknife: Our Town”. 

A co-founding member of the Native Theatre Group of Yellowknife took them to perform their original play to the North American Indian Arts Festival in Toronto. Audiences also found Maggie in the role of Pelajia, hammering the shingles on her roof in “The Rez Sisters” at the Walterdale Theatre in Edmonton.  A member of an ensemble of women’s voices, bringing her own stories to the stage, a turning point as it led to writing original pieces.

A graduate of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Indigenous music and Spoken Word and Storytelling residencies further enhanced her creativity and affirmed the importance of cultural and traditional teachings in the performing arts. Maggie has written, directed, produced and performed original plays. She loves and supports community theatre because so many gifted artists live next door.

She is honoured to have read from this year’s submissions to the Tom Hendry Awards 2020 from such gifted and talented artists. “It was a wonderful experience to be taken into another time and place where wonders happen, like the time I saw myself or someone I knew from long ago. Mahsi Cho.”

David Woods is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer and organization leader (visual artist, curator, poet, playwright, storyteller, theatre director, curator, librettist, lyricist, arts event organizer, arts researcher, organization executive) who has been a prominent figure in the Nova Scotia arts scene for decades.  

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 north end 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 a playwright.

 

Playwrights Guild Comedy Award – Chair and Jury

Jeff Pitcher (Chair) Born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador, Jeff is the Artistic Director of Theatre Newfoundland Labrador and the author of over fifteen produced plays, including the “Ed & Ed” trilogy, “The Known Soldier” “Elvis & Mavis” and “17 Men” along with adaptations of “A Christmas Carol,” “Peter Pan,” and “Robin Hood.” He recently graduated from Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio and splits his time between writing in Vancouver and working with Theatre Newfoundland Labrador.

Rachel Peake has worked across the country as a director, dramaturge, and creator in theatre and opera. She recently completed three years as Associate Artistic Director of the Citadel Theatre where she led the company’s new play development initiatives. A graduate of the UofA and Studio 58, Rachel interned at the Stratford Festival, the Shaw Festival and the Komische Oper. She is a three-time recipient of the Jessie Richardson Award for Directing. www.rachelpeake.com

Brie Watson  completed a BA in Theatre at l’Université Laval and is currently working on her MFA, Brie Watson is an improv, stand-up and sketch comedian, live comedy producer & improv instructor based in Toronto & Niagara. Brie is a faculty member at the Second City Training Centre, where she graduated from the Improv and Longform Conservatory Programs. She’s also a graduate of Humber College’s Comedy Writing & Performance Program.

Brie is one half of the sketch comedy duo The Utilidors, who’ve performed internationally at NYC Sketchfest and the Boston Comedy Arts Festival and the co-host of The Constant Struggle Podcast. She is the creator of the long-running Guess Who’s Coming to Improv? and POPAGANDA shows in Toronto and is the co-founder of Improv Niagara.

Brie performed at the Del Close Marathon in New York City, Toronto Fringe, The Big City Improv and She Dot Festivals in Toronto, as well as the Atlantic, Montreal and Winnipeg Fringe Festivals. She was a nominee for the Tim Sims Encouragement Award in 2012. She has performed comedy across Central & Eastern Canada and the United States.

 

Playwrights Guild Musical Award – Chair and Jury

Daniel Maté (Chair)  is an award-winning composer, lyricist, and dramatist originally from Vancouver. He holds an MFA (Musical Theatre Writing) from NYU/Tisch. Recognitions include the $100,000 Kleban Prize for Most Promising Musical Theatre Lyricist and a Jonathan Larson Grant. His song cycle The Longing and the Short of It was awarded the ASCAP Cole Porter Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics, and has been produced in Florida and presented at festivals in Vancouver and Charlottetown, PEI. Other musicals: The Trouble With Doug: European premiere at Fredericia Teater, Denmark 2017 (Victoria Clark, dir.); Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter: Village Theatre Festival of New Musicals, Issaquah WA 2018 (Victoria Clark, dir.); Middle School Mysteries (Two River Theater, Red Bank NJ). Current projects include a musical adaptation of Russell Banks’s novel The Sweet Hereafter, and two books with Dr. Gabor Maté, to be published by Random House. He was named Touchstone Theatre’s first-ever Writer in Residence in 2016 and led the first-ever Musical Theatre Writers’ Workshop in Vancouver in 2017/8, training local composers and lyricists in musical theatre craft. Daniel runs a “mental chiropractic service” called Take A Walk With Daniel and co-leads workshops on parent/adult-child relationships with his father. He is also a two-time finalist for the NYC Hip Hop Karaoke Championship. Daniel currently lives in Victoria, BC.  www.danielmate.com

Deanna Choi (she/her) creates original music, sonic environments, and sound reinforcement systems for stage, screen, and interactive media. Formerly a researcher in behavioural neuroscience, she integrates principles of psychology into her composition and sound design. Her designs for plays and musicals have taken her across Canada, including the Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, Neptune Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Soulpepper, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Tarragon, Coal Mine, Necessary Angel, Crow’s Theatre, The Grand (London), Theatre New Brunswick, Factory, Theatre Passe Muraille, Nightwood, Thousand Islands Playhouse, and the Blyth Festival. She has scored a number of independent films, including Receiver, Prey, and Step Into My Office.  She teaches workshops in sound design and performance at the National Theatre School of Canada, UBC, McGill, and various other institutions. She is the 2020 laureate of the Pauline McGibbon Award from the province of Ontario. She is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada, Screen Composers’ Guild of Canada, and SOCAN. @splitbrainsound

Farren Timoteo is an Edmonton-based performer, playwright and director. He has performed in more than 30 productions in theatres across Western Canada, including the Citadel Theatre (Peter and the Starcatcher, Monty Python’s Spamalot), the Mayfield Dinner Theatre (Forever Plaid, Little Shop of Horrors), Theatre Calgary (The Light in the Piazza), Western Canada Theatre (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (As You Like It, Shakespeare in Love). He is the Artistic Director of Alberta Musical Theatre Company, where his award-winning work as a writer and director is seen by more than 75,000 students across Alberta every season. In 2016, Farren created and starred in his one-person play, “Made in Italy,” which has since been seen at Western Canada Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Thousand Islands Playhouse, and will next appear at Vancouver’s Arts Club as soon as it is safe to do so. Farren has been honoured by the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards on many occasions, most notably for his performances in “Made In Italy,” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” as well as for his direction of Alberta Musical Theatre Company’s “Pinocchio.” In 2015, Farren was included in Avenue Magazine’s prestigious list of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40, in recognition of his artistic contributions to the city.

 

Carol Bolt Award – Chair and Jury

Eda Holmes (Chair) is a playwright, director, and actor. Artistic/Executive Director for Centaur Theatre in Montreal, Eda made her professional directorial debut at Centaur after graduating from the National School of Canada. She has directed across the country most notably at the Shaw Festival where she was Associate Director from 2010 to 2016. Selected credits at Shaw include Grand Hotel, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Arcadia, and Floyd Collins. She has directed across the country and won several awards for her work, including Toronto Theatre Dora Awards for the musical Little Mercy’s First Murder and for the English Language premiere of Michel Marc Bouchard’s Tom at the Farm.  Since taking the reins at Centaur she has directed a number of well received productions including The Last Wife and Alice and the World. Before becoming a director she danced professionally with San Francisco Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet and William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet.

Jennifer Dawn Bishop has been in over twenty-five productions with the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin as an actor, playwright, stage manager and now the current Artistic Director. Jennifer is a graduate of the 2016 Globe Theatre Actor Conservatory, making her Globe Theatre debut in Peter and the Starcatcher as Smee. Jennifer’s first directing debut came in 2017’s production of Vegas Vacation: A Rez Christmas Story. Her play Love Thy Family was featured in the 2016 Short Cuts Festival and returned to direct the knee-play The Watch. Jennifer is thrilled to be part of the Belfry’s Indigenous Learning Exchange Program as Assistant Director!

Jenn Deon is a founder and the producing artistic director of PerSIStence Theatre, a PACT-affiliate company based in St. John’s, NL with a mandate to “respond to the persistent and universal need for promoting, understanding and embracing the core beliefs of feminism, through professional theatre and related initiatives”. With PerSIStence, Jenn has directed works by PGC members Berni Stapleton (The Haunting of Margaret Duley) and Robert Chafe (Isle of Demons). Current projects include dramaturgy work with playwright Trudy Morgan-Cole on development of a new play about the life of suffragist Armine Gosling. As artistic director with the Shakespeare by the Sea Festival from 1995-2015, Jenn directed many of its productions over the years, including a female-driven production of The Taming of the Shrew (2014) and an all-female production of Much Ado About Nothing (2008).  In 2013, Jenn was a recipient of a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her arts community involvement, and in 2018 received the Woman of Distinction Award for Arts & Culture from the YWCA St. John’s. Jenn also works as a CHRC-trained facilitator in Respectful Workplace for arts and non-profit organizations. More at jenndeon.ca.   

 

 

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