You can also read the full announcement and press release below:
The winners of the Tom Hendry Awards were announced at a digital awards ceremony hosted by Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) On Sunday, October 24th, 2021. You can watch the show anytime on PGC’s YouTube Channel. The annual Tom Hendry Awards celebrate and recognize playwrights and theatre-creators across the country for excellent, new work. Hosted by the magnificent Carmen Aguirre, PGC’s ceremony involved ten award presentations in the following categories: Drama, Comedy, Musical, Theatre for Young Audiences, Emerging Artist, Young Writer, Career Achievement, and a special award to support a South African woman playwright. (The names of the awards are the Playwrights Guild Drama Award, RBC Emerging Playwright Award, Robert Beardsley Award, Dan School of Drama & Music Award, Chris Tolley & Dharini Woollcombe Award, Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award, CASA Award, Bra d’Or Award, Honorary Membership Award, and the Lifetime Membership Award.)
These awards celebrate new works, and plays that have yet to be published or produced. As Keith Barker and Yolanda Bonnell stated at PGC’s Nominee Gala: “We’re made of stories – let’s hear more of those stories.” The winning plays bring to life a variety of characters, and all tell stories of hope – hope that may be hiding behind disparity, broken promises, isolation, grief, and/or resistance. The playwrights recognized this year for these awards represent a range of talents, styles, and writing backgrounds. PGC congratulates Yolanda Bonnell for receiving the Drama award with her new play, My Sister’s Rage; Michaela Washburn, Joelle Peters, and Carrie Costello for their winning young audiences play, Frozen River; Sunny Drake for acquiring the Comedy Award with his new play, Every Little Nookie; Nick Green and Kevin Wong for their winning musical, In Real Life; Zahida Rahemtulla for garnering the 2021 Emerging Playwright Award; and Camille Intson for receiving the Robert Beardsley young playwright award.
The CASA Award, a Canadian and South African partnership first conceived in 2015, supports an established woman playwright in South Africa. Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni of Cape Town, South Africa was announced as the 2021 CASA Award recipient. Micheline Chevrier, ED of Imago Theatre, received the Bra d’Or Award for supporting the work of women playwrights, as voted by PGC members. Dramaturg and Literary Manager, Joanna Falck, was presented with the Honorary Membership Award. Playwright, performer, and dedicated PGC member, Marcia Johnson, received the Lifetime Membership Award. Marcia’s newest play, Serving Elizabeth, had just closed at the Stratford Festival Theatre and is now playing at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque.
After being presented with The Lifetime Membership Award, Marcia Johnson shared, “I was completely shocked by this honour. I am touched that people thought that I was worthy of the distinction. Sometimes it does feel like I have been writing for a lifetime but, with each new script, I feel like I’m learning about playwriting all over again. Thank you, nominators. Thank you PGC for all your support. Your member-focus is admirable and appreciated especially during the slow times. Thank you for PlayConnect, Craft Bites, Canadian Play Outlet, The Tom Hendry Awards, your contract templates, your staff, your board etc. etc. etc. I would not be where I am without you.”
Playwrights Guild Drama Award Winner – Yolanda Bonnell
Presented for the best new drama by a PGC member, the 2021 Playwrights Guild Drama Award was bestowed upon Yolanda Bonnell for My Sister’s Rage. Funding for the award is generously sponsored by Alberta Playwrights Network (APN), Manitoba Association of Playwrights (MAP), Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC), Playwrights Canada Press (PLCN), Playwrights Guild of Canada, Playwrights Theatre Centre (PTC), and Playwrights Workshop Montreal.
Jury: Colin Wolf (Chair), Lucia Frangione, and Catherine Joell MacKinnon.
RBC Emerging Playwright Award Winner – Zahida Rahemtulla
Presented for the best play by a PGC member who is an emerging playwright, the 2021 RBC Emerging Playwright Award was given to Zahida Rahemtulla for The Frontliners. Second place was awarded to Virginia Page Jähne for The Far-Off Edge of Things, and third place to Nicholas Guerreiro for Green Knight on the Frog River. The RBC Emerging Playwright Award is sponsored by The RBC Emerging Artists Fund.
Jury: Mary Vingoe (Chair), Dave Deveau, and Frances Koncan.
The Robert Beardsley Award Winner – Camille Intson
The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto Foundation gives an annual award to an emerging playwright under the age of 25 who lives in the Greater Toronto Area and is pursuing a postsecondary education. The Robert Beardsley Award was granted to Camille Intson for We All Got Lost. This award is sponsored and presented by the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto Foundation and administered by Playwrights Guild of Canada.
Jury: Rob Kempson (Chair), Marie Beath Badian, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard.
Dan School of Drama & Music Musical Award Winner – Nick Green & Kevin Wong
Presented annually to a PGC member for best musical in development, the 2021 Musical Award was given to Nick Green and Kevin Wong for In Real Life. This award is sponsored by the DAN School of Drama & Music at Queen’s University.
Jury: Rick Chafe (Chair), Spy Dénommé-Welsh, and Britta Johnson.
Chris Tolley & Dharini Woollcombe Comedy Award Winner – Sunny Drake
Presented annually to a PGC member for best comedy in development, the 2021 Comedy Award was bestowed upon Sunny Drake for Every Little Nookie. This award is sponsored by Chris Tolley and Dharini Woollcombe.
Jury: Leonard Linklater (Chair), Mariah Inger, and Annie Valentina.
Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award Winners –
Michaela Washburn, Joelle Peters, and Carrie Costello
Presented to a PGC member for best play intended for young audiences, the 2021 Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award was presented to Michaela Washburn, Joelle Peters, and Carrie Costello for Frozen River. The Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award is sponsored by the Enkin Family.
Jury: Mieko Ouchi (Chair), Inés Adán, and Mark Kreder.
The CASA Award Winner – Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni
CASA is a Canadian and South African partnership between the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Women’s Caucus and the African Women Playwrights Network. The winner of the 2021 CASA Award is playwright, theatre-maker, educator, and performer Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni of Cape Town, South Africa. Tiisetso will receive financial support giving her time to write, and she will be partnered with two senior mentors: a Canadian dramaturg and a South African director. She will also receive a small collection of Canadian plays, generously donated by Playwrights Canada Press and Scirocco Drama.
Jury: Philisiwe Twijnstra, Mari Borstlap, Marcia Johnson, and Sally Stubbs.
Bra d’Or Award Winner – Micheline Chevrier
The Bra d’Or Award (BDA) recognizes an individual for his/her/their efforts in supporting and promoting the work of Canadian women playwrights. The Women’s Caucus of the Playwrights Guild of Canada instigated the BDA in 2006. The recipient must be nominated by a Women’s Caucus member and is voted bupon by PGC’s entire membership. PGC is pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s Bra d’Or Award is Micheline Chevrier, AD and ED of Imago Theatre in Montreal, Quebec.
The Honorary Membership Award – Joanna Falck
The Honorary Membership Award is awarded to an individual or organization for their contribution to the Canadian playwright community. Playwrights Guild of Canada is excited to announce that Joanna Falck is the 2021 recipient of the Honorary Membership Award. Joanna receives an honorary PGC membership for life.
The Lifetime Membership Award – Marcia Johnson
The Lifetime Membership Award is granted to an individual for their outstanding body of work and contributions to the Canadian playwriting community. PGC is thrilled to announce that Marcia Johnson is the 2021 recipient of the Lifetime Membership Award. Marcia receives a PGC membership for life.
AWARD RECIPIENT BIOS
Yolanda Bonnell (she/they) is a Queer, 2-Spirit, Anishinaabe-Ojibwe, South Asian mixed performer, playwright, and multidisciplinary creator/educator. Originally from Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Superior Robinson Treaty territory), Yolanda’s arts practice is now based in Tkarón:to. She is co-artistic leader of manidoons collective, which she runs with Michif (Métis) artist, Cole Alvis. In February 2020, Yolanda’s four-time Dora nominated solo show, bug, was remounted at Theatre Passe Muraille, while the published version was shortlisted for a Governor General Literary Award. She was also the Indigenous artist recipient of the Jayu Arts for Human Rights Award for her work, and she has taught at schools such as York University and Sheridan College. Yolanda proudly bases her practice in land-based creation, drawing on energy and inspiration from the earth and her ancestors. Her new play, White Girls in Moccasins, will open at Buddies in Bad Times in the spring of 2021.
For over thirty years, Micheline Chevrier has worked across Canada and abroad as a director, artistic director, and dramaturg. As a director, she has worked at such theatres as The Shaw Festival, the National Arts Centre, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, the Citadel, the Globe Theatre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Canadian Stage, Young People’s Theatre, Théâtre français de Toronto, the Centaur Theatre, Segal Centre, Geordie Productions, Imago Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, and BeMe Productions (Barcelona and Munich). From 1995 to 2000, Micheline was the Artistic Director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa, where she directed several new creations as well as several Canadian classics. She was Associate Artistic Director at Theatre New-Brunswick from 1990 to 1992, Associate Dramaturge at Playwrights Workshop Montreal from 1992 to 1993 and, from 2002 to 2004, was Associate Artist at Canadian Stage in Toronto. In January 2011, Micheline joined Imago Theatre as Associate Director and, in July 2013, became its Artistic and Executive Director. Micheline has received a Betty Mitchell Award (Calgary) for Best Direction, two Capital Critics Awards (Ottawa) for Best Direction and Best Production, a Dora Mavor Moore Award (Toronto) for Best Production, and a META (Montreal) for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production.
Sunny Drake’s inventive and award-winning theatre works have been presented in over sixty cities across the world and translated into four languages. His wide range of audiences have spanned international arts festival-goers, queers in underground warehouses, elderly ladies in regional theatres, and young people in drop-in centres. Sunny was commissioned by PACT, PGC, and ATFC to write the 2019 World Theatre Day message for Canada. He was awarded the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize in 2019 ($25,000) for having a significant impact on performing arts in Ontario. Every Little Nookie has been in development with the Stratford Festival, Climate Change & Other Small Talk is in residence with Why Not Theatre, and CHILD-ish is currently on a digital world tour. His comedy, Men Express Their Feelings, premiered in 2020 with Downstage Theatre and is described as “an instant Canadian classic” (Calgary Herald). The three-episode audio drama adaption of the play will be released in the fall of this year. To learn more about Sunny’s work, visit his website: www.sunnnydrake.com
Joanna Falck has been a dramaturg for nearly twenty years, working across the country with playwrights and organizations developing new work. Most recently she was the Literary Manager at the Tarragon Theatre. Previously, she spent ten seasons as Literary Manager at the Shaw Festival Theatre (2007-2016), and was the Tarragon Theatre’s first Literary Manger (2003-2007). As a freelance dramaturg, she has worked across Canada with various companies, including Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, fu-Gen Asian Canadian Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Theatre Panik, Tapestry New Opera Works, Studio 180, Arts Club Theatre, Banff Playwrights’ Colony, Native Earth Performing Arts, Cabaret Company/Buddies in Bad Times, and Canadian Stage Company. She has taught at York University and the University of Alberta, and she was a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. She has been a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) since 1996, and Joanna served on the Executive Board of both the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the founding Board of LMDA Canada. She also sat on the Steering Committee for the Equity in Theatre (EIT) initiative, and the Theatre Committee for the Toronto Arts Council. She is currently working freelance.
Nick Green is a Dora Mavor Moore and Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award-winning playwright based in Toronto. Featured credits include Every Day She Rose (co-written with Andrea Scott, Nightwood Theatre); Happy Birthday Baby J (Shadow Theatre); Dinner with the Duchess (Next Stage); Body Politic (lemonTree Creations/Buddies in Bad Times); Fangirl (Musical Stage, with Barb Johnston and Anika Johnson); and Living the Dream (Canadian Music Theatre Projects, with Barb Johnston and Anika Johnson). He is also the creator of the Social Distancing Festival (socialdistancingfestival.com), a website that has exhibited over 300 artistic works from around the world that were cancelled due to the pandemic. Through this initiative, he produced Connecting Perspectives, a new project created with the 13 Diplomatic Missions for Canada across the United States; and Long Distance Art, a collaborative art project that has engaged artists in Canada, the US, the UK, Tanzania, Mexico, Estonia, Australia, and beyond. The Social Distancing Festival has been covered by international news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, and the BBC, and has been inducted into the digital archives of the US Library of Congress.
Camille Intson [alias, Camie] (she/her) is a Hamilton born and Tkaronto-based award-winning queer/femme multidisciplinary artist and practitioner-researcher. Her prize-winning writing, conceptual art, alternative folk music, and performance work has received international attention and critical acclaim. Camille’s work has been developed, produced, and/or supported by The Grand Theatre London, Theatre Aquarius, Pat The Dog Theatre Creation, NNPF (2017 winner for Road), the TAP Centre for Creativity, the Ontario Arts Council, Theatre Ontario, Alumnae Theatre, the Paprika Festival, and the Hamilton and Winnipeg Fringe Festivals. Camille’s creative work often explores themes of queer intimacy and sexuality, and what it means to be human in an increasingly technological world. Camille is a graduate of the MA Performance Practice as Research program at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and she is a current PhD student within the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Learn more at www.camilleintson.com, or contact Camille on Twitter at @thecamiliad.
Marcia Johnson is an actor, playwright, dramaturg, and librettist. She was born in Jamaica and has lived in Toronto since the age of six. She became a PGC member when her 90-minute Fringe play, Perfect on Paper, was commissioned for Sunday Showcase on CBC Radio in 2003. Perfect on Paper was a silver medalist in the New York Festivals. Other radio dramas include Wifely Duty, The Revival Meeting, and Say Ginger Ale (a WGC Screenwriting award finalist.) Other accomplishments include the world premiere of Serving Elizabeth, in which she also acted, at Western Canada Theatre as a co-production with Thousand Islands Playhouse. The play was published in 2020 by Scirocco Drama. Marcia has participated in playwrights’ units at Thousand Islands Playhouse, Obsidian Theatre Company, and Theatre Passe Muraille, as well as Ontario Arts Council Playwright’s Residencies at Blyth Festival and Roseneath Theatre. The short opera, My Mother’s Ring, for which she wrote the libretto with composer Stephen A. Taylor, was nominated for a 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Award in Toronto. Their second collaboration, Paradises Lost, based on the Ursula K. Le Guin novella, had excerpted concert performances at Reed College (Third Angle Ensemble) in Portland, Oregon and at The Gershwin Hotel in New York. Paradises Lost had its premiere at University of Illinois and a concert performance for Musical Works in Concert during Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival. Marcia works with several organizations to support members of the theatre community, including Got Your Back Canada where she is a core member. She sits on the Women Playwrights International senior advisory board; is a CASA founding member, a mentorship program supporting mid-career women South African playwrights; and works with Ergo Arts Pink Fest (selection committee, dramaturg, actor), a festival featuring the works of women, trans, and non-binary playwrights.
Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni is a South African playwright, theatre-maker, educator and performer who has been described as a “theatre prodigy’”in the Cape Times and as a “brilliant young mind” by TEDxYouth Cape Town for her award-winning and critically-acclaimed debut play, Sainthood. She holds a BA in Politics and International Studies, Philosophy, and Dramatic Arts from Rhodes University, and a BA (Hons) in Directing for Stage from the University of Cape Town. She is an Apolitical Academy for Public Leadership Fellow and a Salzburg Global Young Cultural Innovator, who strives to make provocative content focused on themes of social politics, history, and violence in contemporary South Africa.
Zahida Rahemtulla is a playwright and short story writer. She has been a resident at the Banff Centre in Alberta, the Stratford Theatre Festival, and Millay Colony for the Arts in New York. Her first plays, The Wrong Bashir and The Frontliners, have been shortlisted for many awards, including the Playwrights Guild of Canada Surefire! initiative, the Ellen Ross Stuart Playwriting Award, and the Voaden Literary Prize, and she won a national Silk Road Institute Award. Her stories have been shortlisted for the Alice Munro Award and longlisted for the CBC short story prize. Zahida has worked for several years in Vancouver’s immigrant and refugee nonprofit sector in the areas of housing, employment, and literacy. She studied Arab Crossroads Studies and Literature at New York University Abu Dhabi.
Michaela Washburn is a performer, poet, and playwright who identifies as she or they. Born in Alberta, her Métis roots are a mix of Cree, French, English, and Irish. Joelle Peters (she/her) is an actor and playwright from Walpole Island First Nation, Bkejwanong territory. Carrie Costello is a theatre for young audience playwright born in northern BC. She currently lives and works on Treaty One territory in Manitoba
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