You can also read the full announcement and press release below:
Last night, the winners of the Tom Hendry Awards were announced at a digital awards ceremony presented by the Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC). The annual Tom Hendry Awards celebrate and recognize playwrights and theatre-creators across the country for excellence in new work. The event was hosted by the incredible Beau Dixon, award-winning actor, musician, playwright, music director, and sound designer.
These national awards celebrate outstanding new Canadian plays, which bring to life a variety of characters and tell a diversity of stories. The playwrights recognized this year for these awards represent a range of talents, styles, and writing backgrounds. PGC celebrates recipients in seven distinct writing categories and three special awards. As PGC Board President, Christopher Tolley states, “Playwrights weave worlds from words and entire universes from just quiet thoughts. The Tom Hendry Awards celebrate the magic they create – as we honor our playwrights from coast to coast to coast.”
Carol Bolt Award
Legislating Love: The Everett Klippert Story by Natalie Meisner (AB)
Jessica’s Fine Adventure by Robert More (ON)
Dan School of Drama & Music Musical Award
Jook by Glenn Marais & Todd Phillips (ON)
Dorothy Lees-Blakey Theatre for Young Audiences Award:
The Weight of Ants by David Paquet & Leanna Brodie (QC/BC)
Kowloon Bay by Jovanni Sy (AB)
RBC Emerging Playwright Award (1st place)
The Thin Place by Cole Hayley (NL)
Robert Beardsley Award
Iphigenia in Dreaming by Cassandra Marcus Davey (ON)
PGC also recognizes individuals with three other career awards. Lili Robinson (BC) is this year’s recipient of the John Palmer Award, which is intended to support the next generation of storytellers for the stage to push boundaries and foster intergenerational collaboration and friendships within the theatre community. Mary Vingoe (NS) has been honoured with the PGC Lifetime Award, recognizing her extensive work as a playwright, dramaturge, director, actor, and artistic director. The Bra d’Or Award goes to Catherine Banks (NS) for supporting the work of women playwrights in Canada.
The Tom Hendry Awards shine a spotlight on the wealth and breadth of new Canadian creations. Past shortlisted plays have gained national and international attention, showcasing the extraordinary talents of our stage writers. Playwrights Guild of Canada encourages everyone to search for these and other Canadian plays on local stages or to invite a playwright to do a reading in your community. Find a play to read (hard copy or digital) by visiting us online at the Canadian Play Outlet. Search for the 2023 Tom Hendry Bundle or choose from a wide array of plays from across the country. Watch host Beau Dixon chat with the 2023 shortlisted writers during the 2023 Tom Hendry Awards virtual ceremony on PGC’s YouTube Channel.
AWARD RECIPIENT BIOS
Catherine Banks: Plays by Catherine Banks have been performed across Canada and include: Miss N’ Me; It Is Solved By Walking; Bone Cage; Three Storey, Ocean View; and Bitter Rose, which aired on Bravo! Canada. Bone Cage premiered in 2007, and went on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2008. It Is Solved By Walking won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2012, was translated into Catalan by Tant per Tant, and presented in Catalonia in 2012. She has adapted Ernest Buckler’s novel The Mountain and the Valley for the stage. In August Ship’s Company, Eastern Front theatre and Matchstick theatre joined forces to produce Catherine’s newest play Downed Hearts.
Leanna Brodie’s original plays and libretti have been performed across Canada and the US, and in the UK and New Zealand. She is also a leading translator of contemporary Québécois and Franco-Canadian playwrights. Published works: Rébecca Déraspe’s I Am William and You Are Happy, Catherine Léger’s Opium–37, Louise Bombardier’s My Mother Dog, David Paquet’s Wildfire & The Shoe, and her own plays The Vic, For Home and Country, Schoolhouse, and The Book of Esther. Recent premieres: Wildfire (Factory Theatre, Toronto: 2022 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Best New Play, Director, and Production); Joe Jack et John’s Violette (Espace Libre/PuSh Festival); Rébecca Déraspe’s I Am William (Stratford Festival); Mohsen El Gharbi’s Omi Mouna (Impact Festival/Infinithéâtre); Fanny Britt’s Governor General’s Award-winning Benevolence (Ruby Slippers Theatre/Pacific Theatre; Anaïs Pellin’s Clementine (Carousel Theatre/Presentation House Theatre, Vancouver). She has served as Assistant Professor (Playwriting) at the UBC School of Creative Writing. Upcoming: Fanny Britt’s Benevolence at GCTC; new translation commissions for Rébecca Déraspe’s Les glaces, Gabriel Sabourin’s Pif-luisant, Catherine Léger’s Deux femmes en or, Fanny Britt’s 176 pas, and Hélène Ducharme’s Paroles d’eau. Brodie’s new play with co-writer Jovanni Sy, Salesman in China, premieres at the Stratford Festival in 2024. www.leannabrodie.com
Cole Hayley is a creator originally from Elliston, Newfoundland and Labrador, but now is based between St. John’s and the “Mainland,” as he continues to pursue a life in the arts. Cole is a recent graduate of the National Theatre School and an alumni of Memorial University of Newfoundland, where he received a BA in English and Communications. He’s a current member of the inaugural Poverty Cove playwrights unit, and is currently working on publishing a collection of poetry.
Cassandra Marcus Davey (he/she/they) is a playwright, theatre technician, artist, and writer from Guelph, Ontario. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in theatre and classical studies at the University of Toronto.
Glenn Marais is a passionate multi-discipline artist, who is a professional musician, writer, motivational speaker, and recording artist, with a passion for social justice advocacy. Glenn’s personal and professional mantra, “Give to Live,” encompasses that ideology in his wide ranging work as the former Artistic Outreach Coordinator for the Aurora Cultural Centre, in the not-for-profit sector with Thrive Youth Canada, and his own not-for-profit MusicCan, that provides instruments and lessons to underserved youth and his own edutainment company Music in Mind. Co-writer Todd Phillips has received more than a dozen writing and editing awards over a 25+-year career as a journalist and editor including five years as a newspaper reporter and editor in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
Self-improvement is a constant in Glenn’s life, having recently completed a Master of Arts Degree at Wilfrid Laurier, certification in Mindfulness and Meditation from McMaster University and Reiki Level II Certification.
Glenn is an accomplished writer and artist who has released a book of poetry and is currently developing and producing a musical play, JOOK.
Glenn has been nominated for a Juno award, the highest honour in the Canadian music industry, and received the Donald Cousens Community Impact Award for 2021, Wilfrid Laurier’s 30 in 30 Graduate Student Association Award, Member of Parliament’s Medal for volunteer service as part of Canada 150 Celebrations, The Queen’s Jubilee Award in 2023 and numerous other accolades in his work.
Natalie Meisner is a playwright and poet from the Mi’kma’ki /South Shore of Nova Scotia and served as Calgary/ Mohkinstsis 5th Poet Laureate. It Begins in Salt (2023) and Baddie One Shoe (2019) are books of spoken word poetry. LEGISLATING LOVE: THE EVERETT KLIPPERT STORY is based on the true story of the beloved Calgary bus driver instrumental in decriminalizing homosexuality. AREA 33 is a play about intergenerational mistrust and the collapse of the fishing industry. SPEED DATING FOR SPERM DONORS (stage play) was a hit at Lunchbox and Neptune. Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family (non-fiction) and My Mommy, My Mama My Brother & Me (children’s book) are based on the journey of her own two-mom biracial family. She is a wife, a mom to two great boys, and a full professor at Mount Royal University where she loves helping other writers find their voice.
Robert More, As an actor, Robert performed across the country for two decades with six years at the National Arts Centre, three years at the Stratford Festival, and a season with the Grand Theatre Company with Robin Phillips. As a playwirght, Robert has had more than 75 professional productions of 12 plays. Dads! The Musical!. Productions – Toronto, Vancouver, Charlottetown, Drayton. Nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award in Toronto (1990), won the prestigious Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival (1992), and has played across the country in more than 50 theatres. Production Highlights: Dads 2; The Toddlers Revenge Mayfield Edmonton, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Magnus Theatre); A Matter of Time (Orangeville, Victoria Playhouse Petrolia); The Shadow Stealer (Young People’s Theatre, Carousel Players) Theatre Orangeville), Lovin, Lyin & Leavin; Huron Country Playhouse, Theatre Aquarius,); Summer Garden, Wooden Boats and Iron Men (Lighthouse Festival Port Dover) Everything I Love About Christmas (Upper Canada Playhouse; Orangeville) .Upcoming Scripts: Carry On Vamping! Composer- David Warrack, a small-cast vampire musical; Jessica’s Fine Adventure, a sexy comedy; Footsteps, a gender assault drama. As a director: Robert has directed 90 professional productions. As an Artistic Director: 22 years at – Lighthouse Festival Theatre; Victoria Playhouse Petrolia; Bluewater Summer Playhouse Kincardine . Best Productions: his four fantastic daughters, Caitlin, Emily, Rhianna and Heather, and there are the little ones -Henry, Abby, baby Zosia and baby August.
David Paquet is a graduate in playwriting from the National Theatre School of Canada (2006) and lives in Montreal. His plays have gathered international praise and been produced in more than 12 countries all over North America and Europe. Among other distinctions, they have cumulatively won the Governor General’s Award (twice), the Prix Michel-Tremblay, a Jessie Richardson Award, and a Dora Mavor Moore Award. He also teaches playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada, CEAD, and the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique de Montréal.
Lili Robinson (she/they) is a theatre artist, poet and facilitator raised on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories. Lili is passionate about centring voices at the intersections of queerness, Black diaspora, socio-economic diversity and femme identity in their work. Since graduating Studio 58 in 2018, Lili has worked in various roles with companies including Theatre Replacement, Rumble Theatre, Playwrights Theatre Centre, the Arts Club, Electric Theatre Company, the frank theatre, UpintheAir Theatre, New Harlem Productions and the Cultch. Most recently, they’ve worked as Community Engagement Producer for PTC and for the frank theatre, as Resident Curator at rEvolver Festival, and as a dramaturg for the Parallel Project, supporting emerging BIPOC playwrights to develop new work. In 2019, Lili won multiple awards for her debut play, Mx. She’s currently working on two new plays and is grateful to be a 2023 nominee for Playwrights Guild of Canada’s John Palmer award.
Jovanni Sy is a Montreal-based director, playwright, performer, and the former artistic director of Gateway Theatre (Vancouver) and Cahoots Theatre (Toronto). His plays include A Taste of Empire, The Five Vengeances, Nine Dragons (Jessie Richardson Award recipient), and The Tao of the World (PGC Comedy Award recipient).
Directing credits include: The Five Vengeances, The Orchard (After Chekhov), Yoga Play, Valley Song (Vancouver); Murder on the Orient Express (Calgary); Stitch (Toronto); and Blackbird, Antigone, God of Carnage (Hong Kong). Jovanni played Mr. Miyagi in the pre-Broadway tryout of The Karate Kid, the Musical. Other recent acting credits include Forgiveness (Theatre Calgary/Arts Club), Noises Off (Arts Club), and Prison Dancer (Citadel/National Arts Centre). Jovanni co-wrote the play Salesman in China with Leanna Brodie. He will direct the World Premiere which opens at the Stratford Festival in August 2024.
Mary Vingoe, A director, Artistic Director, Festival Director, playwright, teacher and actor, Vingoe is the founding Artistic Director of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa, co-founder and past Artistic Director of Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre, co-founder and past co-Artistic Director of Ship’s Co. Theatre in Parrsboro, NS and co-founder and past Artistic Director of The Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax.
Vingoe has directed and taught at theatres and universities across the country including Canada’s National Arts Centre, Tarragon Theatre, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, The National Theatre School and Neptune Theatre. Her 2011 play Living Curiosities about PT Barnum and the Nova Scotia giantess Anna Swan, is published by Playwright Canada Press. Her 2013 play Refuge published by Scirocco Press, was a finalist for the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award and was short listed for the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Drama. Vingoe’s new play Some Blow Flutes was nominated for Best New Play at the Merritt Awards in 2019. Some Blow Flutes is published by Scirocco Press. Vingoe is the recipient of Nova Scotia’s Portia White Award for artistic excellence. In 2011, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to Canadian theatre.
Thank you to our major sponsor, the RBC Emerging Artists Project!