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Playwright and Educator Catherine Banks Wins National Award from PGC

National – The winners of the Tom Hendry Awards were announced at a digital awards ceremony presented by the Playwrights Guild of Canada on Sunday, October 29th. 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 talented Beau Dixon, and included eleven award presentations, one of which was The Bra d’Or Award, PGC’s longest standing prize, first introduced in 2006.

PGC congratulates playwright and educator, Catherine Banks, who was chosen as the recipient of the 2023 Bra d’Or Award. This accolade is bestowed upon an individual or team who help amplify, celebrate, and support the work of women playwrights in Canada. Candidates are nominated by PGC Women’s Caucus members, and then the entirety of PGC’s membership votes for the final recipient.

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). She is a two-time recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for Bone Cage in 2008 and It Is Solved by Walking in 2012. Her adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the PeopleIn This Light, premiered in July 2019. Her newest plays are an adaptation Ernest Buckler’s iconic novel, The Mountain and the Valley, and Downed Hearts. In 2023, Ship’s Company Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, and Matchstick Theatre joined forces to produce Catherine’s latest work, Downed Hearts.

Headshot of Catherine Banks.Ms. Banks was nominated for the Bra d’Or Award by the 2021 Sage Hill Playwrights Group, which included Kelley Jo Burke, Kim Fahner, Carla Harris, Siobhan Keely, Veryl Coghill, and Natasha Urkow. They wrote: “We would like to nominate Catherine Banks for the 2023 Bra d’Or Award. We were all Catherine’s students in Sage Hill Writing Experience’s playwriting group during the summer of 2021. But our nomination speaks not only to what Catherine gave us, but what Catherine has given to all women playwrights, and Canadian theatre as a whole.” The individuals in the group went on to provide comments about Catherine’s role as a brilliant dramaturge, mentor, and playwright; they praised her for the support, safety, and inspiration that she provides, and they applauded her nurturing and fostering of a stronger, more interconnected playwriting community.

Ms. Banks was thrilled to accept the Bra d’Or Award bestowed upon her by her peers at the 2023 Tom Hendry Awards ceremony. You can watch her acceptance speech and the 2023 Tom Hendry Awards ceremony  on PGC’s YouTube Channel.

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Bra d’Or Award Winner – Catherine Banks

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 for by PGC’s membership. PGC is pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s Bra d’Or Award is playwright and educator Catherine Banks, who resides in Nova Scotia. She has received a collection of Canadian plays, generously donated by Playwrights Canada Press and Scirocco Drama, as well as a supporting membership with PGC that she has, not surprisingly, paid forward.

Playwrights Guild of Canada is a registered charity mandated to advance the creative rights and interests of professional Canadian playwrights; promote Canadian plays nationally and internationally; and foster an active, evolving community of writers for the stage.

Photos, bios, and interviews can be arranged through:
Media Contact: Mindy Doherty-Griffiths, Program Director | #416-703-0201 |
Instagram: @PGuildCanada
Facebook: @playwrightsguildofcanada

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Past Bra d’Or Award Winners

  • Catherine Banks (2023)
  • Beverley Cooper (2022)
  • Micheline Chevrier (2021)
  • Marjorie Chan (2020)
  • Pamela Halstead (2019)
    (Hiatus years for a revamp, 2017 – 2018)
  • Diane Brown (2016)
  • Rebecca Burton (2015)
  • Mary Vingoe (2014)
  • Robert Metcalfe (2013)
  • Rachel Ditor (2012)
  • Philip Akin (2011)
  • Andy McKim (2010)
  • Eric Coates (2009)
  • Katrina Dunn (2008)
  • Hope McIntyre (2007)
  • Brian Quirt (2006)
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