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What's New > CITT Announces 2012 Award Winners

CITT Announces 2012 Award Winners

posted on 9:04 AM, August 26, 2012

London, ON - The Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology recognized four individuals and two corporations with the Annual CITT Awards presented at the award banquet sponsored by Ultratec Special Effects on Saturday August 18, during Rendez-vous 2012 CITT’s 22thAnnual Conference and Trade Show in London, Ontario. These awards are designed to honour individuals and companies from a wide spectrum of the Canadian live performance community. The nomination of candidates for the CITT awards is driven directly by the membership with the final selection made by the Award Committee composed of the CITT Section Representatives, the Vice-President and either the Past President or President-Elect. 

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 CITT President Norberts J. Muncs hosting the awards banquet.    CITT members honours their peers at the CITT Award Banquet

The Dieter Penzhorn Memorial Award is awarded to an individual who has provided significant and sustained service to CITT/ICTS while playing an active role in the development of the greater Canadian cultural community. The 2012 award was presented to Adam Mitchell, who has been involved with CITT for over 10 years both at the regional and national levels, and has played a major role in moving the organisation forward. Adam initially served as the Alberta Section Chair and Representative before being elected to the CITT National Board and taking the presidential tenure from 2009 to 2011. He chaired the Edmonton Conference in 2009, making it the most profitable conference in the past 10 years, and spearheaded the organisation through rough financial turmoil and technological changes challenges with the new redesigned bilingual website and on-line managing tools. While president of CITT, he changed job and moved across the Prairies back to Alberta, to take over the function of Production and Facilities Manager for the City of St. Albert Cultural Services. Throughout all those events, he remained committed to the organisation. His leadership and passion provided guidance and inspiration to the board of directors, to the National Office and to the membership. 

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 Adam Mitchell receiving the Dieter Penzhorn Memorial Award.    Janet Sellery receiving the Ron Epp Memorial Award
for Professional Achievement.

The Ron Epp Memorial Award for Professional Achievement is awarded to an individual, in recognition of longstanding career achievement in a technical or related discipline within the Canadian live performance industry. The 2012 award was presented to Janet Sellery who has in her own way done what Ron Epp could have achieved were he alive today. She is the person who has put a face and added a very Canadian personality to safety within our industry. Janet is the person we trust and go to with our safety concerns. She has helped to guide many grey haired crusty technicians into the new order of safety. Prior to her move into the health and safety field, Janet spent 14 years working in Stage Management at theatres across Canada, including over 30 productions at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Janet is a graduate of the Technical/Production Theatre Program at the Ryerson Theatre School, and has a BA in psychology from the University of Waterloo. She has completed her Occupational Health & Safety Certificate at Ryerson University and received her professional designation as a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP). Janet spent nine years pioneering the health and safety program at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and has consulted for “Safe Stages” (Alberta). She has served on the advisory committees for Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB), the Ontario Service Safety Alliance (OSSA), and is a long-standing member of the Live Performance Advisory Committee for the Ministry of Labour of Ontario. A highlight in Janet’s career is her work as the Health & Safety Manager for David Atkins Enterprises Productions for the Opening, Closing and Victory Ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. She is a pioneer, a top flank professional and a person who is making our lives safer.

The Education Achievement Award is awarded to an individual, in recognition of longstanding career achievement as an educator, and engaged in the teaching of a technical or related discipline, while preparing students for work within the Canadian live performance industry. The 2012 award was presented to Peter McKinnon, who has taught in the Department of Theatre of York University since 1985. Currently a Full Professor with many professional credits and achievements, Peter was nominated for this award because of his decades of dedicated and exemplary teaching of undergraduate students in the Design Production Area of the Department of Theatre. He has taught a broad range of courses, including Lighting Design, Theatre Management, Production Management, History of Visual Sources (the famous “Viz”), and Theatre Practicum. He is also the originator, champion, and purveyor of the pivotal first-year course, Introduction to Stagecraft, whereby over the years some two-to-three thousand first-year students have had their first exposure to the world of theatre production, often in a way that changed their lives. Professor McKinnon’s commitment to his teaching and his students is legendary. Many of his students have started their careers as his assistants in one of his many projects, and have gone on to great successes of their own. The students he has shepherded to the Prague Quadrennial and World Stage Design now number over a hundred, and most would count that experience as one of the high points in their education. Peter is unfailingly generous and collaborative of his teaching colleagues and he continues to work to tweak and shape the Design Production Program at York for the benefit of current and future students.

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 Peter McKinnon, recipient of the Education Achievement Award.    Solotech Founder and President Denis Lefrançois,
 recipient of the Supplier (Corporate) Achievement  Award.

The Supplier (Corporate) Achievement Award is awarded to an individual, or a corporate entity, which have shown sustained commitment to providing excellent service or product(s) or both to the Canadian cultural industry community. The 2012 award was presented to Denis Lefrançois, president and founder of Solotech Inc., which is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2012. Since being founded in 1977, Solotech has strategically grown under Mr. Lefrançois’ leadership to become a major force in its field by offering the best possible products and people for the job. Solotech is a perfect example of how the sum can be greater than its parts. Mr Lefrançois has created a formula for bringing together a diverse variety of complimentary specialists within one organization including specialists in audio, lighting, video and control systems. These professionals, whose talents are recognized both locally and internationally, come together, each with their own individual expertise, to form a solid team that results in unequalled technological skills and full dedication to each project’s successes. Solotech is recognized in Canada and internationally as being a leading supplier and integrator of equipment and of technological solutions for the live performance industry. By founding Solotech and nurturing its growth, Mr. Lefrançois has created a company that offers an exceptional level of service to performers in Canada and around the world. Solotech employs over 375 full time and more than 200 part time individuals – mainly in Canada – allowing them to develop their skills and to achieve international recognition for the excellence of their work.

The Technical Merit is awarded to a production company or theatre, or a combination thereof, for outstanding achievement in the use of theatre technology on a specific project or production. The 2012 award was presented to Highest Step in the World, a production created by Ghost River Theatre from Calgary, which premiered in February 2010 and has been seen at the Alberta's Pumphouse and Arden theatres in 2011. Highest Step in the World combines breathtaking video design and stunning ariel choreography along with a riveting one person portrayal of multiple characters. Inspired by the true story of test pilot Joseph Kittlinger and his historic 100,000 ft. jump from a weather balloon, Ghost River Theatre co-Artistic Directors Eric Rose and David van Belle explore the lives of several characters grappling with the nature of risk and the leap of faith that we all make in our lives. Adrian Young and his team of riggers and flying directors along with Ben Chaisson’s video design took the characters and placed them in a reality that was both as peaceful and as visually stunning as the clouds, stars and birds that shared the space with Kittlinger all the while maintaining a certain violence and mechanical reality representative of just how close to death man has been while reaching for the sky. The show is truly larger than the sum of its parts, and the experience is thanks to the integration of technical elements born from a huge idea, and nurtured in a small venue. The result looks and feels like a Fringe show until that first moment when David is lifted off the ground and hurled towards the audience as he is ejected form a fighter jet cockpit in slow motion. Then it can only be described as being akin to being a 12 year old boy at his first Imax movie or thrill ride, or monster musical and redefining what is possible at that moment. It’s mind-blowing and larger than life, and the images resonate over and over. Please have a look at this brief trailer that by no means does the experience justice, but represents the images and the journey that audience is taken on.

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 David van Belle, Artistic Director of Ghost River Theatre, recipient of the Award for Technical Merit.    Keri Mitchell, Executive Director of Theatre Alberta, recipient of the CITT Honorary Membership Award.  

The Honorary Membership is awarded to an individual or organisation not actively involved in the technical disciplines of the Canadian live performance industry, but who by virtue of their position has contributed significantly to the development of technical disciplines within Canada. This contribution can be seen through the recipient's decision-making, influence, and philosophy within the community or by showing themselves to be a longstanding friend of the Institute. The 2012 award was presented to Theatre Alberta, which continues to lend itself to the technical landscape of theatre in Alberta. Theatre Alberta has been fundamental in the development of the Safe Stages program in Alberta, a publication that CITT Alberta Section connects itself with great pride. They employ CITT technicians for workshops by requests, and often play a role in offering technical programming to the technicians of tomorrow. They have shared their space, voice and time with us at trade related conferences. Theatre Alberta continually goes above and beyond in their support of theatre in the province of Alberta as well as to its sections operation and continued involvement in the Alberta technical theatre. Learn more about Theatre Alberta on their website: www.theatrealberta.com

For more information about the CITT awards and the list of prior recipients, please visit our website.  Deadline to submit nominations for the 2013 Annual CITT Awards is March 30th 2013.

 Source:  Monique Corbeil, CITT National Coordinator 613 482-1165 info@citt.org

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