Recipient to be announced Friday, October 28 at the National Arts Centre
September 23, 2016 – OTTAWA (Canada) – The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre today announced the shortlist for this year’s award in the category of direction. This year, given the exceptionally high quality of nominations, the jury unanimously decided to expand their selection from four to five outstanding directors as finalists for the esteemed theatre prize, now celebrating its 16th year of honouring excellence and innovation in Canadian theatre.
“The jury found the work of these five shortlisted directors breathtaking. These are bold visionaries who are shaping the future of theatre now in creating experiences that are challenging, transformative and magical,” said Jury Chair Bob White. “Using the theatre in unique and idiosyncratic ways, the theatrical event in their hands becomes a primal celebration of our shared humanity and a crucible for dreaming the dream of the community we all hope to create.”
Through his work with Catalyst Theatre, this Edmonton-based artist has developed a highly integrated aesthetic that weaves together evocative music and poetic text with bold designs and expressive movement. Whether exploring the world of Edgar Allan Poe in Nevermore, Ontario's Donnelly clan in Vigilante, or any of the more than 20 productions he has created, Christenson's work is the stuff of dreams made manifest.
Toronto’s Ravi Jain wants to “lead a theatre that is full of limitless possibilities, fueled by imagination.” His productions ask us to rethink the stories we tell, who tells them and how they are told and with his aspirations for a theatre that is both poetical and political, he is reshaping the face of Canadian Theatre.
From Quebec City, Christian Lapointe’s work ranges from a highly idiosyncratic interpretation of the symbolist masterpiece Pelléas and Mélisande at the prestigious Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in Montreal to a three-day marathon performance of the complete works of theatrical madman Antonin Artaud. A theatrical provocateur of the first order, Lapointe champions a theatre that digs deep into our personal psyche by creating aggressive, in-your-face performances that celebrate life in all its dark beauty.
Ross Manson, whose practice is based in Toronto, is acutely concerned with the individual’s place in the political/social sphere. A tireless visionary who has worked with collaborators from around the world, he strives through his work to help us all, in his own words, to “have a small chance to behave better and to dream more humanely.” A pioneering practitioner of true multi-disciplinary performance, Manson’s work is notable for its rigour and its moral and emotional complexity.
Based in the rural community of Wakefied, QC, Nadia Ross’ unique theatrical creations have been shared around the world. A fiercely independent creator, Ross’ work through her company STO Union is characterized by a startling immediacy. A pioneer of post-dramatic performance, her productions ask us to “do something unique, challenge the status quo and break the rules. Be consequent and stay relevant.”
The 2016 Siminovitch Prize will be awarded at a ceremony taking place on Friday, October 28, 2016 in the Studio of the National Arts Centre, hosted by Daniel MacIvor and Geneviève Leclerc.
The Siminovitch Prize of $100,000 is Canada’s largest national theatre prize. Rotating over a three-year cycle, it honours professional directors, playwrights and designers. The Prize recognizes exceptional theatre artists and also encourages emerging talent by highlighting the importance of mentorship. Recipients of the Prize choose a protégé to whom they award $25,000 of the total prize money.
The 2016 jury is comprised of chair Bob White, Micheline Chevrier, Linda Gaboriau, Mieko Ouchi and Sarah Garton Stanley.
“On behalf of my family and the Board of Directors of the Siminovitch Prize Foundation, I want to say how moved we are by the caliber of this year’s finalists,” said Dr. Kathy Siminovitch, Board Chair. “The Siminovitch Prize was created in honour of my parents Lou and Elinore, in recognition of their passion and commitment to discovery, new ideas and the search for truth. Each of the finalists’ work beautifully captures this spirit and vision of the Siminovitch Prize, as recognized by the expansion of our shortlist this year.”
The celebration begins with a reception for the finalists on Monday, October 17 at Hart House at the University of Toronto, hosted by CBC News Now Anchor Heather Hiscox with special guest Atom Egoyan.
This year, the Siminovitch Prize is launching a new partnership with the National Arts Centre, which acts as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning across the country. The only bilingual, multi-disciplinary performing arts centre in Canada, the National Arts Centre is home to NAC English Theatre and French Theatre, which together play a national role in developing, co-producing and showcasing theatrical works in collaboration with theatre-makers across Canada. In addition, the NAC recently announced a major new emphasis on creation to benefit artists and arts organizations across Canada who are creating ambitious new work for national and international audiences, as well as the creation of an Indigenous Theatre department that will launch in 2019.
Both the English and French Theatre at the NAC are led by Siminovitch Prize laureates – Jillian Keiley (2004) and Brigitte Haentjens (2007). In fact, since the Prize’s inception in 2001, works from all fifteen laureates have graced the national stage at the NAC.
Also new this year is an alliance with the National Theatre School of Canada. NTS is the preeminent Canadian theatre school, offering high-level, rigorous professional training programs in acting, production, set and costume design, playwriting, and directing, in both official languages. NTS trains passionate leaders who will shape the future of theatre in Canada and abroad. Building upon the Siminovitch Prize’s focus on mentorship, the NAC will bring together nominees and students of the National Theatre School for a series of workshops and podcast discussions around this fall’s festivities.
ABOUT THE SIMINOVITCH PRIZE
The Siminovitch Prize shines a spotlight on excellence and innovation in Canadian theatre with an annual prize of $100,000. Over a three-year cycle, the prize celebrates a professional director, playwright or designer, an acknowledged leader in the theatre whose work is transformative and influential. The Siminovitch Prize also encourages and supports emerging talent with a protégé prize awarded to a theatre artist chosen by the recipient. The Prize was launched in 2000 to honour the values and achievements of the renowned scientist Lou Siminovitch and his late wife Elinore Siminovitch, a pioneering playwright. The 2015 Prize was awarded to designer Anick La Bissonnière and protégé Marilène Bastien. In 2016 the Siminovitch Prize also celebrates its 16-year partnership with the University of Toronto.
ABOUT THE NAC
The NAC is a home for some of Canada’s most creative artists, and where the most exciting emerging and established artists perform on its national stage. As part of its Strategic Plan, the NAC recently announced a major new emphasis on creation to benefit artists and arts organizations across Canada who are creating ambitious new work for national and international audiences. The National Arts Centre (NAC) is the only bilingual, multi-disciplinary performing arts centre in Canada and one of the largest in the world. The NAC presents more than 1,000 performances a year in Music, Dance, Theatre, and Contemporary Music. The NAC’s mandate is to work with artists and arts organizations across the country to support the performing arts everywhere and to create a national stage.
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