Recognizing
Excellence and Innovation
in Canadian Theatre

$100,000 Siminovitch Prize Awarded to Toronto Playwright, Daniel MacIvor

MacIvor selects BC Playwrights as Protégés to receive $25,000

TORONTO, October 27, 2008

BMO Financial Group announced that Toronto playwright Daniel MacIvor was named the 2008 recipient of the Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, Canada’s largest annual theatre award. MacIvor was chosen from a short list of five finalists including Morwyn Brebner (Toronto, ON); Daniel Danis (St-David de Falardeau, QC); Colleen Murphy (Toronto, ON); and Larry Tremblay (Montreal, QC). They were selected from 26 nominated Canadian playwrights.

“In choosing Daniel MacIvor as the recipient of the 2008 Siminovitch Prize, the jury wanted to recognize the voice he gives through his plays to those for whom solitude provides a perception of the world through a different set of optics,” explained Leonard McHardy, Jury Chair. “Daniel’s playwriting brings to the stage moments in life for which there are no words, exploring those things that escape categorisation by language.”

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MacIvor has written nearly 20 plays of which 15 have been published. His plays include See Bob Run, Wild Abandon, The Soldier Dreams, You Are Here, How It Works, His Greatness, and A Beautiful View. He also created the solo performances of House, Here Lies Henry, Monster and Cul-de-sac with long time collaborator Daniel Brooks. MacIvor has won several national awards including two Chalmers New Play Awards and a 2006 Governor General’s Award for Drama for his collection of five plays called I still Love You.

“The Siminovitch Prize reminds me that theatre has the power to transform lives,” said MacIvor during his acceptance speech at First Canadian Place.  “The lives of the practitioners transform – because certainly mine has – and the lives of those audiences who come into the dark rooms with their minds and their hearts open, who are filled with questions and find a moment of peace in the presence of something innately familiar.”

Born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, MacIvor is a graduate from the Dalhousie University Theatre Department and George Brown Theatre Department. In addition to playwriting, MacIvor is also a screenwriter and filmmaker and was Artistic Director of the international theatre touring company da da kamera from 1987-2007.

“As a long-time supporter of the arts in Canada, I am thrilled to congratulate Daniel on this outstanding achievement, from all of us at BMO Financial Group,” said Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO, Private Client Group, BMO Financial Group. “The Siminovitch Prize recognizes excellence in Canadian theatre and Daniel MacIvor exemplifies the extraordinary talent that can be cultivated in our country, given support, encouragement and mentorship.”

MacIvor was awarded a cheque at a ceremony on Monday, October 27 for $75,000 and he chose Vancouver playwrights, Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn, as his protégés, who received $25,000. The Siminovitch Prize is structured this way to demonstrate the importance of mentorship in Canadian theatre.

Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahnprotégés

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Arnold and Hahn are recipients of the New York Fringe’s Overall Production Award for their playTuesdays & Sundays. The play also garnered three Edmonton Sterling Awards, was published twice and broadcast as a radio play on CBC and BBC. Their most recent play, Any Night, received the jury prize for Outstanding New Play in Toronto’s Summerworks Festival and will be published next year. Both Arnold and Hahn are professional actors and writers living in Vancouver, B.C. and produce under the company DualMinds. For more, visit www.dualminds.com

The Siminovitch Prize 2008 Jury

The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre was introduced in 2001 and dedicated to renowned scientist Lou Siminovitch and his late wife Elinore, a playwright. Sponsored by BMO Financial Group, Canada’s largest annual theatre arts award recognizes direction, playwriting and design in three-year cycles. Previous recipients include:

  • Toronto director Daniel Brooks in 2001;
  • Montreal playwright Carole Fréchette in 2002;
  • Montreal designer Louise Campeau in 2003;
  • St. John’s director Jillian Keiley in 2004;
  • Toronto playwright John Mighton in 2005;
  • Toronto set and costume designer Dany Lyne in 2006; and
  • Montréal director Brigitte Haentjens in 2007.

Media Contacts:
Jodi Salem, Toronto, jodi.salem@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996
Lucie Gosselin, Montreal, lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-8224
Laurie Grant, Vancouver, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596

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