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Jury Announced for 2008 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre – Deadline for playwright nominations fast approaching

TORONTO, May 20, 2008

BMO Financial Group today announced the members of this year’s jury for the 2008 Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre celebrating playwrights. The distinguished panel of theatre experts will select this year’s recipient of the $100,000 Prize – the largest prize in Canadian theatre.

The deadline for nominations for the Siminovitch Prize, which will be presented this year to a playwright, is June 4. A short list will be disclosed in September, and the recipient and his or her protégé will be announced on October 27.

BMO Financial Group sponsors the prize and will host the award ceremony. "We are proud to promote the development of great Canadian theatre," said Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO of BMO’s Private Client Group, "and to celebrate the directors, playwrights and designers who bring us so much enjoyment and thought-provoking art."

Once again this year, the Siminovitch Prize Jury will be chaired by Leonard McHardy, co-owner of Toronto’s TheatreBooks bookstore and board President of Necessary Angel, an internationally acclaimed Toronto theatre company.

"We have a very experienced and dedicated jury to help us with this year’s selection," said Mr. McHardy, "and we are all looking forward to considering the work of Canada’s most talented and influential playwrights."

The other members of the jury are: Patricia Hamilton, a celebrated Canadian actress with more than 45 years on the stage; Paul Lefebvre, a noted translator, stage director, dramaturge and theatre scholar.; Vicki Stroich, a prominent dramaturge, programmer and producer with Calgary’s Alberta Theatre Projects; and John Van Burek, a director, teacher, translator, and Founding Artistic Director of Toronto’s Pleiades Theatre.

Please see biographical notes.

About BMO Financial Group’s support of arts and culture
BMO Financial Group is one of Canada’s largest corporate benefactors, and a major contributor to arts and culture. In 2007, BMO contributed more than $50 million in donations and sponsorships. BMO’s funding supports numerous cultural charities and organizations, ranging from grants to music and art programs in schools, to sustaining grants for national cultural institutions.

About the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre
The Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre honours professional directors, playwrights and designers by acknowledging excellence and encouraging further exploration in Canadian theatre. The Siminovitch Prize was created in 2001 and is dedicated to distinguished scientist Lou Siminovitch and his late wife Elinore, a playwright. A jury awards the $100,000 prize annually.

Media Contacts:
Paul Gammal, Toronto, paul.gammal@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996
Lucie Gosselin, Montreal, lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-1101
Laurie Grant, Vancouver, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596