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Call for Applications Announced for Master Class Led by Renowned Canadian Playwright, Carole Fréchette

May 26, 2005

TORONTO – Fifty-three of Canada’s top playwrights have been recognized with nominations for the prestigious Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, BMO Financial Group, the prize sponsor, announced today. The $100,000 prize – the largest in Canadian theatre – will be presented October 25, 2005, to a playwright who has made a significant contribution to theatre in Canada. A short-list will be announced at the end of September.

“The overwhelming response to this year’s call for nominations reflects the strength at the heart of Canada’s theatre industry,” said Leonard McHardy, chair of the five-person jury that will select the winner of this year’s Siminovitch Prize. “It also reveals a deeper awareness and appreciation of the intent of the Siminovitch Prize – to encourage Canadian artists to go further in the pursuit of their crafts.”

The number of playwright submissions has increased significantly since 2002, the first year the Siminovitch Prize was awarded to a playwright. There were 34 nominees in 2002 compared to 53 submissions this year. The regional representation of nominees has also grown, particularly in Western Canada. There were only four nominees from British Columbia and two from Alberta in 2002. This year, those numbers doubled, with eight submissions from B.C. and five from Alberta.

“We are honoured to have an illustrious jury for the fifth annual Siminovitch Prize,” said McHardy. “Each jury member has a deep understanding of the important place of the playwright in the creation of Canadian theatre. Each has, in their own career, been inspired by the playwright’s voice to make remarkable contributions to theatre across the country.”

A full list of the nominees and plays submitted is included at the end of the press release.

Siminovitch Prize Master Class Workshop

The call for applications for the Siminovitch Prize Master Class Workshop was also announced today. Building on the success of last year’s Master Class for directors, this year’s workshop for playwrights will be expanded to three days: August 26 – August 28, and will be bilingual, allowing up to a total of sixteen French and English playwrights from across the country to participate.

Carole Fréchette, winner of the 2002 Siminovitch Prize for Playwrights, will lead the workshop. The Siminovitch Prize has partnered with the Playwrights Guild of Canada, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal and Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD) to run the workshop. Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts, all travel expenses for workshop participants will be covered.

“Because writing is a solitary activity, playwrights have few occasions to share their views with each other, particularly with writers of different languages,” said Ms. Fréchette. “This year’s Master Class will be an exceptional opportunity for both French and English writers to participate and exchange ideas.”

“My goal for the session is to focus on a specific aspect of the process of playwriting – the germination of a play. How does a play start? Where does the impulse come from – an image, object, word or sensation? I will share my thoughts based on my own writing experiences and I will invite the participants to explore their own impulses to create,” added Ms. Fréchette.

Applicants are expected to have previous professional playwriting experience. To apply, candidates must submit a resume with a cover letter highlighting their playwriting experience and how they would benefit from this training. Application forms and more information are available online at www.siminovitchprize.com. The deadline for submissions is June 29, 2005.

The Siminovitch Master Class was introduced last year by BMO Financial Group and Theatre Ontario and was designed to celebrate one of the prime motivations behind the Siminovitch Prize: the importance of mentorship within the theatre community. Twelve directors were selected to participate in last year’s one-day workshop with Daniel Brooks, the 2001 Siminovitch Prize-winning director.

2005 Siminovitch Prize Nominees

Sally Clark, Vancouver, BC (Wanted)
Marie Clements, Galiano Island, BC (Burning Vision)
Electric Company, Vancouver, BC (Brilliant)
Comfort Adesuwa Ero, Vancouver, BC (The Dance of the Leopard)
Lorena Gale, Vancouver, BC (Angelique)
Joan MacLeod, Victoria, BC (The Shape of a Girl)
Frank Moher, Gabriola Island, BC (Big Baby)
Morris Panych, Vancouver, BC (Girl in the Goldfish Bowl)
 
Heather Drage, Calgary, AB (Perfect)
Stewart Lemoine, Edmonton, AB (Pith!)
Clem Martini, Calgary, AB (Illegal Entry)
Eugene Stickland, Calgary, AB (Closer and Closer Apart)
Vern Thiessen, Edmonton, AB (Einstein’s Gift)
 
Elaine Kowpak, Harris, SK (The Pull of the Land)
Beth Robertson, Harris, SK (The Pull of the Land)
Mansel Robinson, Saskatoon, SK (Ghost Trains)
 
Stewart Boston, Almonte, ON (Phèdre)
David S. Craig, Toronto, ON (Danny, King of the Basement)
Sean Dixon, Toronto, ON (aerwacol)
Don Druick, Elmira, ON (Through the Eyes)
Norm Foster, Ancaster, ON (Storm Warning)
Florence Gibson, Toronto, ON (Belle)
Linda Griffiths, Toronto, ON (Alien Creature)
Claude Guilmain, Toronto, ON (Requiem pour un trompettiste)
Dale Hamilton, Eden Mills, ON (The Gift of Time: The Guelph Community Play)
Michael Healey, Toronto, ON (Rune Arlidge)
Michael Hollingsworth, Toronto, ON (The Red River Rebellion)
Daniel MacIvor, Toronto, ON (Marion Bridge)
Kathleen McDonnell, Toronto, ON (The Seven Ravens)
John Mighton, Toronto, ON (Half Life)
Daniel David Moses, Kingston, ON (The Moon and Dead Indians)
Darren O’Donnell, Toronto, ON (White Mice)
Djanet Sears, Toronto, ON (The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God)
Jason Sherman, Toronto, ON (Patience)
Drew Hayden Taylor, Toronto, ON (In a World Created by a Drunken God)
Judith Thompson, Toronto, ON (My Pyramids)
Guillermo Verdecchia, Toronto, ON (Fronteras Americanas)
 
Michel Marc Bouchard, Montreal, QC (The Coronation Voyage)
George Boyd, Montreal, QC (Gideon’s Blues)
Marie Brassard, Montreal, QC (Jimmy, créature de rêve)
Colleen Curran, Montreal, QC (Casa de Mary Margaret)
Daniel Danis, St-David-de-Falardeau, QC (Le Chant du Dire-Dire)
Brian Drader, Westmount, QC (Prok)
Jasmine Dubé, Montreal, QC (L’Arche de Noémie)
David Gow, Montreal, QC (Cherry Docs)
Peter Hinton, Montreal, QC (The Swanne)
Wajdi Mouawad, Montreal, QC (Incendies)
Raymond Pollender, Montreal, QC (Encore une lettre du bout du monde)
Vittorio Rossi, Montreal, QC (Paradise by the River)
Kent Stetson, Montreal, QC (The Harps of God)
Larry Tremblay, Montreal, QC (Le Ventriloque)
 
Robert Chafe, St. John’s, NL (Tempting Providence)
Berni Stapleton, St. John’s, NL (The Pope and Princess Di)

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 richest annual theatre arts award honours professional directors, playwrights and designers by acknowledging excellence and encouraging further exploration in Canadian theatre. The winner receives $100,000, of which $25,000 is awarded to a protégé or organization of the winner’s choice.

Contacts: 
JoAnne Hayes, Toronto, joanne.hayes@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

Internet: www.siminovitchprize.com

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