October 29, 2001
Toronto, Ontario – The inaugural Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre was awarded on October 29, 2001, to Toronto director Daniel Brooks, one of the brightest lights in the Canadian theatrical spectrum.
Creator, director, writer and actor, Brooks has emerged as a prolific and versatile artist, winning accolades and awards for such productions as Here Lies Henry, The Noam Chomsky Lectures, House and Faust. Among the awards which he has won or been nominated for are the Dora Mavor Moore Award, The Chalmers Award, the Edinburgh Fringe First Award and the Governor General Award. He co-founded the Augusta Company, has directed for Soulpepper Theatre and been the playwright in residence at Tarragon Theatre.
In commenting on Brooks, the jury said it “recognizes and celebrates his depth of commitment, intellectual discipline and brilliant stagecraft. As he has grown from a co-creator to a director, his scope as an interpretive artist has become awesomely clear. With idealism and fearlessness, he has been eager to address complex issues in both contemporary and historical works. His theatrical rigour is infectious, challenging and inspiring the artists – notably actors and designers – whom he gathers into an investigative ensemble.
“Most remarkably, Brooks has been able to work on his own and establish a reputation outside the framework and opportunities provided by the larger companies. He is in every way an independent artist, consciously and proudly using the stage as an arena for moral debate and theatrical wonder.”
Speaking on behalf of the Bank of Montreal, the sponsor of the award and host of the announcement reception, Tony Comper said, “Daniel Brooks is a perfect embodiment of the values represented by the Siminovitch Prize, and we offer him our congratulations. Like the Simonovitches, Brooks has exhibited an outstanding level of excellence, an enthusiasm for mentorship and a lifelong dedication to his art. We can expect more riveting performances from him in the future.”
Of the $100,000 prize money, $25,000 is earmarked for a protégé, selected by the winner. Brooks selected Chris Abraham, an emerging director, designer and dramaturge. Abraham is a Dora Award winner as well as the winner of the 1999 Ken McDougall and John Hirsch Awards for emerging directors. His directing credits include Easy Lenny Lazmon and the Great Western Ascension, The Kabbalistic Psychoanalysis of Adam P. Tzaddik and I, Claudia.
The Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, the largest prize of its kind in Canada, is named after one of Canada’s outstanding scientists and his late playwright wife, whose determination, dedication to excellence and belief in mentorship are embodied in the award named after them.