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Five Outstanding Canadian Designers Make Short-List for 2006 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre

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Theatre Designers from Alberta, Ontario and Quebec in the Running for Largest Prize in Canadian Theatre

TORONTO, September 27, 2006 – BMO Financial Group, sponsor of the Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, announced today the names of the five exceptional Canadian theatre designers who have been placed on the short-list for the $100,000 Prize. The Siminovitch Prize is the largest in Canadian theatre and will be presented October 24, 2006 during a ceremony at University of Toronto’s Hart House Theatre.

The following five finalists were selected from 36 of Canada’s top lighting, sound, costume and set designers who received nominations:

Judith Bowden, Set and Costume Designer, Niagara on the Lake, ON
Bretta Gerecke, Set and Lighting Designer, Edmonton, AB
Anick La Bissonnière, Set Designer, Montrèal, QC
Danièle Lévesque, Set Designer, Montrèal, QC
Dany Lyne, Set and Costume Designer, Toronto, ON

Biographies and photos of the finalists are available

“The short-list includes five remarkably gifted theatre artists whose work gave us such pleasure to delve into and discover,” said Leonard McHardy, Jury Chair, on behalf of the Jury. “The work also proved an intellectual challenge and expanded our understanding of what designers bring to the aesthetic and the soul of theatre. The experience of theatergoing is enriched by the creativity of each of these five outstanding artists.”

“On behalf of my colleagues at BMO Financial Group, I want to congratulate the five exceptional theatre designers selected as finalists for the Siminovitch Prize,” said BMO President and CEO Tony Comper. “And as someone who has made a priority of the advancement of women, both in and out of the workplace, I cannot resist noting – and applauding – the fact that for the first time in the history of our Prize, all five contenders are female.

“Gender aside, however, the choice of this year’s finalists in theatre design is nothing less than inspired – a tribute to the blue ribbon Jury that worked so conscientiously to sift through the many worthy submissions that have become the hallmark of the Siminovitch Prize over the years.”

The Jury reviewed nominations of professional lighting, sound, costume or set designers who have advanced Canadian theatre through a body of work achieved in recent years while influencing and inspiring younger theatre artists. In the preceding 10 years, nominees will have made a significant creative contribution to no fewer than three noteworthy theatre projects in Canada. The jurors assessed the nominees’ originality, sense of evolution, growing maturity, continuing experimentation, impact upon audiences, and influence upon younger artists. The jury further considered that the receipt of the prize, with the resources and recognition that go with it, would encourage and allow the artist to explore and experiment further in the pursuit of his or her craft.

Joining Mr. McHardy on the jury are Luc Boulanger, author and well-known journalist in Montreal’s media community; Mary Kerr, a distinguished production designer whose work has been seen on stages across Canada and throughout the world; Diana Leblanc, an actress and director who has received acclaim in French and English throughout the country; and Keith Turnbull, a director, dramaturge and producer committed to contemporary and new work in both theatre and opera.

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, beginning with the 2001 award to Toronto director Daniel Brooks; the 2002 award to Montreal playwright Carole Fréchette; the 2003 award to Montreal designer Louise Campeau; the 2004 award to St. John’s director Jillian Keiley and the 2005 award to Toronto playwright John Mighton. The recipient receives $100,000, of which $25,000 is awarded to a protégé or organization of the recipient’s choice.

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