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March 1, 2004

TORONTO – The Jury for the 2004 Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre was announced today, with Leonard McHardy, a prominent theatre professional, named as the Jury Chair again this year. Mr. McHardy, former Director of Communications at the Stratford Festival, is co-founder of Toronto’s TheatreBooks, Canada’s premier performing arts bookstore.

The $100,000 prize – the largest in Canadian theatre – will be presented this year to a director who has made a significant contribution to theatre in Canada.

“As a longstanding supporter of theatre in Canada, we are pleased to showcase and reward excellence, while helping to inspire further creativity and innovation in Canadian theatre,” said Tony Comper, Chairman and CEO of BMO Financial Group, the title sponsor of the Siminovitch Prize.

The names of the four other distinguished members of the Canadian theatre community who will serve as jurors were also announced today. They are:

Marie-Hélène Falcon – As co-founder and, since 1983, Director General and Artistic Director of the Festival de Théâtre des Amériques, Madame Falcon has achieved international recognition for her work to present outstanding contemporary theatre to audiences both at home and abroad. Upon completing her studies in Philosophy and Theatre at the Université du Québec à Montréal Madame Falcon’s early career included positions as Artistic Director Festival du théâtre étudiant and Co-director l’Association québécoise du jeune théâtre. Among the many honors she has received for her extraordinary achievement are most notably being named Chevalier de l’Ordre des arts et des lettres by the French government and as Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec.

Robert Wallace – A Professor of English and Drama Studies, York University, Robert has written five stage plays and is a widely published writer of theatre criticism and commentary. As the editor of Canadian Theatre Review from 1982-1988 and Drama Editor of Coach House Press from 1982-1995, he has edited more than 20 volumes of Canadian plays. He has also served on the boards of many arts organizations and for many years chaired the Arts Advisory Committee for the Laidlaw Foundation, which supported the development and creation of new work in dance and theatre.

Mary Walsh – A recipient of numerous Gemini awards, Mary is best known to Canadians for her work on This Hour has 22 Minutes. In addition to her cast of characters on this show, Mary’s career has expanded as host of her new television series, Mary Walsh Open Book, a literary talk show. Mary stars in the recently released, Mambo Italiano, and has just completed filming for another feature film. She was one of the founding members of the Newfoundland theatre troupe CODCO, which toured Canada several times. She went on to perform in theatres across Canada in both contemporary and modern classic roles. Her work as both a director and playwright contributes to her reputation as one of Canada’s most assured theatre artists.

Bob White – The Artistic Director of Calgary’s Alberta Theatre Projects since November, 1999, Bob has been active as a dramaturg and director across Canada for thirty years. As artistic associate at Alberta Theatre Projects, he headed the annual playRites Festival of New Canadian Plays for thirteen years. Bob has directed numerous productions of Canadian, American and British plays. He has been honored by the city of Calgary for his contribution to the culture of the city.

The Jury will receive nominations of Canadian directors who advance 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 will assess the nominees’ originality, sense of evolution, growing maturity, continuing experimentation, impact upon audiences, and/or influence upon younger artists. They will also consider whether the artist is at a point in his or her professional career where the recognition and resources associated with the prize will make a significant difference, allowing and encouraging the artist to go further in the pursuit of his or her craft.

Anyone can submit a nomination for the prize. Nomination forms are available at most performing arts theatres in Canada and online at The deadline for nominations is May 25, and the prize will be awarded on October 26.

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 exceptional directors, playwrights and designers who advance Canadian theatre through a body of work achieved in recent years, while influencing and inspiring younger theatre artists. The winner receives $100,000, of which $25,000 is awarded to a protégé or organization of the winner’s choice.

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