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June 4, 2001

Toronto, Ontario – Bank of Montreal is pleased to announce that Urjo Kareda, the distinguished Artistic Director of Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, will chair the jury for the first annual Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. He will be joined by Montrealer Linda Gaboriau, Christopher Newton of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Vancouver-based Kathryn Shaw, and Mary Vingoe from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in reviewing the nominations, which closed May 31. The winner will be announced on Monday, October 29, 2001.

“Bank of Montreal is delighted to sponsor this prize. We are very pleased to have such an eminent panel of jurors associate themselves with this initiative to celebrate Canadian theatre”, said Tony Comper, Chairman and CEO, Bank of Montreal.

The $100,000 national prize, the largest of its kind in Canada, is designed to recognize an artist in mid-career who has contributed significantly to the fabric of theatrical life through a total body of work. The premiere year will honor directors (with 2002 honoring playwrights and 2003 saluting designers). Of the $100,000 prize, $25,000 is to be designated to a protégé or an institution of the winner’s choice. The prize has been established through the efforts of individuals and institutions that wished to honor the significant contributions made to Canadian society and dedication to excellence by Elinore and Lou Siminovitch. Lou Siminovitch, scientist, researcher, professor and mentor, and his late playwright wife, who wrote over 30 plays, had a life-long commitment to and love of the arts and theatre in particular.

Jury Chair

Artistic Director, Tarragon Theatre 

Urjo Kareda has been Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre since 1982. As a writer and journalist, he is currently an opera and vocal performance critic for the Globe and Mail, writes a regular arts column for Toronto Life, and is a contributor to Canadian Art, Dance in Canada, Opus Magazine, Opera Canada, and Opera News. He has been drama critic for The Toronto Star; film critic for The Toronto Star and Maclean’s Magazine; written for Saturday Night and The New York Times; and been a freelance broadcaster for all the arts. The honors he has received include the Order of Canada; the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in the Professional Theatre; the City of Toronto Award for the Performing Arts; and the M. Joan Chalmers Award for Artistic Direction.

Jury Members

Literary Translator 

Linda Gaboriau has been active in Canadian and Quebec theatre as a consultant, dramaturg and translator. She has translated some 60 plays, including the works of some of Quebec’s most prominent playwrights: Rene-Daniel Dubois, Michel Marc Bouchard, Normand Chaurette, Daniel Danis, and Michel Tremblay. Her other acclaimed translations include works by Marie-Claire Blais and Pierre Morency. She worked at Montreal’s Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD), taught at the National Theatre School, was theatre critic for the Montreal Gazette, and hosted and produced radio shows for the CBC. She has won three Chalmers Awards, three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and a Governor General’s Award for Literary Translation.

Artistic Director, Shaw Festival 

Christopher Newton has been a major contributor to Canadian Theatre for over 40 years, and Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival since 1979. He has directed many of the Shaw Festival’s major works, established its Acting Ensemble and Academy professional development programme; forged international alliances with leading theatre companies in Russia, Poland, Ireland, and Australia; and was instrumental in the establishment of the International Repertory Theatre Conference for the five largest repertory theatre companies in the world. He is also known as an actor, and playwright. Among the honours he has received are the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime achievement, the Order of Canada, the M. Joan Chalmers Award for Artistic Direction, and Honorary Doctorates from SUNY at Buffalo and Wilfrid Laurier University. He will serve as Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival through the end of the 2002 season.

Artistic Director, Studio 58, Langara College 

Kathryn Shaw is the Artistic Director of Studio 58, the Professional Acting Training Program at Langara College, Vancouver. For the past 25 years, she has directed for theatre companies across Canada and has taught acting for professional and community groups in British Columbia, Winnipeg and Halifax. She has been a guest instructor at the National Theatre School in Montreal. In addition to directing in Vancouver, Richmond and Victoria, She co-wrote and performed in Famous Dead Stories We Just Made Up at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and on tour. She received the UBCP/ACTRA Sam Payne Award for “Humanity, Integrity and the Encouragement of New Talent.”

Artistic Director, The Eastern Front Theatre 

Mary Vingoe has worked in professional Canadian theatre for over 20 years as an actor, playwright, director and teacher. She is co-founder and past Artistic Director of Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre and Nova Scotia’s The Ship’s Company Theatre and is currently Artistic Director of the Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax. She has directed for major theatres across the country including The Neptune, The Manitoba Theatre Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, The Centaur Theatre in Montreal and Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary. Plays she has produced and directed have won nominations for the Governor General’s Award for drama. A playwright herself, she has developed the work of Canadian playwrights, created new theatre festivals and taught in several Canadian universities.

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