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  • Jury will award $100,000 to Canadian designer on November 5, 2012

TORONTO, May 30, 2012 – The founders of the Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre today announced the jury members for the 2012 edition. The recipient of the award, the largest in Canadian theatre, will receive a $100,000 prize, which will be announced at a ceremony in Toronto on November 5, 2012.

The Siminovitch Prize recognizes excellence in direction, playwriting and design on a three-year cycle. This year, the prize will be awarded to a top lighting, sound, costume or set designer who has left a legacy within the Canadian theatre scene in recent years. The $100,000 prize allows the recipient to take his or her craft to the next level and also encourages emerging artists, with $25,000 of the prize money awarded to a protégé of the recipient’s choosing.

The deadline for nominations for the prize is June 8, 2012. A short list will be announced in September.

“The jury members of the Siminovitch Prize have always distinctively recognized artists whose hard work and passion for theatre have made an impactful and lasting contribution to the Canadian stage,” said Joseph Rotman, Chair of the Canada Council and one of the Founders of the Siminovitch Prize. “The members of the jury are innovative creators themselves, and it is an honour to recognize them.

Maureen Labonté has been the Chair of the Siminovitch Prize jury since 2009.

From 2007 to 2011, she was the Co-Director of the Banff Playwrights’ Colony at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Her association with the Playwrights’ Colony began in 2002 when she was named resident dramaturge and program coordinator. She is also a translator, teacher and has overseen a number of play development programs in theatres and playwrights’ centres across the country.

She has worked in various theatres across Canada including the National Arts Center (Ottawa), the Stratford Festival, Alberta Theatre Projects (Calgary), Playwrights Workshop Montreal, the Centre des auteurs dramatiques (Montréal) and the Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa). She has also taught at the National Theatre School of Canada since the mid-nineties. Maureen has translated more than 30 Québec plays into English. She lives and works in Montréal.

“The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre has been an invaluable experience for me,” said Ms. Labonté. “We bring together artists of diverse backgrounds to select our jury members, who will apply their knowledge of Canadian theatre to the task of selecting a playwright whose work shows passion, imagination and vision.”

Labonté is joined by five jury members:

Alison Green has worked as a scenographer and theatre artist for most of her career, beginning with training in Montréal and a design position with Radio Canada. There, her fascination with theatre led her to work with le Théâtre du Rideau Vert, le Théâtre Jean Duceppe and the beloved Théâtre de Quatre Sous. Her move to Vancouver brought her into a long-time relationship with the Arts Club Theatre, participating in their expansion to Granville Island and the Stanley Stage. Alison was a member of the design team for the Transportation Pavilion at Vancouver’s EXPO 86 World’s Fair. She has also designed for the Vancouver Playhouse, Carousel Children’s Theatre, Pacific Opera and the Vancouver Opera. Alison holds a BFA and MFA degree from UBC, and has been a member of the faculty of the UBC Department of Theatre since 1992. She is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.

Claude Goyette has created over a 150 sets for stage, theatre, opera, dance and television. He has designed exhibits for museums and infrastructures for the Cirque du Soleil. Over the years, he has garnered several prizes and awards for his set designs. In 2011, he received the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ)’s prestigious career award recognizing his outstanding contribution to the development of culture in Quebec. Claude also received the support of the Fonds canadien d’accès à la recherche (FCAR) to complete a master’s degree in theatre. He has taught set design at l’École supérieure de théâtre de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, at the Collège Lionel Groulx (option théâtre) and for other major theatre schools. He is the founder of and has presided over l’Association des professionnels des arts de la scène du Québec (APASQ) and has served on the Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT).

Jock Munro has worked as a lighting designer in Canada, the U.S. and Europe in the fields of theatre, opera and dance. His 34-year design career includes credits in most major theatres across Canada, with over 60 productions for the National Arts Centre, most recently A Christmas Carol, and Happy Days. For the Canadian Opera Company: From the House of the Dead, Red Emma, Dido and Aeneas, and the Coffee Cantatas. For the Stratford Festival: 13 seasons, including: The Cherry Orchard, Henry Five, Richard the Third, Oliver!, Much Ado about Nothing, and Three Penny Opera . For the Shaw Festival: My Fair Lady, Candida and Mack and Mabel. Munro has extensive credits at Can Stage Toronto, The Grand Theatre, London, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Theatre Calgary, Neptune Theatre and GCTC in Ottawa. In the dance world, 11 premieres for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Ballet de Nancy, L’Opera national de Paris, the Netherlands Dance Theatre, Fortier Danse Creation and Ballet BC. Munro has premiered work with some of Canada’s best choreographers including Jean Pierre Perrault, and Paul André Fortier, at places as far reaching as the Paris Opera, The Nederlands Dans Theatre and Saitama and Yamagouchi Arts centres in Japan. His long association with choreographer Edouard Lock includes LaLaLa Human Steps productions of Salt, Amelia and Amjad. He lives with his wife Paula on the shores of Meech Lake, Québec.

Leigh Ann Vardy is a lighting designer for theatre and dance. She has worked in theatres across Canada including the Globe Theatre, Neptune, Buddies in Bad Times, Great Canadian Theatre Company, the National Arts Centre, Soulpepper, Factory Theatre, The Segal Centre, Centaur Theatre, The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and the Charlottetown Festival, among many others. She has a keen interest in designing new works and has been part of the creative team for many world premieres. Leigh Ann has won five Merritt Awards for design and has been nominated for the Siminovitch Prize. Leigh Ann is an instructor and coach at the National Theatre School of Canada.

Shawn Kerwin is an award winning set and costume designer with credits in Canada, England and the United States. Her recent set and costume designs include Brothel #9, And So It Goes, Suburban Motel, Better Living, Escape From Happiness, Beyond Mozambique, Home Is My Road, (Factory Theatre) Master Harold and the Boys, (1000 Islands Playhouse,) Our Town, (Soulpepper) The Monument (Obsidian) Heaven, The Tempest, Habitat (CanStage) A Killing Snow, Salt Water Moon, Hockey Mom Hockey Dad Leaving Home, Harvest, Spirit of the Narrows, Drawer Boy, at the Blyth Festival, set design for After Image, Oil & Water, (Artistic Fraud) Pride and Prejudice, (Grand Theatre) costume design for Was Spring, Communion, How It Works (Tarragon Theatre) Moonlight and Magnolias, (Grand Theatre) The Journey(Pimooteewin), (Soundstreams Canada). Kerwin has also designed over 250 windows for Tiffany & Co.’s flag ship store in Toronto. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre, York University, where she served as Chair from 2003-2009. Recently Shawn completed a 5-month residency at the CFC Media Lab at the MaRS Centre and premiered her CFC installation project Alone Together at the Bata Shoe Museum during the 2011 Nuit Blanche.

Previous jury chairs were:
Leonard McHardy – Co-owner and Co-founder, TheatreBooks
Bill Glassco – Founder and Artistic Director, Tarragon Theatre
Urjo Kareda – Artistic Director, Tarragon Theatre

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