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Chosen for her extensive experience working in both the French and English theatre communities.

TORONTO, October 27, 2008

BMO Financial Group has selected Montreal-based translator and dramaturge, Maureen Labonté will be the next Jury Chair of the Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. The appointment will be officially revealed at a ceremony this evening announcing the 2008 Siminovitch Prize winner.

Earlier this year, Leonard McHardy, co-owner and co-founder of TheatreBooks in Toronto who has been Jury Chair since 2003 announced that the 2008 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre would be his last.

“We are proud to announce that Maureen Labonté will be the next Chair of the Siminovitch Prize jury,” said Susan Payne, Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer, BMO Financial Group.  “Maureen was an invaluable member of the jury in 2005 and we are confident she will fulfill her duties as jury chair whole-heartedly.  Our deepest appreciation goes out to Leonard, who has led and guided the jury for six years.”

Labonté was chosen for her extensive experience working in both the French and English theatre communities across Canada, especially with emerging and leading theatre artists.

“I’m thrilled to have been asked to head up the Siminovitch jury,” said Labonté. “It’s Canada’s most important prize in theatre and is unique in its recognition of both the contribution and the needs of the theatre artist in Canadian society. It is a great, great honour for me to be able to accompany it for a few years.”

The 2008 short-listed nominees, selected from 26 nominated Canadian playwrights include:

  • Morwyn Brebner, Toronto, Ontario;
  • Daniel Danis, St-David de Falardeau, Quebec;
  • Daniel MacIvor, Toronto, Ontario;
  • Colleen Murphy, Toronto, Ontario; and
  • Larry Tremblay, Montreal, Quebec.

The 2008 Siminovitch Prize Jury 
The 2008 Siminovitch Prize jury was chaired by Leonard McHardy and included:

  • Patricia Hamilton, Toronto, Ontario, a Canadian actress with more than 45 years on the stage;
  • Paul Lefebvre, Ottawa, Ontario, a translator, stage director, dramaturge and theatre scholar;
  • Vicki Stroich, Calgary, Alberta, a dramaturge, programmer and producer with Calgary’s Alberta Theatre Projects; and
  • John Van Burek, Toronto, Ontario, a director, teacher, translator, and Founding Artistic Director of Toronto’s Pleiades Theatre.

About the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre
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. Previous recipients include:

  • Toronto director Daniel Brooks in 2001;
  • Montreal playwright Carole Fréchette in 2002;
  • Montreal designer Louise Campeau in 2003;
  • St. John’s director Jillian Keiley in 2004;
  • Toronto playwright John Mighton in 2005;
  • Toronto set and costume designer Dany Lyne in 2006; and
  • Montréal director Brigitte Haentjens in 2007.

Media Contacts:
Jodi Salem, Toronto, jodi.salem@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996
Lucie Gosselin, Montreal, lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-8224
Laurie Grant, Vancouver, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596

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