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Largest number of submissions ever received; 100 per cent increase from last year

June 8, 2004

TORONTO – Fifty-nine of Canada’s top directors have been recognized with nominations for the prestigious Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, BMO Financial Group, the prize sponsor, announced today. The $100,000 prize – the largest in Canadian theatre – will be presented October 26, 2004 to a director who has made a significant contribution to theatre in Canada. A short-list will be announced on September 27, 2004.

“The overwhelming response to our call for submissions demonstrates the extraordinary breadth of talented directors in Canada,” said Leonard McHardy, chair of the five-person jury that will select the winner of this year’s Siminovitch Prize. “Not only did we receive the largest number of nominations ever for this year’s prize, but, for the first time, we have nominees from coast-to-coast – from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland.”

The number of submissions has almost doubled since the first year of the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre in 2001. The regional representation of nominees has also increased dramatically. For example, only six per cent of the nominees were from Quebec in 2001, in contrast to more than 30 per cent this year, not far behind Ontario. After Ontario and Quebec, British Columbia had the most submissions this year, followed by Alberta, then Newfoundland. There were also nominees from Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. A submission was also received for the first time from the Northwest Territories.

“This is the most impressive collection of submissions to date and is reflective of the strength of Canadian theatre. There are submissions for directors representing independent, non-traditional theatre to directors who work in large Canadian theatre companies. This confirms how deeply rooted theatre has become in communities across the country,” added McHardy.

Selection Process – 
Joining Leonard McHardy on the jury are Marie-Hélène Falcon, Co-founder, Director General and Artistic Director of the Festival de Théâtre des Amériques; Robert Wallace, Playwright and Professor of English and Drama Studies, York University; Mary Walsh, Director, Playwright and Actress; and Bob White, Artistic Director of Calgary’s Alberta Theatre Projects. The Jury receives nominations of Canadian directors who advance Canadian theatre through a work created 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 productions 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.

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 recognizes direction, playwriting and design in three-year cycles, beginning with the 2001 award to director Daniel Brooks; the 2002 award to playwright Carole Fréchette; and the 2003 award to designer Louise Campeau. Directors will be honoured in 2004. The winner receives $100,000, of which $25,000 is awarded to a protégé or organization of the winner’s choice.

JoAnne Hayes
(416) 867-3996

Lucie Gosselin
(514) 877-1101


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