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TORONTO, July 10, 2007 – BMO Financial Group, sponsor of the Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, today announced the names of the 26 Canadian directors who have been recognized with nominations for this year’s award. The $100,000 prize – the largest in Canadian theatre – will be presented October 29, 2007, to a professional director who has made a significant contribution to theatre in Canada. A short-list will be announced at the end of September.

2007 Siminovitch Prize Nominees

Kim Collier, Vancouver, BC
Patrick McDonald, Vancouver, BC
Valerie Methot, Vancouver, BC
Ron Reed, Richmond, BC

Jonathan Christenson, Edmonton, AB
Dennis Garnhum, Calgary, AB 
Ron Jenkins, Edmonton, AB
Bradley Moss, Edmonton, AB 

Jim Guedo, Saskatoon, SA

Mark Cassidy, Toronto, ON
ahdri zhina mandiela, Toronto, ON
Ross Manson, Toronto, ON
Sue Miner, Toronto, ON
Daniel Mroz, Ottawa, ON
Alisa Palmer, Toronto, ON
Soheil Parsa, Toronto, ON
Jacob Wren, Toronto, ON

Martin Faucher, Montreal, QC
Brigitte Haentjens, Montreal, QC
Eric Jean, Montreal, QC
Daniel Meilleur, Montreal, QC
Carole Nadeau, Montreal, QC
Claude Poissant, Montreal, QC
Guy Sprung, Montreal, QC
Sarah Stanley, Montreal, QC
Benoît Vermeulen, Montreal, QC

Jury and Selection Process

Leonard McHardy, highly regarded theatre professional and co-owner of Toronto’s TheatreBooks, marks his fifth consecutive year as Jury Chair.  Mr. McHardy consulted with theatre professionals across Canada to select the members of the theatre community who will serve as jurors.

“I am delighted to announce the distinguished members of the theatre community who will serve as jurors for this year’s prize,” said Mr. McHardy.  “Each member of the jury will bring unique insight and experience from the early stages of creation in theatre to the deliberation. They have all facilitated the development of new artistic work, collaborating closely with directors, playwrights, designers and choreographers.”

Joining Mr. McHardy on the jury are Geneviève Billette, author, translator and recipient of the 2002 Siminovitch Protégé Prize; Katrina Dunn, director and producer; Valerie Moore, director, choreographer and teacher; and Carlo Guillermo Proto, director, producer and writer.   

“These jurors understand the critical role of mentorship in theatre – an important component of the Siminovitch Prize – having inspired and encouraged many protégés in the development of their craft,” added Mr. McHardy.

The Jury will review 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.

Jury Biographies:

Leonard McHardy is a co-owner and co-founder of TheatreBooks in Toronto, a leading source of books on the performing arts in Canada for more than 30 years. Having acted and directed in Canada and the U.K., Mr. McHardy was invited to the Stratford Festival by Urjo Kareda and Robin Phillips to serve as Director of Press and Public Relations. He has served as a juror for the Dora Mavor Moore Awards in Toronto and the Chalmers Playwriting Awards. Currently he is the board President for the internationally acclaimed Necessary Angel Theatre Company. Mr. McHardy was also a board member and President of the Theatre Museum, and volunteers his time to numerous organizations, including PEN International. 

Geneviève Billette is a graduate of the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada. Her plays produced in Quebec include Crime contre l’humanité (Crime Against Humanity), which was short-listed for the 2000 Governor General’s Award, Le Goûteur and Le Pays des genoux (The Land of the Knees). Her works have also been staged in France, Mexico, Switzerland and English Canada. Chosen as the protégé of Carole Fréchette, the recipient of the 2002 Siminovitch Prize, Ms. Billette won the 2005 Governor General’s Award for Le Pays des genoux. She has also translated plays by several Mexican playwrights. Ms. Billette is a member of the board of directors of the Centre des auteurs dramatique (CEAD).

Katrina Dunn is a Vancouver-based director, artistic director and producer. She has been the artistic director of Touchstone Theatre since 1997, overseeing the company’s all-Canadian mandate. In 2003, she co-founded the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, an annual city-wide performance festival for which she now acts as associate curator. Her many freelance directing credits include work for the Arts Club Theatre Company (A Christmas Story), Bard on the Beach (Julius CaesarThe Merchant of VeniceCymbeline), and Studio 58 (The Caucasian Chalk CircleAt the Black Pig’s Dyke). She has been nominated six times for Jessie Awards in Outstanding Direction, and has won for her work on Michael Healey’s Kicked.

Valerie Moore is a celebrated director, choreographer and teacher whose work has been seen across Canada, the U.S. and abroad.  Originally from Montreal and educated in both Quebec and Ontario, she has been connected with many of Canada’s most prestigious theatres, including The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, London’s Grand Theatre, Charlottetown Festival, Theatre Calgary, Banff Centre, Centaur Theatre, the National Arts Centre, Vancouver Playhouse, Tarragon Theatre as well as the Canadian Opera Company and Opera Ontario.  This Fall she will join the faculty at The Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training at The Stratford Festival of Canada.

Carlo Guillermo Proto has a broad range of theatrical experience in directing, producing and writing.  Mr. Proto’s first short film, Pura Sangre, has been screened at several film festivals across Canada and received the Best Emerging Local Filmmaker award at the 2005 Alucine International Latino Film Festival.  As the general manager and company producer for Toronto’s Cahoots Theatre Projects, Mr. Proto produced several plays across Canada. During his time with the company, he created The Cahoots Summer Youth Project, a subsidized summer camp for low-income families. Currently, Mr. Proto is working on a feature length documentary about a blind family that sings in the Montreal Metros.

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 honours professional directors, playwrights and designers by acknowledging excellence and encouraging further exploration in Canadian theatre. The winner receives $100,000, of which one quarter is given to a protégé chosen by the recipient.

Contacts:
JoAnne Hayes, Toronto, joanne.hayes@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996
Lucie Gosselin, Montreal, lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-1101
Laurie Grant, Vancouver, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596

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