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Toronto, Ontario – A new annual $100,000 award celebrating Canadian theatre and the directors, playwrights and designers who have contributed to its success, was announced today in Toronto. The Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre is named after one of Canada’s outstanding scientists and his late playwright wife whose determination, dedication to excellence and belief in mentorship is embodied in the award named after them.

The national prize, believed to be 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. Theatre direction, playwriting and design (lighting, set, costume, sound) will be considered in repeating three-year cycles, commencing with directors in 2001, followed by playwrights in 2002 and designers in 2003. The honored artist will receive a cash award of $75,000. In addition, the artist will be invited to designate $25,000 to a protégé , or to an institution (a theatre or educational facility) of his or her choice. A national five-member jury rotated annually to reflect the discipline will select the winner. In the inaugural year honoring directors, the jury will be chaired by Urjo Kareda, Artistic Director, Tarragon Theatre.

The prize has been established through the efforts of individuals and institutions who wished to honor the significant contributions made by Elinore and Lou Siminovitch to Canadian society, in a way that would reflect their mutual life-long love for the arts and, in particular, the theatre. Dr. Siminovitch was instrumental in the discovery of the genetic causes of muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis. He had a long and illustrious career as a teacher and professor at the University of Toronto, and also played a fundamental role in the establishment of medical research at the Ontario Cancer Institute, the Hospital for Sick Children, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care and Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital . Elinore Siminovitch’s writing career began with composing short stories. She turned to playwriting in the late 1960s and authored over 30 plays, twelve of which were produced. Her interests in social issues, feminism and political change were reflected in her plays, such as A Man in the House, which won Theatre Ontario’s Playwrights Showcase Prize, and Big X and Little Y, which won the Ottawa Little Theatre Playwriting Competition.

Bank of Montreal, a longstanding supporter of theatre in Canada, is the corporate sponsor of the prize. “We are very proud to be associated with this very important award celebrating the Canadian theatrical community,” said Tony Comper, Chairman and CEO, Bank of Montreal. “It brings together the two very diverse worlds of science and theatre. Both of these worlds share a respect for creativity, innovation and excellence and are dependent upon them for their success.”

Nomination forms and detailed information on the prize criteria are available on the website created for the award, or by contacting:

The Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre
c/o Senior Manager, Corporate Donations

Bank of Montreal
55 Bloor Street West, 4th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 3N5
Tel: (416) 927-6638/6639
website: www.siminovitchprize.com

Deadline for nominating directors is May 31, 2001.

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