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The Siminovitch Prize announces its 2015 shortlist

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The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre today announced the shortlist for this year’s award in the category of design. The jury has selected four outstanding designers as finalists for the esteemed theatre prize, now celebrating its 15th year of honouring excellence and innovation in Canadian theatre.

These four gifted artists highlight the inspiring diversity of design for theatre in Canada today,” said Jury Chair Bob White.   “With their designs for sets, costumes, lighting or sound, the finalists all share a startling originality, a passion for innovation and a gift for creating rich sensory experiences for audiences.”

Bretta Gerecke – Gerecke’s work is seen in Canadian theatres as diverse as the Cirque du Soleil, the Stratford Festival and Edmonton’s Catalyst Theatre. Equally accomplished as a set, costume and lighting designer, her signature style is bold and playful and her imagery ranges from a sensuous beauty to the beautifully grotesque.

Anick La Bissonnière – La Bissonnière’s early training as an architect brings a sophisticated sculptural beauty to her set designs. Often epic in scope, her work is both eye-popping and emotionally powerful. She has worked with dozens of influential Canadian directors including André Brassard, Gilles Maheu, Matthew Jocelyn and her ongoing collaborator, Siminovitch Prize laureate, Brigitte Haentjens.

Trevor Schwellnus – Schwellnus is a master of invention who creates outstanding visual effects with minimal resources. An artist who thinks outside the box, he is celebrated for his evocative set and lighting designs and has raised the visual bar for Toronto independent theatre. He is also artistic producer of Aluna Theatre and committed to creating theatre for and about diverse voices.

Nancy Tobin – Tobin’s innovative and original approach to sound design is unique in Canadian theatre. She creates new ways of listening to the world that are hypnotic, strange and beautiful. She is lauded for her artistry by celebrated Quebec directors such as François Girard, Denis Marleau and Wajdi Mouawad. Her curiosity about technology and her drive to create the perfect instruments for each project are unparalleled.

Hosted by award-winning actress and Canadian theatre icon Fiona Reid (The Divine, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide, My Big Fat Greek Wedding), the 2015 Siminovitch Prize awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, October 18, 2015, 7.30 p.m. at Hart House Theatre at the University of Toronto.

The Siminovitch Prize of $100,000 is Canada’s largest national theatre award. Rotating over a three-year cycle, it honours professional directors, playwrights and designers. The prize recognizes exceptional theatre artists and also encourages emerging talent by highlighting the importance of mentorship. Recipients of the award receive $75,000 and choose a protégé to receive $25,000.

The 2015 jury is comprised of chair Bob White, Philip Akin, Gideon Arthurs, Geneviève Blais and Kim Collier.

The quality of our finalists this year demonstrates the extraordinary strength of theatre design in this country,” said Dr. Kathy Siminovitch, Board Chair. “We are delighted to continue to support Canadian theatre artists with the generosity and help of our Presenting Sponsor RBC Wealth Management, and our partners University of Toronto, Hart House Theatre and the Friends of the Siminovitch Prize.”

RBC has a deep history of supporting Canadian artists,” said Rebecca Mooney, Vice-President and Head, Brand and Marketing, RBC Wealth Management. “We are very pleased to partner with The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre on its 15th anniversary to celebrate and support these talented theatre designers.”

Twitter: @SiminovitchPrix
Hashtag: #SiminovitchPrize

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About The Siminovitch Prize

The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre honours professional directors, playwrights and designers by acknowledging excellence while encouraging even greater exploration and originality in Canadian theatre. The Siminovitch Prize was created in 2001 and is dedicated to distinguished scientist Lou Siminovitch and his late wife Elinore, a playwright. A jury awards the $100,000 prize annually. Previous recipients are Daniel Brooks (2001), Carole Fréchette (2002), Louise Campeau (2003), Jillian Keiley (2004), John Mighton (2005), Dany Lyne (2006), Brigitte Haentjens (2007), Daniel MacIvor (2008), Ronnie Burkett (2009), Kim Collier (2010), Joan MacLeod (2011) Robert Thomson (2012), Chris Abraham (2013) and Olivier Choinière (2014).

About RBC

Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We employ approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 38 other countries. For more information, please visit

In 2014, RBC committed more than $6.5 million globally to arts and cultural organizations supporting local, national and international initiatives, contributing to the cultural fabric of our communities. Our support is focused on artists in the early stages of their careers through the RBC Emerging Artists Project.

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2014, we contributed more than $111 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $76 million and $35 million in sponsorships.


1 Comment

  1. BRAVO RBC Wealth Management, the Siminovitch Family and the University of Toronto for your support of this recognition of great Canadian Theatre Artists. It is visionary to understand the importance of supporting brilliance in this country. You understand Wealth Management on multiple levels. The greatest wealth we have are the motivators that move, inspire and open us to change, the artists you are honouring move us towards a better understanding of ourselves and each other and help us all make positive change. Thank you for something selfless and magnificent.

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