Theatre Alberta is proud to announce the recipient of the inaugural Michelle Dias Community Service Award: Andrew Ritchie.
Andrew was selected by a jury of Theatre Alberta board members and representatives from the Citadel Theatre (where Michelle Dias was Head of Scenic Art for 16 years). While the field of applicants was extremely competitive, Andrew’s award submission demonstrated a selfless commitment to the Alberta theatre community and to sharing knowledge with his colleagues and peers. Andrew will receive a full scholarship to attend Dramaworks 2012.
Michelle Dias was a well-loved member of the Alberta theatre community. She was an invaluable Dramaworks instructor and a former Dramaworks participant – she was a guest speaker at the 50th Anniversary event for Dramaworks in 2010. Michelle was also instrumental in the creation of Theatre Alberta’s Safe Stages, a vital resource for health and safety best practices in the theatre. Michelle passed away unexpectedly on September 6, 2011, in Edmonton. In recognition of Michelle’s contributions to Theatre Alberta and the wider provincial theatre community, Theatre Alberta created a scholarship for our Dramaworks program in her name.
Andrew is an emerging actor, director and improvisor in Edmonton. He is the Operations Director of the Common Ground Arts Society, a not-for-profit dedicated to the development, advocacy, and promotion of local emerging artists. Through Common Ground, he is hosting the inaugural Found Festival, an interdisciplinary site specific performing arts event in the Old Strathcona district this summer. He is also the co-founder and artistic director of Thou Art Here Theatre, a found space theatre company.
Since graduating from the University of Alberta with his Bachelor of Arts in Drama, Andrew has directed with Abbedam Productions, Edmonton’s Nextfest, the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, and Grant MacEwan University. Andrew’s first love is performing and is interested in clown, physical theatre, mask, shakespeare and all the rest. He is inspired by collective creation and discovery through play in rehearsal. He is an alumnus of the University Improv Group and is a rookie player with Rapid Fire Theatre.
Andrew loves working with children, having spent years as a camp counsellor, and currently is a teacher’s assistant at the Citadel’s Foote Theatre School with hopes of pursuing Theatre for Young Audiences. Outside of theatre, Andrew can be seen hiking and canoeing in the wilderness or playing a board game and reading fantasy books with his friends.