The committee for the fourth annual Gina Wilkinson Prize is pleased to announce the 2015 short list of nominees: Kelli Fox, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Nancy McAlear and Valerie Planche. Established in memory of director Gina Wilkinson, who was a beloved actor and director across the country and valued Shaw Festival company member, the annual national prize is intended to honour and assist a Canadian female theatre artist making the transition from one theatre discipline to directing. This year, the Gina Wilkinson Prize has grown from $2,000 to $5,000 thanks to ongoing interest by donors inspired by Gina’s legacy.
“These four nominees were chosen from an impressive and varied list of 16 women from across the country, each nominated by a respected artist from within the Canadian theatre community,” said committee member Tom Rooney. “The committee was greatly impressed by the passion and dedication to theatre shown by all of the nominees and their determination to establish themselves as directors – a truly inspiring group of female theatre artists.”
A Toronto-based actor and director with 30 years of experience, Kelli Fox has appeared on stage across Canada and in the U.S. Her directing credits include Kitchen Radio, which opened the Blyth Festival’s 40th season; This Wide Night at Summerworks 2013 andWith Individual Desire at Groundswell. Currently directing The Drowning Girls at Regina’s The Globe, she returns to Toronto in the spring to direct Headstrong Collective’s production of Boston Marriage.
Sara-Jeanne Hosie started her directorial career at The Arts Club Theatre Company in 2006 and has worked nationally in the theatre for over 20 years. As a director and choreographer, her selected credits include My Fair Lady (Bluebridge Repertory), The Buddy Holly Story (Chemainus Theatre Festival), Suds (Arts Club Theatre Company) and Man of La Mancha (assistant director to Robert McQueen, Stratford Festival). After her run as Kate in Acting Up Stage Company/Obsidian Theatre’s The Wild Party, she returns to Vancouver to direct and choreograph the Arts Club’s production of Godspell. Originally from Victoria, B.C., she now resides in Stratford, Ontario.
An actor for over 20 years, Nancy McAlear is an Edmonton-based performer and director with a BFA in Acting and an MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta. A Sterling Award recipient (Frankenstein, Catalyst Theatre) and multiple Sterling Award nominee, her most recent directing credits include pool (no water), The Deep Blue Sea, En Anglais, SVP, and the Sterling Award nominated Parlour Song. She is currently producing, directing and choreographing The Contract for The MadFandango Theatre Collective. Later this spring, she will direct Category E for The Maggie Tree.
Originally from Montreal, Valerie Planche is a recent MFA graduate of the University of Alberta and a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada. An award winning actor, director and instructor, her directing credits include Body Awareness (Shadow Theatre),Homelife (Aboriginal Arts), Blood: A Scientific Romance (Sage Theatre, world premiere), Ruined (Ellipsis Tree Collective) and Thy Neighbor’s Wife (Urban Curvz Theatre). She is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations, including a Sterling Award, Betty Mitchell Award and an Alberta Graduate Teaching Award.
Through the generous support of colleagues and admirers from across the country, the annual Gina Wilkinson Prize was created as a tribute to Gina Wilkinson, who spent the first 20 years of her career as an actor, but in the latter years of her too-short life, emerged as one of Canada’s brightest directors. She passed away in late 2010 due to an aggressive cancer.
The 2015 winner of the Gina Wilkinson Prize will be announced on Gina’s birthday, March 10.
Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to the Gina Wilkinson Prize can do so through the Ontario Arts Foundation at www.ontarioartsfoundation.on.ca.