New public health measures were announced by the Governent of Alberta on December 8. The new measures include a ban on both indoor and outdoor social gatherings and mandatory mask use in public indoor settings across the province. Working from home is also mandatory except in cases where physical presence is required to maintain ‘operational effectiveness.’
The restrictions on performing arts activities announced on November 24 remain in place. Here’s a brief summary of those restrictions:
Live performances for an audience are prohibited
Indoor group rehearsals are not allowed
An individual may rehearse indoors
Outdoor rehearsals with a maximum of 10 people are allowed provided that physical distancing and other relevant guidelines are followed.
The process for applying for exemptions outlined below is still applicable. Exemptions that have already been granted remain valid.
Alberta Health has provided additional information, via Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism, and Status of Women’s Arts Branch, about mandatory restrictions on performance activities announced by Premier Jason Kenney on November 24, 2020. Information for all mandatory restrictions is published at www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.
Alberta Health defines performance activities to include dancing, singing, theatre and playing wind instruments. Mandatory restrictions are currently in effect for group performance activities in all enhanced (purple) areas of Alberta. You may view a map of all communities under enhanced status at www.alberta.ca/maps/covid-19-status-map.htm.
Under no circumstances will live performance for an audience be permitted in enhanced (purple) areas during this period.
Rehearsals and practices in outdoor settings are permitted up to a maximum of 10 participants. Physical distancing and other relevant guidelines must be followed.
Within indoor settings rehearsals, practices, and performances involving two or more people are not permitted. (Individual practice is permitted indoors.)
Alberta Health may provide exemptions for the following:
Group rehearsals or practice, or
Group performance for the purpose of live-stream broadcast or recordings.
How to apply for an exemption
Certain requirements must be demonstrated to be considered for an exemption. Detailed descriptions of performance activities are not required. An organization or ensemble must provide:
Evidence that they planned a performance to occur prior to January 15, 2021, and that they either:
pre-sold tickets for this event, or
prepared and publicized a performance.
Evidence that not proceeding with the activity will result in a significant negative economic impact to the artists or arts organization.
Information about type of activities that will be conducted and precautions being taken to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
The total number of people participating during the activity, both performers and other workers.
The venue required for the activity, and information about its protocols to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
Requests for exemption may be submitted to Alberta Health via Biz Connect at [email protected].
Theatre Alberta is excited to announce an important change in the Artstrek leadership team–we welcome Jenna Rodgers to the Artstrek Director role, as we thank Marie Gynane-Willis for her leadership and stewardship over the years.
Artstrek is Theatre Alberta’s annual summer theatre school that offers an integrated theatre arts curriculum for Albertan teens. Since its inception in 1960, thousands of students from across the province have attended to learn performance and creativity skills in a safe and inclusive environment. We’re proud of Artstrek’s legacy, and of these two incredible people who have and will contribute to its continued success.
First to thank Marie:
We are humbled by the contributions Marie has made to both Artstrek and Theatre Alberta. Her connection to Artstrek goes back decades, beginning as an instructor in 1983. Before becoming Artstrek Director, Marie served as Theatre Alberta’s Executive Director from 2003 to 2010. Her extraordinary abilities in that role, as well as her continuing support of the arts community as a whole, were recognized in 2004 with an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Arts Administration and an Alberta Centennial Medal for Contribution to the Arts in 2006. In 2016, under Marie’s leadership, Arstrek was awarded an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre in Edmonton.
Marie’s impact on Artstrek is indelible. Her knowledge of the program’s long history, her deep connections to the arts community in Alberta, and her gift for diplomacy are all great strengths that have enriched Artstrek during her tenure. Perhaps her greatest strength, however, is her heart. Her deep love of Artstrek, its staff, and every single student that attended is an enduring legacy that will undoubtedly resonate long into the school’s future.
“Each summer hundreds of teenagers from across Alberta tell us they come “home” to Artstrek. It’s no coincidence that Marie Gynane-Willis comes from a home building family. Marie has seen Artstrek from blueprints through renovations and additions, always focussed on what makes a home so special, a safe space to live your fullest life with room to grow. On behalf of all of us who’ve had the opportunity to watch thousands of young Albertans discover their potential and passion for theatre during Marie’s tenure, thank you, Marie. It has been an immeasurable honour.” ~ Keri Mitchell, Executive Director, and Kelly Reay, Board President
And to welcome Jenna:
Jenna Rodgers is well known throughout the Alberta theatre community. She is respected as a director, dramaturg, and passionate arts equity advocate. Jenna is the founding Artistic Director of Chromatic Theatre, and the Dramaturg at the Banff Playwright’s Lab at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She is also a founding member of the Consent and Respect in Theatre Collective, a co-contributor to The 35//50 Initiative, and recent Board President of Theatre Alberta. We’re proud to say that Jenna is an Artstrek alumnus and a former “Super Super.”
“Jenna’s contributions to Theatre Alberta—first as an Artstrek Supervisor and more recently as a volunteer on our New Pathways for the Arts team and our Board of Directors—have strengthened the organization in many exciting ways. And so many more artists and theatre companies across Alberta and Canada (and further!) would say the same! Jenna’s clear vision for a more just, equitable, and inclusive future for all of us, but especially for Artstrek students, is offered with infectious generosity and accountability. We are beyond thrilled to continue working with Jenna in this new capacity.”
~ Keri Mitchell, Executive Director, and Kelly Reay, Board President
We are excited for Jenna to share her experience, vision, and leadership skills with Artstrek. We’re also certain that the characteristic Artstrek values – inclusivity, camaraderie, creativity, fun – that have made it a defining experience for so many students over the program’s 60 year history will continue to thrive under her leadership.
We offer our most profound gratitude to Marie for sharing her wisdom and guidance with us over the last 17+ years, and we know that we will continue to work with her in new and exciting ways in the future. To Jenna, we offer an enthusiastic welcome. We look forward to working together with her to continue offering exceptional learning opportunities to the next generation of theatre artists through the Artstrek program.
We are making plans for Artstrek 2021 with a heartfelt hope that we will be able to gather again next summer, but we do so with the conviction that we will not risk or compromise the health and safety of staff and students. Watch for more Artstrek announcements in the near future. In the meantime please stay safe, and stay healthy.
Do you love to read plays? To have the scene on the page take shape in your imagination? Or to find inspiration in a technical tome that you know will make an audience gasp? To find the story you need to share with your community, right now? Us too!
Over the last eight holiday seasons Theatre Alberta’s amazing donors have helped us provide these experiences for the theatre community by contributing hundreds of new titles to the Theatre Alberta Library through our annual Gift-A-Play Campaign. You can make even more discoveries possible by participating in this year’s 9th Annual Gift-A-Play.
WHAT IS GIFT-A-PLAY?
Theatre Alberta works hard to ensure that our Library is up-to-date and relevant for members of the theatre community. We keep track of requests from our members, make note of recently published titles, and put together a ‘wish list’ of items that we want to add to the collection. We purchase many of the titles, but it’s simply not possible to buy *everything* we want!
You can help us fulfill our wish list by contributing to our annual Gift-A-Play campaign. Help us purchase scripts and other theatre books that we can then share with theatre people across Alberta! This year, our wish list includes 34 titles, including:
Acha Bacha by Bilal Baig
The Breathing Hole by Colleen Murphy, Siobhan Arnatsiaq-Murphy, and Janet Tamalik McGrath
Kung Fu by David Henry Hwang
Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer: A Satirical Land Claim Fable by Kevin Loring
Sound of the Beast by Donna-Michel St. Bernard
Winning Monologs For Young Actors by Peg Kehret
GIVING TO GIFT-A-PLAY IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR
In the past, we’ve asked you to purchase items from our wish list directly from retailers and publishers. This year, we’re asking that you donate the cost of each item through the Canada Helps fundraising platform, and we’ll take care of purchasing and shipping the item(s) of your choice.
We’re using Canada Helps’ event platform for the campaign, so each item on our wish-list appears as a ‘ticket.’ The ‘tickets’ simply represent the item you wish to donate to the Theatre Alberta Library – there’s no event! For each donation you will receive a tax receipt for the full amount that you’ve given as well as a souvenir ‘digital ticket’ to the ‘event’ that doesn’t exist!
Once we’ve received your donation for a Library book, we’ll purchase it on your behalf. It will then become part of the Theatre Alberta Library and will be available for all of our members to read and enjoy! To acknowledge your donation, each item that was purchased will bear your name on the inside cover.
If you’d like to know more about the titles on our list, you can browse through the items on our wish list details page. Once you’ve decided on an item that you’d like to donate to the Library, head over to the Canada Helps page and find the corresponding title, purchase your ‘ticket’, and we’ll take care of the rest.
Now with more than 23,000 titles in the collection, the Theatre Alberta Library remains the largest fully-circulating theatre library in the country. Help us ensure it stays that way by donating to the 9th Annual Gift-A-Play donation campaign!
The Citadel Theatre is proud to announce the appointment of Mieko Ouchi, one of Edmonton’s most prolific theatre professionals, to the position of TD Associate Artistic Director. This position is funded through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s global corporate citizenship program. Mieko has been at the forefront of advocacy for Albertan artists as a founder and Artistic Director of Concrete Theatre, alongside a brilliant body of artistic work as an actor, playwright, dramaturg, director and producer.
A graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting Program, Mieko Ouchi has been a finalist for, or recipient of, dozens of theatre awards and prizes, including Sterling and Betty Awards, the Carol Bolt Prize, the Enbridge Award for Established Canadian Playwright, the City of Edmonton Book Prize, and the Governor General’s Literary Award. Recently, she helped found an Edmonton (and now Alberta-wide) chapter of the 3.7% Initiative, an artistic leadership program for BIPOC women and non-binary people originally created in Vancouver by Boca del Lupo’s Sherry D. Yoon. In June, Mieko joined the Citadel’s team as an Associate Artist alongside fellow theatre-makers Tai Amy Grauman and Helen Belay.
Albertan and nationwide audiences will remember her groundbreaking plays The Red Priest (Eight Ways to Say Goodbye), The Blue Light, and Nisei Blue as well as her plays for youth I Am For You and Consent, which debuted in Alberta and have since been translated to six different languages and been produced across the country and internationally. Her new play Burning Mom was set to premiere with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre this spring, She made her Mainstage playwriting debut at the Citadel in April 2018 alongside composer Hawksley Workman and director Daryl Cloran with The Silver Arrow: The Untold Story of Robin Hood, a diverse and inclusive twist on the classic tale.
As the incoming TD Associate Artistic Director, Mieko Ouchi will oversee the development of new work and commissions; as well as training opportunities for emerging Artists such as the Citadel’s Assistant Director training and the RBC Emerging Artist Program; and more to be announced in the coming months. We are incredibly grateful to learn from her expertise as part of the Citadel family and offer a new platform for her to continue supporting our community’s theatre-makers. As well, we extend our deepest thanks to our friends at TD for making it possible to bring such an excellent leader to our team while we continue efforts to recover from the extended hiatus of the ongoing pandemic.
Mieko begins her role as TD Associate Artistic Director this month. Helen Belay and Tai Amy Grauman will continue in their roles as Associate Artists, and we’re excited to continue our relationship with all three of these outstanding artists.
“I am so honored to be joining Daryl, Chantell, the board and the entire Citadel team in this new role, and look forward to continuing to support new play development, and building new opportunities, training and safe spaces for the amazing and diverse community of artists we have in our city and province whom I admire so much,” says Mieko. “I am truly grateful for the incredible support I’ve received and continue to receive as an artist from Daryl and the Citadel, and excited to have a position that will allow me to continue to foster, shepherd and pass that on to many others.”
“The TD Ready Commitment is proud to support the Citadel Theatre as part of our focus on amplifying diverse voices in the arts“, says Farah Kurji, TD’s Senior Manager, Philanthropy. “Congratulations, Mieko Ouchi, on being the first TD Associate Artistic Director. We look forward to your leadership that will elevate artists from different backgrounds and mentor them through their careers in the dramatic arts.”
The Alberta Partners for Arts and Culture has submitted a response and information as of November 17, 2020. An excerpt of the response is below. To read the full submission visit: http://albertapartnersforartsandculture.com
APAC is an informal coalition of Alberta’s eight Provincial Arts Service Organizations and four Cultural Industry Service Organizations. APAC advocates for a strong, sustainable arts and cultural sector in Alberta and speaks collectively on priorities and opportunities that impact our members. APAC member organizations understand that a strong, sustainable and vibrant arts and cultural sector plays an important role in Alberta’s success, reputation, future growth and the vitality of our communities.
We are mindful of the realities facing our province as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While all parts of our economy have been impacted, Alberta’s arts and cultural sector has been one of the hardest hit industries in the province.
The Canadian Association for the Performing Arts, responding to the Statistics Canada Labour Force survey said, “in proportion to its size, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector is the furthest away from recovery… the sub-sector runs the risk of facing a major shortage of skilled workers when live performance activities (finally) resume.”
A September 2020 survey conducted by Calgary Arts Development found 47 per cent of the 140 organizations responding said they would have to cease operations in the next six to 12 months if current conditions persist. Lost revenue in the current fiscal year, just from the 140 organizational respondents, is anticipated to be more than $20.6 million. Further, these same organizations anticipate losing additional $16 million revenue going forward.
If you extrapolate that to the more than 450 non-profit arts organizations supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA), that loss balloons to more than $117 million, about four times the amount of AFA funding in 2019-2020.
Making Treaty 7 is pleased to announce New Leadership! We are excited to share with you all our Artistic Director, Michelle Thrush.
Michelle Thrush, local to Calgary, AB, is among the founding members, actors, and directors of MAKING TREATY 7. She is best known for her leading role as Gail Stoney in BLACKSTONE, for which she won the Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. Michelle believes as a founding member of MT7, she has seen the earliest visions of what this unique collective of artists looks like, and it only gets better. She is invested in how the arts can build bridges and bring voices together.
“It is hugely important, as the Artistic Director, to create a safe place for artists to be vulnerable and to become a community to each other. Using an Indigenous-led process will always be the strength of what makes MT7 so successful.” – Michelle Thrush
Michelle is a mother to two amazing daughters and they are everything to her. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, finding new places to walk and hike in southern Alberta. Prior to Covid, she worked in communities across Canada with Indigenous children and families using imagination and play to strengthen family bonds. Her work with youth and children is her greatest passion with characters such as “Majica”, the Aboriginal Healing Clown, and “Kookum Martha”, a sprite old Indian Elder. Michelle explains laughter is a natural part of her culture. She continues to write, direct, and produce theatre, and has played many leading roles across Canada.
With the support of the RBC Foundation, the Citadel Theatre is excited to welcome a new set of artists to a year of mentorship, programming, and development. After receiving many fantastic submissions from Alberta’s next generation of theatre-makers, we are thrilled to have four inaugural participants in the RBC Horizon Emerging Artists Program!
Makram Ayache (he/him) is a community-engaged theatre artist and educator who splits his time between Edmonton and Toronto. His playwriting currently explores meaningful representations of queer Arab voices and his relationship to Lebanon. He often endeavours to bridge complex and interlocking political struggles to the very intimate and real experiences of the people impacted by them. Ayache has been nominated for four Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards for his plays Harun (2018) and The Green Line (2019). Most recently, Makram received the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada’s annual RBC Emerging Playwright Award. Makram will be developing his practice as a director and artistic leader in his time with the program.
Deviani Bonilla (she/her) is emerging as a choreographer, dancer, and collaborator. With background on different styles of dance, she has performed as a dancer with the National Folk-Dance Company and Mexican Folk-Dance Company, touring nation-wide in her natal México. As a contemporary dance performer, she has participated in The Collective Personal by Isabelle Schad. Since moving to Canada, she is actively engaging with well-established dance groups in Amiskwaciwâskahikan such as Good Women Dance Collective, Mile Zero Dance Society, and dance groups at the University of Alberta. Deviani will be developing her practice as a choreographer in her time with the program.
Patricia Cerra (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist; at present she works as a performer, director, and educator. Her work has taken her to theatres around Canada, where she has worked on over thirty productions. Patricia has had the pleasure of world premiering many new works and finds great joy in play development. Patricia has recently been recognized with the Sterling Award for Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role – Comedy. Upcoming she will be directing ‘хлеб’ as part of Here There Be Night (Workshop West & Theatre Network). Patricia will be developing her practice as a director and artistic leader in her time with the program.
Daniela Fernandez (she/her) is an emerging Latinx theatre artist. Currently, Daniela is interested in devoting her time to figuring out how she can lead and create space for underrepresented voices in her work and expanding herself as a multi-disciplinary artist. Credits include: until the next breath (Catalyst Theatre), Scenes From The Sidewalk (Plain Jane Theatre Company), Get Happy! (Plain Jane Theatre Company), A Christmas Carol (Citadel Theatre), Canada The Musical (Carter-Ryan Productions), The Drowsy Chaperone (Citadel Young Company), and Working It Out (WorkPlays School Program). Daniela will be developing her practice as a sound designer in her time with the program.
Over the coming season, Makram, Deviani, Patricia, and Daniela will develop a mentorship program alongside the Citadel production and artistic teams tailored to their career goals. They will receive access to shadow and apprenticeship opportunities on upcoming productions, mentorship with industry professionals, specialized classes, access to space and resources, and more. As well, each participant will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
The Citadel is incredibly grateful to the RBC Foundation for their ongoing support of emerging artists with this program and many more like it across Canada.
Click Here for more information, quotes, and photos from the participants.
The Siminovitch Prize Foundation has announced the shortlist for this year’s Siminovitch Prize, the most prestigious theatre award in Canada. The jury has selected five outstanding playwrights as finalists for the esteemed theatre prize, now celebrating its 20th year of honouring excellence and innovation in Canadian theatre.
The Siminovitch Prize Foundation is proud to introduce this year’s shortlist: Carmen Aguirre (Vancouver), Tara Beagan (Mohkintsis/Calgary), Martin Bellemare (Montreal), Karen Hines (Calgary/Toronto), and Annick Lefebvre (Montreal).
“Fierce. That’s the word that springs to mind when I think about these five outstanding playwrights,” said Siminovitch Prize Foundation Jury Chair Vanessa Porteous. “They are each driven by an unstoppable force. A battle with injustice, a need to say what no one else has said before. An inescapable artistic vision, a use of language that both burns and heals. A life-long compulsion to experiment, to push against the rules. Regardless of what drives them, these artists stand alone. And yet, each of these five artists is also renowned for opening their arms, so generously, to upcoming voices. They are known for providing encouragement, mentorship, inspiration, even shelter. Deeply rooted in their craft as playwrights, these artists are leaders in their communities, and their influence is felt in multiple dimensions, both deep and wide. When their work meets an audience, it is unforgettable. A thrilling list.”
Carmen Aguirre (Vancouver)
Carmen Aguirre is an award-winning theatre artist and author who has written and co-written more than 25 plays, including Chile Con Carne, The Refugee Hotel, The Trigger, Blue Box, Broken Tailbone, and Anywhere But Here, as well as the international bestseller and #1 in Canada, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (winner of CBC Canada Reads 2012), and its bestselling sequel, Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution. Carmen is currently writing an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea for Vancouver’s Rumble Theatre, and Moliere’s The Learned Ladies for Toronto’s Factory Theatre. She is a Core Artist at Electric Company Theatre and a co-founding member of the Canadian Latinx Theatre Artist Coalition (CALTAC). She has more than 80 film, TV, and stage acting credits, including her award-winning lead role in the Canadian premiere of Stephen Adley Guirgis’ The Motherfucker with the Hat, and her Leo-nominated lead performance in the independent feature film Bella Ciao!. She is a graduate of Studio 58.
Tara Beagan (Mohkintsis/Calgary)
Tara Beagan is proud to be Ntlaka’pamux and, through her late father’s side, of Irish ancestry. She is cofounder/director of ARTICLE 11 with Andy Moro. Beagan served as Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts from February 2011 to December 2013. During her time, NEPA continued with traditional values for guidance, had an Elder in Residence, and named and moved into the Aki Studio. Beagan has been in residence at Cahoots Theatre (Toronto), NEPA (Toronto), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa) and Berton House (Dawson City, Yukon). She is now Playwright In Residence at Prairie Theatre Exchange (Winnipeg). Seven of her 28 plays are published. Two plays have received Dora Award nominations (one win). In 2018, Beagan was a finalist in the Alberta Playwrights’ Network competition. In 2020, Honour Beat won the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama. Recent premieres include Deer Woman in Aotearoa (New Zealand), Honour Beat opening the 2018/19 season at Theatre Calgary, The Ministry of Grace at Belfry Theatre in Victoria, and Super in [email protected] with Boca Del Lupo (Vancouver).
Martin Bellemare (Montreal)
A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s writing program, Martin Bellemare was awarded the 2009 Gratien Gélinas Prize for Le Chant de Georges Boivin. La Liberté was presented at La Rubrique (Jonquière) in 2013 and in Montreal in 2015, and was scheduled to be staged in Ottawa in 2020. Maître Karim la perdrix (2018 Prix SACD de la dramaturgie francophone, awarded by the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques) will premiere at the Théâtre des Capucins in Luxembourg in 2021. Moule Robert (CNL Scholarship, shortlisted for the 2017 Prix SACD de la dramaturgie francophone and the 2018 Michel Tremblay Prize) was produced simultaneously at La Rubrique and at the POCHE/ GVE in Geneva, then at the Théâtre de Belleville in Paris. Martin is a four-time recipient of the Aide à la création grant from the Centre national du Théâtre/ARTCENA in Paris, and two of his plays are included in the repertoire of the Comédie-Française. Two of his plays for young audiences, Un château sur le dosand Des pieds et des mains, which was first produced at the NAC, have toured in Canada and internationally. In 2019, Extraordinaire et mystérieux and Charlie et le djingpouite were produced, and Cœur minéral premiered at the Francophonies in Limoges. The latter play was scheduled for a Montreal production in 2020.
Karen Hines (Calgary/Toronto)
Karen Hines’s lush satires have traveled the globe: from Toronto to Kuala Lumpur, her plays and ‘little films’ have won critical acclaim, charmed and horrified her audiences, and cemented her reputation as “one of the most original artists in the city” (Toronto Life), and “one of the gems of Canadian theatre” (Toronto Star). Raised by scientists, Hines’ keen musings on modern life combine such disparate elements as magical realism, pink-brand feminism, real estate and climate change. She is the author of seven award-winning plays, all published by Coach House Books, and she has twice been finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, for her Drama: Pilot Episode and for her trilogy of Pochsy Plays. Hines has collaborated on the development of many new productions by other artists, and she is the long-time director of internationally beloved adult horror clowns Mump & Smoot. Recent projects include her micro-theatrical solo Crawlspace, and All the Little Animals I Have Eaten, which was to have had its Toronto premiere just as the pandemic came. Currently, she is creating new plays, including the fourth in the Pochsy series. Her singular style, informed by an alchemy of clown and bouffon, has won her a reputation as an auteur and a conduit of biting, hilarious, provocative entertainment.
Annick Lefebvre (Montreal)
Annick Lefebvre holds a degree in playwriting and theatre critique from UQAM (2004). She is the founder of Le Crachoir, a company dedicated to placing the author, female or not, at the centre of the creation-production-performance process. She has written several plays, including Ce samedi il pleuvait (shortlisted for the 2013 Michel-Tremblay Award); La machine à révolte (shortlisted for the 2015 Louise-LaHaie Award); J’accuse (shortlisted for the 2015 Michel-Tremblay Award, the 2015 Critics’ Choice Award from the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre [AQCT] and the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award); Les barbelés (shortlisted for the 2019 Critics’ Choice Award from the AQCT); ColoniséEs (winner of the 2019 Michel-Tremblay Award and shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award); and several short scripts for collective events. She adapted J’accuse twice, once for a production in Belgium, and once for a French production. Annick Lefebvre was chosen as protégée by playwright Olivier Choinière, laureate of the 2014 Siminovitch Prize. Her plays are published by Dramaturges Éditeurs.
SIMINOVITCH PRIZE FOUNDATION JURY
The 2020 Siminovitch Prize Foundation jury was comprised of Chair Vanessa Porteous (Calgary), Jessica Carmichael (Montreal), Julie McIsaac (Toronto/British Columbia), Olivier Sylvestre (Montreal) and Donald Woo (Toronto).
The jury noted: “The nominees were so extraordinary and numerous this year, and of such range and variety, that we selected five nominees instead of the usual four. The hugely competitive slate of nominees is evidence of the immeasurable creative power and thrilling range of artists in the contemporary Canadian theatre. Currently, the work of these playwrights on the shortlist, and of so many others, is held in suspension because of the pandemic. Their livelihoods and future are in real jeopardy while Canadian theatre remains dark. It is hoped that these artists, and all Canadian theatre artists, will be heard by audiences again soon.”
This year’s event will be the first-ever virtual ceremony for the Siminovitch Prize, and will take place on Thursday, November 26 at 7 p.m. ET. This inclusive, interactive celebration will gather Canadian theatre makers and dedicated theatre fans together to honour the shortlisted artists and unveil the laureate. Event details to follow. All are welcome.
“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Siminovitch Prize, and we approach this milestone during a very painful time for the theatre, with a commitment to the future and to supporting excellence and innovation with this annual $100,000 Prize,” said George Thomson, Chair of the Siminovitch Prize Foundation Board of Directors.
After a 7-month hiatus, Rapid Fire Theatre is back in action at a new temporary location in the heart of Old Strathcona.
As of March 2020, COVID-19 has disrupted Rapid Fire Theatre’s ability to produce any shows at the Citadel Theatre. The company is ecstatic to announce that they will be hosting physically distanced performances at the Backstage Theatre inside the ATB Financial Arts Barns.
“The challenges facing the arts industry are tremendous right now. Being able to say we have a venue where we can embark on our artistic endeavours again safely is exciting” says CK Dhaliwal, Rapid Fire Theatre’s new General Manager.
Starting October 23, 2020, every Friday and Saturday evening, the public is welcome to attend shows in-person or online. In-person performances are limited to 36 attendees. Audience members are welcome to sit at their purchased table with their immediate cohorts with a maximum of 4 people. Performers will be behind plexiglass screening that spans the length of the stage.
Improv workshops are also available in-person or online. In-person workshops are limited to 12 people with proper sanitization and social distancing measures in place.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present us with shifting challenges. With the help of the folks at Fringe Theatre, we have designed a safe and flexible performance space where we can adjust our programming to the evolving circumstances. Improv thrives on the energy of an audience, and we look forward to sharing our energy with live audiences once again” says Artistic Director Matt Schuurman.
Patrons are welcome to select between two show offerings—8:00 pm and 10:00 pm. Shows are scheduled to run until the end of December 2020. To book a workshop or attend a live performance, visit rapidfiretheatre.com for details.
Rapid Fire Theatre has been Edmonton’s premier destination for improvised comedy for over 40 years. The company has worked to bring improv to every corner of Alberta and hosts internationally renowned festivals—when there is no global pandemic.
In a multi-day, online vote culminating on October 1st, members of the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) have voted 95% in favour of joining the IATSE. For decades, members of the two organizations have worked side by side in venues all across Canada. This vote serves to formalize the strong relationship the ADC and the IATSE have always enjoyed.
Discussions began months ago, after ADC reached out with some general queries concerning the IATSE’s structure and benefits, and what a potential merger might look like. As part of the newly-struck Creative Industries Coalition – which also includes Canadian Actors’ Equity Association and the Canadian Federation of Musicians – the two organizations began working even more closely together to lobby the federal government around income supports for entertainment industry workers facing mass unemployment due to COVID-19. With so much overlap in workplace issues and required supports for their members, the benefits of formally joining together became even more apparent.
ADC President Ken MacKenzie stated, “This affiliation with IATSE marks a significant turning point for the ADC and our member artists. In choosing to more closely align with our IATSE colleagues, we look to promote more fair and equitable workplaces. The alliance will help support designers’ lives and careers long into the future. Through our work together in the Creative Industries Coalition, lobbying on behalf of independent arts workers, we have built a strong relationship with the IATSE, and recognize one another’s commitment to advocating on behalf of our memberships. The ADC is thrilled to be joining with the IATSE as Local ADC 659.”
IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb also expressed his support. “Working together to better people’s lives is the basic tenet of unionism. With so much commonality between the two organizations, including shared employers, the fit is a natural one. We’re excited to welcome these talented ADC designers into the IATSE family.”
The ADC, formed in 1965, represents the set, costume, lighting, projection, and sound designers in live performance throughout English Canada, and the IATSE represents virtually all other behind-the-scenes positions. The ADC will form its own IATSE Local Union, called IATSE Local ADC 659, which will become active on January 1, 2021. The new Local, consisting of the ADC’s 250 designers, has been granted a national charter – a first for the IATSE in Canada.
Theatre Calgary’s Board of Directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Maya Choldin as the new Executive Director of Theatre Calgary. She will officially join the theatre on November 2, 2020.
Raised in Alberta, and graduate of Mount Allison University, Ms. Choldin is currently the Managing Director of Pig Iron Theatre Company in Philadelphia, PA, a position she has held for the last six seasons. Prior to Pig Iron, Choldin built a long resume in the arts that includes General Manager of the Pennsylvania Ballet, along with roles at George Mason University’s Hylton Performing Arts Center, the Kimmel Center, and management of productions and projects at Opera Philadelphia, the Mann Center, and FringeArts.
“The arrival of our new Executive Director Maya Choldin signifies an important investment in our future, and further exemplifies the resilience and the ongoing commitment to the theatre by our Board and staff,” says Craig Senyk, Chairman of the Board. “With a deep background in the arts, and having helped successfully navigate a theatre through the Covid-19 pandemic, Maya and the team will ensure our theatre continues to thrive as we move forward to the day that we can once again perform live for our audiences.”
“I am thrilled to return to Alberta and to join Artistic Director Stafford Arima in leading Theatre Calgary, alongside its dedicated staff and passionate Board,” says Choldin. “Never has the mission of Theatre Calgary been more relevant than today. As we struggle to find ways to come together, I look forward to helping the Theatre Calgary team create engaging experiences and to make sure that the diverse community of Calgary feels welcome and represented both on our stages and in our audiences.”
Arima shares his anticipation of this new partnership. “Maya comes to Theatre Calgary with an extensive and diversified theatre, and arts background. I deeply appreciate her worldliness, which overflows from her being, probably because of the variety of cities she has lived, worked, and thrived in. I’m excited and eager to begin this new partnership with Maya as we enter into unchartered territories of how theatre, gathering spaces, and connectivity will live and breathe within our lives.”
Choldin echoes those sentiments. “During these unprecedented times we have unique opportunities to consider the possibilities of what is next, and this has been at the center of my conversations with Stafford and the Board. I am inspired and excited to work with this exceptional team, and to join Theatre Calgary.”
In addition to her arts experience, Choldin has served on the boards of a variety of community organizations, and in the fall of 2019, she attended ArtEquity Facilitator Training to deepen her commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts.
Award-winning singer/songwriter Joal Kamps has been selected as the Government of Alberta’s next Artist in Residence/Arts Ambassador. His term officially beings in October 2020.
About the artist
Alberta-born, raised and based, international performing artist and award-winning songwriter Joal Kamps is passionate about sharing the inherent value the arts bring to everyday life. In addition to his primary career in music, Joal is also a:
dynamic actor and ACTRA member
commissioned visual artist
devoted artist mentor
Joal’s original works often draw upon Albertan history and rocky mountain folklore for inspiration. Combining storytelling, song-writing and performing, he seeks to connect with audiences in authentic ways, breaking down barriers while encouraging participation and cultivating community throughout his interactive and emotive performances.
Joal Kamps’ artistic work has been long inspired by the diverse peoples, history and folklore of our beloved province. However, during his residency, Joal will endeavor to record, produce and perform an innovative new work that explores the personification of Alberta in a stage and recording artwork: “Wild Rose.”
The full production process and public dissemination of “Wild Rose” will highlight the value of the arts in our province by incorporating the skillful contributions of Alberta-based artists into an original sound recording and live concert performance featuring:
music and sound
the visual arts
You can follow the artist’s activities on the Alberta Artist in Residence/Arts Ambassador Instagram page at @ab_artistinresidence.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to the majority of the live events industry with live, in-person performances being cancelled all over the city, the country and even the world. Over the past few months, the UCalgary School of Creative and Performing Arts has been looking into ways of creating performance opportunities for students and faculty, working closely together with University Risk Management and following federal and provincial guidelines.
Over the next few weeks, we will present a variety of events. Most of our performances are focused on giving our students the live experience needed in order to graduate, despite being in the middle of a pandemic. Although we know it’s not the same as pre-COVID, we are proud we are still able to share their hard work with the wider community, whether it is online or in-person.
Our graduate drama playwriting students will have the opportunity to have their new works read and directed by established and emerging artists. The staged readings will be available to view online starting mid-October.
Other graduate drama students are working on presenting their MFA Thesis productions to an in-person audience. Please note that seats for all in-person performances are very limited and tickets have to be requestedat least three business days before the event. There are no online sales, no door sales, no walk-ups.
Jawbone, by Meghan Greeley, will run from Oct. 16 to 24 in the University Theatre. This new Canadian play is a darkly comedic one-woman show.
Just like the Moon, a devised piece created by Lizz Windnagel, the creative team and the ensemble—two actors and one percussionist—will be presented from Nov. 27–Dec. 5 in the Reeve Theatre. Following a sad clown named Pierrot, this production will take a virtuosic look at the human condition.
This fall, graduate music students will perform their thesis recitals in the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall. The recitals will be livestreamed and can be watched from the comfort of your home.
On Oct. 2 at 8 p.m., the School will livestream “A Celebration of Music by Black Composers” from the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall in the Rozsa Centre. The program was initiated in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and is a collaboration between faculty, students, alumni and guests.
Finally, the UCalgary String Quartet will present a Beethoven Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. This concert will be livestreamed from the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall in the Rozsa Centre. It is important to note that events are subject to change, as new information becomes available.
Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) proudly announces the short lists for its 2020 Tom Hendry Awards. The short list for the Bra d’Or Award, Robert Beardsley Award, RBC Emerging Playwright Award, the Sharon Enkin Theatre For Young People Award, as well as the Playwrights Guild Comedy & Musical Awards, and the Carol Bolt Award have been released by their respective juries.
Bra D’Or Award – 2020 Finalists
PGC is excited to announce the recipient of this year’s Bra D’Or Award at the Tom Hendry Awards ceremony on October 26th! The finalists include: Avery Jean Brennan, Marjorie Chan, Kara Flanagan, Heather Inglis, Thomas Morgan Jones, Anna Pappas, Caroline Russell-King, Bronwyn Steinberg, & the Wet Ink Collective Co-Artistic Director’s Sussin McFarlen, Loreta Seto & Lynna Goldhar-Smith.
Robert Beardsley Award
The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto Foundation’s 2020 Short List
This award is to be granted to a full-time secondary or post-secondary student within the GTA for the creation of a one-act play script.
JURY: Yolanda Bonnell (Chair), Julia Lederer, and Myekah Payne.
Audrey Krieger-Pottruff (ON) for Tragedy: A Comedy,
Nam Nguyen (ON) for CAEZUS, and
Micaela Robertson (ON) for I’ll Miss You a Little.
RBC Emerging Playwright Award – 2020 Short List
This award is given annually for the best play by a PGC-member who is an emerging playwright.
JURY: Muriel Hogue (Chair), Warona Setshwaelo and Yvonne Wallace.
Makram Ayache (ON) for Harun,
Megs Calleja (BC) for Twentysomething, and
Gabe Maharjan (QC) for Eva in Rio.
Sharon Enkin Plays For Young People Award – 2020 Short List
This award is given to a new TYA play or one that has had a professional production in the last year. JURY: Pablo Felices-Luna (Chair), Maggie Mercredi, and David Woods.
Herbert Barnes (ON) for Bent Boy,
Josh MacDonald (NS) for #IAMTHECHEESE, and
Jared Mallard (NB) for A Year In The Stars And Rain.
Playwrights Guild Comedy Award – 2020 Short List
This award is given annually for a new comedy by a PGC-member, which has not yet had a premiere production.
JURY: Jeff Pitcher (Chair), Rachel Peake, and Brie Watson.
David Paquet, Translated by Leanna Brodie (BC) for The Shoe,
Paul Van Dyck (ON) for Siberian Summer, and
Jamie Williams (ON) for Pinkerton Comes to Prospect.
Playwrights Guild Musical Award – 2020 Short List
This award is given annually for a new musical work by a PGC-member, which has not yet had a premiere production.
JURY: Daniel Maté (Chair), Deanna Choi, and Farren Timoteo.
Sara Farb, Music & Lyrics by Britta Johnson (ON) for KELLY v. KELLY,
Matt Murray Music & Lyrics by Colleen Dauncey & Akiva Romer-Segal (ON) for Grow: A New Musical, and
Molly Reisman, Book & Lyrics & Emily Chiu Book & Music (ON) for Keaton and The Whale.
Carol Bolt Award – 2020 Short List
This award is given annually for the best work by a PGC-member that has premiered in the past year. The Carol Bolt Award is in loving memory of both David and Carol Bolt.
JURY: Eda Holmes (Chair), Jennifer Dawn Bishop, and Jenn Deon.
Keith Barker (ON) for This is How We Got Here,
Emma Donoghue, Music by Cora Bissett & Kathryn Joseph (ON) for Room, and
Sébastien Harrisson, Translated by Leanna Brodie (BC) for From Alaska.
Inside Out Theatre announces the Artistic Basic Income program, providing direct, unrestricted cash support to artists with disabilities, d/Deaf artists, or MAD artists/artists living with mental illness. Launched on September 1st, 2020, submissions of applications for this program will be accepted until September 30th, 2020.
What is the Artistic Basic Income program?
Two artists will be chosen via a lottery draw to receive $6,000 to be used in whatever way the artist chooses, all in an effort to support their artmaking by covering their basic expenses.
Open to self-identifying artists with a disability, d/Deaf artists, MAD artists, and/or artists living with mental illness residing in Alberta. Because we know that Black, Indigenous, and Artists of Colour may face additional barriers and marginalization, Inside Out will guarantee that at least one of the artists will identify as coming from one of these communities.
Inside Out will celebrate and promote any work created by these artists, but will not expect any work to “come back” to Inside Out. By which we mean, this isn’t a commission or artist residency, it’s not a gig. It’s a guaranteed basic income.
How to Apply:
Applications for entry will be accepted starting September 1st, 2020 and will close on September 30th, 2020 at 11:59 pm. Selected artists will be notified and announced the following week. Applications can be found at www.insideouttheatre.com/artistic-basic-income
Entries can be submitted through a typed online form, video ASL submission, mailed paper application, or by phone.
Folks will be asked if they:
● Identify as an artist ● Identify as having a disability ● Identify as d/Deaf ● Identify as MAD or living with mental illness ● And if they identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of colour.
Applicants will also be asked to tell us about an artistic or creative goal they have for the coming year. This could include making something new, continuing or finishing a work in progress, artistic training or learning. Inside Out believes that plenty of rest and creative recharging are an important part of healthy artmaking.
Upon completion of the short application, artists will be invited to fill out an optional, anonymous survey about their financial lives. We’re hoping to grow this program in the future, so having a better understanding of the financial needs of our community will help guide the future of the Artistic Basic Income program.