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$100,000 Siminovitch Prize Awarded to Montréal Designer Louise Campeau  


At a gala ceremony last night, Montréal designer Louise Campeau was named the 2003 winner of the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, the largest annual prize of its kind in Canada.  More than 450 people – members of Canada’s theatre community, and government and business leaders – were on hand for the event, which was sponsored by BMO Financial Group.

In awarding Ms. Campeau this honour, the Jury expressed admiration for her designs which, according to the Jury citation, “possess a coherent, refined and subtle vision.  She has a strong sense of visual artistry beyond the normal.  She is truly a collaborative artist.  This collaboration fully respects the expression of the actor, and gives lighting, costume and sound designers an enriched opportunity to allow their work to "perform" in harmony.  Ms. Campeau is an extraordinary theatre artist whose work provides a unique sense of play and is unparalleled in its dedication to the service of the play. Her work allows audiences to see and hear more clearly, engaging them in a better understanding of the production.”

Bringing greetings from the sponsor of the gala event, BMO Financial Group CEO Tony Comper remarked that theatre fills our lives with memorable moments: "The magic that only happens live on stage -- of wonderfully crafted words powerfully delivered, of feats of directorial brilliance, and, mindful of why we are all here tonight, of design that simply electrifies.”

A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada in 1984, Louise Campeau has designed approximately 60 productions for 14 different companies in Quebec -- from the large institutional theatres to the smallest experimental spaces.

Ms. Campeau has worked with the renowned directors Serge Denoncourt, François Barbeau, Luce Pelletier, Gilles Provost, Pierre Bernard, Daniel Brière and many others.  She has worked at Théâtre de L'Ile, Théâtre de l'Opsis, Théâtre de Quat’Sous, Compagnie Jean-Duceppe, Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui. Espace Go, Théâtre Denise Pelletier and Thèâtre du Rideau Vert.

The jury was chaired by Leonard McHardy, co-owner and co-founder of Theatrebooks in Toronto.  The members of the jury were Quebec director and actor Martine Beaulne; Denise Clarke, Associate Artist with Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre; New Brunswick-born set and costume designer Michael Eagan; and Dr. Natalie Rewa, a recognised authority of theatre design in Canada.  “The Siminovitch nominations represented the best work from many of the finest designers working in Canadian theatre.  The jury was deeply impressed by the fact that many of Canada's senior theatre artists made such eloquent and passionate nominations on behalf of their younger colleagues," said Mr. McHardy.

As a condition of the Prize, the honoured artist designates one-quarter of the Prize amount ($25,000) to a protégé of his or her choice who is involved in professional direction, playwriting or design in Canadian theatre, or to an institution (theatre or education facility) that contributes to Canadian theatre.  The prize founders have structured the prize in this way to underscore their profound belief in the importance of mentorship.  Ms. Campeau has chosen two protégés – Magalie Amyot and Michèle Magnon.

Since graduating from the National Theatre School in 1997, set designer Magalie Amyot has worked with director éric Jean on several projects, including the set designs for recent productions of Pascal Brullemans’ Hippocampe at Théâtre de Quat’Sous and Larry Tremblay’s Cornemuse at Théâtre d’Aujourd’Hui .

On graduating from the Cégep de St-Hyacinthe theatre school in 2002, Michèle Magnan joined the props team for the film “The Day After Tomorrow” directed by Roland Emmerich and worked with director Serge Denoncourt on Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles Soeurs and Marc Drouin’s Pied de Poule.

On hand for the ceremony was Dr. Lou Siminovitch, one of Canada’s outstanding scientists.  The prize was named after Dr. Siminovitch and his late wife, Elinore, whose determination, dedication to excellence, and belief in mentorship, are embodied in the award.

The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre honours exceptional directors, playwrights and designers who advance Canadian theatre through a body of work achieved in recent years, while influencing and inspiring younger theatre artists.  Awarded in alternate years to a director, playwright and designer, the Prize was presented last year to Montréal playwright Carole Fréchette and her protégé Geneviève Billette and in 2001, the inaugural year for the award, to director Daniel Brooks and to Mr. Brooks’ protégé Chris Abraham.

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As 2003 winner of the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, Montreal designer Louise Campeau (left) receives crystal trophy from Elizabeth Comper, Chair of the Founders Committee for the Prize.

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Montreal designer Louise Campeau, winner of the 2003 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, honouring designers.

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Montreal designer Louise Campeau (right) is greeted warmly by her “protégés” Magalie Amyot (left) and Michèle Magnan, after winning the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre at a gala ceremony in Toronto.

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Montreal designer Louise Campeau (centre) is greeted by her “protégés” Magalie Amyot (left) and Michèle Magnan, as BMO Financial Group Chairman and CEO Tony Comper and Elizabeth Comper, Chair of the Siminovitch Founders Committee, look on.

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Actress Fiona Reid (far left), emcee at Tuesday’s gala 2003 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, toasts the winner, Louise Campeau (far right), and her two protégés, Magalie Amyot (left) and Michèle Magnan (right).

(All photos by Glenn Brown)

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