Skip navigation
Navigation skipped

News Releases

Jury Announced for the 2011 Siminovitch Prize, Canada's Largest Award in Theatre

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 10, 2011) - BMO Financial Group announced today the jury members for the 2011 Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, the largest award in Canadian theatre. The recipient of this year's award and $100,000 price will be announced at a ceremony in Toronto on November 7, 2011.

Now in its 11th year, the Siminovitch Prize recognizes excellence in direction, playwriting and design on a three-year cycle. This year, the prize will be awarded to a professional playwright who has made a significant contribution to the Canadian theatre scene in recent years. The $100,000 prize allows the recipient to take his/her craft to the next level and encourage future artists, with $25,000 of the prize money awarded to a protégé of the recipient's choosing.

The deadline for nominations for the prize is June 4, 2011. A short list will be announced in September.

"BMO is proud of its tradition of recognizing artists who have made an impactful and lasting contribution to the Canadian stage," said Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO, Private Client Group, BMO Financial Group. "This prize acknowledges hard work and passion for theatre and underscores the importance of Canada's arts and culture."

Maureen Labonté will preside as jury chair for the third consecutive year. Ms. Labonté is a past Siminovitch Prize jury member, with extensive theatre experience in English and French Canadian communities across the country.

"I look forward to having the honour again this year of reviewing the outstanding work of the nominees," said Ms. Labonté. "Our jury members, this year, will bring their varied and extensive backgrounds in Canadian theatre to the task of selecting a playwright whose work shows passion, imagination and vision."

The other jury members are:

Yvette Nolan is a playwright, dramaturg, director and educator. As a dramaturg, she works across Canada, most recently at Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre Spring Festival of New Plays. She has received the Maggie Bassett Award for service to the theatre community and was the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts from 2003-2011. She was recently awarded the City of Toronto's Aboriginal Affairs Award.

Carole Fréchette is a Montreal-based playwright and a graduate of the National Theatre School. She has been a force in Québec theatre for more than 25 years and was the 2002 recipient of the Siminovitch Prize. Her work, translated into 18 languages, has been staged all over the world, from Montréal to Reykjavik, from Paris to Tokyo.

Craig Holzscuth has worked as director, playwright, actor and designer. Since 2001, Craig has been Artistic and Managing Director of Théâtre la Seizième, in Vancouver, and from 2006 to 2010, he was the president of ATFC (Association des Théâtres Francophones du Canada), the national association of French theatre companies outside of Québec. He has also taught extensively at the University of British Columbia in the theatre and opera programs, the University of Ottawa and the Vancouver Academy of Music.

Scott Burke is an award-winning director, playwright and producer. He is the Artistic Producer of Eastern Front Theatre and the curator of the SuperNova Theatre Festival. Scott is a founding member of In Good Company and a past Artistic Director of Theatre New Brunswick. From 1998 to 2003, Scott was the Artistic Producer of the Ship's Company Theatre. Administratively, Scott played a leading role in the revitalization of Ship's Company Theatre and the development of its new theatre facility.

Vanessa Porteous is the Artistic Director of Alberta Theatre Projects and has been in the role since May 2009. From 1998-2006, Vanessa was a director and dramaturg on staff at Alberta Theatre Projects, where, as Associate Director, she oversaw ATP's annual Enbridge Festival and the development and production of over 30 new Canadian plays.

Previous jury chairs were:

Leonard McHardy - Co-owner and Co-founder, TheatreBooks

Bill Glassco - Founder, Tarragon Theatre

Urjo Kareda - Artistic Director, Tarragon Theatre

Previous jury members were:

Marcus Youssef - Artistic Producer, Neworld Theatre, Artistic Associate, Magnetic North Theatre Festival ; Marti Maraden - Actress and Director, Co-chair, National Resource Council; Alain Jean - Coordinator of Development Projects, Association des théâtres francophones du Canada.; Jillian Keiley - Artistic Director, Artistic Fraud, Winner 2004 Siminovitch Prize for Directing; Marie Clements - Playwright, Screenwriter, Producer, Co-Director of Frog Girl Films and Red Diva Projects; Mieko Ouchi - Actor, Writer, and Director; Sue LePage - Play Designer; Rachel Ditor - Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia, Member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas; Mérédith Caron - Teacher, National Theatre School; John Van Burek - Director, Teacher and Translator; Vicki Stroich - Dramaturg, Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary; Paul Lefebvre - Translator, Stage director, Dramaturge and Theatre Scholar; Patricia Hamilton - Actor and Director; Carlo Guillermo Proto - Director, General Manager and Company Producer, Cahoots Theatre Projects; Valerie Moore - Director, Choreographer and Teacher; Katrina Dunn - Director and Producer; Geneviève Billette - Playwright, Board of Directors, Centre des auteurs dramatique (CEAD); Keith Turnbull - Director, Dramaturg and Producer; Diana Leblanc - Actress and Director, Recipient of the Prix Alliance de l'Alliance Française de Toronto; Mary Kerr - Production Designer, Professor of Design, University of Victoria Theatre Department; Luc Boulanger - Writer; Jerry Wasserman - Professor of English and Theatre, University of British Columbia; Maureen Labonté - Dramaturg, Banff playRites Colony; Astrid Janson - Production and Set & Costume Designer; Martha Henry - Actor, Honourary Co-Chair, Theatre Renewal Campaign, Companion of the Order of Canada; Bob White - Artistic Director, Alberta Theatre Projects; Mary Walsh - Actor, Director and Playwright; Robert Wallace - Professor of English and Drama Studies, York University; Marie-Hélène Falcon - Co-founder / Director General / Artistic Director, Festival de Théâtre des Amériques; Dr. Natalie Rewa - Associate Professor, Department of Drama and Institute for Women's Studies, Queen's University; Michael Eagan - Set and Costume Designer; Denise Clarke - Associate Artist, One Yellow Rabbit; Martine Beaulne - Director and Actor; Maryse Warda - Literary Translator; John Murrell - Canadian playwright, Winner Chalmers Best Canadian Play Awards; Leonard McHardy - Co-owner and Co-founder, TheatreBooks; Nicola Lipman – Actor; Mary Vingoe - Artistic Director, The Eastern Front Theatre; Kathryn Shaw - Artistic Director, Studio 58, Langara College; Christopher Newton - Artistic Director, Shaw Festival; Linda Gaboriau - Literary Translator

Full biographies of jury members are available at

About BMO and the Arts

BMO Financial Group is one of Canada's largest corporate benefactors, and a major contributor to arts and culture. In 2010, BMO contributed more than $54 million in donations and sponsorships. BMO's funding supports numerous cultural charities and organizations, ranging from grants for music and art programs in schools, to sustaining grants for national cultural institutions.

About the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre

The Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre honours professional directors, playwrights and designers by acknowledging excellence and encouraging further exploration 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. For further information about the prize, please visit

For further information:
Media Requests:
Alexis Brown, Toronto
(416) 867-3996