Stage Door News

Toronto: Nightwood Theatre announces the winner of The Strombergs Family Realization Fund

Friday, October 18, 2019

Nightwood Theatre is pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural Strombergs Family Realization Fund: Dian Marie Bridge. This $10,000 cash award, established by theatre director Vinetta Strombergs in honour of her artist parents, is intended to support a woman who has spent at least 20 years in the profession of theatre in any discipline and is now looking for a way to finance a project of passion that includes aspects of theatre, music, and movement. 

Bridge is a Toronto-based freelance theatre-maker and arts manager. She holds a degree from Brock University and attended the University of Minnesota. Bridge has worked with many organizations across Canada and the US including Harbourfront Centre, The Stratford Festival, Obsidian Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, Canadian Stage, Mirvish Productions, Soulpepper Theatre, Playwrights Guild of Canada, and Storytelling Toronto. She is also an inaugural member of the Stratford Festival’s Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction, and is a recipient of the Elliott Hayes Playwright Development Guthrie Award. She has been an artist mentor through The Paprika Festival, The AMY Project, Speak Sudan, bcurrent’s Raizin Artz Program, Only One You workshops, and the Boys and Girls Club of Vancouver.

An active member of Canada’s theatre and arts community for over two decades, Bridge recently started making inroads into the dance and visual arts communities. Her work has shifted with the intention of helping to bridge the creative communities in Canada, through peer-to-peer mentorship, cross-pollination of ideas, practices, retention of knowledge and practice through continued direct support of artists.

Bridge’s winning project is titled Crossing Into Lullaby. Rooted in the space between history and mythology, Crossing Into Lullaby uses a family ghost story of "Granny Eating With the Baby” to examine the desperation that can come with parenthood, and the impact of family mythology on individual choice. This mash-up of sound, projection design, live scoring and movement uses the true-to-life family story to reveal just how interwoven our lives are with metaphysics, trauma, and death. 

“It is not lost on me that the Strombergs Family Realization Fund was established in the memory of Vinetta’s artist parents, now this funding supports my dream of continuing work that honours all of my mothers and ancestors,” says Bridge. “Foremost in my mind of late, has been the wish for more time, and the return of energy that comes with youth. This fund becomes that time and energy. It is the ability to sit in my creativity fully for a dedicated amount of time. It is respect for my practice, and talent. It is a chance to share space, resources and connections, by working on a project that is a huge part of my heart, culture and life. I am deeply humbled and grateful for the belief and trust in this work.”

Vinetta Strombergs established this “Realization Fund” in memory of her artist parents, Alfred and Hilda Strombergs, who emigrated to Canada after the war. Vinetta’s career in theatre spans 50 years, thanks to the support of her parents and the love of all theatrical disciplines instilled in her. She started as an actor and became a director in order to realize a desire to create theatre projects that no one would hire her to do. Her passion for theatre and independent projects continues to this day.

“As women age, they bump into barriers that force them to quit or fight,” says Strombergs, “Some forms of theatre and ideas about making theatre encounter obstacles that mean they fall through the cracks in the regular funding systems. And there’s never enough money to go around. Hence the idea to create this award and pay forward some support. This award is for senior artists who have a passion project that has fallen through the cracks, but who deserve a chance, and deserve the opportunity to receive funding for their project to be realized.”

Photo: Dian Marie Bridge.