Stage Door News

Toronto: Njo Kong Kie is the winner of this year’s Patrick Conner Award

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that the 2020 recipient of the Patrick Conner award is Njo Kong Kie! A ping pong and picnic enthusiast, Kong Kie is also a composer, a pianist, a music theatre creator, and a well-loved member of our family at The Theatre Centre. As an artist he thinks deeply about the nature of the world and its impact on humans who live in it. 

In past years, we gathered in the cafe to celebrate the winner over lavender cookies and cocktails (Patrick loved lavender), and raise a glass to Patrick. Since that’s not possible this year, Kong Kie made a cocktail and batch of cookies from the comfort of his own home. Join him and try the recipes out for yourself.

The Patrick Conner Award was established in 2013 to celebrate the life and work of Patrick Conner, a Toronto-based activist, actor, director and a champion of ethical food systems. This award recognizes someone who, like Patrick, works to change the world through their practice; it comes with a cash prize of $2,500.

Previous recipients include: Nikki Shaffeeullah, Susanna Fournier, Mariah Horner, Jennifer Dallas, Georgina Beatty, Sarah Pittoello, Aviva Armour-Ostroff, Kimberley Edwards, Lea Ambros, Taarini Chopra, James Davis, and Estelle Shook.

The Theatre Centre takes over as Stewards of the Award

The Patrick Conner Award has operated independently through a committee of individuals with a connection to Patrick for 7 years. During this time the committee raised funds and support from community players, most notably The Big Carrot on The Danforth, Theatre Rusticle and The Theatre Centre. Without the support and encouragement of these partners and many individual donors, the Award could not have flourished.

Since the 3rd year of the Award, we have celebrated recipients at The Theatre Centre. For the 5th anniversary of the Award, Toronto-based artist Rocky Dobey created a sculpture that now lives on the Green Roof at The Theatre Centre. Each year, recipient’s names are added to a plaque beside the sculpture. Since the very first meeting of the committee at the old Theatre Centre on top of the Great Hall to the present, we have felt at home. Patrick made a lot of work at The Theatre Centre. As far back as Lippincott and right up to its penultimate home, Patrick’s artistry and heart were very much part of this vibrant space. Now the time feels right to formalize that connection and transition operation of the Award to The Theatre Centre to ensure Patrick’s legacy.

As Chair and a founding member of the award, Sarah Garton Stanley shared this on behalf of the committee: “We are thrilled to make a permanent home for The Patrick Conner Award at The Theatre Centre. Patrick would have loved it, and moreover he would have been moved to poetry to know that artists and activists were being supported in his memory.”

About Kong Kie

A ping pong and picnic enthusiast. A Composer for various things. Credits include the scores for the opera/music theatre Mr. Shi and His Lover, knotty together, La Señorita Mundo, Shattered Glass; concert theatre Picnic in the Cemetery, I swallowed a moon made of iron; the play Infinity; the web series Off Kilter; and various dance productions.

About Patrick

Patrick Conner (1964-2012) was a lauded Actor, Director, Dramaturg and Teacher who devoted his life to the Toronto theatre community. He was a co-founder of groundbreaking site-responsive theatre company, Die In Debt Theatre, a key collaborator with Theatre Rusticle, and a contributor to the works of VideoCabaret, Buddies In Bad Times, Threshold Theatre, and countless other companies.

Photo: Njo Kong Kie. © Nicholas Yee.