Stage Door News

Port Dover: 2021 Tom Hendry Award winners announced

Monday, October 25, 2021

The winners of the Tom Hendry Awards were announced at a digital awards ceremony hosted by Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) On Sunday, October 24th, 2021.  You can watch the show anytime on PGC’s YouTube Channel. The annual Tom Hendry Awards celebrate and recognize playwrights and theatre-creators across the country for excellent, new work. Hosted by the magnificent Carmen Aguirre, PGC’s ceremony involved ten award presentations in the following categories: Drama, Comedy, Musical, Theatre for Young Audiences, Emerging Artist, Young Writer, Career Achievement, and a special award to support a South African woman playwright. (The names of the awards are the Playwrights Guild Drama Award, RBC Emerging Playwright Award, Robert Beardsley Award, Dan School of Drama & Music Award, Chris Tolley & Dharini Woollcombe Award, Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award, CASA Award, Bra d’Or Award, Honorary Membership Award, and the Lifetime Membership Award.)

These awards celebrate new works, and plays that have yet to be published or produced. As Keith Barker and Yolanda Bonnell stated at PGC’s Nominee Gala: “We’re made of stories – let’s hear more of those stories.” The winning plays bring to life a variety of characters, and all tell stories of hope – hope that may be hiding behind disparity, broken promises, isolation, grief, and/or resistance. The playwrights recognized this year for these awards represent a range of talents, styles, and writing backgrounds. PGC congratulates Yolanda Bonnell for receiving the Drama award with her new play, My Sister’s Rage; Michaela Washburn, Joelle Peters, and Carrie Costello for their winning young audiences play, Frozen River; Sunny Drake for acquiring the Comedy Award with his new play, Every Little Nookie; Nick Green and Kevin Wong for their winning musical, In Real Life; Zahida Rahemtulla for garnering the 2021 Emerging Playwright Award; and Camille Intson for receiving the Robert Beardsley young playwright award.

The CASA Award, a Canadian and South African partnership first conceived in 2015, supports an established woman playwright in South Africa. Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni of Cape Town, South Africa was announced as the 2021 CASA Award recipient. Micheline Chevrier, ED of Imago Theatre, received the Bra d’Or Award for supporting the work of women playwrights, as voted by PGC members. Dramaturg and Literary Manager, Joanna Falck, was presented with the Honorary Membership Award. Playwright, performer, and dedicated PGC member, Marcia Johnson, received the Lifetime Membership Award. Marcia’s newest play, Serving Elizabeth, had just closed at the Stratford Festival Theatre and is now playing at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque.

After being presented with The Lifetime Membership Award, Marcia Johnson shared, “I was completely shocked by this honour. I am touched that people thought that I was worthy of the distinction. Sometimes it does feel like I have been writing for a lifetime but, with each new script, I feel like I’m learning about playwriting all over again. Thank you, nominators. Thank you PGC for all your support. Your member-focus is admirable and appreciated especially during the slow times. Thank you for PlayConnect, Craft Bites, Canadian Play Outlet, The Tom Hendry Awards, your contract templates, your staff, your board etc. etc. etc. I would not be where I am without you.”



Playwrights Guild Drama Award Winner – Yolanda Bonnell

Presented for the best new drama by a PGC member, the 2021 Playwrights Guild Drama Award was bestowed upon Yolanda Bonnell for My Sister’s Rage. Funding for the award is generously sponsored by Alberta Playwrights Network (APN), Manitoba Association of Playwrights (MAP), Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC), Playwrights Canada Press (PLCN), Playwrights Guild of Canada, Playwrights Theatre Centre (PTC), and Playwrights Workshop Montreal.

Jury: Colin Wolf (Chair), Lucia Frangione, and Catherine Joell MacKinnon.


RBC Emerging Playwright Award Winner – Zahida Rahemtulla

Presented for the best play by a PGC member who is an emerging playwright, the 2021 RBC Emerging Playwright Award was given to Zahida Rahemtulla for The Frontliners. Second place was awarded to Virginia Page Jähne for The Far-Off Edge of Things, and third place to Nicholas Guerreirofor Green Knight on the Frog River. The RBC Emerging Playwright Award is sponsored by The RBC Emerging Artists Fund.

Jury: Mary Vingoe (Chair), Dave Deveau, and Frances Koncan.


The Robert Beardsley Award Winner – Camille Intson

The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto Foundation gives an annual award to an emerging playwright under the age of 25 who lives in the Greater Toronto Area and is pursuing a postsecondary education. The Robert Beardsley Award was granted to Camille Intson for We All Got Lost. This award is sponsored and presented by the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto Foundation and administered by Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Jury: Rob Kempson (Chair), Marie Beath Badian, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard.


Dan School of Drama & Music Musical Award Winner – Nick Green & Kevin Wong

Presented annually to a PGC member for best musical in development, the 2021 Musical Award was given to Nick Green and Kevin Wong for In Real Life. This award is sponsored by the DAN School of Drama & Music at Queen’s University.

Jury: Rick Chafe (Chair), Spy Dénommé-Welsh, and Britta Johnson.


Chris Tolley & Dharini Woollcombe Comedy Award Winner – Sunny Drake

Presented annually to a PGC member for best comedy in development, the 2021 Comedy Award was bestowed upon Sunny Drake for Every Little Nookie. This award is sponsored by Chris Tolley and Dharini Woollcombe.

Jury: Leonard Linklater (Chair), Mariah Inger, and Annie Valentina.


Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award Winners – 

Michaela Washburn, Joelle Peters, and Carrie Costello

Presented to a PGC member for best play intended for young audiences, the 2021 Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award was presented to Michaela Washburn, Joelle Peters, and Carrie Costello for Frozen River. The Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award is sponsored by the Enkin Family.

Jury: Mieko Ouchi (Chair), Inés Adán, and Mark Kreder.


The CASA Award Winner – Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni

CASA is a Canadian and South African partnership between the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Women’s Caucus and the African Women Playwrights Network. The winner of the 2021 CASA Award is playwright, theatre-maker, educator, and performer Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni of Cape Town, South Africa. Tiisetso will receive financial support giving her time to write, and she will be partnered with two senior mentors: a Canadian dramaturg and a South African director. She will also receive a small collection of Canadian plays, generously donated by Playwrights Canada Press and Scirocco Drama.

Jury: Philisiwe Twijnstra, Mari Borstlap, Marcia Johnson, and Sally Stubbs.


Bra d’Or Award Winner – Micheline Chevrier

The Bra d’Or Award (BDA) recognizes an individual for his/her/their efforts in supporting and promoting the work of Canadian women playwrights. The Women’s Caucus of the Playwrights Guild of Canada instigated the BDA in 2006.  The recipient must be nominated by a Women’s Caucus member and is voted bupon by PGC’s entire membership. PGC is pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s Bra d’Or Award is Micheline Chevrier, AD and ED of Imago Theatre in Montreal, Quebec.

The Honorary Membership Award – Joanna Falck

The Honorary Membership Award is awarded to an individual or organization for their contribution to the Canadian playwright community. Playwrights Guild of Canada is excited to announce that Joanna Falck is the 2021 recipient of the Honorary Membership Award. Joanna receives an honorary PGC membership for life.

The Lifetime Membership Award – Marcia Johnson

The Lifetime Membership Award is granted to an individual for their outstanding body of work and contributions to the Canadian playwriting community. PGC is thrilled to announce that Marcia Johnson is the 2021 recipient of the Lifetime Membership Award. Marcia receives a PGC membership for life.