Stage Door News

Toronto: TAPA announces 2021 Dora Ancillary Awards in virtual broadcast

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Dora Ancillary Awards which were presented in a virtual broadcast in Toronto this morning, June 16, streamed on TAPA’s YouTube channel.

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards, produced by TAPA, celebrate excellence in Toronto theatre, dance and opera. The Dora Ancillary Awards are normally given out at a press conference announcing the nominations for the Dora Awards.

As previously announced, with no Dora Awards this year due to COVID-19 health restrictions curtailing live indoor performance, TAPA decided to move forward with the presentation of the Dora Ancillary Awards as they are not based on a specific performance season, but on a body of work. They include administrative as well as artistic roles.

The virtual broadcast presentation was pre-taped on May 24, prior to the tragic anti-Muslim murder of a family of four and the attempted murder of that family’s nine-year-old boy that recently occurred in London, Ontario. The world is grappling with this hate-motivated crime. The taping was also prior to the report of the horrific discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, an unspeakable calamity that reflects a part Canada’s history of racism.


In light of these traumatic events, TAPA added a prologue to the recording, asking viewers to join in observing a moment of silence. TAPA Board President Régine Cadet affirms that TAPA “is committed to actively dismantle hate. We stand in solidarity against all acts of racism in all forms and strive to lead with artistic practices that embrace and honour all narratives and peoples.”


Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration (LMJH), and associated Victor C. Polley Protégé Award

The recipient of the 2021 Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration (LMJH) is one of Canada’s most accomplished arts managers: Andrea Vagianos, whose close to three decades of experience in the cultural sector have earned her accolades as a true champion of the arts. Managing Director of Tarragon Theatre since 2018, she previously spent eight years as Managing Director of Toronto Dance Theatre and six years as Managing Director of Dancemakers. Ms Vagianos also volunteered on numerous arts boards including seven years on the board of TAPA, the last three as President. Andrea named emerging arts manager and educator Danielle Parris, whose work is dedicated to community service and creating inclusive and accessible spaces that amplify BIPOC voices, as the recipient of the Victor C. Polley Protégé Award.

John Hirsch Director’s Award

Jani Lauzon, a multidisciplinary artist of Métis ancestry, is the recipient of this year’s John Hirsch Director’s Award, presented every three years to a promising Ontario-resident theatre director. Nominated for multiple Dora Awards as a playwright, actor and theatre director, Ms Lauzon has also been recognized as a singer-songwriter with JUNO and Canadian Aboriginal Music Award nominations; she also earned a Gemini Award for her work as a puppeteer. Jani’s company Paper Canoe Projects produces her own work, including the award-winning Prophecy Fog and I Call myself Princess. She is currently the associate director of the National Theatre School’s Acting Program (English).

Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award

Soheil Parsa, an award-winning director, writer, dramaturg and teacher, whose theatre career spans forty years and two continents – his native Iran and Canada – was presented with the Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award. Mr. Parsa steps down as Artistic Director of Modern Times Stage Company this year, a company he co-founded in 1989 that has been recognized with 16 Dora Mavor Moore Awards (with Soheil personally garnering six). One of the most innovative theatre companies in Canada, he instilled Modern Times with deeply human values that broke barriers facing diverse and immigrant artists and forged new territory for theatre practitioners.

Pauline McGibbon Award

The recipient of the annual Pauline McGibbon Award is Dillon Orr, an emerging Franco-Ontarian stage director and theatrical producer, currently the deputy artistic director for Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario in Sudbury and associate artist for Vox Théâtre in Ottawa. Dillon’s work and passion are anchored in an intrinsically Franco-Ontarian aesthetic.