Stage Door News
Toronto: Finalists for the 2022 Siminovitch Prize are announced
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
The Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s most significant theatre award, celebrates professional mid-career theatre creators whose work is transformative and influential. This year, the spotlight is on directors from across Canada, who have strengthened the Canadian theatre landscape. The winner of the 2022 Siminovitch Prize will be announced on December 1, 2022 at 8 pm EST.
The finalists for the 2022 Siminovitch Prize are: Marie Brassard (Montreal, QC), Ravi Jain (Toronto, ON), Ann-Marie Kerr (Halifax, NS), and Sherry J. Yoon (Gibsons, BC).
“The jury was impressed by the range and quality of work being made across the country: immersive, large-scale musicals, post-dramatic performances, re-interpreted and remixed classics, audacious and contemporary performances of all kinds pushing theatre practice in bold new directions. What struck us about the shortlisted artists was the specificity of their individual voices and practices, the restless pursuit of their aesthetic questions and concerns, and the rigour of their work. Each is a recognized and celebrated leader in their community and often further afield. Each shortlisted artist is making excellent, exciting work that challenges and delights their collaborators and their audiences.” – Guillermo Verdecchia, 2022 Siminovitch Prize Jury Chair.
THE 2022 FINALISTS:
Marie Brassard - Director, Writer, Artist
Poetic, dreamlike, rigorous, complex, and rich, Marie Brassard’s work is a universe unto itself. A fiercely independent artist, Marie often works with artists from outside the boundaries of theatre to create pieces in which sound and image are not adjuncts or secondary considerations but central elements of the artistic proposal. Working from improvisation, following a deeply intuitive, seemingly chaotic impulse, Marie resists familiar narrative or theatrical schema, searching for something truer, something truly arresting, unheard and unseen till now. An artistic leader in her home province of Quebec, her work has also travelled across Canada, Europe, and Japan.
“When I embark on a new creative project, I am driven by the desire to instigate an encounter, a human experience, conducive to intellectual and sensitive exchanges. I wish to develop, with those who share my path, works sourced from the best and most intimate parts of us all.” – Marie Brassard.
Ravi Jain - Director, Artistic Director, Artist
Whether staging a bilingual (English, ASL) Hamlet with Canada’s first professional female Hamlet and a Deaf actor playing Horatio, adapting the Mahabharata, or staging a performance lecture about climate change years before anyone else was programming such work, Ravi Jain’s art challenges our expectations while achieving very high levels of artistic excellence. Driven by a radical commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity, Ravi’s productions re-imagine how we might work and play together. They offer bold models for an aesthetically exciting, joyful, and inclusive theatre.
“My whole career has been about mobilizing and motivating people to go beyond what they think is possible and to do it with fearlessness and joy. At the heart of what I do is creating processes and work that inspire alternative visions of existence. Art is a tool for social change; both the process and the art are revolutions of imagination, and ways to inspire us all to be better listeners, feelers and people.” – Ravi Jain.
Ann-Marie Kerr - Director, Teacher, Artist
Simultaneously generous and demanding, Ann-Marie Kerr invites risk, invention, and play in all her rehearsal processes. Actors love her because she asks everything of them and more, inviting and supporting artists to go further than they ever have before. Profoundly curious, Ann-Marie creates rehearsal environments in which everyone becomes a creator. Her work, in large or intimate houses, on new and established pieces, with large casts and small is characterized by the visceral quality of the performances and by the physical poetry she creates through her precise shaping of narrative, expression, time and space: the sort of poetry one only finds in the theatre.
“I am interested in intensity. In rules and structure of play. In the notion that everyone is terrified of expression most of the time. In the dramaturgy of images. I’m interested in collaborating at every step of the process with designers. In exposing a social issue on stage, no matter how uncomfortable it is to do so.” – Ann-Marie Kerr.
Sherry J. Yoon - Director, Producer, Artistic Director and Artist
Sherry J. Yoon is a trailblazer, having for over twenty years created and staged thrilling, technically audacious, exuberant work outdoors, in trees, in shipping containers, online, in historic buildings, and in private homes for adult and young audiences. Her work has upended some of the fundamental assumptions of theatre practice: What is an audience? A stage? Exploring these questions she has created new relationships between audiences and spaces, between people and places. She has pushed the boundaries of theatrical performance, creating truly site-specific work that probes our connections to the land and the spaces that sustain and welcome us, work that connects the past to the present. As one of her colleagues said, her work has not only moved us forward but has also prepared us for where we are going.
“My world view and life experience as a woman of colour, an immigrant, and outsider has impacted my work and has contributed to my passion as a creator. Focused only on the barriers, I would not be working as a director. It is the thrill of being in a creative space, literally and figuratively, that fuels me with endless energy and courage.” – Sherry J. Yoon.
"The nominations received for theatre directors from across the country reveal to us that the work of these artists connects us deeply to each other and ourselves. Theatre is a vehicle for us to come together, share an experience, and work out how to face our collective challenges and humanity. We are grateful to all those who shared their work and nominations with the jury this year.” – George Thomson, Chair, Siminovitch Prize Foundation
ABOUT THE SIMINOVITCH PRIZE:
The Siminovitch Prize is life-changing for recipients, who are given the public recognition and financial resources needed to take greater creative risks. At the same time, the prestige of the Siminovitch Prize contributes to elevating Canadian theatre by creating exposure and legitimacy. The Siminovitch Prize also recognizes the importance of mentorship in supporting emerging talent: the Laureate receives $75,000 and selects a Protégé who receives $25,000.
Without the support of hundreds of donors each year, there would be no Siminovitch Prize. As an independent Canadian charity, we are grateful to the individual and corporate supporters helping us nurture innovation in Canadian theatre, notably Power Corporation of Canada, the 2022 Shortlist Presenter.
THE SIMINOVITCH PRIZE JURY:
Selected annually, the jury is comprised of professional theatre artists from varied disciplines and backgrounds. The 2022 jury included Marcia Babineau (NB), Omari Newton (BC), Genevieve Pelletier (MB), Maryse Warda (QU), and Guillermo Verdecchia (ON) as Jury Chair.
The Siminovitch Prize
December 1, 2022 5 pm PT, 8 pm ET, 9 pm AT
Take part in an evening honouring theatre direction in Canada, featuring the premiere of short documentaries about each of the four Siminovitch Prize finalists and the announcement of the 2022 Siminovitch Prize Laureate and Protégé.
Photos: Marie Brassard, Ravi Jain, Ann-Marie Kerr and Sherry J. Yoon.