Two musicals and a French-language play led Vancouver’s Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards with four wins each on Monday night. Productions dealing with Indigenous issues were also big winners at the Jessies.
Corey Payette and Julie McIsaac’s trilingual Indigenous musical Les Filles du Roi (in English, French and Mohawk) won in the small-theatre category for outstanding direction for Payette, as well as awards for set design (Marshall McMahen), costume design (McMahen and Konwahonwa:wi Stacey) and sound design or original composition (Payette and Kyra Soko). The show, produced by Fugue Theatre and Raven Theatre, in association with Urban Ink and The Cultch, had its world premiere at the York Theatre in May, 2018.
The Snapshots Collective’s site-specific production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, set in a Gastown storefront, was named outstanding musical in the small-theatre category and received awards for lead actors Warren Kimmel and Colleen Winton, as well as supporting actor Oliver Castillo.
In the large-theatre category, Théâtre la Seizième’s world premiere of Quebec playwright David Paquet’s Le Soulier won for best lead actor (Félix Beauchamp), outstanding direction (Esther Duquette and Gilles Poulin-Denis) and outstanding sound design or original composition (Malcolm Dow), as well as the award for outstanding original script.
Kamloopa, set during a road trip to a powwow in Kamloops, won for outstanding production, and Bard on the Beach’s Beatles-inspired As You Like It was named outstanding musical production for large theatre.
The frank theatre company and Queer Arts Festival’s production of Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts) won for outstanding production in the small-theatre category.
Also for small theatre, Alannah Ong was named best supporting actress for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre’s The Ones We Leave Behind. And Molly MacKinnon and Christine Quintana won the Significant Artistic Achievement award for Delinquent Theatre’s Never the Last, thanks to its “outstanding interdisciplinary collaboration involving the imaginative integration of dance, live musical performance and theatre.”
In the large-theatre category, Colleen Wheeler was named best actress for Bard’s Timon of Athens, which also won for set design (Drew Facey).
Kim Senklip Harvey and Lindsay Lachance won the Significant Artistic Achievement award for large theatre for their all-female Kamloopa, with its “outstanding decolonization of theatre spaces and practices.” Kamloopa also won the Sydney Risk Prize for outstanding original play by an emerging writer.
Bard’s Lysistrata, also a feminist work that dealt in part with the effects of colonization, won the Critics’ Choice Innovation Award.
Western Canada’s largest theatre company, the Arts Club, picked up only two awards, one for supporting actress Nora McLellan in The Matchmaker and the other for Irai Erdal’s lighting design in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Other winners honoured Monday night at the Bard on the Beach BMO Mainstage include The Cultch and its artistic director Heather Redfern, with the Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award; and actor and playwright Taran Kootenhayoo for the Sam Payne Award for Most Promising Newcomer.
Actor Andrew Wheeler won the John Moffat and Larry Lillo Award, which goes to a mature West Coast theatre artist. And David Diamond, who recently devolved his company Theatre for Living after 37 years, won the GVPTA Career Achievement Award.
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