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Rick Mercer, seen here in Toronto in 2018, will be honoured at the Governor-General’s Performing Arts Awards this April.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Television mainstay Rick Mercer and star of stage and screen Colm Feore are among five Canadians who will be honoured for their lifetime of artistic work at the Governor-General’s Performing Arts Awards on April 27.

“Our artists are among our nation’s greatest assets,” said Douglas Knight, the chair and chief executive of the foundation that runs the awards. “The laureates we honour with the Governor-General’s Performing Arts Awards are true gems.”

Born in St. John’s, Mercer was one of the original creators and performers of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which faked the news on CBC Television before it became popular. The comedian later starred in his own series, Rick Mercer Report, from 2004 to 2018.

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Actor Colm Feore has been a staple of the Stratford Festival for years.

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Few actors have taken on as many Canadian icons as Feore, whose most memorable performances include Glenn Gould in François Girard’s Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould and Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the CBC miniseries Trudeau. The Stratford, Ont.-based performer is also one of the country’s best-known classical stage performers, having played 17 seasons at the Stratford Festival, tackling roles from Hamlet to King Lear.

The three other 2019 winners of the Governor-General’s Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement are:

  • Lorraine Pintal, who since 1992 has held the position of artistic director of the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, where she has produced classics from Molière to Shakespeare and the plays of contemporary writers such as Michel Marc Bouchard and Évelyne de la Chenelière.
  • Mavis Staines, a dance educator who has led Canada’s National Ballet School for more than 30 years.
  • Louise Bessette, a concert pianist who is “recognized worldwide as an outstanding performer and promoter of 20th- and 21st-century music.”

Two other related awards will be given out alongside the GGPAAs for lifetime achievement in April.

Sandra Oh will receive the National Arts Centre Award.

James White/handout

Sandra Oh, star and co-executive producer of the popular BBC America series Killing Eve, is the winner of the National Arts Centre Award, which recognizes “work of an extraordinary nature and significance” in the past year. It comes with a $25,000 cash award and arrives in a year in which the Ottawa native has already picked up a Golden Globe for best actress on a television drama for her performance as Eve Polastri.

The Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism for the Performing Arts goes to E. Noël Spinelli, a member of the Order of Canada from Lachine, Que., whose accomplishments include co-founding Concerts Lachine, which produces free classical-musical concerts, and Concerts Spinelli, a showcase for young musicians.

All of this year’s GGPAA winners will be celebrated at a gala at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on April 27, where short National Film Board portraits of the five men and women will have their world premieres. Tickets go on sale Thursday at the National Arts Centre box office and through Ticketmaster.

Read more

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2019 Canadian Screen Awards lean toward Quebec and the obscure, and thank goodness for that

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