May 12, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – The Siminovitch Prize and the National Arts Centre today announced a call for nominations for Canada’s most prestigious award in theatre. The Siminovitch Prize was launched in 2000 to honour the values and achievements of the renowned scientist Lou Siminovitch and the late Elinore Siminovitch, a pioneering playwright. Dr. Siminovitch celebrated his 97th birthday on May 1.

The Siminovitch Prize shines a spotlight on excellence and innovation in Canadian theatre with an annual prize of $100,000. Over a three-year cycle, the Prize honours a professional director, playwright or designer who is an acknowledged leader in the theatre and whose work is transformative and influential. This year’s Prize will be awarded to a playwright on Monday, November 6, 2017 at the National Arts Centre.

The Siminovitch Prize is the most distinguished honour in Canadian theatre. We look forward to receiving nominations championing the work of the best and brightest mid-career playwrights working in the country today,” said Jury Chair Bob White.

Past laureates include celebrated playwrights Olivier Choinière in 2014, Joan MacLeod in 2011, Daniel MacIvor in 2008, John Mighton in 2005 and Carole Fréchette in 2002.

The Prize also recognizes the importance of mentorship to support emerging talent. The recipient receives $75,000 and, in turn, chooses a protégé to receive $25,000.

Nomination details can be found at the end of this release.

This year marks the continuation of a successful partnership which began in 2016 between the Siminovitch Prize and the National Arts Centre. The NAC acts as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning across the country.

The partnership between the Siminovitch Prize and the NAC is a natural fit, reflecting the national and bilingual aspects of both organizations and their mutual vision to support, nurture and celebrate the best in Canadian theatre,” says Siminovitch Prize Board Chair, Kathy Siminovitch.

Both the NAC’s English Theatre and French Theatre are led by Siminovitch Prize laureates – Jillian Keiley (2004) and Brigitte Haentjens (2007). In fact, since the Prize’s inception in 2001, works from all sixteen laureates have graced the national stage at the NAC.

The shortlist for this year’s Siminovitch Prize will be announced in early October 2017 and a celebration of the finalists will be held at University of Toronto Hart House on Monday, October 16, 2017. The celebration will be co-hosted by two acclaimed Canadian theatre artists – novelist and playwright Ann-Marie Macdonald and director and dramaturge Jackie Maxwell. The University of Toronto has been a proud partner of the Siminovitch Prize since its inception.


As noted above, over a three-year cycle, the Siminovitch Prize celebrates a professional director, playwright or designer who is an acknowledged leader in the theatre and whose work is transformative and influential. The 2016 Prize was awarded to director Nadia Ross and protégées Sarah Conn and Shaista Latif.


The National Arts Centre is a home for Canada’s most creative artists. As the only bilingual, multi-disciplinary performing arts centre in the country and one of the largest in the world, the NAC presents more than 1,000 performances a year in music, dance, theatre, and contemporary music. Operating under the banner, “Canada is our stage,” the NAC works with artists and arts organizations across the country to create a national stage for the performing arts. The NAC is home to a unique combination of national theatre companies: NAC English Theatre, NAC French Theatre, and the soon-to-debut NAC Indigenous Theatre.



Sean Fitzpatrick
Communications Officer
National Arts Centre,
English Theatre
613 947-7000 x389

Capucine Péchenart
Communications Officer
NAC French Theatre
613-947-7000 x262



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Nominations are welcome for playwrights who, through their body of work, have made a significant creative contribution to theatre in Canada and who are continuing to create work that demonstrates innovation and excellence. The Prize jury has been charged with selecting a recipient who would most typically self-identify as “mid-career.” In other words, this is a prize for an artist whose career is perceived to be gaining significant momentum rather than a “lifetime achievement” award. The Prize is intended to provide an artist who has created remarkable work to date with the freedom to deepen their practice and make an even more significant contribution to the field in the years to come.

Nominees must have at least ten years’ experience as professional playwrights. Nominees will have developed a marked personal style or artistic approach to their craft, vision, techniques, interests and/or collaborations.

In addition, the jury will consider the following aspects of the artist’s work: originality, sense of evolution, growing maturity, continuing experimentation, impact upon audiences, and influence upon younger artists.

Artists are eligible whose work is performed in either English or French in the not-for-profit or commercial theatre sector in Canada. Issues regarding the eligibility of nominees are decided at the sole discretion of the jury.

Full-time employees and board trustees of the National Arts Centre are not eligible to be awarded the Siminovitch Prize, in any year during which they are actively serving the National Arts Centre.

Nomination Procedure
Self-nominations will not be considered. Completed nominations should be submitted electronically by Friday, July 14, 2017 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Click here for the nomination form.  Additional questions can be directed to

A national jury of distinguished members of the Canadian theatre community is chosen annually to select the Siminovitch Prize recipient. The Jury Chair leads the selection of the jury and presides over the deliberations.

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