April 8, 2019 – 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 Dr. Lou Siminovitch and the late Elinore Siminovitch, a pioneering playwright.

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 director on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at the National Arts Centre.

“The Siminovitch Prize, our country's most lucrative annual award for a Canadian artist of any discipline, has had an extraordinary impact on our cultural landscape” said Jury Chair Vanessa Porteous. “Over its 18 years and counting, the Prize has identified some of this nation’s great theatrical talents when they were in mid-career, and with its transformative support, has given them the freedom to deepen their practice. They have gone on to make even more significant contributions to our national story. As Jury Chair, I look forward with anticipation to see who will join the distinguished ranks of the Prize’s previous laureates in directing.”

Those laureates include celebrated directors Nadia Ross (2016), Chris Abraham (2013), Kim Collier (2010) and Daniel Brooks (2001).  In addition, the National Arts Centre’s  French Theatre and English Theatre Artistic Directors received the Siminovitch Prize for directing – Brigitte Haentjens (2007) and Jillian Keiley (2004).

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, generously sponsored by TD Bank Group.

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


This year the Siminovitch Prize and the National Arts Centre are delighted to announce the renewal of their partnership, which began in 2016.  The NAC acts as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning across the country.

"The Siminovitch Prize Foundation is thrilled to continue its partnership with the National Arts Centre,” said Siminovitch Prize Board Chair, Kathy Siminovitch. “The Siminovitch Prize's mission is to recognize and encourage an artist’s originality, experimentation, impact, and potential for even greater achievement, and to also highlight the importance of mentorship of exceptional younger artists. The Foundation shares the NAC’s vision to support, nurture and celebrate artists who contribute to the fabric of life in Canada."“We are very happy to continue our partnership with the Siminovitch Prize Foundation, and to champion Canadian theatre artists,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. “We are also very proud to help honour Dr, Lou and Elinore Siminovitch’s generous and important legacy for theatre in this country.” 

Since the Prize’s inception in 2001, works from all 18 laureates have graced the national stage at the NAC. The shortlist for this year’s Siminovitch Prize will be announced in early October 2019 and a celebration of the finalists will be held at University of Toronto Hart House on October 21, 2019. The University of Toronto has been a proud partner of the Siminovitch Prize since its inception.


The Siminovitch Prize is the most prestigious award in Canadian theatre. The Prize was launched in 2000 to honour the values and achievements of the renowned scientist Dr. Lou Siminovitch and the late Elinore Siminovitch, a pioneering playwright.  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 2018 Prize was awarded to designer Stéphanie Jasmin and protégé Max-Otto Fauteux.


The National Arts Centre collaborates with artists and arts organizations across Canada to help create a national stage for the performing arts, and acts as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning across the country. Founded on June 2, 1969, the National Arts Centre is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 with an array of special programming and activities throughout the year.  A home for Canada’s most creative artists, the NAC strives to be artistically adventurous in each of its programming streams – the NAC Orchestra, English Theatre, French Theatre, Dance and NAC Presents. NAC Indigenous Theatre will begin its first season of programming in the fall of 2019. The NAC’s National Creation Fund invests up to $3 million of privately raised funds every year in 15 to 20 ambitious new works by Canadian artists and arts organizations. The NAC is at the forefront of youth and educational activities, offering artist training, programs for children and youth, and resources for teachers in communities across Canada. The NAC is also a pioneer in new media, showcasing the performing arts across the country through the Kipnes Lantern, the largest transparent LED installation in North America; using technology to teach students and young artists around the globe; creating top-rated podcasts; and providing a wide range of NAC Orchestra concerts on demand. The NAC building has recently undergone two extensive renewal projects, generously funded by the Government of Canada, which have re-oriented the NAC to the city; allowed the NAC to become more welcoming and accessible; and returned its performance halls and production facilities to contemporary standards. The NAC is the only bilingual, multidisciplinary performing arts centre in Canada, and one of the largest in the world.



Mary Gordon
Senior Communications Advisor
National Arts Centre
(613) 947-7000 ext. 849



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Nominations are welcome for directors 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 directors. 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.


Self-nominations will not be considered. Completed nominations should be submitted electronically by Monday, July 8, 2019 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.