The Siminovitch prize for excellence and innovation in theatre

Canadian theatre talent on display –  The Siminovitch Prize ceremony in October 2016. L to R: Sarah Conn (Protégée Prize), Nadia Ross (laureate) and Shaista Latif (Protégée Prize).

Canadian theatre talent on display – The Siminovitch Prize ceremony in October 2016. L to R: Sarah Conn (Protégée Prize), Nadia Ross (laureate) and Shaista Latif (Protégée Prize). ©

Director Nadia Ross has been named the 2016 recipient of the Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s most prestigious prize in Theatre. As a part of the $100,000 prize, Ms Ross receives $75,000 and Sarah Conn and Shaista Latif, whom Ms Ross has chosen as her protégées, will share $25,000 between them. The prize was awarded on Friday, October 28 in the Studio of the National Arts Centre. Details can be found here.

This year, given the exceptionally high quality of nominations, the jury unanimously decided to expand their selection from four to five outstanding directors as finalists. Ms Ross was one of five talented directors on this year’s shortlist, which also included Jonathan Christenson, Ravi Jain, Christian Lapointe and Ross Manson. The Shortlist for Directors was announced on October 3rd. Details can be found here.

This year the NAC launched a new partnership with the Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s most prestigious award in theatre. The Prize was launched in 2000 to honour the values and achievements of the renowned scientist Lou Siminovitch and his late wife 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.

“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 directors working in the country today,” said Jury Chair Bob White. 

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.

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 fifteen laureates have graced the national stage at the NAC.

 “We are so happy to be a part of making the Siminovitch Prize truly national,” said Jillian Keiley, Artistic Director of English Theatre. “The Siminovitch Prize values and strengthens Canadian theatre, and the NAC’s aim of celebrating the work of Canadian art and artists fits perfectly with their mission. It’s a natural partnership.”

“The Siminovitch Prize made a big difference in both my career and the way others see my work,” says Brigitte Haentjens, Artistic Director of NAC’s French Theatre. “It’s an extraordinary award that recognizes the talent of young creative artists, and opportunities like these are pretty rare. I am also thrilled that the National Arts Centre will now be a partner in celebrating some of the most exciting artists in Canadian theatre today. I can’t wait to raise my glass to this year’s nominees.” 

Also new this year is an alliance with the National Theatre School of Canada. NTS is the preeminent Canadian theatre school, offering high-level, rigorous professional training programs in acting, production, set and costume design, playwriting, and directing, in both official languages. NTS trains passionate leaders who will shape the future of theatre in Canada and abroad. Building upon the Siminovitch Prize’s focus on mentorship, the NAC will bring together nominees and students of the National Theatre School for a series of workshops and podcast discussions around this fall’s festivities.

“NTS is delighted to be associated with the Siminovitch Prize, which honours the best in theatre creation across the country. At the heart of the Prize is a commitment to fostering the next generation of artists and a belief that mentorship is a true marker of excellence, and our students will benefit greatly from meeting and working with these celebrated artists,” said Gideon Arthurs, Chief Executive Officer of the National Theatre School.

About the Siminovitch Prize

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 celebrates a professional director, playwright or designer, an acknowledged leader in the theatre whose work is transformative and influential. The Siminovitch Prize also encourages and supports emerging talent with a protégé prize awarded to a theatre artist chosen by the recipient. The Prize was launched in 2000 to honour the values and achievements of the renowned scientist Lou Siminovitch and his late wife Elinore Siminovitch, a pioneering playwright. The 2015 Prize was awarded to designer Anick La Bissonnière and protégé Marilène Bastien. In 2016 the Siminovitch Prize also celebrates its 16-year partnership with the University of Toronto.

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