Diversity and inclusion highlighted at 36th annual Jessie Awards

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Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards | Bard on the Beach BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park | July 16, 2018

After many years at the Commodore Ballroom, the Jessie Awards returned to a theatre setting to celebrate the best of Vancouver’s thriving theatre scene. Hosted by the fabulous drag duo and Zee Zee Theatre directors Peach Cobblah (Dave Deveau) and Isolde N. Barron, the Queen of East Van (Cameron Mackenzie), the evening was diverse, inclusive, and vibrant — an apt reflection of Vancouver’s tight-knit theatre community. The Queertet (a three-piece band) were on hand to provide background and your-time-is-up music.

Rohit Chokhani, recipient of the Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award, took some time in his thank you remarks to talk about the importance of including diverse stories in our performing arts. While he discussed creative freedom and art that transcends gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation, one audience member stood up and began shouting that Chokhani’s definition of diversity does not include him and his views as he believes in a heterosexual binary of male and female. Chokhani briefly addressed him by saying that he also includes him and welcomes him before moving on to finish his remarks. It was a strange, surprising moment that seemed to stun the crowd. Happily, it was over quickly and there were no more outbursts for the rest of the evening.

The Arts Club led the large theatre category with Angels in America, Part Two: PerestroikaMisery, and Hand to God all picking up awards. Rumble Theatre’s The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius dominated the small theatre category with six awards, including Outstanding Production and Outstanding Ensemble. Drew Facey picked up two Jessies for this production for set and costume design, and Stephen Drover won for Outstanding Direction. Drover, recently appointed Associate Artistic Director of the Arts Club Theatre Company, also won the directing award in the large theatre category for Hand to God.

The Jessies, and Vancouver’s theatre community, have come a long way. As Arts Club Artistic Director Bill Millerd explained, when he moved to Vancouver in the late 1960s, there were only a handful of professional theatre companies. Today there are 66 companies registered with the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA). While the new venue may mark a new era for the Jessie awards, there was also the sense that there is a passing of the torch to a new generation. Chokhani mentioned that it’s up to millennials to pave the way for further diversity and inclusion. John Wright (recipient of the GVPTA Career Achievement Award) talked about the next generation carrying on the legacy of Ms. Richardson who he can remember stitching him into a costume during his first professional show. And Millerd was honoured as he finishes up his final season after over 45 years leading the Arts Club and Ashlee Corcoran begins her tenure. Some things may be changing, but what remains the same is the dedication and temerity of Vancouver’s theatre artists.

 

36th Annual Jessie Award Winners                             

Small Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actor – Small Theatre

Omari Newton - The Shipment - SpeakEasy Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actress – Small Theatre

Shayna Jones - Ruined - Dark Glass Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble – Small Theatre

Sarah Afful, Peter Anderson, Craig Erickson, Pippa Mackie, Naomi Wright - The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius - Rumble Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design – Small Theatre

Sophie Tang - The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius - Rumble Theatre

Outstanding Set Design – Small Theatre

Drew Facey - The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius - Rumble Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design – Small Theatre

Drew Facey - The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius - Rumble Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design or Original Composition – Small Theatre

Daniel Deorksen & Kurt Schindelka - A Steady Rain - Seven Tyrants Theatre

Outstanding Direction – Small Theatre

Stephen Drover - The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius - Rumble Theatre

Outstanding Production – Small Theatre

The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius - Rumble Theatre

Significant Artistic Achievement – Small Theatre

Tetsuro Shigematsu, Jamie Nesbitt & Susan Miyagishima - 1 Hour Photo - Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre - Outstanding technical design and execution for the purpose of historical storytelling

 

Large Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actor – Large Theatre

Andrew McNee – Misery - Arts Club Theatre Company

Outstanding Performance by an Actress – Large Theatre

Lucia Frangione - Misery - Arts Club Theatre Company

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble – Large Theatre

Amber Funk Barton, Andrew Gordon, Nathan Kay, Tiffany King, Billy Marchenski, Niall McNeill, Lucy McNulty, Kerry Sandomirsky, Matthew Tom-Wing, Marcus Youssef and Lucy Cairns - King Arthur's Night - Neworld Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design – Large Theatre

Jeff Harrison - Hand to God - Arts Club Theatre Company

Outstanding Set Design – Large Theatre

Lauchlin Johnston – Misery - Arts Club Theatre Company

Outstanding Costume Design – Large Theatre

Christine Reimer - Much Ado About Nothing - Bard on the Beach

Outstanding Sound Design or Original Composition – Large Theatre

Torquil Campbell and Alessandro Juliani - Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika - Arts Club Theatre Company

Georgia Straight Outstanding Direction – Large Theatre

Stephen Drover - Hand to God - Arts Club Theatre Company

Outstanding Production – Large Theatre

Outside Mullingar - Pacific Theatre

Significant Artistic Achievement – Large Theatre

Jeny Cassady - Hand to God - Outstanding Puppet Design and Coaching - Arts Club Theatre Company

 

Theatre for Young Audiences

Outstanding Performance – Theatre for Young Audiences

Parmiss Sehat - Jabber - Green Thumb Theatre and Neworld Theatre

Outstanding Design – Theatre for Young Audiences

Shizuka Kai, Joel Grinke, and Mishelle Cuttler - Set/Projection/Sound - Jabber - Green Thumb Theatre and Neworld Theatre

Outstanding Artistic Creation – Theatre for Young Audiences

Chelsea Haberlin – Directing - Jabber - Green Thumb Theatre and Neworld Theatre

Outstanding Production – Theatre for Young Audiences

The Code - Green Thumb Theatre

Significant Artistic Achievement – Theatre for Young Audiences

Green Thumb Theatre - The Code - Outstanding Artistic Achievement for exceptional presentation of contemporary, far reaching teen issues

 

Special Awards

Outstanding Original Script

Jovanni Sy - Nine Dragons - Vertigo Theatre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, & Gateway Theatre

Critic’s Choice Innovation Award

Japanese Problem  - Universal Limited

Multiple Organism - Mind of a Snail

Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award

Rohit Chokhani

Patron of the Arts Award

Bonnie Mah

Mary Phillips Prize for Behind the Scenes Achievement

Ruth McIntosh

Sam Payne Award for the Most Promising Newcomer

Tai Amy Grauman

John Moffat & Larry Lilo Prize

John Patterson

GVPTA Career Achievement Award

John Wright

Sydney Risk Prize

Rachel Aberle

Colin Campbell Award for Excellence in Technical Theatre

Bruce Kennedy

Ray Michal Prize for Most Promising New Director

Genevieve Fleming

Gordon Armstrong Playwright's Rent Award

Devon More 

 

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