Recipients of the 15th Annual Betty Mitchell Awards were announced during a gala event at Stage West Theatre Restaurant on Monday, August 27, 2012. This year’s award ceremony paid homage to 80 nominations in 16 award categories from 61 eligible productions.
The evening of awards honouring Calgary’s 2011/2012 professional theatre season was hosted by Russell Bowers of CBC’s Daybreak. Joining in the celebration were The Honourable Heather Klimchuk, MLA and Minister of Culture for Alberta and Mayor Naheed Nenshi who both expressed their admiration for the fine work that graces the city’s stages throughout the year.
Musicals were well-represented, with Vertigo Theatre’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street garnering four honours (Outstanding Musical Direction – Stephen Woodjetts; Outstanding Performance By An Actor In A Comedy Or Musical – Kevin Aichele; Outstanding Production Of A Musical and the FFWD Weekly Readers’ Choice Award) and Ash Rizin from Alberta Theatre Projects taking home three (Outstanding Performance By An Actor In a Supporting Role – Kyle Jespersen; Outstanding Performance by An Actress In A Supporting Role – Allison Lynch; and Outstanding Sound Design Or Composition – Kyprios).
Although there were no landslide winners, Alberta Theatre Projects productions had the most honours with nine awards, also netting three for Playing With Fire: The Theo Fleury Story (Outstanding Set Design – David Fraser; Outstanding Direction – Ron Jenkins; and Outstanding Performance By An Actor In A Drama – Shaun Smyth), two for Mary’s Wedding (Outstanding Lighting Design – Narda McCarroll and Outstanding Production Of A Play), and one more for The Wizard of Oz (Outstanding Costume Design – John Pennoyer).
The sole tie of the night was in the category of Outstanding New Play which was awarded to Ethan Cole and Eric Rose (Peril in Paris) alongside Karen Hines (Drama: Pilot Episode).
Rounding out the ceremony were the awards for Outstanding Choreography Or Fight Direction going to Anita Miotti (Hunger Striking, Urban Curvz); Outstanding Performance By An Actress In A Comedy Or Musical awarded to Nicola Cavendish (Shirley Valentine, Theatre Calgary); and Outstanding Performance By An Actress In A Drama for Julia Mackey (Jake’s Gift, Lunchbox Theatre).
In addition to the 16 balloted awards, three juried awards were also presented: The Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award to Kathleen Foreman; the Greg Bond Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre in Calgary to Chris Jacko; and the Dean Ott/Debbie Boult Award honouring Outstanding Achievement in Technical Production to Riley Miljan.
The Betty Mitchell Awards are a significant annual event for Calgary’s professional theatre community. These awards recognize the continued level of excellence in our theatres, raise the profile of live performance in our city, and encourage audience growth.
The complete list of award recipients can be found here.