Partnerships and community spirit dominate at the 16th annual Betty Mitchell Awards!
Recipients of the 16th Annual Betty Mitchell Awards were announced during a gala event at Stage West Theatre Restaurant on Monday, August 26, 2013. This year’s award ceremony paid homage to 81 nominations in 16 award categories from 56 eligible productions.
The evening of awards honouring Calgary’s 2012/2013 professional theatre season was hosted by two of Calgary’s most vibrant theatre artists, Nicole Zylstra and Stafford Perry, who opened the evening with an ode to every actor’s life struggle – a song entitled “Cast Me Maybe” (a lighthearted parody of “Call Me Maybe”).
In addition to having some fun, the awards gala also took time to recognize the significant impact the 2013 flooding in Southern Alberta had on the performing arts community. His Worship Mayor Naheed Nenshi delivered a stirring call out to the audience to support flood impacted businesses and communities. Never ones to wallow, the Bettys stage show celebrated the efforts made by members of the theatre community to assist each other (in some cases total strangers) in surviving and recovering from the devastating effects of the flood waters.
The presentations of awards began strong for Vertigo Theatre, with the award for Outstanding Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role going to Natascha Girgis for The Ends of the Earth. Following that, there was a double-bill of Terry Gunvordahl winning Outstanding Lighting Design and Outstanding Set Design for Double Indemnity.
Alberta Theatre Projects was well-recognized with eight awards: Intimate Apparel represented well in two categories, with Graham Percy receiving Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, and Deitra Kalyn receiving Outstanding Costume Design. The God That Comes received Outstanding Sound Design or Composition for Hawksley Workman and Christian Barry and was applauded with Outstanding Production of a Musical. Continuing their long tradition of popular work, The Apology received the FFWD Readers’ Choice Award, and Outstanding Performance By An Actor In A Comedy Or Musical went to Scott Shpeley for his role as Snoopy in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Red rounded out Alberta Theatre Projects’ honours, receiving both Outstanding Direction for Vanessa Porteous, and nabbing Outstanding Production of a Play.
The evening also conferred individual successes on a number of people and productions, including Outstanding Choreography Or Fight Direction going to Karl Sine for William Shakespeare’s Land Of The Dead: A True And Accurate Account Of The 1599 Zombie Plague; Julie Orton receiving Outstanding Performance By An Actress In A Comedy Or Musical for her role in Scarlet Woman, and Outstanding New Play going to Arun Lakra for Sequence. Outstanding Performance By An Actress In A Drama recognized Geneviève Paré for her role in Polygraph, and Haysam Kadri took home Outstanding Performance By An Actor In A Drama for Bashir Lazhar.
There was only one tie in the evening, with Don Horsburgh (Next To Normal) sharing the spotlight with Joe Slabe (Maria Rasputin Presents).
The Juried Awards emphasized efforts made to enrich the lives of the people within the Calgary performing arts community, with Nova Lea Thorne honoured with the Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award; Onalea Gilbertson with the Greg Bond Memorial Award honouring outstanding contribution to musical theatre in Calgary; and Richard McDowell receiving the Dean Ott/Debbie Boult Award Honouring Outstanding Achievement in Technical Production. In addition, the Stage Door staff at the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts were acknowledged for their vigilance and devotion to the success of the people and companies gracing their building with the 2013 Outstanding Contribution award.
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.
2013 Betty Mitchell Awards Recipients Listing
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Natascha Girgis – The Ends of the Earth – Vertigo Theatre
OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN
Terry Gunvordahl – Double Indemnity – Vertigo Theatre
OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN
Terry Gunvordahl – Double Indemnity – Vertigo Theatre
DUVAL LANG THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES AWARD
Nova Lea Thorne
presented in conjunction with Quest Theatre,
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Graham Percy – Intimate Apparel – Alberta Theatre Projects
OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN
Deitra Kalyn – Intimate Apparel – Alberta Theatre Projects
OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN OR COMPOSITION
Hawksley Workman and Christian Barry – The God That Comes – Alberta Theatre Projects/2b theatre company
FFWD READERS’ CHOICE AWARD
The Apology – Alberta Theatre Projects
OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY OR FIGHT DIRECTION
Karl Sine – William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead: A True and Accurate Account of the 1599 Zombie Plague – Ground Zero Theatre/Hit & Myth Productions/The Shakespeare Company
OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION
Don Horsburgh – Next to Normal – Theatre Calgary/Citadel Theatre (TIE)
Joe Slabe – Maria Rasputin Presents – Forte Musical Theatre Guild (TIE)
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Julie Orton – Scarlet Woman – Lunchbox Theatre
GREG BOND MEMORIAL AWARD HONOURING OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSICAL THEATRE IN CALGARY
DEAN OTT/DEBBIE BOULT AWARD HONOURING OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL PRODUCTION
2013 Betty Mitchell Awards Recipients Listing (continued)
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Scott Shpeley – You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown – Alberta Theatre Projects
OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY
Arun Lakra – Sequence
Vanessa Porteous – Red – Alberta Theatre Projects
BETTY MITCHELL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THEATRE IN CALGARY
The EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts Stage Door Staff
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Geneviève Paré – Polygraph – Sage Theatre
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Haysam Kadri – Bashir Lazhar – Downstage
OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
The God That Comes – Alberta Theatre Projects/2b theatre company
OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
Red – Alberta Theatre Projects
The juries have convened, deliberated, and have chosen the recipients for the 2013 Betty Mitchell Awards juried awards:
Nova Lea Thorne for the Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award presented in conjunction with Quest Theatre, honouring Outstanding Achievement in Theatre for Young Audiences;
Richard McDowell for the Dean Ott/ Debbie Boult Award honouring Outstanding Achievement in Technical Production
Onalea Gilbertson for the Greg Bond Memorial Award recognizing Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre in Calgary;
The 2012 Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award Honours Nova Lea Thorne.
Nova Lea Thorne is the consummate example of what a theatre educator, leader, and mentor to young people should be. Her dedication to the education and involvement of youth in theatre is demonstrated by a reputation that it is never about her; it is always about the kids.
“Nova Lea is always in the shadows, always stage left, back in the wings. It’s time to shine the spot light on her!” Karen Johnson-Diamond, Chair of the Jury, remarked on announcing Nova Lea as the recipient.
“If there was ever a person who could foster a love of theatre in anyone she meets, it is her. She carries every child she’s ever met into her work and her life.” The jury deciding the recipient of the Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences award added.
The 2013 Dean Ott/Debbie Boult Award Honours Richard McDowell.
“He brings a superior attention to details, cares about every note of a musical score or soundtrack and finesses each transition into an exceptional experience for the audience.” Denise Clarke wrote of Richard McDowell in a letter of support.
Richard has had a varied, but significant impact on the Calgary live-performance landscape. Having studied midi systems and early computer/sampling, he made a trip to the Banff Centre in 1986 to ‘study’ and use their equipment. But not being one to limit himself to that endeavor, he wound up teaching himself and them while he created the score to Denise Clarke’s 1988 Olympic Arts Festival piece, The Blind Struggle. From that, his influence spread rapidly.
He is a musician having played bass in a well-known rock band The Rip Chords and is the person behind the creation of the alternative nightclub, Ten Foot Henry’s which tore open the indie rock scene in the mid 80s in Calgary and saw many an early theatrical creative collaboration form.
Denise Clarke added, “He is one of those people who is so kind and so helpful to others that he becomes the multi-tasker on any project he is attached to. Video issues? Computer issues? Sure he’ll interrupt his detailed work on your musical score or your soundtrack, and work to solve the problem then pick up his other work when you are at home in bed.”
The 2013 Greg Bond Memorial Award Honours Onalea Gilbertson.
Onalea is a singer, theatre artist, poet and musician who enjoys experimenting with a wide variety of material from cabaret to concert hall. As a theatre artist she has performed numerous roles across Canada including 7 seasons as an ensemble member with the award-winning One Yellow Rabbit. She has worked extensively with several incredible Canadian composers including Dave Pierce, David Rhymer and Marcel Bergmann. Onalea’s original pieces REQUIEM FOR A LOST GIRL: A Chamber Musical About Homelessness and BLANCHE: The Bittersweet Life Of A Wild Prairie Dame premiered Off Broadway as special events of the New York Musical Theatre Festival this past season.
“This young woman is not only a credit to our theatre community, but one of the most innovative contributors to performing arts in this country.” Artist and writer Hal Kerbes said in a message of support.