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About Us

The Betty Mitchell Awards
Named for a pioneer of Calgary’s theatrical community, Dr. Betty Mitchell, were started in 1998 to celebrate and honour outstanding achievement in Calgary’s professional theatre  community. The Betty Mitchell Awards provide the opportunity to recognize the excellent work that takes place on our stages in Calgary throughout the year.

The Betty Mitchell Awards Nominating Committee is an anonymous jury of 12 theatre professionals, from a range of disciplines, who select nominees in 18 award categories from the eligible shows. To be eligible, the shows must run in the City of Calgary for at least nine performances over two weekends, and the shows must be professional in nature. Our accountant, R.W. (Bob) Quinlan, tabulates the input of the Nominating Committee and produces a list of nominees.

The final ballots are then distributed to the Nominating Committee members.  Final ballots are also distributed to any person who has seen at least 25 eligible shows during the season who have provided proof of attendance by submitting a Betty Mitchell Awards Passport. Ballots are then returned to our accountant, tabulated and the recipients are announced at the Betty Mitchell Awards ceremony.

For a complete listing of all the Ground Rules for how the Betty Mitchell Awards work please see our Guidelines page.

There are two adjudicated awards that are presented separately from the 18 balloted awards:  The Dean Ott/Debbie Boult Award honouring Outstanding Achievement in Technical Production; and the Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award, a $2000 cash prize presented in conjunction with Quest Theatre, honouring Outstanding Achievement in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. In recognition of a unique contribution to the theatre community, the Betty Mitchell Outstanding Achievement Award is also presented, at the discretion of The Betty Mitchell Awards Board.

Celebrating the past season on the eve of the new, the Betty Mitchell Awards recognize excellence in Calgary’s professional theatres. The united front the awards represent continues to encourage audience growth and raise the profile of live performance in our city.


Betty Mitchell (1896-1976)

In her rich and diverse life, she transitioned from a challenging childhood to a teaching career, which eventually led her to the arts. After a decade working in Calgary schools, the University of Alberta graduate joined Western Canada High School in 1934. The Drama Department was established in 1936, and she, a former biology teacher, became its Director. This marked the beginning of Betty's profound passion.

Betty Mitchell

In 1942, she was awarded the Rockefeller Fellowship, followed by an M.A. from the State University of Iowa in 1944 and a National Research Fellowship from the Cleveland Playhouse. During that time, Betty and her students founded Workshop 14, which garnered nine Dominion Drama Awards and became a renowned training ground for future theatre professionals.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Betty played a pivotal role in MAC 14 (a merger of Workshop 14 and the Musicians’ and Actors’ Club), which later evolved into Theatre Calgary. As a producer, director, and educator, Betty contributed significantly to Calgary's vibrant theater community and gained recognition as an adjudicator and speaker nationwide.

Her accomplishments were honored with various awards, including a City of Calgary

citation for her cultural contributions. In 1958, she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Alberta for her outstanding work in amateur theatre, the sole such doctorate bestowed in Canada. Calgary's theatre enthusiasts owe a great deal to this trailblazing figure.

Betty's legacy continued to flourish as she devoted her life to shaping the theatrical landscape in Calgary. Her unwavering dedication to nurturing young talents and pushing the boundaries of the performing arts set her apart as a true visionary. The impact of her work extended far beyond the confines of the theatre, influencing countless individuals and communities. Betty's innovative spirit and commitment to excellence serve as an enduring inspiration for aspiring artists and educators alike. Even as the curtain has closed on her remarkable journey, her influence reverberates through the halls of creativity, reminding us all of the transformative power of passion and perseverance.


Board of Directors

The Betty Mitchell Awards are run by a volunteer steering committee of dedicated theatre professionals in Calgary. These member work year round to maintain the list of eligible shows, organize the Nominating Committee and Produce the Annual Awards Show.

Chair of the Board
Rebecca Solly

Past Chair of the Board
Nikki Giguere

The Board is actively seeking enthusiastic members to join committees that help maintain and execute Calgary's only professional award show annually. 

For more information, please contact us.

Kelley Cheetham
Krys Christoffersen
Deborah Ferguson
Ryan Wesley Gray

Claire Bolton

Sabrina Muller

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