Recipients of the 12th Annual Betty Mitchell Awards were announced during a gala event at the Max Bell Theatre in the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts on Monday, August 24, 2009.
This year’s host, local actor/writer/director, Trevor Rueger, delivered an entertaining-and often irreverent-evening of awards honouring Calgary’s 2008/2009 professional theatre season. The awards ceremony was attended by special guests, the Honourable Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit and Deputy Mayor Andre Chabot, who joined in celebration as the evening paid homage to 82 nominations in 16 award categories from 56 eligible productions.
Alberta Theatre Projects, together with partnering companies, amassed a total of 7 awards over the course of the evening, including Outstanding Production of a Play for Studies in Motion: The Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge, a co-production with Electric Company Theatre. This same co-production garnered 2 additional awards, with Outstanding Sound Design or Composition going to Patrick Pennefather and Outstanding Choreography or Fight Direction going to Crystal Pite. Other awards carried off by Alberta Theatre Projects and partnering companies included: Outstanding New Play for The Clockmaker, by Stephen Massicote; Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Drama awarded to Nicola Lipman for her performance in Another Home Invasion; and finally, Outstanding Lighting Design (William Hales) and Outstanding Set Design (Carl Schlichting) for the Alberta Theatre Projects/Ghost River Theatre/The Only Animal production of NiX.
A particularly special achievement was in store for The Shakespeare Company. With only one eligible production in the running-When That I Was…-artists Christopher Hunt and Vanessa Porteous garnered respectively the awards for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama and Outstanding Direction.
In the area of musical theatre, Theatre Calgary received two awards for their production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, including Outstanding Production of a Musical, and Outstanding Musical Direction (Stephen Woodjetts). Also receiving a Betty for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical or Comedy was Bruce Horak for his performance in Evil Dead: The Musical (Ground Zero Theatre/Hit and Myth Productions).
A third award for a Theatre Calgary artist was the evening’s sole tie for an award. Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Comedy or Musical was shared between Jan Alexandra Smith for her performance in Theatre Calgary’s An Ideal Husband, and Ava Jane Markus for her performance in Sage Theatre’s The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls.
Rounding out the awards ceremony were the awards for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role going to Christian Goutsis for his role in The Mousetrap (Vertigo Theatre), Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role awarded to Shawna Baird for her role in Frozen (Sage Theatre), and Outstanding Costume Design awarded to Deneen McArthur (The Piper, Downstage/Hit and Myth Productions).
In addition to the 16 award categories comprising the bulk of the ceremony, 4 special adjudicated awards were also announced on Monday night. The brand new Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award was presented to Karen Johnson-Diamond. The Greg Bond Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre in Calgary was presented to Joel Cochrane. The Dean Ott/Debbie Boult Award honouring Outstanding Achievement in Technical Production was presented to Susan McNair Reid. And in recognition of a unique contribution to the theatre community, The Betty Mitchell Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Diane Blackwell.
The Betty Mitchell Awards media sponsor, Fast Forward Weekly, presented the Fast Forward Weekly Readers’ Choice Award to Ground Zero Theatre and Hit and Myth Productions for their co-production of Evil Dead: The Musical.
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 nominees and award recipients can be accessed here.