The juries have convened, deliberated, and have chosen the recipients for the 2017 Betty Mitchell Awards juried awards:
David and Sheryl Chantler for the Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award presented in conjunction with Quest Theatre, honouring Outstanding Achievement in Theatre for Young Audiences;
Konrad Pluta for the Greg Bond Memorial Award recognizing Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre in Calgary;
Michelle Latta and Elizabeth Sutherland for the Dean Ott / Debbie Boult Award honouring Outstanding Achievement in Technical Production; and
Grant Burns will be awarded with The Betty Mitchell Outstanding Achievement Award, honouring his profound contribution to the Calgary Theatre Community.
The 2017 Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award honours David and Sheryl Chantler
David Chantler founded Trickster Theatre in 1979; Sheryl joined the company in 1982. Focusing on David and Sheryl’s shared passion for clowning, physical theatre, improv, and dance, Trickster Theatre began its life as a Theatre for Young Audiences touring company: bringing thrilling and innovative theatre performances to grade school students across Canada and performing in Children’s Festivals around the world. From this touring company, David and Sheryl evolved Trickster into the Artists-in-Residency program it is now. Throughout the 26 years of offering their Residency program, Trickster Theatre has taken part in over 650 in school residencies, providing an Arts Education experience for over 200, 000 Alberta students.
Devon Dubnyk, 2017 Betty Mitchell Nominee for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble says of David and Sheryl: “… their tenacity and resolve has resulted in Alberta's most widespread artist-in-residency company, inspiring the imaginations of young and old alike with their unique brand of physical theatre. And now, at a time when they could be expected to slow down, the projects only get more and more ambitious."
This annual award was created to honour an individual or group of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution or significant achievement in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences in Calgary. This award is made possible through a partnership between Quest Theatre and the Betty Mitchell Awards and is supported by a fund established in 2008 at the Calgary Foundation by a group of generous donors in recognition of Duval Lang.
Duval Lang was the founding Artistic Director of Quest Theatre and spent 25 years making theatre accessible, meaningful, and enjoyable to young audiences. Along the way he has nurtured many emerging artists who have been inspired by his influence. Duval’s dedication to his craft has, and will continue to have, a significant legacy in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences.
The 2017 Dean Ott/Debbie Boult Award honours Michelle Latta and Elizabeth Sutherland.
For over 18 years Michelle Latta and Elizabeth Sutherland have worked as a team in Theatre Calgary’s costume shop, constantly ensuring that Theatre Calgary performers look incredible. Michelle Latta is the Head of Wardrobe at Theatre Calgary. Elizabeth Sutherland is one of Alberta’s most talented cutters, as well as an extremely prolific arts educator, having taught for many, many years in the Technical Theatre program at Mount Royal University. Deitra Kalyn, multiple Betty Award winning costume designer says of Michelle and Elizabeth: “They embody the heart and soul of every design that ends up on that (Theatre Calgary) stage. They bring drawings to life. They make characters a reality and inspire every designer, director and actor that happens to “cut through” a scene… There is no doubt in my mind that the work that I create would be impossible without the incomparable talent of both Liz and Michelle.”
The Dean Ott / Debbie Boult Award was created to annually honour a member of Calgary’s theatre community who has made a major contribution or significant achievement in the area of technical production in Calgary. This award is given in recognition of Dean Ott and Debbie Boult. Throughout their lives, Dean and Debbie continually strove for excellence and were regarded as a benchmark for professionalism. The recipient of this award will reflect Dean and Debbie’s passion for their craft.
The 2017 Greg Bond Memorial Award honours Konrad Pluta
From Hal Kerbes, “Each year, the Greg Bond Memorial Award is presented by the Bond Family and the Toronto Community foundation in memory of Greg Bond (1954–1989). He was an energetic, enthusiastic and extremely talented actor/singer/dancer/musician who had a remarkable respect for, and from, the musicians and musical theatre artists with whom he delighted in working.
The award honours contribution to the profile of musical theatre in Calgary. It recognizes a cooperative spirit, a sound work ethic, and acknowledges outstanding achievement by peers.
Multiple Betty Mitchell Award winner Joe Slabe on Konrad Pluta’s significance to the Calgary Musical Theatre Community: “Konrad Pluta moved to Calgary to become the resident musical director at Stage West and, since he arrived, he has embodied the qualities of cooperation, work ethic, and the highest standards of professionalism modelled by the late Greg Bond. The jury was particularly impressed with Konrad’s ability to achieve excellence under a tight rehearsal period, and with his Broadway worthy arrangements for the Stage West house band. His positive attitude and encouragement of young artists make Konrad an outstanding recipient of the 2017 Greg Bond Memorial Award.”
The Betty Mitchell Outstanding Achievement Award will be awarded to Grant Burns
A former managing director at One Yellow Rabbit – steering them through such ground breaking works as Ilsa, Queen of the Nazi Love Camp and Mata Hari – Tigress at the City Gates – Grant Burns has been an indomitable force in the “Wild Theatre” scene in Calgary for decades. He produced the High Performance Rodeo for many years and was pivotal in the international festivals launch. He was also pivotal in the launch if the Old Trout Puppet Workshop a company which has performed nationally and internationally to universal acclaim. Grant was instrumental in launching CJSW and has for decades been a beloved radio personality Friday afternoons on Road Pops. Says Pete Balkwill, one of The Old Trouts, “we should give Grant Burns this award because, on top of all the unglamorous work that he has done to support the theatre crazies of this town, on top of all the number crunching and backroom strategizing and administrative mentoring, on top of all that – Grant has even managed to make theatre seem cool.”
The Betty Mitchell Outstanding Achievement Award is not awarded annually, but rather, it is awarded when the Betty Mitchell Awards Board receives a Nomination for an individual worthy of recognition who cannot not be honoured in any of the Betty Mitchell Awards other Award and/or Juried Award categories. Over the 20 year history of the Betty Mitchell Awards, this Outstanding Achievement Award has recognized some of the Calgary’s most profoundly influential theatre makers, theatre goers, theatre volunteers; artists important for their work onstage, offstage and at every stage in-between. Quite simply: this award honours to those people, without whom, the art of theatre-making would not be possible.