AUGUST 21, 2017 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWENTY-YEAR TRADITION OF HONOURING OUTSTANDING THEATRE CONTINUES AS BETTY MITCHELL AWARDS RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED!
Calgary, AB — The gowns were in full swing and bowties held up smiling faces as the local theatre community came together t
o celebrate and honour the outstanding work we have seen on our stages over the past year.
As folks arrived, they were greeted with a memory wall showcasing posters and production images from the last 20 years of Calgary theatre. “The Bettys are proud to carry on this important tradition of recognizing Calgary as a hotbed of theatre excellence!” said Braden Griffiths, Chair of the Bettys Board. Mark Bellamy and Selina Wong, both powerhouses in the Calgary theatre community, kicked things off at the Vertigo theatre in grand style and played host to a wonderful group of recipients and presenters.
Vicki Stroich, Executive Director of Alberta Theatre Projects, who was in the audience, remarked “The number of companies acknowledged through nominations has grown and diversified so much. It is a great sign of the health of the community, and this community is very healthy after twenty years!”
The Bettys wasted no time in getting interesting with OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE going to It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Lunchbox Theatre). It got even more exciting when a three-way tie surprised the audience with Christopher Hunt (1979 – Alberta Theatre Projects), Graham Percy (The Audience – Theatre Calgary) and Michael Tan (Wait Until Dark – Vertigo Theatre) each acknowledged with a Betty for OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE.
The awards then turned their attention to technology with OUTSTANDING PROJECTION OR VIDEO DESIGN received by Amelia Scott with illustrations by Tyler Jenkins (Crime Does Not Pay – Downstage and Forte Musical Theatre with the generous support of Hit & Myth Productions) and OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN shining on Anton de Groot (All’s Well That Ends Well – High Performance Rodeo, The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions).
Continuing to focus on the technical aspects, the awards recognized Michelle Latta and Elizabeth Sutherland for the Dean Ott / Debbie Boult Award honouring Outstanding Achievement in Technical Production; and OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN drew Anton de Groot with Alison Yanota (Crime Does Not Pay – Downstage and Forte Musical Theatre with the generous support of Hit & Myth Productions) to the stage to accept their Betty.
The first tie of the evening saw two recipients wearing the OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN honour, Deitra Kalyn (All’s Well That Ends Well – High Performance Rodeo), and Cory Sincennes (Crazy For You - Theatre Calgary and the Citadel Theatre). April Viszko, theatre design educator and past chair of the Associated Designers of Canada said “These awards are so important for artists who want to work internationally. Funders are looking for: are you recognized by your community? It allows artists to work on bigger projects, and take Calgary to the world!”
The awards then turned their attention back to the performers, heralding Kathryn Kerbes (The Hollow – Vertigo Theatre) for OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE.
Then, it was the scripts’ turn to shine with a tie for OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY going to Ursula Rani Sarma for A Thousand Splendid Suns and Joan MacLeod for Gracie.
Dancing into place, OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY OR FIGHT DIRECTION went to Dayna Tekatch (Crazy For You – Theatre Calgary and the Citadel Theatre.) To compliment the singing and dancing going on onstage at the Bettys, the award for OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN OR COMPOSITION recognized David Coulter (A Thousand Splendid Suns – Theatre Calgary and the American Conservatory Theater). Musicals stayed in the audience’s heart as Konrad Pluta was honoured with the Greg Bond Memorial Award recognizing Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre in Calgary.
David and Sheryl Chantler took the stage for the Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences Award presented in conjunction with Quest Theatre, honouring Outstanding Achievement in Theatre for Young Audiences.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A DRAMA was held aloft by Haysam Kadri (A Thousand Splendid Suns – Theatre Calgary and the American Conservatory Theater). The awards then turned attention on those who make audiences laugh with OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A COMEDY OR MUSICAL acknowledging Jamie Konchak (Crime Does Not Pay – Downstage and Forte Musical Theatre with the generous support of Hit & Myth Productions) and OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A COMEDY OR MUSICAL going to Andrew MacDonald-Smith (Crazy For You – Theatre Calgary and the Citadel Theatre.) Following that, OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A DRAMA was whisked away by Lil Beaudoin (Gracie – Alberta Theatre Projects, a Co-Production with Belfry Theatre).
Grant Burns received The Betty Mitchell Outstanding Achievement Award, honouring his profound contribution to the Calgary Theatre Community. Next, the band played as Don Horsburgh (Crazy for You – Theatre Calgary and the Citadel Theatre) was honoured for OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION.
The award for OUTSTANDING DIRECTION payed tribute to the vision of Peter Hinton (All’s Well That Ends Well – High Performance Rodeo, The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions.)
To bring their totals to five and four awards respectively, OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL honoured Crazy For You (Theatre Calgary and the Citadel Theatre) and OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY went to A Thousand Splendid Suns (Theatre Calgary and the American Conservatory Theater.)
The Betty Mitchell Awards 20th Anniversary Gala was a stellar success, and the energy and excitement paid a true testament to the vitality of the Calgary theatre community. Here’s to another twenty years of outstanding experiences on Calgary’s stages!
For media information:
Braden Griffiths, Chair – Betty Mitchell Awards Board P: 403.681.3715 E: firstname.lastname@example.org