2019 Patrick Conner Award Recipients Announced
The Patrick Conner Award Committee announces that the recipient of the 2019 Patrick Conner Award is NIKKI SHAFFEEULLAH. Following up on last year's creation of the inaugural Patrick Conner Ticket, the Committee has awarded the second Patrick Conner Ticket to THOMAS MCKECHNIE. The Award and Ticket will be presented at a celebration to be held at The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen Street West, Toronto, on Monday, September 16 at 6:00pm. The Award Celebration is free and open to the public. All are welcome.
Nikki Shaffeeullah is a theatre-maker, facilitator, equity worker, and community-engaged artist. Since 2015 she has been the Artistic Director of The Artists Mentoring Youth (AMY) Project, an arts organization providing barrier-free creation and training opportunities for young women and non-binary youth from equity seeking communities. Nikki is also a founding and core member of Confluence Arts Collective, a group of artist-activists committed to transformative justice and liberation for people experiencing incarceration and criminalization. Nikki sees theatrical work as a means of fostering community dialogue and transformation at every opportunity - in creation, with audience, and beyond. Her work as a director, facilitator, writer, and performer is grounded in a belief that theatrical creation that allows artists to better understand themselves, their communities, and their ancestral lives, is a kind of social justice work; a kind of healing that moves toward collective liberation. In 2017 Nikki launched and directed Parallel Tracks, a national training program for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour artists to develop skills in producing and facilitating community-engaged projects. Other past work includes serving as editor-in-chief of alt.theatre magazine, Canada's only professional journal dedicated to the intersections of politics, cultural plurality, social activism, and the stage; and as Assistant Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre, where she worked on several large-scale community arts projects including Talking Treaties and Train of Thought. Nikki has an MFA from the University of Alberta and is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. Nikki is a queer Indo-Caribbean settler born and living in Tkaronto, whose work is informed by a family who loves music, puns, justice, and food. Nikki believes art should disrupt the status quo, centre the margins, engage with the ancient, dream of the future, and be for everyone.
Thomas McKechnie is a Toronto-based playwright, creator and activist. He was a graduate of the 2013-2015 Soulpepper Academy as a writer. Writing credits include: 4 1/2 (ig)noble truths (zeitpunktheatre/Why Not Theatre, presented in Toronto, Victoria, Thunder Bay, St Catherines, Vancouver), Remembering the Winnipeg General (ziepunktheatre), The Thirst of Hearts (Soulpepper Theatre Company) Valkyrie (Rarely Pure Theatre 2013, U of T Directing Final Project 2016). Collective creation: A Wake for Lost TIme, there/GONE, A Kitchen Sink Drama ([elephants] collective). His play The Jungle, (co-written with Anthony MacMahon) will be presented at Tarragon Theatre in October 2019. Thomas is also a lead organizer on the campaign to unionize Foodora Couriers in Toronto with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers who filed for union certification July 31st. He also does environmental/arts organizing with Artists for Climate and Migrant Justice and Indigenous Sovereignty. He does all this while suffering multiple mood disorders so fuck the haters.
The Patrick Conner Award honours long-time theatre collaborator Patrick Conner who passed away in December 2012, and seeks to carve a space to acknowledge the costs of integrity, honesty, generosity and belief. Previous award winners are James Davis, Estelle Shook, Lea Ambros, Taarini Chopra, Aviva Armour-Ostroff, Kimberly Edwards, Sarah Pittoello, Georgina Beaty, Jennifer Dallas and Susanna Fournier. The annual award straddles and unifies two worlds that were essential to Patrick: (i) theatre and (ii) sustainable living, including the sustainability of food production in our environment. It honours an extraordinary individual who works to change the world through their practice, and includes a cash prize of $3,500. The Patrick Conner Ticket offers a 2019/20 season subscription to the following Toronto theatres companies who have generously donated this prize: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Canadian Stage, Crow's Theatre, Factory Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Tarragon Theatre, The Theatre Centre and Theatre Passe Muraille, as well as tickets to Luminato 2020. The inaugural 2018 Ticket was awarded to Mariah Horner.
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The Patrick Conner Award is administered by Theatre Rusticle, a registered charity. Charitable Registration Number: 86018 9299 RR0001