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2021 Dora Ancillary Awards Announced

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The presentation of the Dora Ancillary Awards are not based on a specific performance season, but on a body of work. They include administrative and artistic roles.

2021 Dora Ancillary Awards Announced

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts has announced the recipients of the 2021 Dora Ancillary Awards which were presented in a virtual broadcast in Toronto this morning, June 16, streamed on TAPA's YouTube channel and which can be viewed online.

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards, produced by TAPA, celebrate excellence in Toronto theatre, dance and opera. The Dora Ancillary Awards are normally given out at a press conference announcing the nominations for the Dora Awards.

As previously announced, with no Dora Awards this year due to COVID-19 health restrictions curtailing live indoor performance, TAPA decided to move forward with the presentation of the Dora Ancillary Awards as they are not based on a specific performance season, but on a body of work. They include administrative as well as artistic roles.

The virtual broadcast presentation was pre-taped on May 24, prior to the tragic anti-Muslim murder of a family of four and the attempted murder of that family's nine-year-old boy that recently occurred in London, Ontario. The world is grappling with this hate-motivated crime. The taping was also prior to the report of the horrific discovery of The Remains of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, an unspeakable calamity that reflects a part Canada's history of racism.

In light of these traumatic events, TAPA added a prologue to the recording, asking viewers to join in observing a moment of silence. TAPA Board President Régine Cadet affirms that TAPA "is committed to actively dismantle hate. We stand in solidarity against all acts of racism in all forms and strive to lead with artistic practices that embrace and honour all narratives and peoples."

The following are the recipients of the 2021 Dora Ancillary Awards. More detail, including recipient and presenter speech excerpts follow this list:

Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration (LMJH), and associated Victor C. Polley Protégé Award

The recipient of the 2021 Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration (LMJH) is one of Canada's most accomplished arts managers: Andrea Vagianos, whose close to three decades of experience in the cultural sector have earned her accolades as a true champion of the arts. Managing Director of Tarragon Theatre since 2018, she previously spent eight years as Managing Director of Toronto Dance Theatre and six years as Managing Director of Dancemakers. Ms Vagianos also volunteered on numerous arts boards including seven years on the board of TAPA, the last three as President. Andrea named emerging arts manager and educator Danielle Parris, whose work is dedicated to community service and creating inclusive and accessible spaces that amplify BIPOC voices, as the recipient of the Victor C. Polley Protégé Award.

John Hirsch Director's Award

Jani Lauzon, a multidisciplinary artist of Métis ancestry, is the recipient of this year's John Hirsch Director's Award, presented every three years to a promising Ontario-resident theatre director. Nominated for multiple Dora Awards as a playwright, actor and theatre director, Ms Lauzon has also been recognized as a singer-songwriter with JUNO and Canadian Aboriginal Music Award nominations; she also earned a Gemini Award for her work as a puppeteer. Jani's company Paper Canoe Projects produces her own work, including the award-winning Prophecy Fog and I Call myself Princess. She is currently the associate director of The National Theatre School's Acting Program (English).

Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award

Soheil Parsa, an award-winning director, writer, dramaturg and teacher, whose theatre career spans forty years and two continents - his native Iran and Canada - was presented with the Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award. Mr. Parsa steps down as Artistic Director of Modern Times Stage Company this year, a company he co-founded in 1989 that has been recognized with 16 Dora Mavor Moore Awards (with Soheil personally garnering six). One of the most innovative theatre companies in Canada, he instilled Modern Times with deeply human values that broke barriers facing diverse and immigrant artists and forged new territory for theatre practitioners.

Pauline McGibbon Award

The recipient of the annual Pauline McGibbon Award is Dillon Orr, an emerging Franco-Ontarian stage director and theatrical producer, currently the deputy artistic director for Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario in Sudbury and associate artist for Vox Théâtre in Ottawa. Dillon's work and passion are anchored in an intrinsically Franco-Ontarian aesthetic.

Below are details on the awards, recipients and comments made during the broadcast:

Leonard McHardy AND John Harvey AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP IN ADMINISTRATION and associated VICTOR C. POLLEY PROTÉGÉ AWARD

The Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration (LMJH Award) is an annual award recognizes the important work of theatre, dance and opera administrators in the GTA; the recipient is invited to name a protégé to receive the Victor C. Polley Protégé Award. The awards are administered by TAPA. The LMJH Award recipient receives a plaque and a cheque for $1,000; the Victor C. Polley Protégé recipient receives a cheque for $500.

Andrea Vagianos, with close to three decades of experience in the cultural sector, received the Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration Award; she named emerging arts manager and educator Danielle Parris as the recipient of the Victor C. Polley Protégé Award.

Andrea Vagianos, currently Managing Director for Tarragon Theatre (since 2018), is one of Canada's most accomplished artistic leaders. Andrea's consummate skills as an astute and resilient community builder, strategic planner, financial manager and overall leader for almost 30 years in the arts community have been evident throughout her long career. Previous to landing at Tarragon Theatre, her posts included eight years as Managing Director of Toronto Dance Theatre and six years as Managing Director of Dancemakers as well as volunteering on numerous arts boards including seven years on the board of the Toronto Alliance of the Performing Arts (TAPA), the last three of which she served as President. Throughout her career, Ms Vagianos has been a remarkably caring administrator - thoughtful and compassionate, mentoring staff development in imaginative and supportive ways. She is a true champion of the performing arts.

Danielle Parris is a Toronto-based arts manager and educator dedicated to community service and creating inclusive and accessible spaces that amplify BIPOC voices. She has worked with various arts organizations including Tarragon Theatre, Luminato Festival and, most recently, Small World Music.

In accepting the award from Leonard McHardy, co-owner of Toronto's celebrated Theatrebooks (which closed its doors in 2014) and one of the award's namesakes, Ms Vagianos stated, "Everyone is deserving in this challenging moment. I have been buoyed by the creativity, the dedication, and the unfailing support of my peers, staff and board members, and I am grateful to be part of this community of extraordinary people.... As our world begins to re-open, we must make significant changes to redress the inequities made glaringly apparent by the global pandemic, from the systemic inequities in our industry that keep out those among us who are different, to the need for a basic income to support our artists, who as freelancers, face income insecurity - made abundantly clear by the closure of our theatres."

John Hirsch DIRECTOR'S AWARD

The John Hirsch Director's Award is given out every three years and recognizes an Ontario-based professional theatre director who shows great promise, a strong personal vision and a willingness to take risks. Administered by the Ontario Arts Council, the recipient receives a framed certificate and a cheque for $5,000.

Jani Lauzon, a multidisciplinary artist of Métis ancestry, is the recipient of this year's John Hirsch Director's Award. Ms Lauzon has been nominated for multiple Dora Awards as a playwright, actor and theatre director; and she has also been recognized as a singer-songwriter with JUNO and Canadian Aboriginal Music Award nominations and earned a Gemini Award for her work as a puppeteer. Jani has drawn accolades for her directing work at Soulpepper (Almighty Voice and his Wife), the Shaw Festival (Rope), Theatre Passe Muraille (Alien Creature) and Factory Theatre (The Monument for which she was co-recipient of the Toronto Theatre Critics' Award for Best Director Award in 2018). Her company Paper Canoe Projects produces her own work, including the award-winning Prophecy Fog and I Call myself Princess. Ms Lauzon is currently the associate director of The National Theatre School's Acting Program (English).

In accepting her award from Kyan Nademi, an Ontario Arts Council board member, Jani noted that the illustrious director John Hirsch travelled through Hungary to France to Spain and then to Canada to build a new life for himself. She spoke of the similarities between them in that they both started out as puppeteers, really believed in training and offering opportunities to the next generation, and each had a directorial vision that carved stories coupling powerful imagery with the text. Ms Lauzon concluded with a quote from him: "You begin to come into your own when you reach forty. At fifty you know what you are going to do. At sixty you are really beginning to cook."

Barbara Hamilton MEMORIAL AWARD

The Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award was established in 1996 to recognize Barbara Hamilton's illustrious theatrical career and her remarkable canon of work. This award is presented to a Canadian artist who demonstrates excellence in the performing arts and is dedicated to advocating and being an ambassador for the arts in Canada. It is administered by TAPA and the recipient receives a plaque from the City of Toronto and a cheque for $1,500.

Soheil Parsa, an award-winning director, writer, dramaturg and teacher, whose professional theatre career spans forty years and two continents - his native Iran and Canada, where he arrived with his family in 1984 - is the recipient of the 2021 Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award. A highly regarded, groundbreaking theatre practitioner, Mr. Parsa co-founded Modern Times Stage Company in 1989. Soheil instilled Modern Times with deeply human values that made space for artists from different cultural backgrounds and identities. Modern Times has been recognized with 16 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, with Soheil personally garnering six. Mr. Parsa's contribution to the Canadian theatrical landscape has broken barriers facing diverse and immigrant artists, forging new territory for theatre practitioners in his wake.

In accepting the award from City of Toronto Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest, Ward 20), Mr. Parsa said, "Theatre is a collaborative art form. I would not have been here today receiving this recognition without the collaborative contribution of many remarkable Canadian actors, designers, stage managers, technicians, administrators and producers. So my sincerest gratitude goes to all of them. I am deeply humbled by this award and will always remain grateful for the recognition."

PAULINE McGIBBON AWARD

The annual Pauline McGibbon Award is presented to an Ontario-resident professional artist in the early stages of their career who has contributed to the well-being of Ontario's theatre community, displays unique talent and has the potential for excellence. The award is administered by the Ontario Arts Council and rotates every three years between a designer, a director and a production craftsperson. The 2021 award goes to a director. It includes a medal designed by Dora de Pédery-Hunt and a $7,000 prize.

Dillon Orr, an emerging Franco-Ontarian stage director and theatrical producer, is the recipient of the 2021 Pauline McGibbon Award. Dillon is currently the deputy artistic director for Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario in Sudbury and associate artist for Vox Théâtre in Ottawa. His work and theatrical point of view are anchored in humour, passion and accessibility, with an intrinsically Franco-Ontarian aesthetic.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, who was appointed Ontario's 29th Lieutenant Governor following a distinguished public service career, presented the award to Dillon Orr. In her remarks, she applauded the arts: "Now, well over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it's perhaps clearer than ever that its impacts extend far beyond just our physical wellbeing. It's taken a profound toll on our mental health too. On our sense of collective identity. On the means by which we feel and stay connected. Thankfully we have all been able to rely upon the arts - in all its forms ­- to keep us together - even virtually. So, on behalf of all Ontarians, I thank the performing arts community for persevering. For finding new and innovative ways to make sense of the world, for challenging us to dream big and for telling the stories that help us to develop empathy."

Jacoba Knaapen, TAPA Executive Director and Dora Ancillary Awards Producer, noted, "Our sector has been acutely impacted by the pandemic, and we are committed in our ongoing advocacy work at TAPA for regulatory fairness in the re-opening of our theatres, eventually to turn the lights on again and welcome our audiences to see live theatre, dance and opera again - when it is safe to do so. Thank you to all of the inspiring TAPA members for your courage and strength, and your patience.... Bravo to all of you."

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards are administered by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA). In addition to the Doras, TAPA is committed to advocacy on behalf of its membership on numerous fronts and also offers a range of programs and services including: hipTIX (offering $5 tickets to students between the ages of 14 and 29), citySPECIAL, the TAPA Trade Series, the Commercial Theatre Development Fund and the Travel Retreat Initiatives Program - TRIP. For more information visit www.tapa.ca .


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