Arts Club leads way in large theatre awards
Stephen Drover crosses categories with direction awards for two productions
The Arts Club Theatre Company dominated the large theatre category with seven awards when the 36th annual Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards were handed out on Monday night at the BMO Mainstage tent in Vanier Park.
Over 35 local companies registered over 57 productions from the previous year’s season for possible awards.
The Jessies celebrate excellent in professional theatre.
Three categories — large theatre, small theatre and theatre for young audiences — are judged as well as assorted special awards and prizes.
Two Arts Club productions, Misery and Hand to God received a trio of wins each and Torquil Campbell (Stars) and Alessandro Julian won for outstanding sound design and original composition for their work on the massive Angels in America: Part Two: Perestroika. Actors Andrew McNee and Lucia Frangione were recognized for their outstanding performances in the stage version of Stephen King ’s horror/thriller Misery.
The Arts Club’s newly appointed associate artistic director Stephen Drover took home outstanding direction in both the large and small theatre categories for his work on Hand to God and the other for Rumble Theatre’s The Society for the Destitute presents Titus Buffonius.
This work was the big winner in the small theatre category where it took six awards in total.
Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre took home a significant artistic achievement award for its show 1 Hour Photo which was recognized for its superior delivery and design in historical storytelling.
Christine Reimer took home the Jessie for outstanding costume design for Bard on the Beach’s Much Ado About Nothing, which featured some incredible 1950 La Dolce Vita-esque swinging finery. And if a prediction is permitted, Reimer’s “original practices” take on Macbeth at this year’s Bard on the Beach could be a contender at next year’s Jessies.
The theatre for young audiences category is one of the toughest in that there aren’t that many companies who specialize in this genre and take it into the realm of serious theatrical works.
Green Thumb Theatre Company swept the category for its challenging and effective reach into contemporary teen issues, titled the Code.
Green Thumb and Neworld theatre’s production Jabber was also singled out for being “thoughtprovoking, comedic and sometimes dark.”
Departing Gateway Theatre artistic director Jovanni Sy was awarded an outstanding original script award for his play Nine Dragons and Diwali Festival and South Asian Arts artistic director Rohit Chokhani was awarded the Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award for his work in bringing South Asian views to a wider audience.
Chokhani also co-produces the annual Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts which runs August 9 to 19 in Vancouver and Surrey.
A complete list of the 36th Annual Jessie Award Winners is available at vancouversun.com.