Drama Prof Nominated for Major Theatre Award

June 03, 2010 - News Release

University of Guelph drama professor Judith Thompson has been nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her play Such Creatures. The awards ceremony will be held June 28 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto.

Thompson was nominated in the outstanding new play category. Nominees were announced Wednesday, with 174 people vying for awards in 35 Dora categories.

Such Creatures brings together two worlds: Auschwitz 1945 and today’s Toronto. It tells the story of a modern-day teenaged girl dealing with contemporary high school risks — gangs, weapons, addictions and foster families — and an older woman recalling her imprisonment as a teenager at Auschwitz. Both draw on Shakespeare’s words in The Tempest to express themselves.

The idea for Such Creatures emerged after one of Thompson’s U of G students brought in a letter by an Auschwitz survivor, written at 15, to read for an assignment. Thompson said she was so haunted by the story that she was compelled to create a character.

Thompson, a faculty member in the School of English and Theatre Studies since 1992, is an award-winning playwright and is known for her complex and sometimes disturbing plays that give voice to human failings and accomplishments. She won the 2009 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for her political play Palace of the End. In 2008, she was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Awards and was the first Canadian to win the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

She has also been nominated for a Genie Award twice, was a finalist for the inaugural Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and won the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award. She was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2005, considered the country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement, for her outstanding contributions in arts and writing.

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards, hosted by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, honour the creators of more than 200 theatre, dance and opera productions annually. They are named for Mavor Moore, a teacher and director who helped establish Canadian professional theatre in the 1930s and 1940s.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

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