Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 16, 2007

Drama Prof a Finalist for New Ontario Arts Award

University of Guelph drama professor Judith Thompson is among six finalists for the inaugural Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The award will be presented Feb. 26 at the Royal Ontario Museum.

The new honour recognizes outstanding achievement and contribution to arts and culture in the province by an individual or group. The Ontario Arts Council administers the award on behalf of the Government of Ontario.

The winner will receive $35,000 and an additional $15,000 will be given to a promising newcomer in the same field, chosen by the winner. The remaining finalists will each receive $2,000.

Thompson, a U of G faculty member since 1992, is considered one of Canada’s finest playwrights. She is being honoured for being “a playwright, innovator, scholar, teacher and mentor who has transformed Canadian theatre and given Canada a unique voice onstage," according to the Ontario Ministry of Culture.

Thompson has received wide acclaim for her work and is known for her complex and sometimes disturbing plays that give voice to human failings and accomplishments.

She is a two-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama for The Other Side of the Dark (1989) and White Biting Dog (1984), and was nominated for a Genie Award twice for her screenplays Perfect Pie and Lost and Delirious. She also received the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award for Lion in the Streets (1991) and I Am Yours (1987). Last year, her play, Enoch Arden, was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award, which honours the creators of more than 200 theatre, dance and opera productions annually.

In 2005, Thompson was named an officer of the Order of Canada, considered the country’s highest honour of lifetime achievement, for her outstanding contributions in arts and writing. She holds an honorary doctorate of sacred letters from Thorneloe University for her work as a playwright.

Other finalists for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts are: Peggy Baker, a dancer and the artist-in-residence at the National Ballet School in Toronto; the De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group of Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, a professional community based non-profit organization dedicated to using theatre to reflect the issues of Aboriginal communities; Juan Geuer, a pioneer in the field of “scientific art” in Canada; the Ottawa Chamber Music Society; and Le Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario, a company in Sudbury that performs Franco-Ontarian theatrical repertoire.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519- 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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