Meet the latest winners of Canada Council prizes

Meet the latest winners of Canada Council prizes

Posted 17 February 2016 by Prizes section
Congratulations! Meet our recent #CCPrizes winners!


Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music: Pierre Alexandre Tremblay

The Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music ($7,500) is a competition for Canadian composers that is designed to encourage the creation of new chamber music and to foster its performance by Canadian chamber groups.

Photo: Claudine Levasseur
Pierre Alexandre Tremblay is a composer and a performer on bass guitar and sound processing devices, born in Montréal and now based in the UK. He performs in solo and within the groups ars circa musicæ (Paris), de type inconnu (Montréal), and Splice (London). He is a member of the London-based Loop and is published by Empreintes DIGITALes. Pierre Alexandre is Professor in Composition and Improvisation at the University of Huddersfield (England, UK) where he also is Director of the Electronic Music Studios. He previously worked in popular music as producer and bassist, and is interested in video music and coding. He likes spending time with his family, drinking oolong tea, gazing at dictionaries, reading prose, and taking long walks.

As someone who has always been on the cutting edge in terms of new technologies and improvisation, what single trend do you see as the most exciting for the future of music? Why?

Hybridization! We live in times where the polyphony of canons and musical experiences is embraced to its full extent by a generation who is comfortable with rich, varied, personalized, random-access musical collections. This allows genuine, non-hierarchic cohabitations of musical styles that inevitably hybridize in very exciting new proposals, live and in the studio. This is far from the fantasized purity (and ranking) of modernism, or the (reactionary) juxtapositions of postmodernism. It is a truly rich cross-pollination through a fantastic dialogue of many canons and many roles, often within the same person: composers/improvisers/performers/curators/producer/audience/technician... noise/electro/improv/groove/epic/minimal/expressionist/etc... and all other art forms too!


John Hirsch Prize: Ravi Chander Jain and Vicky Côté

The John Hirsch Prize recognizes new and developing theatre directors who have demonstrated great potential for future excellence and exciting artistic vision. Two $6,000 prizes are awarded every two years, one for each of the Anglophone and Francophone theatre communities. 

Toronto-based stage director Ravi Jain works in both small indie productions and large commercial theatre. His body of work successfully bridges the gap between commercial and avant-garde. One of his most celebrated works is A Brimful of Asha, a work he created with his mother, which premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in 2012. It has travelled across Canada and abroad, including a tour to the acclaimed Tricycle Theatre in London, England. His production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Soulpepper Theatre Company in 2015 won the Dora Award for best production. As the founding artistic director of Why Not Theatre, Ravi has established himself as an artistic leader for his inventive productions, international producing/collaborations and innovative producing models which are aimed to better support emerging artists to make money from their art.

You are known for being an activist and for your work with youth to bring about positive change through the arts. What do you think theatre as an art form can bring to youth at risk, and how can it better reach out to them?

The theatre (institutions) has become a place that has valued certain voices and experiences over others. As a result there are huge populations who feel excluded. 

The theatre as an art has had major impacts on a community level, in schools, community centres, in the daily lives of individuals through storytelling. We know it plays a role in people's lives and that it has an incredibly powerful impact on building communities. I’ve personally seen that across Canada and internationally.  However, major institutions are becoming less relevant due to the fact that they are becoming less and less inclusive, be it through ticket price, content on stages, or most importantly who the creative voices are. So the question isn't about what can theatre do for youth or any community – we know what it can do. The question isn't how can it better reach out to them either. The question is, what kind of stories do we want to value? And who do we let tell that story. 

To answer your question, I want to celebrate two very different Toronto-based companies Mammalian Diving Reflex and Jumblies theatre (and I am sure there are more out there across the country). Both are working people from very different communities, young and old. They are doing incredible work giving a platform to other people (young and old) to be the creative driver of a different voice.

Photo: Patrick Simard

Director, actor, puppeteer and creator Vicky Côté is the executive and artistic director of Théâtre à Bout Portant in La Baie, Québec. Her ingenious creations and rich and varied background have earned her acclaim and attention in Canada and beyond. 

Your productions emphasize the body and gesture rather than relying on props (sometimes all the props for a show can fit into one suitcase !). How does this approach break down the ‘fourth wall’ between the audience and the actors, and how has it been received on the international scene? 

By using the body and its non-verbal potential as a driver of theatre creation, the physical aspect conveyed on stage is echoed in a sensory experience shared with the audience. When we emphasize gestures, actions, visuals, sound and text as the material, along with a given theme and a dramaturgy that is open to interpretation, the referents are sometimes very concrete and sometimes poetic, allowing the imaginations of the spectators to do the work. 

For me, acknowledging the intelligence and ability of the audience to appropriate certain key aspects of the dramaturgy and participate is what makes theatre rich in interpretive possibilities for me. By leaving open avenues of meaning, without putting specific definitions into a situation or words into the mouths of the characters, readings can vary slightly and stimulate exchanges with the public. Spectators thus become directly involved in the meaning the work takes on. I make maximal use of the props, sometimes hardly anything and sometimes more substantial, to ensure that they are useful and meaningful in the dramatic development. I try to do a lot with a little to create the unexpected. I find constraints, whether dramatic, scenographic, auditory or physical, extremely stimulating, and they contribute both to what is happening on stage and to the audience, which then becomes empathic to these difficulties, developments and discoveries. Outside Canada, when language make for limitations or flagrant divergences of interpretation, this proximity with the public remains intact, as does the desire for exchange. This enriches my determination to share these reflections in the form of plays. The foibles of our societies make for a vast source of material with which we can create theatre. I dive in, armed with the imagination and dreams – and a few hard knocks and swift kicks!


John Hobday Award in Arts Management: Julie Fossitt and Kate Cornell

The John Hobday Awards recognize outstanding established and mid-career arts managers in Canadian professional arts organizations. Each year two prizes ($10,000) are awarded for Professional Development and Renewal and Mentorship.

Photo: Adam C Images
Kingston-based Julie Fossitt is Marketing Manager, Grand Theatre, City of Kingston. The John Hobday Award will support her to earn a Masters Certificate in Marketing Communications Leadership from the Schulich School of Business’s Executive Education Centre (York University).

What do you see as one of the biggest trends in marketing the arts? What kinds of skills do you hope to advance in order to take advantage of this trend?

The diversification of media offers incredible opportunities to promote the arts, but the past ten years have completely changed the face of how the stories of artists are told, shared and consumed. The arts offer a wealth of stories to share, and marketers have the daunting task to create that content and share it on multiple platforms. This is a real challenge with very few professional development opportunities in arts marketing in Canada and arts marketers continue to struggle to share best practices and keep abreast of fast-paced changes in the digital world.  

Marketers are now generalists and must be able to reach potential consumers of all ages by translating stories to the right audience. I need to continue to learn about content marketing, data collection and marketing analytics to be able to constantly adapt and change to choose the right message for the right audience in the right medium.  It is crucial to have a formal way to exchange information with other arts administrators in the country and to have the senior marketers passing along their expertise to emerging talent. 

Photo: Dahlia Katz
Toronto-based Kate Cornell is Executive Director, Canadian Dance Assembly and Co-Chair for the Canadian Arts Coalition. Through the John Hobday Award, she will mentor with Kathleen Sharpe, Executive Director of Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. The mentorship will expand her advocacy and negotiation skills using the analysis of Ontario’s Culture Strategy and Canada 150 as case studies.


What do you think is the most important skill needed now in arts advocacy? How do you think your mentorship with Kathleen Sharpe will help you to advance this skill?

Arts advocacy requires many skills such as diplomacy, clarity, and charm. But it is always essential for arts advocates to listen first. I proposed to work with Kathleen Sharpe because she is a strong female role model, an energetic arts advocate, and an established executive with a positive outlook.  Kathleen is adept at working at the local, provincial, and federal levels simultaneously. I admire her ability to see the potential in people and in governments. I know her insight will help me advance my advocacy skills.

Visual Arts

Prix de Rome in Architecture-Emerging Practitioners: Yves Patrick Poitras

The Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners ($34,000) is awarded to a recent graduate of a Canadian school of architecture who demonstrates exceptional potential in contemporary architectural design. 

Yves Patrick Poitras, who studied at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, is exploring how hybrid forms of architecture (blending offices, homes, entertainment, etc.) can make communities stronger and more efficient. Yves will visit Berlin and Hong Kong, cities that have successfully re-purposed their urban fabric by creating unique hybrid spaces.

What lessons do you expect to learn in Berlin and Hong Kong that could benefit your home city of Calgary?

Calgary, like many Canadian cities, is a young city that has experienced new development. However, it has grown in size instead of density, leading to the development of separate neighborhoods where people live, work, and are entertained. As a result, almost no building or neighborhood is ever fully occupied at all hours of the day. The downtown core lies empty in the evenings and weekends while suburban neighborhoods are vacant in the mornings and afternoons. This has a tremendous consequence on energy use and street life. 

In Hong Kong and Berlin, high density and re-appropriation of buildings for different uses has created urban fabrics that are in their whole, mixed use entities. In many instances, similar elements common to disparate building types have been aggregated to create hybrid building typologies. Lessons learnt from visiting and studying these examples may help us move away from developing cities as a series of isolated entities. Cities and buildings should instead be seen as a sum of parts that, when grafted together, can result in shared efficiencies and make our neighborhoods more dynamic at all hours of the day. 


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