Jessie Nominees: The Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards 2020

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The Jessie nominees for excellence in Vancouver theatre this season were announced online tonight in a live event hosted by mother daughter duo Amanda Sum (seen this season in Chicken Girl and East Van Panto) and Linda Leung.

Jessie Awards

The Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards 2020

View full list of nominees here

The 38th Annual Jessie Awards represents excellence in large and small venues alike, with a total of 53 theatrical productions.  Every year the cultural vastness and abundance of talented artists continues to expand boundaries and insights into other viewpoints, cultures and experiences touching individuals, in our city and beyond. 

The awards are divided into three categories:  Large Theatre, Small Theatre, and Theatre for Young Audiences along with other special awards. Here are some of the highlights of the nominations.  

The Large Theatre Category had a total of 23 innovative and varied productions nominated.  Kuroko by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre is the big winner scoring a total of 9 nominations including Outstanding Production, Amiel Gladstone for Outstanding Direction, Lou Ticzon for Supporting Role, Outstanding Original Script by Tetsuro Shigematsu, the Critics’ Choice Innovation Award, and double nominee Christine Reimer for her Costume Design in Kuroko (and Noises Off).

The Arts Club Theatre Company received a total of 12 nominations for four productions, with Noises Off receiving 8 nods that include Outstanding Production and  Scott Bellis for Outstanding Direction.  In addition, the Arts Club Theatre Company partnered  with other theatre companies for five productions acquiring another  11 nominations, of those, Matilda, in partnership with Citadel Theatre and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and A Thousand Splendid Suns, in partnership with Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, each nabbed three nominations, Cost of Living, (in partnership with Citadel Theatre) received 2, and Cipher (in partnership with Vertigo Theatre) received 2, and The Wedding Party (in partnership with Prairie Theatre Exchange) received one for the performance of Todd Thomson

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival collected a total of 12 nominations for its unique and bold productions.   Coriolanus garnered 5 of those, including Moya O’Connell for her Outstanding Lead Performance, All’s Well That Ends Well followed with four nods that include a Critics’ Choice Innovation Award and Charlie Gallant acknowledged for his dynamic performance in Shakespeare in Love (he was also nominated for Noises Off). 

Pacific Theatre’s remarkable production of Best of Enemies earned 7 of its 9 nominations with incredible performances by actors Robert Salvador and Celia Aloma in lead roles and Anthony Santiago and Rebecca deBoer in supporting roles.  In the other Pacific Theatre productions Erla Faye Forsyth was nominated for her performance in The Cake and Anita Wittenberg for Mother of the Maid

Inheritance: A Pick-The-Path Experience by Alley Theatre and Touchstone Theatre (in association with Vancouver Moving Theatre and Community Partnership with Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre)  received three nods: Darrell Dennis for his performance, Outstanding Production and Significant Artistic Achievement. Savage Society’s Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey’s was acknowledged for Significant Artistic Achievement and Itai Erdal for Lighting Design.

Other companies who received a nomination are Firehall Arts Centre’s two productions – House and Home’s supporting actor Sebastien Archibald and Talking Sex on Sunday, for Outstanding Production of a Musical.   Two additional companies garnering a nod were Théâtre la Seizième (in partnership with Théâtre DuBunker and le Collectif Nous Sommes ici  (Quebec) Le NoShow Vancouver for Outstanding Audience Engagement Through the Use of Technology and the musical, Holiday at the Elbow Room Café for Outstanding Production by Zee Zee Theatre & The Cultch.

The Small Theatre Category hada total of 20 productions nominatedthat spread across the board. Here are just a few highlighted.  This category was tied with two shows each receiving eight nominations. One is the period piece, The Sea by Slamming Door Artist Collective. Actors selected were Genevieve Fleming, Stephen Aberle,  and Elizabeth Kirkland, along with Celeste English for Lighting Design and Sandy Margaret for Set Design.   The other show is The Search Party’s inaugural production of the tragic farce, The Father.   Actors Kevin McNulty and Jillian Fargey’s performances were recognized along with the creative team.    

Ensemble Theatre Company received a total of 8 nominations for three productions that include the delicious and vivacious production of Superior Donuts leading with five nominations noting performances by David Nykl and Chris Francisque;  Born Yesterday actors Paul Herbert and Alexis Kellum-Creer were acknowledged for their performances along with Darcey Johnson’s role in The Drawer Boy.  

Patrick Street Production’s dark and comic one man musical cabaret, Herringbone, nabbed 5 nominations.  Peter Jorgensen and Luisa Jojic who alternated performances in the lead role were both nominated for their performances, Kayla Dunbar for Direction, Sean Bayntun for Musical Direction and was also selected for Outstanding Production of a Musical.  Another nomination for Outstanding Musical is Raincity Theatre’s production of Sondheim’s Company  that earned 4 nods with the entire cast nominated for Significant Artistic Achievement and Chris Adams for his direction. 

There were 4 companies that each received 3 nominations.  They include a unique production by rice & beans theatre (in partnership with Playwrights Theatre Centre)  Chicken Girl, along with a nod for Outstanding Original Script, Lungs by Saint FiFi Collective’s, Deep into Darkness by Third Wheel Productions, and Anna Bella Eema by Sol Theatre Collective.   There were an additional nine theatre company productions in this category that received nominations, all of which are included in the complete list of nominations included below. 

For Significant Achievement Artistic Achievement – Small Theatre, Raincity Theatre is nominated for Outstanding ensemble performance; Third Wheel Productions is nominated for Outstanding transformation of space and audience immersion for Deep Into Darkness; Patrick Street Productions is nominated for Outstanding musical direction for Herringbone; and Zee Zee Theatre and The Frank Theatre (in partnership with Firehall Arts Centre) are nominated for Outstanding integrity in casting for Transcripts, Part I: The Women.

In the Theatre for Young Audiences category, Carousel Theatre for Young People led the category garnering a total of 6 nominations for their production of Bad Hats Theatre’s Peter Pan with both Marlene Ginader and Kelli Ogmundson acknowledged for their performances, along with Steve Charles for musical direction and a nod for Outstanding Production. Chelsea Rose earned a nomination for her performance in Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish by Axis Theatre Company, also included was Jay Havens for Set Design and a nod for both Outstanding Production and Significant Artistic Achievement. Green Thumb Theatre received two nominations – Scott Button for Outstanding Performance in New Canadian Kid and Paige Fraser in What If.  Additional companies who received nominations for Outstanding Production were Love You Forever and More Munsch by Beach House Theatre and Iron Peggy by Vancouver International Children’s Festival and Boca del Lupo. 

There will also be a number of additional awards and prizes presented at the award ceremony.  The list includes:  the Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award, the Patron of the Arts Award, the Mary Phillips Prize, the Ray Michal Prize for Emerging Director, the Sam Payne Award for the Most Promising Newcomer, the John Moffat & Larry Lillo Award, the Critics’ Choice Innovation Award, and the GVPTA Career Achievement Award.

A full list of nominees will be available soon on the Jessies website.

Tune in for the Awards Show

Jessie Awards 2020

This year The Art Left will be producing the first ever livestream Jessie Awards from the Firehall Arts Centre on Monday, June 29, 2020 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Follow the Jessies on Facebook for the latest updates.

UPDATE I am live-Tweeting the awards here #Jessies2020. I will have a full list of winners after 10:00pm Pacific tonight.

UPDATE Here is the list of winners!

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