Montréal, November 25, 2021 — The Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) and Théâtre ESPACE GO, in cooperation with the members of the Award Development Committee* are pleased to announce, for a third consecutive year, the opening of the call for nominations for the Jovette-Marchessault Award, which recognizes and showcases the contributions of women to Montréal’s theatre scene. The award comes with a $20,000 cash prize from the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
The 2021-2022 call for nominations is for playwrights (for original works, rewritings and artistic adaptations only). It starts today and ends at midnight on January 24, 2022. All dates, details and rules can be found on ESPACE GO’s website here. Nominations will be evaluated based on the quality and originality of their artistic approach. The impact of the creators’ artistic realization(s) on the development of theatre will also be considered. The jury will be made up of professional artists representing a wide range of theatrical practices.
The three playwrights selected as finalists will be announced on April 19, 2022. The winning playwright will be announced on May 18, 2022.
- Recognize and raise awareness of women’s contributions to advances in theatre arts and Montréal’s artistic vitality
- Increase the visibility of women artists
- Recognize the excellence of their work
- Highlight the remarkable work and potential of women creators in the theatre milieu
- Honour the artistic approach of a female director, designer or playwright that contributes to the development of theatrical practices
Any professional creator who identifies as a woman, works in the theatre and is recognized by her peers, regardless of her number of years of experience, and who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident on the date of nomination is eligible. Nominees must also reside on the Island of Montreal or, for Indigenous creators only, within 50 km of the Island of Montreal and work on the Island of Montreal.
In 2018, one of the priorities the Conseil des arts de Montréal included in its 2018-2020 Strategic Plan was to achieve better balance between genders, notably for male-female parity within the artistic community. To this end, the Conseil helped fund ESPACE GO’s Chantier féministe, a week-long event on the place of women in theatre, held in the spring of 2019. At this event, the theatre community agreed that an award should be created specifically to recognize the outstanding work of women in theatre and to raise the profile of women theatre artists. On the same occasion, the Conseil’s Executive Director, Nathalie Maillé, expressed an interest in receiving proposals regarding the creation of the award.
Several partners (CAM, ESPACE GO, Imago Theatre, Théâtre de l’Affamée and artists associated with the F.E.T. movement) joined forces to make the new award a reality. All the stakeholders agreed that the award should be named for the inspiring woman artist Jovette Marchessault (1938-2012), a Montréal novelist, poet, playwright, painter and sculptor. Starting with the second edition, new members joined the original partners serving on the Award Development Committee. They were artists Nahka Bertrand, Margarita Herrera-Dominguez and Gabe Maharjan.
Calls for nominations for this annual award vary on a three-year rotation based on the candidates’ artistic roles, alternating between directors, designers and playwrights. The finalists for the first edition were theatre directors Catherine Bourgeois, Pol Pelletier and Catherine Vidal, with Catherine Vidal being named the winner in May 2020. The finalists for the second edition were designers Sophie El Assaad, Claude Rodrigue and Nancy Tobin. Nancy Tobin was named the winner in May 2021.
*Members of the Jovette-Marchessault Award Development Committee: Nahka Bertrand, Margarita Herrera-Dominguez, Gabe Maharjan, Théâtre de l’Affamée, Imago Théâtre, and the Femmes pour l’Équité en Théâtre movement (F.E.T.)