LGBTQ Theatre Artists Nominated Among Best in Theatre Nova Scotia Awards

Posted by Wayves volunteer: 23/03/02013

Stephen Gallagher receives a Best Actor nomination for his soaring performance in Neptune Theatre's production of La Cage aux Folles.

"It's an honour just to be nominated!" Or so the saying goes. For just over a decade, Nova Scotia’s theatrical community has been gathering annually in Halifax to put that saying to the test. On March 25 at Casino Nova Scotia, awards will be handed out for the best work presented on stage in 2012. This will be the 12th annual presentation of the Merritt Awards (named for the late Dalhousie theatre professor, Robert Merritt) for excellence in theatre. The nominations are determined by members of the theatre community who volunteer to try and see every production in the province. As in other years, a number of LGBTQ artists and queer-themed plays have been nominated.

Leading the pack of LGBTQ-related nominations is KAZAN CO-OP’s production of Communion by openly queer playwright, Daniel MacIvor. MacIvor, originally from Cape Breton, is nominated as author for Outstanding New Play by a Nova Scotian playwright. 

The production also garnered nominations for Outstanding Direction for Neptune's former Artistic Director, Linda Moore; Outstanding performance by an Actress for Jenny Munday, and  Best Supporting Actress for Stephanie MacDonald. Queer theatre lovers will remember Ms. MacDonald’s performance in Lee-Anne Poole’s Short Skirt Butch.

Lighting designer Leigh Ann Vardy, an artist of considerable renown and a member of the LGBTQ community, is co-nominated for her design work on Communion (with Ingrid Risk) and also for her lighting of Frankie Productions’ Bone Boy.

Neptune Theatre’s acclaimed production of La cage Aux Folles received nominations for Stephen Gallagher, Best Actor, for his performance as Albin, and David Lopez received a Supporting Actor nomination for playing David. La Cage aux Folles was nominated in Outstanding Costumes for designer for Crystall MacDonnell.

Thom Fitzgerald’s Plutonium Playhouse also garnered multiple nominations. All three actors in Whale Riding Weather by Bryden MacDonald (another queer Cape Bretoner!) received nominations: Hugh Thompson and openly gay actor (and Wayves volunteer) Hugo Dann got Best Actor nods, and Ryan Doucette was nominated in the Supporting Role category. Fitzgerald, an internationally acclaimed queer fimmaker and screen-writer (Cloudburst, Beefcake), directed Whale Riding Weather which is also up for Outstanding Production.

Whale Riding Weather was part of Plutonium Playhouse’s Sex Festival, along with Pluto’s Playthings, a recreation of a 1930’s era Berlin nightclub, a la Cabaret. Pluto’s Playthings received nominations for Outstanding Sound Design, (Christopher Mitchell), and for queer quadruple threat (actor/dancer/singer/songwriter) Stewart Legere, nominated for Outstanding Original Score with co-composer, Jason MacIsaac.

Queer artist Garry Williams, the multi-talented, multi-tasking star and director of DaPoPo Theatre, was also nominated Outstanding Original Score for his compositions for Vile Passeist Theatre’s production of The Jew of Malta (by queer Elizabethan playwright, Christopher Marlowe).

Queer Acts Theatre Festival, a part of Halifax Pride Week, was proud to see one of its productions nominated. Touch, produced by the Doppler Effect, provided a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Keelin Jack for her work as Liddy, a pre-teen athlete with a crush on her female soccer coach. 

Bryden MacDonald, author of Whale Riding Weather, had a new play produced at Chester Playhouse, Odd Ducks, which he also directed. The production received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Joanne Miller as Mandy, who finally finds love in the arms of her maid; Janet MacLellan was nominated in the Outstanding Costume design category.

Finally, Aaron Collier was nominated twice for Outstanding Sound Design (both times working with his husband, Richie Wilcox) for Domestic Train Wreck, produced by Angels & Heroes Theatre, and for I, Animal, also by Daniel MacIvor and produced by KAZAN CO-OP. Wilcox's production of I, Animal also got a nomination for lighting designer Ingrid Risk.

All in all it was a good year for LGBT representation on Nova Scotia stages, and queer artists demonstrated that their work is of the highest caliber. 

The 12th Annual Merritt Awards Ceremony will take place on Monday March 25 at Casino Nova Scotia. For a complete list of this year's nominees you can visit the Robert Merrit Awards website. Tickets are available through Theatre Nova Scotia. Here is a link to the facebook page. Wayves will be reporting on the awards ceremony next week.

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