Best sketch troupe
WOMEN FULLY CLOTHED
Our original category was best all-female sketch troupe, but why beat around the, er, bush? Representing a huge range of Second City-trained talent, the five comics (from left, Kathryn Greenwood, Robin Duke, Debra McGrath, Jayne Eastwood and Teresa Pavlinek) know that the best sketches are grounded in character. That's why we remember them so vividly.
At least a dozen comics could take this title, including Oldring's frequent onstage partner (and www.goodmorningworld.com co-host) Pat Kelly. But there's something about Oldring's pure, Zen-like joy in inventing characters and situations on the spot that is sheer bliss to watch. Never mean-spirited or reliant on crude humour, he always has fun, and the feeling's infectious.
Best emerging female actor
Beaty's razor-sharp technique, light touch and emotional depth make her a chameleon-like performer with prodigious talent. She sparked a dizzily amorous Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, a cautious sister defying sensuality in Goblin Market and her own scripted trio of solo shows about self-involved male and female critics. Why haven't TV and film come calling? The camera would love her.
If you want someone to helm really difficult material, you call Tarver. We sometimes despair looking for meaning in scripts by Samuel Beckett, Will Eno and Sarah Kane. But Tarver, who found narrative credibility and dramatic richness in Eno's philosophical Thom Pain and Kane's image-shifting, kaleidoscopic Crave, could tease a breathtaking story from the telephone directory.
Best one-off political theatre
THE WRECKING BALL
Headlines rarely make it into the theatre, but the Wrecking Ball's one-nighters have covered everything from racial profiling to the selling of human organs. Written in the heat of the moment by Judith Thompson, Michael Healey, Daniel MacIvor, Hannah Moscovitch and others, the pieces give today's news dramatic sizzle. Municipal tax flaps, anyone?
Best place to learn about modern dance
Eagle-eyed curator Mimi Beck ensures we'll always catch the best homegrown talent, at the start of their career and at their peak. Bonus? Carol Anderson's thorough program notes throw new light on the works, and the frequent post-show artist discussions help demystify a primal art form.
He took a slight misstep with his last piece, but there's still no one around who creates dance with such theatricality or innovation as Toronto Dance Theatre's ageless artistic director. He's like a creative lightning rod, picking themes and ideas from music, film and history, not to mention all the places he visits.
Whether he's helming some big, stuffy gala or hunkering down at the Drake Underground for The Sean Schau, his monthly eclectic night of who-knows-what's-going-to-happen, Cullen always comes across as likeable, smart and bizarrely funny. He knows how to get his fellow performers to feel comfortable and - true mark of a host - asks all the questions you want answered while throwing in zingers that feel completely right.
Are Canadians polite and self-effacing? Don't believe it. In his epic History Of The Village Of The Small Huts, Hollingsworth takes aim at the drunken, self-interested leaders who've shaped our national destiny and the little people caught up in it. Fun and frantic, his rewritten scripts are just as entertaining the second time around.
Best site-specific theatre troupe
Hate feeling boxed in as part of a theatre audience? Convergence's artistic directors, Julie Tepperman and Aaron Willis, offer ensemble dramatic thrills in the least expected places. AutoShow sent audiences traipsing from one car-based tale to another, while The Gladstone Variations had viewers running up and down stairs in the Gladstone Hotel, where ghostly and living characters intrigued us with four ironic, interconnected tales.
Best venue for dance
True, the National Ballet of Canada has a relatively new home and just a few steps away is a theatre called the Premiere Dance Theatre. But the venue formerly known as the Harbourfront Centre Theatre is intimate, unpretentious and allows for all kinds of artistic experimentation.
Best raunchy stand-up
Being a blue comic means you give up corporate gigs. Who the fuck cares when you're Wilmot, complete with booming voice, acid putdowns and graphic observations - often about the human anatomy - that'll keep you up at night wincing with laughter? He's doing more film work these days, so catch him onstage when you can.