This was the year that SummerWorks went north again, staging shows at the Tarragon , one of its original venues, as well as the Factory and Theatre Passe Muraille .
Tom Barnett and Gina Wilkinson shone In Full Light.
The quality of many productions in this 17th festival was as strong as in recent years, a factor due in part to selection of the shows by jury.
Audiences knew there was good product available, and numbers were up over 40 per cent from last year, with attendance near 13,000.
One thing organizers should change next year: don't alphabetize the program by company name. Many groups are formed just for the festival. The buzz that Terminating and In Full Light were good had people scanning the program to find out when the next shows were, but who knew to look for them under Theatre Zuzu or Tango Co. ?
Prizes awarded on Sunday (August 12), the festival's final day, recognized some of the event's finest work.
The SummerWorks Prize for outstanding production went to Foreign Landscapes ' staging of Bird's Eye View , by Faye Dupras and Erika Batdorf . The company gets a slot in next year's festival.
The Contra Guys Award for outstanding new play, sponsored by two of SummerWorks' founders, Benj Gallander and Ben Stadelmann , went to Daniel Karasik 's In Full Light.
Becky Johnson ( Anorexican ) received the Spotlight Award for outstanding performance, with honourable mention going to Brendan Gall for work in Mexico City and In Full Light .
The NOW Audience Choice Award went to Offensive Shadows , presented by Athenian Stalls .
New this year was the Crow's Theatre Award for direction, presented to a director in the early stage of his or her career. The recipient was Appetite director Sarah Sanford .
Here's NOW's list of the best of the fest:
OUTSTANDING NEW PLAYS:
In Full Light; The Trial Of Thumbelina; Quilchena; Offensive Shadows; Canon In D Minor
Appetite; Hard Ways; A Thought In Three Parts; In Full Light; Terminating; Canon In D Minor; Quilchena; Offensive Shadows; Paper Series
Richard Alan Campbell and Mary Krohnert (Conscientia); Jason Cadieux (Hard Ways); Ker Wells (Living Tall); Terrence Bryant and Lesley Dowey (Simply Told); Brooke Johnson (Trudeau Stories); Greg Thomas (The Big Smoke); Brenda Bazinet (Ashes To Ashes); Brendan Gall (In Full Light and Mexico City); Jeanie Calleja (The Trial Of Thumbelina); Michaela Washburn (Quilchena); Cole J. Alvis (Nelly Boy); Becky Johnson (Anorexican)
Michaela Washburn rode high in Quilchena.
Appetite; I Think Of You, Erendira; Muhammad Of Yorkville; Jasmine; A Thought In Three Parts; In Full Light; Hooke's Law; Terminating; Canon In D Minor; Offensive Shadows; Pinteresque; Simply Told; Paper Series
Sarah Sanford (Appetite); Kevin Walker (Finer Noble Gases); Majdi Bou-Matar (Pinteresque); Jeannine Boschman (Hard Ways); Nina Lee Aquino (Paper Series); Brendan Healy (A Thought In Three Parts); Natasha Mytnowych (In Full Light); Stewart Arnott (Home Free)
Natasha Mytnowych and André du Toit (In Full Light); Camellia Koo (Paper Series and, with Anna Treusch, Mexico and Yogyakarta); Andy Moro (Quilchena); Trevor Schwellnus, Marija Djordjevic and Faye Dupras (Bird's Eye View); Brian Fidler and Emily Woodruffe (The Cloaker And The Cabinet); Trevor Schwellnus (Paper Series)