The 2015 Harold Awards

Monday (June 1) was an unusually synchronous day for Torontos performing artists. The Dora Mavor Moore nominations were announced in.


Monday (June 1) was an unusually synchronous day for Torontos performing artists. The Dora Mavor Moore nominations were announced in the morning and in the evening the indie theatre community celebrated the 21st Harold Awards at the Cadillac Lounge. The Uncle Red Foundation provided pre- and post-show music.

The awards honour the spirit of the late Harold Kandel, known for his passion for theatre and heckling what he didnt like. He loved the community but had no problem commenting out loud on what he was watching he was equally good at sharing appreciation and opprobrium.

It was a fast-moving evening, clocking in at about 80 minutes, the average time of most theatre performances these days. In the past the Harolds have gone on over two hours, but that was with an intermission and a fair amount of jeering. The raspberries were fewer this year, for some reason, but it was still an irreverent evening I dont think Ive been at an award ceremony where fuck was used so frequently.

Thirteen people from across the theatre spectrum were inducted into various houses, named for the original Harold honourees, among them Paul Bettis, Jacoba Knaapen, Daniel MacIvor, Alex Poch-Goldin, Deanne Taylor and Sarah Garton Stanley. Each new member is chosen by someone brought in the year before.

The inductees included a number of multi-skilled people, among them actor/writers Susanna Fournier and Lisa Codrington, actor/writer/diversity speaker Kawa Ada, writer/director Kat Sandler, poet/playwright/ filmmaker Motion, writer/producer/composer/performer Christopher Wilson, writer/actor/administrator Joseph Recinos, and director/administrators Kelly Straughan and Michael Wheeler.

Thats a lot of slash marks for one paragraph, but its a sign that people in the business use their talents in many ways.

Also Harolded were the Canadian Opera Companys costume supervisor, Sandra Corazza stage manager extraordinaire Sandy Plunkett arts administrator Linda Keyworth scenic artist Bob Lomow and the Mawson brothers, Douglas and Allan.

You probably dont know the latter pair theyre the sons of performer Elizabeth Mawson, who performed the role of Marilla in the quintessential Canadian musical, Anne Of Green Gables, at the Charlottetown Festival for 30 years. Their award was as much an honouring of her as of the brothers, who recently set up the Elizabeth Mawson Theatre Legacy Fund, dedicated to the development of new work at Charlottetowns Confederation Centre.

Actor Grant Cowan, who brought the guys in, is a Canadian stalwart himself. Best known for his work in musical theatre, he knew and performed with Mawson for years he also played Snoopy on Broadway and toured the States in Beauty And The Beast. On Monday, Cowan helped extend the Harolds into a new age group. Most of the audience and recipients at the award ceremony were 20-, 30- or 40-somethings Cowan turns 80 in August and is still going strong.

Two other awards were handed out that night. Larry Lubin received the Barbara Fingerote Award for volunteerism, while Matthew Thomas Walker, co-artistic director of Litmus Theatre, won the Ken McDougall Award for emerging director.

The new Haroldees each got a statue of a big letter H (designed by 2014 Harold recipient McCowan Thomas) and a crown (designed by Jennifer Triemstra-Johnston, also a recipient last year). Most donned the crowns to accept their awards.

As Laura Pomeroy, the last presenter and another 2014 Haroldee, noted at the end of the evening, these people become part of a really kick-ass family.

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