A merry band of Merritt winners

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The Tempest was the night's big winner, but there was plenty of admiration for all. - KEN SCHWARTZ
  • Ken Schwartz
  • The Tempest was the night's big winner, but there was plenty of admiration for all.


Stories about the power of community were front and centre at the 2016 Merritt Awards.

From Two Planks’ director Ken Schwartz’s hilarious tale of the entire cast of The Tempest soldiering on through a bout of the evocatively-named “poop flu” to Emerging Theatre Artist Award-winner Colleen MacIsaac’s generous donation of her Merritt winnings to the beloved Bus Stop Theatre, the mood was very much “all for one and one for all”.

Presenter Shahin Sayadi drew thunderous applause for his assessment that striving for more cultural diversity in the theatre scene could attract more people to Nova Scotia. “People simply want to see themselves reflected on our stages.”

Shakespeare By The Sea’s Elizabeth Murphy (recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Theatre) and Bruce Klinger (winner of the Legacy Award) both spoke of the growth of the Nova Scotia theatre scene over the past 30 years, and of the community spirit that drives it.

The depth, breadth and future of the of the Nova Scotian theatre community was brought home by two poignant moments: The acceptance of the volunteer award by 89-year-old playwright Dean Taylor and the presentation of the Outstanding Production Award by Dalhousie's entire third year acting class.



Robert Merritt Award Winners 2016


Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (female)


Stephanie MacDonald as Gail/Glory/Rosellen in Watching Glory Die  (Mulgrave Road Theatre)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (male)

Stewart Legere as Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf  in I Am My Own Wife  (Shakespeare by the Sea)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (male)

Christopher Little as Ray Spangler, Finn Vannier, Lee Cassidy, Guy Pope, Mike Wallace, The Egg Salvador in  Hardboiled – A Sal Dali Crime Tale  by LoHiFi Productions

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (female)

Mauralea Austin as Aoife in Outside Mullingar (Festival Antigonish)

Outstanding Choreography

Jim Morrow (puppetry choreography) for The Tempest  (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Costume Design

Jennifer Goodman  for The Tempest   (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Direction

Ken Schwartz for The Tempest  (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Lighting Design

Leigh Ann Vardy for The 39 Steps  (Neptune Theatre)

Outstanding Musical Direction

Allen Cole for  The Highest Tides  (Chester Playhouse)

Outstanding New Play by a Nova Scotian


Theo Pitsiavas Hardboiled – A Sal Dali Crime Tale  (LoHiFi Productions)

Outstanding Original Score


Allen Cole for The Tempest  (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Set Design


Theo Pitsiavas, Christopher Little, Tony Owen  for Hardboiled – A Sal Dali Crime Tale (LoHiFi Productions)

Outstanding Sound Design

Brian Riley for Pop-Up Love Party (Zuppa Theatre Company)

Outstanding Production by a New or Emerging Company


The Story of a Sinking Man (Kick At The Dark Theatre Company)

Outstanding Production by an Established Company

The Tempest  (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Presentation

The Queen of Paradise’s Garden
by Andy Jones Productions, presented by Eastern Front Theatre

Special Awards:

Outstanding Technician
: Justin Dakai

Outstanding Stage Manager: Jane Creaser

Outstanding Volunteer
: Dean Taylor

Theatre Nova Scotia Scholarship
: GaRRy Williams & Ivy Charles

Wes Daniel’s Design Award: Rob Greene & Valley Summer Theatre

Mayor’s Award for Emerging Theatre Artist
: Colleen MacIsaac

Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Theatre: Elizabeth Murphy

Theatre Nova Scotia Legacy Award: Bruce Klinger

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