Dear Merritt Award nominees, theatre makers and supporters,
Congratulations on another year of amazing, mind-expanding, funny-bone-tickling, soul-soothing theatre.
Monday night’s Merritt Awards reminded me of everything there is to love about Halifax’s vibrant theatre scene. It was a night to celebrate the diversity of great theatre produced in Halifax and throughout Nova Scotia. It was a night when a chosen few left cradling trophies, but everyone left as winners. You do things up right, you theatre types! You know how to party, how to celebrate, how to laugh and how to dress. (Yes, the Merritts is a veritable fashion show, from sparkles and lace to sky-high heels or combat boots and dapper bow ties.)
It comes as no surprise that you know how to put on a great show, and with Jackie Torrens as MC and Jeremy Webb as producer, how could you go wrong? Torrens is so ribald and irreverent, a quick wit and equal-opportunity wag. And while you make poke fun at yourselves and each other, the laughter is warm, never cruel. The show itself clips along through musical numbers, satirical video clips, off-the-cuff remarks and, oh, yes, awards.
So many awards, and so many speeches, yet never boring. Give a theatre artist a mic, and a speech becomes a show that draws the audience in.
You deserve good things, theatre artists, and the presence and approachability of Mayor Savage at this year’s ceremony bodes well for that. As Hugo Dann so joyously proclaimed, “The winds of change are sweeping this city”. You are an important and beloved part of that change. Congratulations to you all!
Actor: Hugh Thompson, Auto, Whale Riding Weather, Plutonium Playhouse
Actress: Ann-Marie Kerr, Jean Perkins, Funny Money, Festival Antigonish
Supporting Actor: Jeff Schwager, Mr. Marks, Intimate Apparel, Neptune Theatre
Supporting Actress: Stephanie MacDonald, Annie, Communion, KAZAN Co-op
Direction: Anthony Black and Christian Barry, The Story of Mr. Wright, 2b theatre
Set Design: Leesa Hamilton, Slowly I Turn: A Parlour Vaudeville in One-Act, Zuppa Theatre Company
Costume Design: Leesa Hamilton, Lysistrata: Temptress of the South, Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
Lighting Design: Ingrid Risk, “I, Animal,” KAZAN Co-op
Sound Design: Aaron Collier, Domestic Train Wreck, Angels & Heroes Theatre
Original Composition or Score: Allen Cole, Lysistrata: Temptress of the South, Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
New Play by a Nova Scotian: Daniel MacIvor, Communion, KAZAN Co-op
Production: Slowly I Turn: A Parlour Vaudeville in One-Act, Zuppa Theatre
Merritt Legacy Award: Shakespeare by the Sea
Merritt Volunteer Award: Dick Sircom, Dartmouth Players
Technician Award: Garrett Barker
Stage Manager: Sarah O’Brien
Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Theatre: Hugo Dann
Mayor’s Emerging Theatre Artist Award: Stephanie MacDonald