Montréal designer Louise Campeau was named the 2003 winner of the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, the largest annual prize of its kind in Canada. The announcement was made at a gala ceremony at the University of Toronto's Hart House Theatre.
In awarding Campeau this honor, the Jury expressed admiration for her designs which, according to the Jury citation, "possess a coherent, refined and subtle vision. She has a strong sense of visual artistry beyond the normal. She is truly a collaborative artist. This collaboration fully respects the expression of the actor, and gives lighting, costume and sound designers an enriched opportunity to allow their work to 'perform' in harmony. Ms. Campeau is an extraordinary theatre artist whose work provides a unique sense of play and is unparalleled in its dedication to the service of the play. Her work allows audiences to see and hear more clearly, engaging them in a better understanding of the production."
A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada in 1984, Campeau has designed approximately 60 productions for 14 different companies in Quebec--from the large institutional theatres to small experimental spaces. She has worked with such directors as Serge Denoncourt, François Barbeau, Luce Pelletier, Gilles Provost, Pierre Bernard, and Daniel Brière, and at such theatres as Théâtre de L'Ile, Théâtre de l'Opsis, Théâtre de Quat'Sous, Compagnie Jean-Duceppe, and Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui.
The jury was chaired by Leonard McHardy, co-owner and co-founder of Theatrebooks in Toronto. The members of the jury were Quebec director and actor Martine Beaulne; Denise Clarke, associate artist with Calgary's One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre; New Brunswick-born set and costume designer Michael Eagan; and Dr. Natalie Rewa, an authority of theatre design in Canada.
"The Siminovitch nominations represented the best work from many of the finest designers working in Canadian theatre. The jury was deeply impressed by the fact that many of Canada's senior theatre artists made such eloquent and passionate nominations on behalf of their younger colleagues," says McHardy. As a condition of the Prize, the honored artist designates one-quarter of the Prize amount ($25,000) to a protégé of his or her choice who is involved in professional direction, playwriting or design in Canadian theatre, or to an institution (theatre or education facility) that contributes to Canadian theatre. Campeau has chosen two protégés, Magalie Amyot and Michèle Magnon.
Since graduating from the National Theatre School in 1997, set designer Magalie Amyot has worked with director Éric Jean on several projects, including the set designs for recent productions of Pascal Brullemans' Hippocampe at Théâtre de Quat'Sous and Larry Tremblay's Cornemuse at Théâtre d'Aujourd'Hui.
On graduating from the Cégep de St-Hyacinthe theatre school in 2002, Michèle Magnan joined the props team for the film The Day After Tomorrow directed by Roland Emmerich and worked with director Serge Denoncourt on Michel Tremblay's Les Belles Soeurs and Marc Drouin's Pied de Poule.
The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre honors exceptional directors, playwrights and designers who advance Canadian theatre through a body of work achieved in recent years, while influencing and inspiring younger theatre artists. Awarded in alternate years to a director, playwright and designer, the prize was presented last year to Montréal playwright Carole Fréchette and her protégé Geneviève Billette and in 2001, the inaugural year for the award, to director Daniel Brooks and his protégé Chris Abraham.