Canadian playwright Joan MacLeod has been named the winner of the 11th annual Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize, the nation's most lucrative award in theatre.
Chosen from a field of finalists that also included Robert Chafe, Jasmine Dube, Greg MacArthur, Mansel Robinson and Larry Tremblay, MacLeod was honoured at a gala Toronto presentation Monday, where she received a cheque in the amount of $75,000.
Thanks to the unique structure of the Siminovitch Prize, sponsored by the BMO Financial Group, playwright Anusree Roy also shared the largesse, chosen by MacLeod to receive the $25,000 purse awarded to a protege chosen by the winner.
Follow QMI Agency's John Coulbourn on Twitter!
MacLeod, who has already earned a Governor General's Award and two Chalmers Canadian Play Awards in a career that spans more than a quarter century is known for a host of plays, including Jewel, Toronto, Mississippi, Amigo's Blue Guitar, The Hope Slide, Little Sister, 2000, The Shape of a Girl, and Another Home invasion and is hard at work on a new play titled What to Expect, slated to debut next year.
A clearly thrilled MacLeod said that choosing her protege from a field of talented young Canadian playwrights wasn't as hard as one might expect.
"It was easy and very flukey," she says, recalling a playwright's residency at the Stratford Festival last fall.
"I met Anusree there and I really liked her but I didn't know her work. Then I happened on a copy of Brothel #9 and I thought it was terrific," she says. "That just sort of stayed in my brain."
The Siminovitch Prize is awarded annually on a three-year rotation, recognizing excellence in direction, playwriting and design.