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KELLI FOX WINS 2016 GINA WILKINSON PRIZE
- Annual prize honours female theatre artist transitioning to directing -

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (March 10, 2016) The committee of the Gina Wilkinson Prize is pleased to announce that the 2016 fifth annual prize recipient is Kelli Fox of Toronto, Ontario. The announcement came on March 10, Gina's birthday. Ms. Fox was chosen from a list of 14 nominees.

Kelli Fox is a Toronto-based actor with 30 years of experience on stage across Canada and in the U.S. In the past few years, she has enjoyed some remarkable directorial opportunities including opening the Blyth Festival's 40th season with Kitchen Radio. Other directing credits include This Wide Night at Summerworks 2013, and the workshop production of With Individual Desire at Groundswell. Since her shortlisting for the Prize last year, Kelli has directed an enormously successful production of The Drowning Girls at the Globe Theatre in Regina, followed by two wonderful and challenging shows with the Toronto indie company Headstrong Collective, Boston Marriage and Man to Man. Kelli finished 2015 back in Regina to direct The Hound of the Baskervilles. Next season, she will return to the Globe Theatre to helm Peter and the Starcatcher.

Ms. Fox was overwhelmed upon receiving the award, “This recognition, this particular prize, means the world to me. Gina Wilkinson was a force of nature, and a powerful, personal inspiration to me. I am grateful to Marion De Vries for putting my name forward, to the committee for honouring me with the prize, and mostly to Gina for blazing such a bright and compelling trail.”

Along with Ms. Fox, three other nominees were shortlisted for the prize: Kathleen Duborg of Vancouver, B.C, Sara-Jeanne Hosie of Stratford, Ontario, and Nancy McAlear of Edmonton, Alberta.

Kathleen Duborg is an award-winning actor working in theatre, film, television, voice-over and new play development throughout the country. Recent directing projects include Bard of the Bronx, The Seagull, Komagata Maru, Mrs. Singh and Me (Pick of the Fringe) and the plays Iceland (Jessie nomination, outstanding directing), Greenland, Faroe Islands and Ostrich (premiere), all written by Nicolas Billon. As director and collaborator on Small Stages Canada (MagNorth-Ottawa) and Indian Acts (Talking Stick-Vancouver) she explored physical behaviour and embodiment between actors, dancers, text, design elements and audiences. She teaches acting and is co-artistic director of Dirt Road Theatre.

Sara-Jeanne Hosie has been working nationally as a musical theatre performer and choreographer for over twenty years. Ms. Hosie began wearing her director’s hat in 2006 for the Arts Club Theatre Company, and has since directed over 15 productions, 10 of which she has also choreographed. Highlights include: a reimagined Godspell for The Arts Club; My Fair Lady for Bluebridge Repertory, The Buddy Holly Story for the Chemainus Theatre Festival and Suds for The Arts Club. This summer, she has the pleasure of assisting Gary Griffin on A Little Night Music at the Stratford Festival.

Nancy McAlear began her career as a successful actor in Edmonton, Alberta. Since completing her MFA in directing, Nancy’s work has been nominated for multiple Sterling awards. Some of her directing credits include Category E, The Deep Blue Sea, The Lover, and Parlour Song. Nancy has also been acting for a very long time. Selected acting credits include A Christmas Carol (Citadel Theatre), As You Like It, Coriolanus (Freewill Shakespeare), The Soul Collector, Frankenstein (Catalyst Theatre), Murderers Confess at Christmastime (Outside the March). She is currently working at the Shaw Festival as an intern director.

Gina's Prize committee member, Tom Rooney, is thrilled by the calibre of this year's nominees. "Each of these women, as was the case with Gina, has spent a considerable amount of time, in various capacities, working in theatres across the country, and is now striving to make a name for herself as a director. The members of the Gina's Prize committee are thrilled to be able to support them in this endeavour. Their commitment, intelligence and passion is truly inspiring".

Gina's Prize honours a female theatre artist who is transitioning from one theatre discipline (acting, stage managing, playwriting, administration, etc.) to that of directing. The Prize pays tribute to actor/playwright/director Gina Wilkinson whose dedication, vision and indomitable spirit imbued her work and her life. An actor for over twenty years, Ms. Wilkinson began turning her attention to both writing and directing and, in the last few years of her too-short life, established herself as a daring, strong, inventive director and collaborator in the Canadian theatre community. In the spirit of Ms. Wilkinson's appetite for life, this Prize of $5,000 is a gift to be used in any way the recipient chooses. The past recipients of Gina's Prize are Ann-Marie Kerr of Halifax, Krista Jackson of Winnipeg, Christine Brubaker of Toronto and Valerie Planche of Calgary.

The Gina Wilkinson Prize was established through the generous support of Gina's colleagues and admirers from across the country: the committee extends its heartfelt thanks to all those supporters. Through their incredible generosity, the spirit of Gina lives on.

The committee would also like to thank Alan Walker and the Ontario Arts Foundation for their administration of the Gina Wilkinson Prize. Anyone wishing to donate may do so at www.ontarioartsfoundation.on.ca.

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