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The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) is pleased to present the annual Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award to multi-award winning producer, presenter, playwright, director, designer and arts advocate Michele Decottignies.

The award was presented at the annual PACT Conference in Charlottetown, PE. Michele was chosen from a list of seven nominees from across Canada and chose Olivia Marie Golosky as her protégé.

Michele Decottignies founded Stage Left Productions in 2003 to house her daring blend of professional arts production with bottom-up, radical social justice praxis. Within the broader arts community, Michele has worked in a variety of artistic, technical, administrative and/or advisory roles for many different professional and community arts companies throughout Alberta. Most notably, she assisted Michael Green in forming the Performance Creation Canada network, founded the Disability Arts & Culture Presenters' Network, chairs the Disability Arts Alliance of Canada, and most recently initiated the Calgary Congress for Equity & Diversity in the Arts. In the Theatre domain, Michele has produced, written and directed 15 original, collaboratively created productions. Michele is based in Canmore, Alberta.

In choosing the 2017 recipient, the selection panel were impressed with the passion of Decottignies' nomination, and were eager to recognize Decottignies' sustained leadership and profound impact on the arts community, much of which has been accomplished while working outside established groups.

Says Decottignies, on receiving the award: "I am honoured to find myself in the company of the distinguished cadre of past MGLA recipients, many of whom have served as beacons to me from the margins of the sector - where I tend to keep myself! I feel both humbled by and appreciative of this esteemed recognition. 

I want to thank everyone who supported my nomination, and all those who have encouraged and inspired my theatre practice these past 30 years. It is an absolute thrill to belong to a community of such potent agents of change, from all over Canada."

The award includes the naming of a protégé chosen by the winner, underlining the importance of skill and knowledge transmission in leadership building. Decottignies chose as her protégé Olivia Marie Golosky. A proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Olivia Marie Golosky is a queer artist and advocate for equity with a passion for grassroots community-building. Hailing from Treaty 8, Fort McMurray, her background is in theatre, film, music festivals and television production as a stage manager, technician and playwright. Currently, she sits on the Indigenous Steering Committee for the NCRA, produces/hosts a podcast through CJSW 90.9 FM, Through the Kaleidoscope, is a founding member of the Calgary Congress for Equity & Diversity in the Arts and the Treaty 7 Film Collective. Olivia is also the Production Manager for Indigenous Resilience in Music, the Stage Manager for REDx Talks and an Artistic Associate with Stage Left.

On being named this year's MGLA protégé, and of her mentor, Golosky says, "I am very humbled and grateful to be acknowledged among many peers and elders whose commitment to equity & diversity in the arts has paved the path that I now walk. Kinanâskomitin.

Michele is a powerhouse of a leader and I am in awe of her. I cannot articulate how privileged and grateful I am that we are able to share our knowledge with one another and create potent equitable change."

Decottignies is excited to share this recognition with Golosky, "Olivia Marie Golosky is also a force to be reckoned with! For a young(er) theatre artist to have already established such an accomplished and expansive practice for herself is impressive. She's equally competent in so many theatre roles that our work together is more akin to peer-to-peer knowledge exchange than "protégé"! I'm over the moon to be supporting her current venture into more focused equity & diversity in the arts advocacy and education, through our horizontal mentorship. Olivia is a next generation arts leader - no doubt about it. Just watch her go!"

About the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award
The Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award celebrates and recognizes outstanding administrative or managerial leadership within the Canadian Theatre Community. Past winners include Nancy Webster, Cherry Karpyshin, Heather Redfern, Chuck Childs, and Ivan Habel. It was initiated by the PACT Communications Centre and Tarragon Theatre in celebration of PACT's 30th anniversary in 2006-2007 and was named in honour of Mallory Gilbert.

Ms. Gilbert is one of Canada's most respected arts managers. In addition to her successful 34-year tenure at Toronto's Tarragon Theatre, she has served on numerous local and national boards of directors and advisory boards. Ms. Gilbert is one of the founders of PACT and served on the PACT Board for 20 years (as PACT President 1989-1993), and was the recipient of PACT Honourary Life Membership in 2005. By mentoring countless aspiring arts administrators during the course of her career, she has shaped the careers of many of Canada's theatre leaders and encouraged the creation of exciting new theatre ventures.

PACT gratefully acknowledges previous support for the MGLA from the Metcalf Foundation, who has generously supported the award (2012-2015) as well as Tarragon Theatre, that sponsored the award for the first five years of its existence.

PACT is a member-driven organization of professional Canadian theatres that serves as the collective voice of its members.

We are a leader in the national performing arts community, and a devoted advocate for the value of live performance. Since 1979 we have focused on providing a community where theatre professionals (both artistic and administrative) can come together to discuss important issues and work together to create innovative solutions.

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