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Monica Esteves Honoured with 2020 Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award - Victor C. Polley Protégé Award presented in tandem for first time -

(Photo by: John Lauener)

Toronto, ON(June 8, 2020) –The Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration (LMJH Award) is an annual award that honours the important work of senior theatre, dance and opera administrators who have devoted a minimum of ten years to the performing arts, in addition to impacting the industry in Toronto. New this year, the LMJH Award is presented in association with the Victor C. Polley Protégé Award which recognizes the work of emerging arts administrators with a minimum of two years of arts work experience, selected by the LMJH Award laureate.

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) announced today that this year’s recipient of the LMJH Award is the visionary arts manager Monica Esteves, one of the country’s most accomplished and respected artistic leaders, a consummate professional with over 20 years of experience and whose passion for the theatre and exceptional skills in strategic, business and financial planning have elevated the entire theatre community. Ms Esteves named Canadian Stage Company Manager Beth Wong as the recipient of the Victor C. Polley Protégé Award.

In 2019, Ms Esteves was appointed Executive Director at Canadian Stage after serving as Managing Director at Crow’s Theatre for a decade. At Crow’s, she was co-responsible for strategy and capacity planning, resulting in ten years of consistent surpluses, and a successful $12-million capital campaign and construction of a new performing arts facility: Streetcar Crowsnest, which she project managed from inception to facility opening.

Since joining Canadian Stage a year and a half ago, Monica has been instrumental in creating a comprehensive five-year strategic plan, systematically upgrading the company’s operations as well as overseeing a successful fundraising campaign to support transformational initiatives and reduce the company’s deficit by half. 

Previously, from 2006 to 2010, Ms Esteves was Managing Director of Nightwood Theatre where she supported the development and promotion of emerging and established women artists regionally and nationally and led the organization through an impressive period of growth as the company took on large-scale artistic projects while maintaining its activism.  

Throughout her career, Monica made time to mentor countless others. She has done this through formal internships, pro-bono consultations and longstanding relationships with arts leaders whose careers she has nurtured at their early stages. A keen advocate for the arts, she has served on numerous boards of directors and advisories, including the Professional Association of Canadian Theatre (PACT), the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and East End Arts.

With her generosity of spirit and extraordinary leadership, Monica Esteves is an inspiration to her artistic partners to dream big and, with them, to accomplish much. Her work in the theatre community continues to be transformative.

The LMJH Award was inaugurated in 2008 by the late Elizabeth Comper who named it after Leonard McHardy and John Harvey, the celebrated co-founders of Toronto’s beloved, Theatrebooks (1975-2014). Previous winners of the LMJH Award are Sherrie Johnson, Sue Balint, Mitchell Marcus, Nancy Webster, Sue Edworthy, Meredith Potter, Paul Templin, Leslie Lester, Ghislain Caron, Natasha Parsons, Naomi Campbell and Jim Lefrancois. The LMJH Award is administered by TAPA. Candidates for the LMJH Award are nominated by TAPA members and then reviewed by the LMJH Selection Committee: Sandy Tulloch (Chair), Ghislain Caron, Derrick Chua and John Harvey. The award winner receives a plaque and a cheque for $1,000 through the generous sponsorship of the estate of Elizabeth Comper.

The Victor C. Polley Award was inaugurated in 1981 by the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts to honour the much-respected arts administration pioneer upon his retirement as Theatre Manager of the faciiity which he had run since 1972, after a long administrative career at the Stratford Festival that began in 1954.  The recipient ofthe Victor C. Polley Protégé Award, selected by the LMJH Award laureate, receives a $500 prize. The recipient, Beth Wong, worked primarily as a stage manager and front of house manager before transitioning into administration. She is currently the Company Manager at Canadian Stage.

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