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The Dora Awards reflect a range of work across 7 divisions and 46 categories presented by 160 professional theatre, dance and opera companies in Toronto. TAPA reviewed the Dora Mavor Moore Awards 2012; at that time they had not been reviewed for 22 years. The Dora assessment was long overdue and a commitment was made to review the Dora Awards every 5 years. During the second Dora Award Review in 2017, TAPA engaged a Review Working Group that investigated voting procedures, admin practices and hosted numerous member roundtable conversations, stakeholder consultations, 5 townhalls, and a member survey.

The Dora statuette had been identified in the review as being out of date and not reflective of current artistic practices being presented on Toronto stages. A Statue Working Group was formed specifically to oversee the execution of the re-design of the Dora Statuette. Chaired by Chris Goddard – PAIS Board President, the Working Group also included Joseph Borowiec, Regine Cadet, Sherrie Johnson, Luke Reese and Jacoba Knaapen. The Dora Awards statuette has been re-imagined by designer Trevor Schwellnus, craftsperson fina macDonell, and glass artist Kirei Samuel

This project is a sculptural love letter to the Toronto arts community – a community whose ambition and positive support has given remarkable strength to present and future generations of artists. Our city is named from the Haudenosaunee word ‘Tkaronto’ which has been translated as “where there are trees standing in the water”. The design features an anthropomorphic figure, without gender or ethnic reference, which emerges tree-like from a base of watery glass. Its four roots, pointing to the four directions, turn upwards into a trunk – or torso – then reach above the figure’s head in a circle – a symbol with many associations across a variety of cultures, including togetherness, equality, cycles — even a spotlight. The form is open to the viewer; to celebrate a community that has created a cultural spirit strong enough to delve into difficult issues with honesty and integrity. The arts are not an industry, nor a business – they are activities carried out by collaborators learning to dream together. This figure is a dream symbol for that spirit.

– Artist Statement

fina macDonell grew up in Winnipeg, and still longs for the big ever-changing skies. She has been an actor (The Farm Show, The Blues etc), a puppet maker and puppeteer (Canadian Puppet Festivals), and has engaged in assorted other theatre work: box office person, follow spot operator, milliner, costume builder … until she discovered props, and fell in love with the craft. After spells making props for the Canadian Opera Company, Theatre Plus and Young People’s Theatre, and others, she and her business partner Don McGoldrick opened their own prop shop – The Rabbit’s Choice – where she still works. fina is grateful for the generosity and patience of her colleagues and her families.

Trevor Schwellnus is a Scenographer. He was born on unceded Algonquin territory (the Ottawa Valley) to immigrant parents. Today he designs sets, lighting, and video for performance, primarily with independent theatre and dance companies in Toronto. He is also the Artistic Producer of Aluna Theatre. He won his first Dora award for his 2003 design of For Sale (with Aluna) – this recognition was pivotal to his career and a boost to the early success of the company. Thanks to sculptor Hayden Davies for inspiration and mentorship.

Kirei Samuel has been designing glass jewelry for over 20 years and opened Lalaland Glass Studio to the public near Bloomfield in Prince Edward County in 2009. Teaching herself how to fuse glass pieces together using heat and time she developed a unique style by constantly pushing glass techniques in different directions to eventually creating her own techniques. Her studio/gallery set in a century old barn houses her many years of designing and creating one of a kind pieces of jewelry, plates, bowls and artwork.

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