Toronto, ON (June 16 2021) –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. 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.
At the 2021 Dora Ancillary Awards virtual presentation today, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) announced that this year’s recipient of the LMJH Award is the deeply committed arts executive, Andrea Vagianos, one of Canada’s most accomplished artistic leaders whose consummate skills as an astute and resilient community builder, strategic planner, financial manager and overall leader are in full flower; particularly evident this past pandemic year in her role as Managing Director for Tarragon Theatre. Ms. Vagianos named Danielle Parris, a Toronto-based arts manager, researcher and writer as the recipient of the Victor C. Polley Protégé Award. The presentation can be viewed on TAPA’s YouTube channel.
Over the past almost three decades, Ms. Vagianos has held a variety of positions in the cultural sector on both the producing and funding sides of the industry. As Managing Director for Tarragon Theatre (Artistic Director Richard Rose) since the spring of 2018, Andrea has been instrumental in maintaining the theatre’s organizational and financial stability – an accomplishment made all the more significant in light of the current fraught pandemic season and the delivery of new forms of digital and audio art to audiences.
Prior to joining Tarragon, Andrea spent more than eight years as Managing Director of Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT) (2010-2018 with Artistic Director Christopher House) where, in her final season, she oversaw an 11-city national tour and a 2-week tour of Colombia for TDT’s 50th anniversary as well as leaving the company in one of its strongest financial position in its history.
Andrea also spent six years as Managing Director of Dancemakers (2000-2005 with Artistic Director Serge Bennathan) during which time she negotiated and managed the company’s move to, and leasehold improvements of, the Centre for Creation in Toronto’s Distillery District. She also worked in the public sector as Acting Arts Education Officer at the Ontario Arts Council (2006-07), and was General Manager of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (2007-09) before moving on to Toronto Dance Theatre.
A passionate advocate for the arts and active community leader, Ms. Vagianos has volunteered on numerous arts boards over the years including seven years on the board of the Toronto Alliance of the Performing Arts (TAPA), the last three of which she served as President. Throughout her career, Andrea has been a remarkably caring administrator – thoughtful and compassionate, mentoring staff development in imaginative and supportive ways. She is a true champion of the performing arts.
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 Monica Esteves, 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 to honour the much-respected pioneer arts administrator. Mr. Polley joined the Stratford Festival in 1954 as a bookkeeper rising to the position of Administrative Director. In 1972, he took the position of Theatre Manager at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts where he worked until his retirement in 1981. As the recipient ofthe Victor C. Polley Protégé Award, Danielle Parris receives a $500 protégé prize. Ms. Parris is dedicated to community service; her work is grounded in community engagement, arts education and programming, as well as creating inclusive and accessible spaces that amplify BIPOC voices. She has worked with various arts organizations including Tarragon Theatre, Luminato Festival and, most recently, Small World Music.