This year’s recipient is award-winning theatre artist Jacquie P.A. Thomas, founding Artistic Director of Theatre Gargantua.
Jacquie P.A. Thomas founded Theatre Gargantua in 1992 and since then has maintained an unwavering commitment to producing original theatre and to the development and support of artists. A pioneer of Canadian multi-disciplinary devised theatre, she has created numerous socially relevant, award-winning works while fostering successful initiatives dedicated to mentoring, training and expanding the artistic practice of young people and emerging artists.
An invaluable asset to the artistic community, her dedication to mentorship and fierce drive to provide meaningful opportunities for emerging artists is evident through such Theatre Gargantua projects as the Emerging Artist Roundtable, Producing and Artistic Internship Programs, and RISK Youth Workshops.
The Emerging Artists Roundtable is a forum for emerging artists and final year university/college students to engage with members of the professional community and other emerging artists that bridges formal training with entering the profession. The Artistic Internship Program provides an opportunity for emerging artists to expand their skills and experience through observing and participating in the creation of an original professional theatre production. The Producing Internship Program offers paid internships for youth aged 18-30 where they gain experience on the whole gamut of producing a theatrical undertaking: from planning and fundraising to communications and marketing. RISK Youth Workshops are offered free to schools in under-served and priority neighbourhoods, providing workshops in theatre and technology that teach young people skills to access their own creativity.
Ms Thomas celebrates her 27th season as Artistic Director of Theatre Gargantua this year, one of the longest serving female Artistic Directors in the country. Melding provocative text, daring physicality, original live music and innovative use of technology into a signature style, her productions are created in a unique two-year cycle consisting of developmental workshop phases and public performances, earning Theatre Gargantua a distinct place within Canada’s theatre ecology.
In addition to her role as Artistic Director, Ms.Thomas has served Theatre Gargantua as an actor, director, producer, composer, choreographer, dramaturge and writer, earning ten Dora nominations and two awards for her artistic contributions to the company. She was awarded a Harold Award for contributions to Toronto’s independent theatre community, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for her contributions to Canadian culture.