This year’s recipient is multidisciplinary theatre artist Marjorie Chan, an award-winning playwright, librettist, dramaturge and director who, in 2013, was appointed Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Projects.
As Artistic Director of Cahoots, Marjorie has focused her attention on mentorship, artist incubation, new play development and accessibility, with increased outreach to newcomers and advocacy for a broader and more rigorous approach to inclusiveness for all. To that end, Cahoots recently launched the comprehensive online guide DATT, the Deaf Artists & Theatres Toolkit. The DATT addresses practical and artistic aspects of theatre production with a Deaf cultural context. In May of 2016, Marjorie directed the groundbreaking Ultrasound by Adam Pottle, a Canadian author who explores deafness and disability, that featured two Deaf actors.
A graduate of George Brown Theatre School, Marjorie Chan was Associate Artistic Director of Cahoots from 2006-2010. During that time, she created Crossing Gibraltar, a theatre training and performance program for refugees and newcomers, primarily in under-serviced neighbourhoods. For her work on this, she was nominated for a Canadian Citizen Award in 2010. She also produced a tour reading and outreach series to Hong Kong, under the LIFT OFF! banner in 2006. Marjorie resurrected both of these programs as Artistic Director of Cahoots.
Marjorie has served as a mentor for the AMY Project – Artists Mentoring Youth – many times, including in 2017. The AMY Project seeks to build the leadership and unique voice of young women and non-binary youth in Toronto by supporting them early in their careers. While Play Creation Unit Director for Carlos Bulosan Theatre from 2010-2012, Marjorie mentored writers from a Filipino background. She has also been an Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Playwrights’ Colony, Tapestry New Opera, Theatre Direct Canada, SUNY (Geneseo, New York), Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong) and Cahoots Theatre.
Her works for the stage have been performed in the United States, Scotland, Hong Kong, Russia and across Canada. Marjorie Chan is the recipient of four Dora Mavor Moore Awards: three as a librettist and one for performance. She is also the recipient of the 2005 K.M. Hunter Artist’s Award in Theatre as well as a Harold Award for her contribution to the Toronto theatre community. She was nominated for a Governor General’s Award for her playwriting debut China Doll, which explored the seeds of feminism in China through the metaphor of the bound foot; it received its Cantonese language debut in April 2017.
As an artistic leader, Marjorie Chan passionately champions for arts access, education and the inclusion of marginalized youth and isolated communities into the artistic process. She has a reputation for generosity, curiosity and offering her colleagues and mentees the challenge to climb the steeper terrain.