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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Arts Club and Onegin big winners at this year’s Jessie Awards

The Arts Club Theatre Company is the big winner at this year’s Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, winning a total of ten trophies; nine for the original new musical Onegin, and one for its production of Peter and the Starcatcher.

Commonly referred to as “The Jessies”, the annual awards recognize the best of Vancouver’s professional theatre. The nominees and winners are chosen by peer juries.

Large Theatre

Sweeping the awards in the large theatre category, the Arts Club production of Onegin walked away with nine, while its production of Peter and the Starcatcher received one.

The new musical Onegin, based on the poem by Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky, became both a critical and audience hit during its run earlier this year. The show took the top award for outstanding production, plus outstanding direction for Amiel Gladstone, and acting awards for Alessandro Juliani, Meg Roe and Josh Epstein.

John Webber, Drew Facey and Jacqueline Firkins won for their set, lighting and costume designs, and Onegin earned writers Veda Hille and Amiel Gladstone the award for original composition. Veda Hille and the Ungrateful Dead (Barry Mirochnick and Marina Hasselberg) took home the award for significant artistic achievement.

The only award category preventing Onegin a clean sweep was Colleen Wheeler’s win for outstanding performance in a supporting role. Wheeler won for her portrayal of Black Stache in the Peter Pan origin story,  Peter and the Starcatcher.

Small Theatre

In the small theatre category, seven of the twenty-one nominated companies walked away winners.

Upintheair Theatre won a total of three awards for its production of The North Plan, including outstanding production of a play, plus an acting nod for Genevieve Fleming and the outstanding direction award going to Chelsea Haberlin.

Twenty Something Theatre took two for its production of The Out Vigil, including an acting award for Matthew MacDonald Bain, and the award for outstanding sound design going to Jay Clift and Julie McIsaac. The company also won for Joel Sturrock’s choreography in Tender Napalm.

Blackbird Theatre’s production of The Rivals took two awards including a supporting actress nod for Gabrielle Rose and Shelia White’s costumes.

Other award winners in the small theatre category included Curtis Tweedie’s support actor award for Hardline Productions’ Bright Blue Future, Alan Brodie’s lighting design for Pi Theatre’s The Invisible Hand, and Glenn MacDonald for his Annapurna set design.

The Escape Artists with Musical TheatreWorks took home the award for outstanding production of a musical for Miss Shakespeare.

Theatre for Young Audiences

In the Theatre for Young Audiences category Théâtre la Seiziéme took home three awards for Mathieu Mathématiques, including outstanding production and performance awards for Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin, Emilie Leclerc, and Zack Tardif. Designer Drew Facey walked away with his second award of the evening for the show’s set design.

Lauren McLean earned a nod for outstanding artistic creation for Delinquent Theatre’s Our Time, and Green Thumb walked away with the trophy for significant artistic achievement for its production of Still/Falling.

Vancouver Now, Script & Innovation

The inaugural Vancouver Now award, created to acknowledge the diversity of the Vancouver theatre scene, went to Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre’s artistic director, Donna Yamamoto. Yamamoto was recognized for her outstanding leadership in developing work by three Asian-Canadian playwrights as part of the Cultch’s 2015-2016 season.

James Gordon King took home the outstanding original script award for his play Rivulets: 3 short plays about a flood, and the Critics’ Choice Innovation Award went to the Kidd Pivot and Electric Theatre Company co-production of Betroffenheit.

Additional Awards

Other awards went to Wendy Orvig (Patron of the Arts Award), Ellie O’Day & Craig Laven (Mary Phillips Prize for Behind-the-Scenes Achievement, Daniel Doheny (Sam Payne Award for the Most Promising Newcomer), Chris Gatchalian (John Moffat & Larry Lillo Prize), Margo Kane (GVPTA Career Achievement Award), James Gordon King (Sydney Risk Prize), James Pollard (Colin Campbell Award for Excellence in Technical Theatre), and Milton Lim (Ray Michal Prize for Most Promising New Director).

Find out more about the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards online at

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