Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Les Filles du Roi, and As You Like It combined to make this year's Jessie Awards the year of the musical. Photos by (LtoR): Nicol Spinola, Tim Matheson, and Tim Matheson.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Les Filles du Roi, and As You Like It combined to make this year's Jessie Awards the year of the musical. Photos by (LtoR): Nicol Spinola, Tim Matheson, and Tim Matheson.

It was the year of the musical at this year’s Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, with classic Sondheim, a new Canadian musical, and a Beatles-infused Shakespeare play nabbing nine of the awards during a ceremony held today at Bard on the Beach in Vanier Park.

Known as “The Jessies”, the annual awards recognize the best of Vancouver’s professional theatre, with trophies handed out in three categories: small theatre, large theatre, and theatre for young audiences.

Musicals were the biggest winners in the small theatre category with The Snapshots Collective’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and the Fugue Theatre/Raven Theatre/Urban Ink/The Cultch co-production of Les Filles du Roi tied with four wins each.

Sweeney Todd walked away with this year’s outstanding musical production trophy, while it was Les Filles du Roi director Corey Payette who was recognized for best direction.

The Frank Theatre Company/Queer Arts Festival co-production of Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts) took home the award for outstanding (non-musical) production.

While not technically a musical, Delinquent Theatre’s Never the Last was recognized for its significant artistic achievement through the integration of dance, live musical performance, and theatre.

In the large theatre category, it was the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival adaptation of As You Like It, set to the music of The Beatles, which took top honours for outstanding musical. Bard on the Beach also took home awards for last season’s productions of Timon of Athens and Lysistrata.

Théâtre la Seizième, Vancouver’s French-language theatre company, took home the most awards for a single production in the large theatre category with Le Soulier (The Shoe) being recognized four times, including outstanding direction.

The Cultch’s co-production of Kamloopa took home the outstanding production trophy. The production was also recognized for its significant artistic achievement in the decolonization of theatre spaces and practices.

In the theatre for young audiences category it was Carousel Theatre for Young People’s Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play” which took home the award for outstanding production.

Other awards handed out during the ceremony included the Critic’s Choice Innovation Award going to Bard on the Beach’s Lysistrata, and the Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award being handed out to Heather Redfern and The Cultch. Marie Farsi took home the Ray Michal Prize for most promising new director, and Taran Kootenhayoo received the Sam Payne Award for the most promising newcomer.

A complete listing of winners follows:

Small Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actor
Warren Kimmel – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – The Snapshots Collective

Outstanding Performance by an Actress
Colleen Winton – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – The Snapshots Collective

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Oliver Castillo – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – The Snapshots Collective

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Alannah Ong – The Ones We Leave Behind – Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design
James Proudfoot – Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts) – the frank theatre company/Queer Arts Festival

Outstanding Set Design
Marshall McMahen – Les Filles du Roi – Fugue Theatre/Raven Theatre/Urban Ink/The Cultch

Outstanding Costume Design
Marshall McMahen & Konwahonwá:wi Stacey – Les Filles du Roi – Fugue Theatre/Raven Theatre/Urban Ink/The Cultch

Outstanding Sound Design or Original Composition
Corey Payette & Kyra Soko – Les Filles du Roi – Fugue Theatre/Raven Theatre/Urban Ink/The Cultch

Outstanding Direction
Corey Payette – Les Filles du Roi – Fugue Theatre/Raven Theatre/Urban Ink/The Cultch

Outstanding Production
Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts) – the frank theatre company/Queer Arts Festival

Outstanding Production – Musical
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – The Snapshots Collective

Significant Artistic Achievement
Molly MacKinnon & Christine Quintana – Never the Last – Delinquent Theatre –   Outstanding interdisciplinary collaboration involving the imaginative integration of dance, live musical performance and theatre

Large Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actor
Félix Beauchamp- Le Soulier – Théâtre la Seizième

Outstanding Performance by an Actress
Colleen Wheeler – Timon of Athens – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Adam Grant Warren – Kill Me Now – Touchstone Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Nora McLellan – The Matchmaker – Arts Club Theatre Company

Outstanding Lighting Design
Itai Erdal – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time –  Arts Club Theatre Company

Outstanding Set Design
Drew Facey – Timon of Athens – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Outstanding Costume Design
Barbara Clayden – Lysistrata – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Outstanding Sound Design or Original Composition
Malcolm Dow – Le Soulier – Théâtre la Seizième

Outstanding Direction
Esther Duquette & Gilles Poulin-Denis – Le Soulier – Théâtre la Seizième

Outstanding Production
Kamloopa – The Cultch – (in partnership with Western Canada Theatre, Persephone Theatre and Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre, and in collaboration with National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre)

Outstanding Production – Musical
As You Like it – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Significant Artistic Achievement
Kim Senklip Harvey & Lindsay Lachance – Kamloopa – The Cultch – (in partnership with Western Canada Theatre, Persephone Theatre and Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre, and in collaboration with National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre)  Outstanding decolonization of theatre spaces and practices.

Theatre for Young Audiences

Outstanding Performance
Jake Walker – Jack and the Magic Bean – Presentation House Theatre

Outstanding Design
Shizuka Kai, Jessica Oostergo, Brad Trenaman – Salmon Girl – Raven Spirit Dance – Ensemble Design (set, costume, lighting)

Outstanding Artistic Creation
Kayla Dunbar – Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play” – Carousel Theatre for Young People

Outstanding Production
Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play” – Carousel Theatre for Young People

Significant Artistic Achievement
Jack and the Magic Bean – Presentation House Theatre – Outstanding risky and improvised audience engagement

Additional Awards

Outstanding Original Script
David Paquet – Le Soulier (The Shoe) – Théâtre la Seizième

Critic’s Choice Innovation Award
Lysistrata – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award
Heather Redfern and The Cultch

Patron of the Arts Award
Grant Burnyeat

Mary Phillips Prize for Behind the Scenes Achievement
Stephane Kirkland

Sam Payne Award for the Most Promising Newcomer
Taran Kootenhayoo

John Moffat & Larry Lilo Prize
Andrew Wheeler

GVPTA Career Achievement Award
David Diamond

Sydney Risk Prize
Kamloopa by Kim Senklip Harvey

Colin Campbell Award for Excellence in Technical Theatre
Adrian  Muir

Ray Michal Prize for Most Promising New Director
Marie Farsi