Maggie Bassett Award 2011

Theatre Ontario is thrilled to announce that the 2011 Maggie Bassett Award shall be presented to Diana Belshaw.  The award, for a sustained and significant contribution to the development of theatre in Ontario, recognizes Diana’s vision, passion and natural fight for excellence.

As Co-ordinator of the Theatre Performance Program at Humber College since 2000, Diana has established what Andy McKim, Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille, calls a “jewel in our Ontario stable of conservatory acting programs.”  Humber’s program is recognized for the quality of its graduates, its strong connections to the professional theatre sector and its artists, and its attention to developing students’ entrepreneurial skills—needed by today’s professional artists.  As her colleague Paul de Jong, the program’s Head of Voice, describes, “she wanted to train actor/creators—artists who had the tools to articulate, produce and promote their own artistic vision for the world.”

In the 1990s, as Professional Theatre Coordinator at Theatre Ontario, she developed Showcase—the presentation of the graduates from post-secondary theatre programs before an invited audience of artistic directors, freelance directors, casting and talent agents.  Diana also helped found the Acting and Modelling Information Service, an organization that was instrumental in developing the Entertainment Industry Coalition’s Code of Ethics for agents, to deal with the problems of unethical talent, modelling and background agencies.

As an actor and director for over forty years, she has worked at theatres across Canada including Blyth Festival, the National Arts Centre, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Necessary Angel, Centaur Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Persephone Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, and Vancouver Playhouse.

The award will be presented to Diana on May 22nd in Richmond Hill at the awards brunch for the 2011 Theatre Ontario Festival.  “The nominations for this year's Maggie Bassett Award were all of an exceptionally high calibre,” said Leonard McHardy, Chair of the Maggie Bassett Award Jury.  “The unanimous choice of Diana Belshaw to receive the Award recognizes her passionate vision which contributes to the creation of a vibrant and nurturing environment which connects both theatre and theatre artists to the community.”

“This award is very special to me for many reasons,” Diana said.  “I have been very blessed by being able to work with artists, educators, administrators, people of all backgrounds and ages, throughout my career—and they continue to teach me how important the theatre is to all of us as a culture and as individuals. The making of theatre embodies and illuminates the very best in all of us. It teaches me humility and privilege daily—humility to serve an art form that gives voice to our common stories, and privilege to have been part of so many theatre communities for almost fifty years! Thank you—and thank you, Theatre Ontario, for linking us together so resolutely for so many years.”

Read more about the Maggie Bassett Award

For information about attending the Awards Brunch, please contact Brandon Moore at brandon@theatreontario.org or 416.408.4556 x.15.

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