Maggie Bassett Award 2012

We are thrilled to announce that Theatre Ontario’s Maggie Bassett Award for 2012 shall be presented to Dave Carley.  The award, for a sustained and significant contribution by an individual to the development of theatre in Ontario, recognizes Dave’s generosity, mentorship, and artistic and professional achievements.

“Once again, we were impressed by the very high calibre of the nominations for this year’s Maggie Bassett Award,” said Leonard McHardy, Chair of the Award Jury.  “The nomination for Dave Carley stood out for many reasons, but particularly for the passionate words of support from the many people whom he has touched as an artist, and inspired as a teacher.  Dave’s selfless contribution to theatre in communities across Ontario won the unanimous support of the Jury, and we are sure Maggie would applaud this recognition.”

Dave_CarleyDave Carley is a Peterborough-born and raised, Toronto-based playwright.  He has created a body of work that “speaks to and for Ontarians,” with world premieres in Toronto, Ottawa, Blyth, Hamilton, London, Brampton, Picton, Fergus, and (of course) Peterborough.  He has had over four hundred productions across Canada, the United States, and in many countries around the world.  Some of his works include Writing with our Feet, After You, The Edible Woman, Taking Liberties, and Walking On Water.  He has been nominated for Chalmers Awards, Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and Governor General’s Literary Awards, and his body of work was recognized with the prestigious Arthur Miller Playwriting Award.  He was the former editor at the Playwrights Union of Canada (now Playwrights Guild of Canada), Play Editor for Scirocco Drama, and Playwright-in-Residence at both the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the Shaw Festival.  He served on the Board of Cahoots Theatre Company, and is described as “invaluable” in the formation of Peterborough’s New Stages Theatre Company.

His first exposure to theatre was at the Peterborough Theatre Guild, which premiered his musical Susanna.  He remains a keen supporter of community and educational theatre, encouraging young playwrights to get involved with amateur groups and see plays at the community level, and he is—as Glenda MacFarlane, one of his nominators, observed—“as keenly interested in a high school production of one of his plays as if it was being performed Off-Broadway!”  His legacy as a mentor has been praised by both playwrights and playwriting teachers for his skill in giving feedback to emerging playwrights while supporting their distinctive voices.

The award will be presented to Dave on October 22nd in Mississauga at Playwrights Guild of Canada’s annual awards event.  “We’re very excited to be able to host the presentation of Theatre Ontario’s Maggie Bassett Award and share in this celebration of  a playwright who has contributed so significantly to theatre in Ontario,” said Robin Sokoloski, Executive Director of Playwrights Guild of Canada.

“I feel very honoured to receive this award,” said Dave.  “I have always been deeply grateful for the many artists who have encouraged my own development over the years, including two seminal figures at the very start of my journey—Robert Weaver and Margaret Laurence.  One of the great pleasures of my subsequent career in stage and radio drama has been working with other theatre artists and, whenever possible, encouraging them to persevere in bringing their own acts of imagination to the page, stage and airwaves.”

Theatre Ontario’s Maggie Bassett Award is presented to an individual who, over a number of years, has made a sustained and significant contribution to the development of theatre in Ontario.  As Theatre Ontario’s first employee, the late Maggie Bassett created a solid foundation for the organization by launching the Professional Theatre Training Program, Summer Courses, and the newsletter.  Her love for the arts held no barriers between community, professional or educational theatre.  Maggie was also a fine director and actress and performed at Tarragon Theatre, Huron County Playhouse, and at the Alumnae Theatre.  For many years, she attended all regional festivals.  She was known for her warmth, humour, sparkle and the sincere encouragement she bestowed on those around her.  This award is for dedication to theatre beyond the call of duty.  The award is a stunning bronze statuette entitled “COURAGE”, designed by Rita Tuckett and sculpted by Ronald Thom.

Past recipients of Theatre Ontario’s Maggie Bassett Award are Ken Watts, Elsie Thomson, Jean Roberts, Herbert Whittaker, Heather McCallum, Herman Voaden, Dennis Sweeting, Jack Medhurst, Jack Blacklock, Sandy Black, Patricia Beharriell, Wilf Pegg, Virginia Reh, Lib Spry, Wayne Fairhead, Richard Howard, Dusty Miller, Kay McKie, Beth McMaster, Sandra Tulloch, Jeff Burke, James Alexander, Ron Cameron-Lewis, Angela Rebeiro, Kim Renders, Yvette Nolan, Alex Mustakas, Don Fleckser, and Diana Belshaw.

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For more information about the 2012 Maggie Bassett Award, please contact Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator, at brandon@theatreontario.org or 416.408.4556 x.15

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