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Gina Wilkinson Prize nominee shortlist announced today

Media Release #7

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, March 1, 2013 . . . The committee for the 2013 Gina Wilkinson Prize is pleased to announce the short list of nominees for the second annual prize: Krista Jackson of Winnipeg, Tanja Jacobs of Toronto, Meg Roe of Vancouver and Jan Alexandra Smith of Port Hope, Ontario.

Krista Jackson spent last season with the Shaw Festival in the Neil Munro Intern Directors Project where she assisted on Misalliance, His Girl Friday and Hedda Gabler and directed members of the ensemble in FourPlay — a combination of two shorts from the mandate for her Directors Project submission. She is artistic director of zone41 theatre in Winnipeg. Upcoming directing engagements include Carolyn Gray’s modern comedy inspired by Moliere’s The Miser (a co-production with Theatre Projects Manitoba) and Manitoba Theatre Centre’s centrepiece production of The Seagull for next year’s Master Playwright Festival, ChekhovFest. Krista came to directing from an acting career that began with Manitoba Theatre Centre’s 1986 production of Brighton Beach Memoirs. She is so pleased to be shortlisted for the second time for a prize that honours her friend and mentor Gina Wilkinson.

An award-winning actress, director, creator and teacher, Tanja Jacobs has had an extensive career, working at theatres across Canada with many of this country’s foremost artists. Recent companies include Crow’s Theatre, Necessary Angel, National Arts Centre, Theatre Columbus, Soulpepper, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Mirvish Productions, Caravan Farm Theatre, Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Neptune Theatre, Canadian Stage and the Shaw Festival. For her work as an actress in Toronto, Tanja has received eleven Dora nominations and two awards. Her directing credits include new works for SummerWorks, Toronto Fringe, the Buzz Festival and Rhubarb! Festival. She has been a guest teacher, mentor and director at the National Theatre School, University of Toronto, George Brown Theatre School and Humber Theatre. Last year, Tanja was the Artist-in-Residence at Crow’s Theatre as an Associate Artist. Most recently, she was associate director to Chris Abraham for Crow’s production of Kristen Thomson’s extraordinary new play Someone Else. She is currently directing The Seagull in a version by Martin Crimp at the National Theatre School. With her collaborator Philip McKee, Tanja is creating an adaptation of The Oresteia through a residency at the Theatre Centre. She also has a great interest in creating work based on personal memory and narrative with groups outside the professional theatre. This spring, she will continue to develop a project with a group of elderly women from Afghanistan and a group of grade six girls, working title: The Grandmother Project.

Meg Roe’s work as an actor, director and sound designer has appeared across the country at Canadian Stage, Factory Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Bard on the Beach, Theatre Junction, Citadel Theatre, Ruby Slippers Theatre, Electric Company Theatre, Blackbird

Theatre, Theatre Aquarius, Arts Club, Belfry Theatre, Theatre SKAM, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Intrepid Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse, Western Canada Theatre, National Arts Centre, Centaur Theatre, the American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco), Center Theater Group (Los Angeles) and with Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM (Frankfurt).

Jan Alexandra Smith was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, then moved to Edmonton, Alberta at age 16. Trained for a career in acting at the University of Alberta, she took a three-year hiatus from her studies to join the original Canadian cast of Les Miserables. She later returned to U of A and completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. Shortly after graduation, Jan joined the Shaw Festival as both a musical theatre and dramatic actress for six seasons. She returned to Edmonton and established a solid relationship as lead actress with the Citadel Theatre. During her years in Edmonton, she choreographed for the FreeWill Shakespeare Festival, the Citadel and Mayfield Suites. She subsequently directed and choreographed Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for the Mayfield. After 21 years on stage, Jan has increasingly pursued both choreography and direction to enhance and expand her evolution as a theatre professional. She has since directed an award nominated production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, two productions for Vertigo Theatre (Calgary), productions for Lunchbox Theatre, Thousand Islands Playhouse and the Capitol Arts Center. She is currently directing Theatre Calgary’s production of God of Carnage.

These four nominees were chosen from an impressive and varied list of nineteen women from across the country, each nominated by a respected artist from within the Canadian theatre community. The committee found the deliberation very difficult as the calibre of the nominees’ passion and vision was so high.

The Gina Wilkinson Prize is an annual award that has been established in the name of Gina Wilkinson who passed away in late 2010 due to an aggressive cancer. Gina spent the first 20 years of her career as an actor, but in the latter years of her too-short life emerged as one of Canada’s brightest directors. The Gina Wilkinson Prize was established through the generous support of her colleagues and admirers from across the country. The annual prize of $2,000 is intended to honour a female theatre artist who is making the transition from one theatre discipline to that of directing.

The 2013 winner of the Gina Wilkinson Prize will be announced on Gina’s birthday, March 10. Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to the Gina Wilkinson Prize can do so through the Ontario Arts Foundation at http://www.ontarioartsfoundation.on.ca/.

Visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to acquire an image of Krista Jackson to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222
odette@shawfest.com

For more information about the Gina Wilkinson Prize, please contact:

Tom Rooney
519-305-0082
tadrooney@yahoo.ca

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