Playwrights Guild of Canada Announces Winners of 2015 Tom Hendry Awards

(TORONTO, ON – Monday, October 26, 2015) – Last night, the winners of the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Carol Bolt Award for Playwrights, PGC Emerging Playwright Award, Stage West Pechet Family Comedy and Musical Awards were announced at the Tom Hendry Awards ceremony at The Arts & Letters Club (14 Elm Street), Toronto.

Carol Bolt Award Winner – Jordan Tannahill

Presented for the best work premiered by a PGC-member in the past year, the 2015 Carol Bolt Award was bestowed on Jordan Tannahill for Concord Floral. Jury: Colleen Murphy (Chair), Kim Blackwell, Jessica Carmichael, and Guy Sprung.

Sponsored by: Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre, Playwrights Theatre Centre, Saskatchewan Playwrights' Centre, Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, Playwrights Canada Press, and Playwrights Guild of Canada

PGC Emerging Playwright Award Winner – Rafael Antonio Renderos

Presented to the best play by a PGC-member who is an emerging playwright, the 2015 Emerging Playwright Award was given to Rafael Antonio Renderos for Salvador. Jury: Darrin Hagen, Ruth Lawrence, and Joseph Recinos.

Sponsored by: The RBC Emerging Artists Fund

Stage West Pechet Family Musical Award Winner – Jay Turvey & Paul Sportelli

Presented annually to a PGC-member for best musical in development, the 2015 Family Musical Award was given to Jay Turvey & Paul Sportelli for 33 1/3. Jury: Reza Jacobs (Chair), Leslie Arden, Mitchell Marcus, and Jan Taylor.

Sponsored by: Stage West

Stage West Pechet Family Comedy Award Winner – Lorne Elliott

Presented annually to a PGC-member for best comedy in development, the 2015 Family Comedy Award was bestowed on Lorne Elliott for Mom Runs Amok. Jury: Drew Carnwath (Chair), Natasha MacLellan, Nicolle Trixie Nattrass, and Ruth Smilie.

Sponsored by: Stage West

Winning Play Synopses:

Carol Bolt Award for Playwrights:

Concord Floral by Jordan Tannahill - Concord Floral is a million square foot abandoned greenhouse and a hangout for neighbourhood kids. But something has happened there. Something that nobody can talk about. And when two friends stumble upon the terrible secret buried there, they set off a chain of events that can’t be stopped. Concord Floral re-imagines Giovanni Boccaccio’s medieval allegory The Decameron in a contemporary Toronto suburb, in which ten teens must flee a mysterious plague they have brought upon themselves.

Playwrights Guild of Canada Emerging Playwright Award:

Salvador by Rafael Antonio Renderos – Challenging entrenched ideas of masculinity and governmental policies on gay rights, Salvador: A Latin-Canadian Fantasia follows a young man tumbling into a world of magic and brutality as he flees from a broken heart, searching for connection and self-acceptance. Based in part on an interview with activist and co-founder of Asociación Entre Amigos, Joaquín Cáceres, Salvador is an ode to courage and the mythic reach of love.

Stage West Pechet Family Musical Award:

33 1/3 by Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli33 1/3 is about lying on your bedroom floor in 1974 and listening to records. It’s about the LP as salvation. Jules and his best friend Jill escape the doldrums of small-town life by listening to the music of Joni Mitchell and her contemporaries. Francis, a rebellious gay man enters their lives, and things begin to shift. Jules’ father grapples with his son’s coming-out and Jill turns her attention to Victor, a delinquent student from a troubled home. All four young people experience a tumultuous New Year’s Eve; Jules makes a decision that changes all their lives.

Stage West Pechet Family Comedy Award:

Mom Runs Amok by Lorne Elliott Mom Runs Amok is a comedy about cabin fever and politics and how this dangerous mixture can allow things to get way out of hand. Mom wants to go to Ottawa to punch somebody, Jimmy, her son wants to stop her from doing that, complications multiply when everybody shows up at the office of Chaz Cleary, Member of Parliament.

Playwright Bios:

Jordan Tannahill is a theatre director, playwright, and filmmaker recently hailed by The Globe and Mail as "the poster child for a new generation of artists for whom "interdisciplinary" is not a buzz word by a way of life.” Tannahill received a 2014 Governor General's Award for his book Age of Minority: 3 Solo Plays, and Dora Awards in 2013 and 2015 for his plays rihannaboi95 and Concord Floral. His films have been exhibited around the world at venues including the British Film Institute, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Toronto International Film Festival. His book Theatre of the Unimpressed was published by Coach House Press in 2015. Along with William Ellis, Tannahill runs Videofag, a storefront art space operated out of their home in Kensington Market. Upcoming productions include Late Company at The Theatre Centre this November, Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom at Canadian Stage in April 2016, and Marienbad, a new dance work with Christopher House for the Toronto Dance Theatre in May 2016.

Rafael Antonio Renderos – Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in small-town Saskatchewan, Rafael spent his formative years creating elaborate disaster film scenarios with Lego. This flair for the dramatic led to two years at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, BC, where he fell in love with the writing process. Through his company We Heart Heartbeats, Rafael produced and starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and mounted his first full-length play Entropy Reigns (In the Celestial City). After moving to Toronto, Rafael shifted his focus to screenwriting, helping to create Miss Persona and the Marvelous Melodies and writing and directing Atop Coat Mountain. Rafael presented a workshop of his second play Salvador: A Latin-Canadian Fantasia at the 2014 Toronto Fringe Festival, thanks to the TD Culturally Diverse Artists Project. Salvador was selected for the frank theatre's national play reading series in Vancouver, Clean Sheets 2014, where the piece gained dramaturgical insight from Richard Wolfe, artistic director of Pi Theatre. Salvador has gone on to place second in the Uprising National Playwriting Competition as well as receiving an honourable mention in the Herman Voaden Playwriting Competition. Recently Rafael took part in Soulpepper's Playwrights Circle led by Guillermo Verdecchia where he began his third play Rope Running Out. This year, Rafael was part of the SummerWorks Leadership Intensive Program, mentored by Ryan G. Hinds and he will begin writing Las Arias de la Migración, the second in a planned El Salvador cycle, as part of Cahoots Theatre's Hot House Creators Unit.

Jay Turvey & Paul Sportelli have written seven musicals: LITTLE MERCY’S FIRST MURDER (with playwright/lyricist Morwyn Brebner; Tarragon Theatre, Toronto, 2003; seven Dora Awards, including Outstanding New Musical; Touchstone Theatre, Vancouver, 2005; Ground Zero Theatre, Calgary, 2006), TRISTAN (Shaw Festival, 2007), STEP RIGHT UP! (with playwright/co-lyricist Eric Woolfe, Theatre Orangeville, 2008), MARIA SEVERA (Shaw Festival, 2011; European premiere: Panstwowa Wyzsza Szkola Theater, Krakow, Poland, 2011, in a Polish translation), NOBODY TOLD ME, a cycle of songs (Berkeley Street Theatre, Toronto, 2009), ORACLE (Summerworks Musical Works in Concert, Toronto, 2011), and most recently, 33 1/3, which was part of the Canadian Musical Theatre Project at Sheridan College this year. Recordings include two albums of original pop music: j-paul (1998) and the story of my life (2001), as well as cast recordings of TRISTAN (2007) and MARIA SEVERA (2011), available on iTunes and CD Baby. Songs featured at Blame Canada concert (St. James Theater, London, England, 2015) and at In Tune Musical Theater Conference (Vancouver, 2015). Paul has been the Music Director of the Shaw Festival since 1998, and Toronto credits as a musical director include BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, MISS SAIGON, LES MISERABLES, and ASPECTS OF LOVE, as well as productions at Soulpepper, Canadian Stage, and Acting Up Stage. Jay has directed at the Shaw Festival and Talk is Free Theatre, and Jay's acting credits include Toronto productions of THE LION KING, MISS SAIGON, LES MISERABLES, CATS, as well as two seasons at the Stratford Festival and fifteen seasons at the Shaw Festival.

Lorne Elliott – Canadian born LORNE ELLIOTT has performed from Newfoundland to New York City, from Los Angeles to Australia and points in between. Lorne started performing in 1974 as a folk musician in Newfoundland. At the same time he wrote fiction, as well as songs and monologues. From 1978 to 1982, he teamed up with Nfld artist Kevin Blackmore as the group Free Beer, which toured extensively in Nfld and the Maritime provinces. Since 1982 he has written, directed and produced his one-man concert shows The Lorne Elliott Comedy Show: "The Collected Mistakes" in constantly updated scripts, which he regularly tours on the stages of North American Theatres. As well as being a humourist, storyteller and musician, Lorne is also a playwright. One of his plays, The Night The Racoons Went Berserk, won the Best New Play Award at the Quebec Drama Festival in 1983 and it was produced at the Charlottetown Theatre Festival in 1986 along with Culture Shock, another comedy of his which was also produced in 1987, 1988 and 1989 when it was filmed by CBC TV. Since then, it keeps being produced across Canada. Part of The Pelley Papers, a cycle of plays he wrote, was premiered at Upper Canada Playhouse in September 1995. Another play, Tourist Trap, was premiered in August 2000 at Theatre On The Grand in Fergus (Ontario) and it has had several productions across Canada since then. A Pitiful Ambition was workshopped in September 2005 in Ontario while another play, How I Broke Into Showbiz was produced in 2005 in PEI and in 2015 in Quebec. In 2009, he wrote Culture Shock – The Musical, which was premiered at Stephenville Theatre Festival. As well, Acorn Press in PEI published Lorne’s first book The Fixer-Upper, a novella based on his play Tourist Trap. The stage play version is now also titled The Fixer-Upper and it was produced at Grand Bank Festival Theatre (Nfld) in 2011 and in Trinity Festival By The Bay in 2012. His latest stage play is a musical titled Jamie Rowsell Lives. It won the 2012 Playwrights Guild of Canada Award for New Musical play. It was workshopped in Nov. 2012 in Newfoundland. His novel Beach Reading was published in 2013. His latest novel The Goat in the Tree was published in March 2014. He has also written screenplays and TV Comedies, skits and revues. For CBC he did TV Comedy Variety shows, among others What Else is On and Lorne Elliott's Really Rather Quite Half-Decent TV Special. For 11 seasons, Madly Off In All Directions was Lorne's own CBC Radio Comedy Series, which went on till Fall 2006.