Patrick O'Neill Award/ Le prix Patrick O'Neill

The Patrick O’Neill Award will be given each year to the best edited collection published in either English or French on a Canadian theatre and performance topic. The award is given in alternate years to a play anthology (odd years) and an essay collection (even years). Collections from the previous two years are eligible in each cycle.

Le prix Patrick O’Neill récompense chaque année le meilleur ouvrage collectif traitant de théâtre ou de performance au Canada et publié en français ou en anglais. Le prix est attribué en alternance soit à un recueil de pièces (années impaires), soit à un recueil d’articles (années paires). Les ouvrages des deux années précédentes sont admissibles au prix.

2017 Winner:

Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi, eds. Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2016.

In confronting the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas, Orlov and Sabawi take up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or what they call “one of the last remaining thematic taboos” (xiii). In strong language they call out Western theatres, including those in Canada, for not producing plays on the topic: “a silent de facto boycott,” they write, that contributes to Jewish and Palestinian playwrights employing self-censorship to protect their own careers. The jointly written preface by the editors and the two introductions by invited playwrights offer words that are tense and urgent, while Postscript Reflections for each play, written by the playwrights themselves, underpin each story’s urgency and depth. As committee member Moira Day says, “This massive 534-page anthology composed of seven full-length plays is timely, disturbing, and edgy in its political, theatrical, and dramatic dimensions.” The Committee agreed that these plays, some of which have already achieved international acclaim, are compelling reads with, in committee member VK Preston’s words, “occasionally devastating content.” Congratulations to Stephen Orlov, Samah Sabawi, and your contributors, and to Playwrights Canada Press for having the forethought and bravery to publish this collection.

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En confrontant les diasporas juive et palestinienne, Orlov et Sabawi abordent le conflit israélo-palestinien, ou ce qu’ils nomment « l’un des derniers tabous thématiques » (xiii). De façon ferme, ils déplorent que les théâtres occidentaux, y compris ceux du Canada, ne produisent pas de spectacles sur le sujet ; il s’agit d’un véritable « boycott de facto silencieux », écrivent-ils, qui fait en sorte que les dramaturges juifs et palestiniens pratiquent l’autocensure afin de protéger leur carrière. La préface rédigée par les responsables de l’ouvrage ainsi que les deux introductions que signent des dramaturges invités offrent des paroles mêlant tension et urgence, alors que les réflexions offertes en guise de post-scriptum à chaque pièce, produites par les dramaturges eux-mêmes, étayent l’urgence et la profondeur de chaque histoire. Selon Moira Day, « Composée de sept pièces complètes, cette massive anthologie de 534 pages tombe à point nommé, elle est troublante et audacieux, tant dans sa dimensions politique, théâtrale que dramatique ». Le Comité croit également que ces pièces, dont certaines ont déjà été acclamées à l’échelle internationale, sont incontournables de par « leur contenu parfois ravageur » (VK Preston). Félicitations à Stephen Orlov, à Samah Sabawi et à leurs collaborateurs, ainsi qu’à Playwrights Canada Press pour avoir la prévoyance et la bravoure dont ils font preuve en publiant ce collectif.

2017 Honourable Mention:

Dalbir Singh, ed. Performing Back: Post-Colonial Canadian Plays. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2016. 

Performing Back showcases Singh’s excellent editorial discernment and rigour. Jill Carter, Peter Dickinson, and Shelley Liebembuk supply superb individual introductions to this trilogy of plays by Yvette Nolan; Donna-Michelle St. Bernard; and Marcus Youssef, Guillermo Verdecchia, and Camyar Chai. This is, as VK notes, “a necessary volume organized by powerful ideas and interventions” that will find a place on our syllabi immediately. Performing Back was one of two nominated anthologies edited by Singh that the Committee reviewed this year, which is impressive on its own. Congratulations to Dalbir and his contributors!

2017 O'Neill Committee: Robin Whittaker (Chair), Moira Day, VK Preston


Past Winners

2016 - Jan Selman and Jane Heather. Theatre, Teens, Sex Ed: Are We There Yet. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2015.

2016 (Honorable Mention) - David Dean, Yana Meerzon et Kathryn Prince (eds.), History, Memory, and Performance. Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.

2015 - Natalie Alvarez, ed. Fronteras Vivientes: Eight Latino/a Canadian Plays. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2013.

2014 - Natalie Alvarez, ed. Latina/o: Canadian Theatre and Performance. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2013.

2014 - (Honorable Mention) Roberta Barker and Kim Solga, eds. New Canadian Realisms: New Essays on Canadian Theatre. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2012.

2014 - (Honorable Mention) Judith Rudakoff, ed. TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: An Unreasonable Body of Work. Intellect, 2012.

2013 - Roberta Barker and Kim Solga, eds. New Canadian Realisms: Eight Plays. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2012.

2013 - (Honorable mention) Kamal Al-Solaylee, ed. Tonight at the Tarragon: A Critic's Anthology. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2011.

2013 - (Honorable mention) Dennis Johnson, ed. Grassroots: Original Plays from Ontario Community Theatres. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2011.

2012 - Nina Lee Aquino and Ric Knowles, eds. Asian Canadian Theatre. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2011.

2011 - Louise Forsyth, ed. Anthology of Quebec Women’s Plays in English Translation. Vol III (1997-2009). Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2010.

2011 - (Honourable Mention) André Bourassa, ed. La Trilogie inachevée. Montreal: L’instant scene, 2010.

2011 - (Honourable Mention) Cynthia Zimmerman, ed. Reading Carol Bolt.. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2010.