Robert G. Lawrence Scholarship/ La bourse Robert G. Lawrence

The Robert G. Lawrence Scholarship was established in 2016 by the CATR, with the generous support of Mrs. Robert G. Lawrence, to honour the memory and contribution of a valued member and friend of the Association. The scholarship is non-restrictive in research area; it can be awarded to projects that situate theatre or performance in international or transnational contexts or for projects that focus on Canadian theatre or performance, including pre- and post-Confederation, Indigenous, intercultural, and diasporic theatre or performance. To learn more about Robert Lawrence's contributions to the association and field, please read the following tribute.

La bourse Robert G. Lawrence a été instituée en 2016 par l’ACRT, avec le généreux concours de l’épouse de feu Robert G. Lawrence, pour honorer la mémoire et l’apport d’un des membres et amis les plus estimés de l’Association. La bourse n’est pas restreinte aux recherches menées dans un champ en particulier. Elle peut être attribuée à des projets situant le théâtre ou la représentation en contexte international ou transnational tout autant qu’à des projets centrés sur l’art dramatique au Canada, par exemple avant ou après la Confédération, des thématiques autochtones, interculturelles ou mettant en scène des diasporas.

Deadline: May 1, 2019. See here for more details

2018 Winner: 

Natalie Doonan, “Montreal’s Coney Island in 360°: More-than-Human Participation in the Greatest Show on Earth.”

Dr. Doonan’s question research question “how can immersive video transform perception of urban wilderness environments?” has prompted her to develop research and creative work. While her planning and creative work provides one response to that question, enacting the project and bridging the theoretical and practical are essential for understanding how spectators will answer her question. That the project is ambitious but precise in its scope, and that the project has the potential to have a life beyond the performance are reasons why Dr. Doonan’s research was so appealing to the scholarship committee.

The scholarship committee was impressed by Dr. Doonan’s training, past successes with similar projects, and her detailed budget demonstrating support from other institutions and her community.  It is exciting to know that the project will have three iterations that will each allow access to Dr. Doonan’s research findings: live performance, web performance, and a book.

The committee was also intrigued by the variety of performative, theoretical, and methodological elements Dr. Doonan’s project brings into play. Not only will the project include sophisticated use of reasonably affordable digital technologies, including sound recording, geo-tracking, and virtual reality, but Dr. Doonan also combines cutting edge research in spectator experience, environmental studies, food ecology, and community engagement. She explains that the site specific performance will foster “encounters between plants, humans, and other animals” and will “bring together the voices of citizen-activists, foragers, fish and plant biologists, fisherpeople, hunters, and historians,” provoking a rethinking of the Verdun Waterfront as a place of encounter, environmental damage, spectacle, and urban wilderness. This project brings a range of research practices into play: performance-based creative inquiry, oral history, archival and community history, ecology, and environmental science. The committee also appreciated that it encourages spectator-participants to experience the performance and to become researchers as they connect with space.

Dr. Doonan’s referee notes that this project “realizes a new frontier of performance” because it engages with “potential to take performance outside of traditional theatre spaces, making it more ‘in situ’ while also destabilizing traditional notions of spectator/audience, allowing for a more participatory experience.”  They also note the self-reflexive aspect of Doonan’s performance research, saying that it will “turn the Verdun waterfront into a performance space about itself.” The CATR scholarship committee believes that the project may go even further, allowing audiences to connect through experience that is about themselves, as human-animals, engaging with an urban wilderness space.

2019 Lawrence Scholarship Committee: Emily Rollie (Chair)

Past Winners

2017 - Seika Boye

2016 - Aaron Franks