Richard Plant Award/ Le prix Richard Plant

Named in honour of the association’s co-founder and a prolific contributor to Canadian theatre scholarship, this award is given annually to the best English-language article on a Canadian theatre or performance topic.

Nommé en l’honneur d’un des cofondateurs de l’Association, ce prix est remis chaque année au meilleur article de langue anglaise traitant de théâtre ou de performance au Canada.

Deadline: January 15, 2018. See here for more.

2017 Winner: 

Dylan Robinson, “Welcoming Sovereignty,” in Performing Indigeneity, ed. Yvette Nolan and Ric Knowles (Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2016): 5-32.

Near the beginning of this eloquent, passionate, and highly innovative article, Dylan Robinson comments that “all writing is addressed to specific and general audiences.” What in many essays might be a bland truism here becomes a shaping principle, as Robinson challenges himself and his readers more deeply to consider the ethical positions they can and should take in relation to the crucial issues he raises. He sets out “to examine the degree to which Indigenous sovereignty is constituted through gestures of welcome that take place in spaces of transit and gathering.” To this end, he explores a fascinating range of public performances through a sophisticated and illuminating theoretical lens—but he also does much more. The essay is itself a powerfully performative “act of gathering, of gathering strength and acknowledging Indigenous voices and bodies, rather than a container for Indigenous content.” Through a viscerally effective use of form, Robinson invites Indigenous and settler readers to live their very different relationships to questions of Indigenous sovereignty. By distinguishing sections of the essay intended for a general audience from those that are “sovereign space, written for Indigenous readers,” he obliges his varied audiences to acknowledge their own positionalities and responsibilities as readers and citizens. In the process, he deepens our sense of the performative and political potential of writing and reading themselves. Uncompromising, unsettling, and compulsively engaging, Dylan Robinson’s path-breaking essay richly merits the Richard Plant Award for 2016.


Vers le début de cet article hautement innovateur, passionné et éloquent, Dylan Robinson affirme que « toute écriture interpelle des publics généraux et spécifiques ». Ce qui pourrait être dans de nombreux essais un truisme banal devient ici un principe de base au fur et à mesure que Robinson soulève pour lui-même et le lectorat le défi de piocher profondément dans le but de reconnaître les positions éthiques qu’on peut et qu’on doit assumer en face des enjeux urgents qu’il soulève. Il prend comme point de départ « l’étude du degré auquel la souveraineté indigène est constituée par des gestes d’accueil qui se produisent dans des espaces de passage et de rassemblement. » À cette fin, il explore une gamme fascinante de performances publiques en se servant d’une lentille théorique éclairante et sophistiqué. Ce n’est pas tout. Il va encore plus loin. L’essai est en lui-même un acte puissamment performatif de « ramasser, ramasser la force et de reconnaître les corps et les voix Indigènes, plutôt que d’être le contenant de contenu Indigène. » En se servant d’une forme viscéralement efficace, Robinson invite les lecteurs et lectrices indigènes et colonisateurs/colonisatrices à vivre leurs rapports très distincts aux questions de la souveraineté indigène. Son approche, qui fait la distinction entre les sections à l’intention d’un auditoire général et celles qui sont « l’espace souverain, écrites pour un lectorat indigène », oblige ses divers publics à reconnaître leurs propres positionnements et responsabilités en tant que lecteurs/lectrices et citoyennes/citoyens. En cours de route, il rend encore plus profond notre sens du potentiel politique et performatif des actes mêmes d’écrire et de lire. Sans compromis, dérangeant, et irrésistiblement séduisant, l’essai iconoclaste de Dylan Robinson mérite richement le Prix Richard Plant pour 2016.

Honourable Mention: 

Jill Carter, “The Physics of the Mola: W/Riting Indigenous Resurgence on the Contemporary Stage,” Modern Drama 59.1 (Spring 2016): 1-25.

In this exquisitely written article, Jill Carter sheds new light on the ground-breaking work of Spiderwoman Theatre and of Monique Mojica and the Chocolate Woman Collective, showing how these artists are “mining their nations’ knowledge systems for the material with which to construct singularly Indigenous, nation-specific works.” Her focus falls particularly on the role of the mola, a “form of textile art specific to Guna Yala” that actively directs the dramaturgy of such performances as Mojica’s Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way. Bringing Guna knowledge systems into dialogue with physics and object studies, Carter offers a moving and challenging “lesson in meaning that runs outside the line of vision.”


La qualité de l’écriture dans cet article n’est rien de moins qu’exquise. Jill Carter y ouvre une nouvelle perspective sur Spiderwoman Theatre et sur Monique Mojica et Le Chocolate Woman Collective. Elle met en lumière la façon dont ces artistes « font des fouilles dans les systèmes du savoir de leur nation afin de mettre au jour le matériel avec lequel elles seront en mesure de construire des œuvres spécifiquement indigènes qui reflètent leur nation en particulier. Son focus se dirige surtout sur le rôle de la mola, « forme de l’art textile appartenant au Guna Yala », qui sous-tend directement la dramaturgie de performances comme Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way de Mojica. En créant un dialogue entre les systèmes du savoir Guna et les études d’objets et la physique, Carter illustre la signification émouvante et de taille « qui se développe hors de la ligne de vision ».

2017 Committee: Roberta Barker, Heather Fitzsimmons Frey, Benjamin Gillespie

Past Winners

2016Jill Carter. "Discarding Sympathy, Disrupting Catharsis: The Mortification of Indigenous Flesh as Survivance-Intervention." Theatre Journal 67.3 (2015): 413-32.

2015 - Roberta Barker. "The Gallant Invalid: The Stage Consumptive and the Making of a Canadian Myth" TRIC / RTAC 35.1 (2014)

2014 - VK Preston and Alanna Thain. "Tendering the Flesh: the ABCs of Dave St-Pierre's Contemporary Utopias" TDR 57.4 (2013)

2014 - (Honorable Mention) Ric Knowles and Jess Riley. "Aluna Theatre's Nohayquiensepa: The Intermedial Intercultural and the Limits of Empathy" Latina/o Canadian Theatre and Performance, Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2013.

2013 - Natalie Alvarez. "Realisms of Redress: Alameda Theatre and the Formation of a Latina/o Canadian Theatre and Politics" New Canadian Realisms Toronto:Playwrights Canada, 2012.

2013 - Louis Patrick Leroux.  “From langue to body — the quest for the ‘real’ in Québécois theatre.”New Canadian Realisms Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2012.

2012 - Glen Nichols. “Identity in Performance in Carol Shields’s Stage Plays” West-Words: Celebrating Western Canadian Theatre and Playwrighting.

2012 - (Honorable Mention) Christine Kim. “Performing Asian Canadian Intimacy: Theatre Replacement’s Bioboxes and Awkward Multiculturalism” Asian Canadian Theatre. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2011.

2011 - Barry Freeman. “Navigating the Prague-Toronto-Manitoulin Theatre Project: A Postmodern Ethnographic Approach to Collaborative Intercultural Theatre.”TRIC 30.1-2 (2009): 58-81.

2011 - Yana Meerzon. “The Exilic Teens: On the Intracultural Encounters in Wajdi Mouawad’s Theatre.”TRIC 30.1-2 (2009): 82-110.

2010 - Laura Levin. “Can the City Speak? Site-Specific Art After Poststructuralism.”Performance and the City. Eds. D.J. Hopkins, Shelley Orr and Kim Solga. London: Palgrave, 2009.

2009 - Kim Solga. “The Line, The Crack, and the Possibility of Architecture: Figure, Ground, Feminist Performance.” TRiC 29.1 (Spring 2008).

2009 - (Honourable mention) Julie Salverson. “Taking liberties: a theatre class of foolish witnesses.” Research in Drama Education 13.2 (June 2008).

2008 - Jennifer Drouin, “Daughters of the Carnivalized Nation in Jean-Pierre Ronfard’s Shakespearean Adaptations Lear and Vie et mort du Roi Boiteux.” TRIC 27.1 (2006).

2007 - Marlis Schweitzer. “Stepping on Stiletto: Kaleidoscope, CAPP, and Controversy.” TRIC 25. 1-2 (2004): 24-42

2007 - (Honourable mention) Jenn Stephenson. “Metatheatre and Authentication through Metonymic Compression in John Mighton’s Possible Worlds.” Theatre Journal 58.1 (March 2006): 73-93.

2006 - Rob Appleford, “Daniel David Moses: A Ghostwriter with a Vengeance,” Aboriginal Drama and Theatre, ed. Rob Appleford. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2005. 150-65.

2005 - Helen Gilbert, “Black and White and Re(a)d All Over Again: Indigenous Minstrelsy in Contemporary Canadian and Australian Theatre,” Theatre Journal 55 (2003): 679-98.

2004 - Denis Salter, “Between Wor(l)ds: LEpage’s Shakespeare Cycle,” Joseph L. Donohoe and Jane Koustas, eds. Theatre sans frontières: Essays on the Dramatic Universe of Robert Lepage. East Lansing: Michigan State UP, 2000. 191-204.

2003 - Sherrill Grace, “Creating the Girl from God’s Country: Nell Shipman and Sharon Pollock,” Canadian Literature 172 (2002): 98-117.

2002 - Patricia Badir, “‘So entirely unexpected’: The Modernist Dramaturgy of Marjorie Pickthall’s The Wood-Carver’s Wife,” Modern Drama 43.2 (Summer 2000).

2001 - Margaret Groome, “Affirmative Shakespeare at Canada’s Stratford Festival,” Essays in Theatre 17.2 (May 1999): 139-64.

2000 - Denis Salter, “Hector Willoughby Charlesworth and the Nationalization of Cultural Authority, 1890 – 1945,” Establishing Our Boundaries: English-Canadian Theatre Criticism, ed. Anton Wagner. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.

1999 - Jonathan Rittenhouse, “‘Our Granada’: The Granada Theatre, Wellington Street, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, America, the World and Me.” TRIC/RTC 18.2 (Fall 1997): 148-166.

1998 - Robert Nunn, “”Flickering Lights and Declaiming Bodies: Semiosis in Film and Theatre,”TRIC/RTC 17.2 (Fall 1996): 147-159.

1997 - Alan Filewod, “The Comintern and the Canon: Workers’ Theatre, Eight Men Speak and the Genealogy of Mise en scène,” Australasian Drama Studies 29 (Oct. 1996): 17-32.

1996 Not awarded this year.

1995 - Jennifer Harvie & Ric Knowles, “Dialogic Monologue: a Dialogue” TRIC/RTC 15 (Fall 1994):136-163;

1995 - Patrick O’Neill, “The Impact of Copyright Legislation Upon the Publication of Sheet Music in Canada, Prior to 1924,” The Journal of Canadian Studies 28.3 (Fall 1993): 105-22.

1994 - Sheila Rabillard, “Absorption, Elimination, and the Hybrid: Some Impure Questions of Gender and Culture in the Trickster Drama of Tomson Highway,” Essays in Theatre/Études théâtrales 12.1 (Nov. 1993), 3-27.

1993 - Ric Knowles, “The Dramaturgy of the Perverse,” Theatre Research International 17.3: 226-35

1992 - Robert Nunn, “Canada Incognita: Has Quebec Theatre Discovered English-Canadian Plays?” Theatrum 24: 15-19.

1991 - Manina Jones, “The Collage in Motion: Staging the Documentary in Reaney’s Sticks and Stones,” Canadian Drama 16.1 (1989): 1-23.

1990 - Alan Filewod, “Erasing Historical Difference: The Alternative Orthodoxy in Canadian Theatre,” Theatre Journal 41.2 (May 1989): 201-21.

1989 - Ric Knowles, “The Legacy of the Festival Stage,” CTR 54 (Spring 1988): 39-45.