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, qui eut une grande contribution à la recherche théâtrale au Canada, ce prix est remis chaque année au meilleur article en langue anglaise traitant de théâtre ou de performance au Canada.

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

Lucidly written, compellingly argued and politically urgent, Carter’s essay is a passionate and uncompromising analysis of how “Canada’s public performances of grief” relating to Indigenous peoples “reveal the tenor of its soul.” As Carter makes clear, Indigenous performances of grief do not and should not fit into the Aristotelian model of sympathetic witnessing and emotional catharsis that may immediately appeal to white settler audiences. Rather, these performances function as “portals” to “survivance-intervention” for Indigenous actors on and offstage, a painful yet “life-affirming” act of resistant remembering that “connects the fallen ancestor, the current survivor, and the future descendant in a ceremony of mourning and a celebration of Indigenous endurance.” This transtemporal relay of Indigenous agency and sovereignty is modeled by the “feeling” methodology that Carter employs in her essay, which ranges in its affective inquiries from an opening discussion of the different public and private dramaturgies enacted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probing readings of Indigenous and non-Indigenous audience reactions to Christy Belcourt’s “Walking with Our Sisters” installation and Cliff Cardinal’s one-person play Huff. The essay culminates in a bravura unpacking, via participant observation, of the research and creation process surrounding LeAnne Howe and Monique Mojica’s Side Show Freaks and Circus Injuns, which Carter in turn sets against the backdrop of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spense’s 2012-13 fish-broth fast. In both cases the battle between Rage and Grief plays out as a “fleshly spectacle,” one that is always dangerous and difficult, but that if underwritten by love can transform a self-destructive appeal for sympathetic witnessing from without into a ceremony of self-sacrifice that sparks an empathetic conversation within Indigenous communities. Dealing with a range of different performances, media, and social practices, and demonstrating a thorough mastery of diverse theoretical frameworks, the essay is not simply exemplary of the application of Indigenous epistemologies to cross-disciplinary research in Canada, but offers a path-breaking model for how to Indigenize theatre and performance studies.

Par une écriture lucide et un argumentaire convaincant et pressant sur un sujet politique, l’article de Carter offre une analyse passionnée et franche des « contritions publiques du Canada » à l’égard des peuples autochtones, révélatrices de « la substance de son âme ». Comme Carter l’explique clairement, les témoignages de souffrances des Autochtones ne peuvent et ne doivent pas être assimilés au modèle aristotélicien de sympathie de l’auditoire et de catharsis émotionnelle susceptible de trouver immédiatement une résonnance chez un public caucasien. Ces manifestations agissent plutôt comme un premier pas vers « l’acte de survie » pour les acteurs autochtones, sur scène et dans la vie, un acte de mémoire tenace, douloureux et pourtant opiniâtre, qui « relie des ancêtres disparus, les survivants d’aujourd’hui et les descendants à venir dans une cérémonie de deuil et une célébration de la persistance autochtone ». Puisant à des sources scéniques, médiatiques et sociales diverses et démontrant une grande maîtrise des cadres théoriques, l’article n’est pas seulement un modèle d’utilisation des épistémologies autochtones dans la recherche interdisciplinaire au Canada, il défriche aussi de nouvelles avenues pour l’intégration du point de vue autochtone dans les études théâtrales et performatives.


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.