Hello, colleagues and members of CATR. It is with great pleasure that the CATR Scholarships and Grants committee would like to publicly present the recipients of this year’s CATR Scholarships – the Lawrence and McCallum Scholarships – as well as the Denis Salter Grants.
First, I am pleased to announce the recipient of the 2023 Robert G Lawrence Scholarship. Established in 2016, the Lawrence Scholarship focuses on supporting the work of graduate students and emerging scholars. Non-restrictive in its research area, the Lawrence can be awarded for projects that situate theatre and 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.
This year, Alynne Sinnema will receive the Lawrence Scholarship for the project “Coming to her Senses: Women’s Sexual Empowerment Through Applied Theatre.” The Committee found this project inventive and insightful in the ways it aims to combine applied theatre, specifically physical theatre, and feminist theory as a way to support women’s voices, embodied and scholarly considerations of women’s pleasure and sexual agency, and mental health. Sinnema’s materials were detailed, thorough, and thoughtful, and the project offers a fascinating intersection of practice, theory, community building, and social justice.
DAVID – McCallum:
The Heather McCallum Scholarship was established in 1987 in honour of the former head of the Theatre Department at the Toronto Reference Library. The McCallum Scholarship supports projects that involve original research in archives and collections. Interdisciplinary projects, projects that take researchers outside of traditional theatrical archives, and projects with a Canadian emphasis are welcome and encouraged.
The 2023 recipient of the McCalllum Scholarship is Narges Montakhabi (/ˈNærges ˈMontækæbi/) for her project “Politics and Poethics of Precarity in Contemporary Middle Eastern Canadian Theatre.” This ambitious project looks at and amplifies the voices of less heard and younger generations of underrepresented Middle Eastern Canadian playwrights, focusing on contemporary (mostly 21st century) plays and playwrights from Iran, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The project considers how precarity in these performances serves as a way of resisting myths of Canadian interculturalism and inclusivity, and its archival focus includes conducting interviews with the playwrights and directors to document their work and views on the precarity of their art in terms of production history, funding, venue, and casting for the plays. The project ultimately endeavors to preserve this body of work by Middle Eastern Canadian playwrights as an anthology. Congratulations
MICHAEL – Salter Grants:
Hi. I’m Michael Bergman from Toronto Metropolitan University, and I am happy to present this year’s winners of the Denis Salter Grants. The Denis Salter Grants aim to diversify CATR’s programming and extend its impact beyond the annual conference site and time. Flexible in their scope and content, the grants prioritize projects that support and engage emerging scholars and graduate students, and supported projects can be events that respond to the need for scholars to support each other through the exchange of ideas as well as events or projects for which the grant serves as “seed” money.
We are pleased to award four grants this year:
- First is to Katherine Koller for her project that documents new play readings coming out of the Edmonton Script Salon, which Koller co-founded and co-produces. Inspired by discussion during a CATR panel session, this project intends to collect, document, and publish a list of all of the plays and playwrights featured during the Script Salon’s 10 year run. Ultimately that list will be featured publicly on the Alberta Playwrights Network webpage. The committee appreciated the ways this project both serves an archival function as well as amplifies new works by artists in Edmonton and Alberta – a worthy intersection of practice and scholarship.
- Second, to Signy Lynch, Scott Mealey, and Jenny Salisbury for a first-of-its-kind Toronto symposium that will bring artists and scholars together to discuss post-pandemic theatre audiences. An extension of a March 2023 panel about “Artists on Audiences: Three Ontario Artistic Directors Discuss,” this symposium will be in-person one-day event on May 3, 2024, and combines a morning session that will be open to the public and an afternoon session focused on networking and focused discussion by a group of artists. The event centers the community-based knowledge of artists who are working in specific communities and emphases collaboration and communication between these artists to create future, innovative projects. The committee particularly appreciated the use of the grant to financially support and offset costs for the artists and scholars in precarious positions, as this type of financial support is key to accessibility and increasing the voices at the table.
- Third, to Taylor Graham and Jayna Mees with support from the Task Force on Precarity, to support further e-initiatives for graduate students – an ongoing focus of the field and CATR overall. The committee appreciated the project’s intention to use these e-initiatives and events to build community among graduate students across Canada and to offer additional avenues to develop and hone skills that will support the grad students’ future pathways and careers. In addition to writing workshops and grant writing virtual seminars, the project includes a mental health workshop, which we found particularly invigorating and beneficial.
- Fourth, to Hope McIntyre and Kimberly Richards for their project to develop a Guidebook for Fostering Environmental Stewardship in Theatre and Performance Training Programs. One of the aims of the Salter grants is to support extensions of the CATR conference, and this project seems to fit well within that, as it was developed as part of the CATR Environmental Stewardship in Theatre and Performance Working Group, which has and continues to do valuable work toward re-imagining how we teach, document, and prepare students for sustainable practices in theatre and performance. As such, this specific project will create and design a resource guide to support curricular adjustments across theatre and performance training programs, and the grant funds will specifically support a portion of the graphic design of the guide. As a necessary conversation in our field, this guide seems timely and essential – not to mention a welcome resource for many CATR members and artists in the field.
Congratulations to all the recipients!