CATR Lawrence Prize, Scholarships, and Grants Announcements 2022

President’s Introduction by Dr. Robin C. Whittaker

Bonjour tout le monde ! Je m’appelle Robin Whittaker. Je suis professeur associé à St. Thomas University et président de l’Association canadienne de la recherche théâtrale. (Greetings! My name is Robin Whittaker, Associate Professor at St. Thomas University and President of CATR.) I’m speaking to you from Fredericton, New Brunswick on the banks of the Wolastoq River, the traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik / Maliseet whose ancestors along with the Mi’Kmaq and Passamaquoddy Tribes and Nations signed Peace and Friendship Treaties with the British Crown in the 1700s.

Une transcription en français de cet événement est disponible ici.

In a moment I will introduce the respective chairs of the Robert G. Lawrence Prize Committee and the CATR Scholarships and Grants Committee to describe these recognitions and announce this year’s recipients.

But first, I wish to acknowledge the passing of three friends and colleagues of the Association whose support for theatre scholarship in this land has been immeasurable. In April Joan Lawrence, wife of valued CATR member Robert G. Lawrence, passed away. Her support for our members in the form of the Robert G. Lawrence Prize, since 1995, and the Robert G. Lawrence Scholarship, since 2016, has contributed funding to a wide array of research projects. Famously, each year she relished receiving thank you letters from recipients of the Lawrence Prize, including in her later years when friends read the letters to her.

We also take this time to acknowledge the passing of Heather McCallum in October. As Head of the Theatre Department at the Toronto Reference Library from 1961-1987, Heather was responsible for igniting the flame of theatre research for many of our members. Since 1988, CATR has made available the Heather McCallum Scholarships to support archival research.

On behalf of the Board of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research, I offer our deepest condolences to the Lawrence and McCallum families and friends. We’re grateful to continue to offer these recognitions in their names.

The final statement I’d like to make before turning the event over to the two chairs of the prizes, scholarships, and grants committees is a significant announcement about the CATR Grants, which, the Board is thrilled to say, will henceforth be known as the Denis Salter Grants!

As many of you are aware, Denis Salter passed away this spring. He was a valued friend and colleague, a former CATR President, and, in 2020, a CATR Lifetime Associateship recipient. A tribute to Denis is posted on the CATR Website.

But the CATR Board wished to do more. I therefore introduced a motion at our September Board Meeting to rename the CATR Grants the “Denis Salter Grants.” The motion passed unanimously and is enthusiastically endorsed by Denis’s family.

Since 2020, the Grants have funded projects outside of the annual conference that are proposed by CATR members, especially students and recently graduated scholars. Similarly, Denis was widely recognized not only for his own ‘outside-the-box’ research, but also for supporting his fellow CATR members, particularly students and emerging scholars, in meaningful ways.

We believe the Denis Salter Grants are a fitting tribute to Denis and will influence and support our members’ work for many years to come.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to these grants in recent years when you started or renewed your CATR membership, and hope that you will continue to do so.

CATR’s many recognitions, which you can read about on the CATR Website, are at the core of everything we do. Our membership interests are ranging and we believe it is essential to recognize excellence in drama, theatre, and performances studies. These prizes, scholarships, and grants are core features of these goals.

It is now my great pleasure to introduce the Chair of the Robert G. Lawrence Prize Committee, Jessica Riley, and the Chair of the CATR Scholarships and Grants Committee—and YouTube video creator extraordinaire—Emily Rollie, to tell you more about these recognitions and to announce the 2022 recipients!

2022 Robert G. Lawrence Prize Announcement by Dr. Jessica Riley

On behalf of the 2022 Robert G. Lawrence Prize Committee, it is my honour to celebrate emerging scholars in our community with today’s announcement. The Lawrence Prize was established in 1995 by CATR to honour the memory and contribution of Robert G. Lawrence, a valued member and friend of the Association. The prize recognizes the research of an emerging scholar who has presented an outstanding paper at the annual CATR conference.

I’d like to begin by congratulating (and thanking) all of the nominees for this year’s Lawrence Prize. Our committee had the great pleasure of attending and reading papers by many promising scholars pursuing important research in a number of vital areas. It was invigorating to encounter the rigour, the innovation, the curiosity, and the abundance of potential revealed in the body of work presented by emerging scholars at the 2022 CATR conference.

The 2022 Lawrence Prize is awarded to Sheetala Bhat, for “‘Restart the play’: On Cyclicality and the Indian Woman in the Theatrical Future of C Sharp, C Blunt.” Bhat’s rich and insightful examination of C Sharp, C Blunt was considered by the committee to be a skillfully interwoven combination of performance analysis and theoretical intervention. In this sophisticated analysis, Bhat unpacks the productive tensions between Hindu and Western ideologies, cyborg performance dynamics, and postcolonial intersectional feminism. Employing a cyclical structure that elegantly mirrors the theoretical emphasis on cyclicality in her analysis of C Sharp, C Blunt, Bhat’s paper renders a complex and multi-layered argument with clarity and conviction. The committee was particularly impressed by Bhat’s introduction and elaboration of the term interruptional relations, a promising conceptual contribution to the discourse which we look forward to seeing developed further in Bhat’s future publications.

Honourable Mention for this year’s Lawrence Prize goes to Jessica Watkin, for “Disability Dramaturgy: History, Perspective, and Practice.” The committee found Watkin’s presentation to be a richly informative reflection on the ethics of care and the practice of access intimacy in new play dramaturgy, delivered in an assured and accessible style. The committee commends Watkin on the sharing of theoretical and practical insights grounded in first-hand experience, as well as the generous offers (including but not limited to reading recommendations) built into the fabric of the presentation. The larger dissertation project from which this paper is drawn promises to make a vital contribution to the field by positioning Disability Dramaturgy as not only a theory but a practice of care that can and should be applied by all theatre companies.

Once again, I’d like to extend my gratitude to and appreciation for all of the nominees for this year’s Lawrence Prize. Keep doing your important research! And to Sheetala Bhat and Jessica Watkin, my hearty congratulations on your impressive achievements!

2022 CATR Scholarships and Grants Announcements by Dr. Emily Rollie, Dr. Lindsay Lachance, and Dr. David Geary

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 McCallum and Lawrence Scholarships—as well as the CATR Grants.


First, I am honored to announce the recipient of the 2022 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, the Lawrence Scholarship is awarded to Francis Matheu for their project, a production of Caryl Churchill’s Vinegar Tom, to be produced in Feb 2023. Matheu’s project attempts to extend Churchill’s work to address contemporary considerations of gender, race, and other identities within the play, and the Lawrence Scholarship will support Matheu’s preparatory research and a planned paper to consider “how society’s past copes with disinformation and red-tagging of people in parallel to past and current events mirrored in the play.” The committee was eager to support creative and applied research projects like Matheu’s. Congratulations, Francis!


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 2022 McCallum Scholarship is awarded to Arash Isapour, for their project on representation of Middle Eastern masculinities on Canadian stages. In particular, Isapour’s project examines representations of Middle Eastern masculinity in the plays and/or productions of Marcus Youssef, Soheil Parsa, and Wajdi Mouawad. This research offers a rich and varied approach to considering archival work, as it not only utilizes data from archives of both theatre production companies and private collections, but also includes interviews with the practitioners and their collaborators. The committee was intrigued by the project’s focus on representations of gender and Middle Eastern identities in Canadian theatre, and we applaud Isapour’s abilities as an engaged/curious scholar and natural teacher, as noted by recommenders.


New as of 2020, we are grateful to be able to offer CATR Grants for a third year and on an on-going basis. CATR grants are considered broadly with their general focus being to diversify CATR’s programming and extending its impact beyond the annual conference site and time. 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.

This year, we are pleased to award 6 CATR Grants for the following projects:

  • Christine Balt for her project “Applied Theatre Now: Theory, Practice, Impacts” – a three-part virtual conversation series for CATR members. The conversation series recognizes the various socio-cultural impacts on applied theatre and creation with communities and it will discuss the need to and complicated nature of assessing applied theatre techniques.
  • Hope McIntyre and Kim Richards, for their project about sustainable theatre practices, which emerged from the CATR working group on sustainable theatre. The grant will support a fall online workshop to address how to incorporate more sustainable practices into our work in academic and production contexts.
  • Ilana Khanin, with Funmi Cole, Evan Moritz and Yizhou Zhang for the Festival Of Original Theatre (FOOT) 2023, a graduate student conference at the University of Toronto. The 2023 Festival intends to “discuss and perform the glimmers of (un)forgotten togetherness,” and the CATR grant will not only support the work of graduate students but will help the organizers gain use of accessibility rooms, an important and forward-thinking approach in terms of access to theatre scholarship and connection.
  • Marilo Nuñez and “Decolonizing Activation,” which is a collective attempt to find pathways for decolonizing theatre, performance, and performance studies. The CATR grant will help support a weeklong developmental residency for artist-scholars, and the committee is eager to hear more about the ways this project continues to engage with and build upon the existing work of Indigenous elders who are and have been engaging in similar land-based dramaturgical work and creation.
  • Sarah Robbins & Stephen Johnson’s “Gatherings: Archival and Oral Histories of Performances’ Virtual Antiques Roadshow Fall 2022,” which continues the cross country archival and oral archive that has been developing over the past 5 years. The CATR grant will support the work of graduate students who are involved in supporting a virtual presentation of archival research.
  • Jacqueline Taucar and Neil Silcox’s project which focuses on e-initiatives for contingent, underemployed, precarious faculty, and emerging and independent scholars – an outgrowth of and event supporting the work of the CATR taskforce on precarity. The grant will help support three e-initiative workshops on specific topics addressing precarity in our field and offering resources and community for those occupying precarious positions. 

Congratulations to all of the recipients!