Richard Plant Award / Le prix Richard Plant

Named in honour of one of the Association’s co-founders, this award is given annually to the best English-language article on a Canadian theatre or performance topic. The award is given in alternate years to a long form article/article/book chapter and a short form article, blog post or substantial piece of written criticism. The 2022 award is being given to a long form article and/or a book chapter in a scholarly collection, published in 2020 and/or 2021.

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. Il est décerné, en alternance, à un article long ou à un chapitre de livre puis, l’année suivante, à un article court, à un billet de blogue ou à une critique écrite majeure. En 2022, le prix récompense un article long ou un chapitre de livre dans un ouvrage collectif savant publié en 2020 ou 2021.

2023 Committee: Benjamin Gillespie (chair), Matt Jones, Signy Lynch


Leah Tidey, Chris Alphonse, Martina Joe, Donna Modeste, Sharon Seymour, Thomas Jones, and Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta. “Policy and protocol in Indigenous theatre projects: Hul’q’umi’num’ voices, consensus and relationality.” Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 326–342.

In their examination of equity and polyvocality in policy and decision-making processes in the work of the Hul’q’umi’num’ Language and Culture Society drama troupe—who have explored the role of theatre as a vehicle for Indigenous language reawakening—the collective of Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors of this innovative and collaboratively written article fully embody, in both form and content, the epistemological principles of the essay’s core subject matter. They write, “Through a consensus-based and community-led process with Indigenous Elders, language speakers, and language learners, we have sought to stem the decline of the Coast Salish Hul’q’umi’num’ language using theatre.” (328) The article thoroughly demonstrates theory as practice through its collective structure and unique formatting, positioning epistemological equity at the center of its theoretical inquiry. The committee find impressive the authors’ use of “community circles” to discuss their collective work and learnings and “inspire other communities struggling with language loss [to] navigat[e] the colonial structures of funding institutions.” Their article addresses the problems the group encountered in their theatre work, including the “stratification of voices” in accessing funding in a settler-colonial system, whereby large barriers exist for Indigenous communities, and community-generated goals often come into conflict with funding agencies’ demands. We applaud the authors’ meta-critical consideration of the impact of their research in an academic setting, and of the journal’s readership in conjunction with their goals. We appreciate their self-reflexive style that recognizes the limitations of their perspectives and their hope for what the article might do in the world, who it will communicate with, and what the contradictions of this process might be. (344) With a significant contribution to the field, the authors model how equitable and decolonial collaborations between Indigenous and settler groups might extend through the processes of academic writing, while continuing to centre Indigenous epistemologies. Congratulations to the authors!

Honourable Mention - Jenn Cole. “Jiimaan, That Teaching Sister: Practices of Archival Care.” Canadian Theatre Review, vol. 189, winter 2022, pp. 33–39.

In this rich and innovative short essay, Jenn Cole offers a narrative story about how her relational engagement with an 80-year-old canoe becomes a site for reflection on the ethics of archival performance research. Weaving together readings of poetry and theory, and conversations with knowledge-keepers, family members, and museum staff, Cole invites her readers to think about the animacy of archival objects from an Anishinaabe perspective, and the ways in which researchers might help to critically “unarchive” these objects by recognizing them as “inspirited beings.” Cole works to “thin[k] archive[s] otherwise,” detailing her performance-based co-research with “a wiigwaasi jiimaan/birch-bark canoe using traditional Anishinaabe techniques and protocols.” (35) As Cole states, her article “think[s] through how [this co-performance] practice enacts cultural reclamation, knowledge transmission to future generations, and critical questioning of practices and preservation of performance materials.” (33) As she writes, “How we look, how we touch. How we ask. How we listen. How we respect. How we extend care and allow ourselves to be cared for in return. These are so important.” (37) Cole presences the canoe as a true collaborator in the article and considers its connections to performance, through reciprocal and consent-based practices, “sharing some of the stories [the canoe] carries forward” for generations to come.

Past Winners

2022 - Katrina Dunn and Malus fusca, "Coproducing Mimesis" in Theatre Pedagogy in the Era of Climate Crisis, eds. David Fancy and Conrad Alexandrowicz, Routledge, 2021.

Honourable Mentions:
Nazli Akhtari, « Diaspora Walks: Small Lessons in Unlearning, » Performance Matters : « Performing (in) Place: Moving on/with the Land » 7,1–2 (2021) : 73–83.
Gallagher-Ross, Jacob. 2020. « Twilight of the Idols. » Theater 50(3): 29–47

2021 - Jenn Cole “Shanty Songs and Echoing Rocks: Upsurges of Memory along Fault Lines of Extraction.” Canadian Theatre Review 182 (Spring 2020): 9-15.

Honourable Mentions:
Jill Carter “My! What Big Teeth You Have!”: On the Art of Being Seen and Not Eaten.” Canadian Theatre Review 182 (Spring 2020): 16-21.
Kim McLeod “‘Siri, Are you Female?’: Reinforcing and Resisting Gender Norms with Digital Assistants.” Critical Stages//Scènes critiques 21 (June 2020).

2020 - Benjamin Looker, “Staging Diaspora, Dramatizing Activism: Fashioning a Progressive Filipino Canadian Theatre in Toronto, 1974–2001.”

Honourable Mention - Rebecca Burton, “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Canadian Theatre Here and Now.È

2019 - Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston. “quiet theater: The Radical Politics of Silence.” Cultural Studies / Critical Methodologies 18.6 (2018): 410-22.

2018 - Alexandra (Sasha) Kovacs, “Beyond Shame and Blame in Pauline Johnson’s Performance Histories”

Honourable mention - Michelle Olson, “Heart of the Telling”

2017 - Dylan Robinson, “Welcoming Sovereignty,” in Performing Indigeneity, ed. Yvette Nolan and Ric Knowles (Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2016): 5-32.

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.

2016 Jill 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)

Honourable 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.

Honourable 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).

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

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.