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 2021. See here for more.

2020 Winner:

Benjamin Looker, “Staging Diaspora, Dramatizing Activism: Fashioning a Progressive Filipino Canadian Theatre in Toronto, 1974–2001,” Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études Canadiennes, 53.2 (Spring 2019).

Honourable Mention:

Rebecca Burton, “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Canadian Theatre Here and Now,” alt.theatre, 15.2 (October 2019).

CITATIONS:

Looker’s article documents and interprets the history of the Carlos Bulosan Cultural Workshop, an amateur Filipino Canadian theatre and arts organization, from its founding until its renewal as the fully-professional Carlos Bulosan Theatre. Navigating deftly between the global and the local, Looker situates the group’s work within a worldwide diasporic opposition to the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, as a response to issues of equity in work and social life faced by Filipino immigrants to Canada, and within “hidden genealogies of the North American Left amid a 1980s–1990s climate of conservative reaction” (454-5). The jury was particularly impressed by the use of documentary sources to put the CBCW into these wider contexts, while also paying close attention to the wide variety of its theatrical production activities, which ranged across overtly agit-prop mixtures of sketches and vignettes, socially-engaged pieces developed with and performed by domestic workers exploring their lives in Canada, and fully-scripted dramas and musicals in both English and Filipino languages. Looker brings the under-documented work of this significant group into focus, while also acknowledging the CBCW’s complicated relationship to notions of “multiculturalism” and “diversity,” as both the plays it performed and its treatment by funding bodies often revealed how “Canadian multiculturalist discourse occluded from view the racialized hierarchies of privilege and disadvantage that shaped Filipino experiences in Toronto” (453). “Staging Diaspora, Dramatizing Activism” richly merits this year’s Richard Plant award for the breadth and depth of its examination of a particular company and its place in the history of theatre in Canada, and for its potential to point towards future work on theatre and performance of the broader North American Filipino diaspora.

Burton’s article eloquently casts a distressing light on the inequitable practices that are endemic to theatre everywhere in Canada and that have been in place, unchanged, for many years. In her choice of Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) and its Women’s Caucus (WC) for a cogent and detailed case study, she reveals the close to insurmountable obstacles encountered by those who have long been concerned about the problem of ongoing inequity and have been working vigorously to effect real change. Making effective use of statistics and graphs, and employing an accessible writing style, we strongly believe this article would complement many university classes, not only because it clearly indicates that plays by women are minoritized, and recognizes that even greater inequities are endured by racialized women, women who identify with disability and queer people, but because it tackles the complex issue of advocacy: why don’t great initiatives always work? What are the barriers and how can these be overcome? This article prompts discussion regarding advocacy, action, visibility, representation, entrenched biases, working with limited resources, and navigating differing perspectives.

2020 Plant Prize Jury: Heather Fitzsimmons Frey, Justin Blum, Louise Forsyth


Past Winners

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”

2018 (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.

2017 (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.

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 (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.

2012 (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).

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.