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 2022.

CATR Richard Plant Award 2021

This year, for the first time, the Richard Plant Award focused on short form articles, blog posts, and other substantial pieces of written criticism. In 2022, we will return to long form articles/ book chapters.

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

Jenn Cole’s nuanced article is an exemplar of performative writing, drawing on archive, oral histories, autoethnographic research, family history, speculative history, and thoughtful engagement with the land as a performer. Using Anishinaabemowin names and words, such as Kiji Sibi (Odenabe/Ontobee River) jiimaan (canoe) is one way Cole strategically demonstrates upsurging of Indigenous presence even as she acknowledges a complicated legacy of both extractive and relational practices. Cole writes that she traces “layers of memories of relationships”, “witnessing historical forgetting and representational erasure,” and “re-presencing Indigenous histories and cosmologies” (14). Song, dance, rock painting, and ritual, contribute to an exploration of the River, of human capacity to remember, and embodied performance histories. The depth and breadth of the research, the skillful critical writing in this form, and the style and poetry of this piece are powerful and much needed contributions to complex thinking today.

Honourable Mentions go to Jill Carter’s “My! What Big Teeth You Have!”: On the Art of Being Seen and Not Eaten.” Canadian Theatre Review 182 (Spring 2020): 16-21.

“What do we [Indigenous peoples] have to do to be seen and not eaten?” (21). This is the crux of Carter’s incisive critical review essay, which pairs Cree artist Kent Monkman’s 2017 exhibition at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto with Chocolate Woman Collective’s 2018 production of Izzie M: The Alchemy of Enfreakment (Wychwood Barns, Toronto) by Kuna/Rappahannock playwright Monique Mojica. Moving beyond a straightforward review of cultural objects, Carter synthesizes an impressive range of critical-historical discourses on visuality, spectatorship, and the Indigenous performing body on view to lay out the Indigenous artist’s dilemma of producing Indigenous appearance— when this appearance continuously runs the risk of extractive consumption by the settler state. By focusing on the historicity of Indigenous performance as violent (as well as resistant), Carter makes an important intervention in our field that centers the experiences of Indigenous cultural producers as agentive makers.

Kimberley McLeod’s “‘Siri, Are you Female?’: Reinforcing and Resisting Gender Norms with Digital Assistants.” Critical Stages//Scènes critiques 21 (June 2020).

Kimberley McLeod’s article discusses home-based performance experiments with voiced digital assistants. The piece is committed to the emergent potential of a provocation, allowing the questions and responses to be iterative, and is absolutely focused in its dedication to asking questions in and through the everydayness of technology. It is impressive as a piece of scholarly, process-based writing, and makes strategic use of the potential afforded by online space by incorporating still images and meaning-rich audio clips from her own primary research. With a focus on the techno-vocalic “body,” McLeod returns to paradigms of embodiment, and gestures towards issues regarding the performance of gender, labour, and emotional support. Flagging troubling anecdotes, uncomfortable re-inscriptions of misogynist dialogues, and audio clips that elicit an un-easy relationship with the apparently familiar, the article offers an activist’s exploration of timely and emerging questions through performance experiments.

2021 Plant Prize Jury: Heather Fitzsimmons Frey (Chair), Colleen Kim Daniher, and Kathleen Irwin


Past Winners

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

2020 (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”

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.