Sunday, June 27, 2010

Factory Theatre Founder Ken Gass Honoured



Toronto, ON – Thursday, June 17, 2010Factory Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director, as well as acclaimed director, producer, playwright and advocate, Ken Gass is the 2010 winner of the Premier’s
Award for Excellence in the Arts.  The award ceremony, presided over by Premier Dalton McGuinty and Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture, was held at the Liberty Grand on June 10th.  The Ontario-wide Premier’s Award comes with a cash prize of $35,000 plus $15,000 to be awarded to an emerging artist of the winner’s choice.  Gass says that winning the Premier's Award was a humbling and moving experience. “To begin with, I felt privileged to be among such a remarkable group of finalists from several disciplines.  I also feel my award recognizes my commitment to our extraordinary theatre community, and I share the honour with the many superb collaborators who have contributed to the Factory Theatre's success over the past four decades.”

The Emerging Artist Award attached to the prize was given to Natasha Mytnowych, Artistic Director for Theatre Revolve and Company Theatre Crisis, and Associate Artist at Canadian Stage. Gass states, “I was very pleased to be able to select Natasha for the Emerging Artist Award, not only for her strong directorial vision of such works as The Russian Play by Hannah Moscovitch and Benu by d'bi young, but also for her commitment to community as evidenced by her work with young immigrant women at Theatre Revolve and her recent inspired leadership with the Festival of Ideas & Creation at Canadian Stage. I hope the Award will buy her time for her own creative endeavours.”

In 1970, Factory was the first theatre in the country to commit itself to producing only Canadian plays, sparking a revolution that effectively launched the Canadian playwriting movement as a major force in this country. Factory has also been a champion of cultural diversity, with numerous productions from aboriginal, Canadian-Asian, South-Asian and black playwrights.  Gass is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Dora Award for directing, the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship and the Toronto Arts Award. His current projects include directing George F. Walker’s Featuring Loretta, playing at the Factory Mainspace Theatre until June 20, and TOUGH!, playing until June 18 at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Kitchener-Waterloo.  Gass’s new play, Bethune Imagined, will premiere at Factory in November, 2010.

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