Fanny Britt, Rébecca Déraspe and Marie Leofeli Romero Barlizo named as finalists for the third Jovette-Marchessault Award
The Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) and Théâtre ESPACE GO, in collaboration with members of the Award Development Committee,* are pleased to unveil the three finalists for the third edition of the Jovette-Marchessault Award, recognizing women playwrights: Fanny Britt, Rébecca Déraspe and Marie Leofeli Romero Barlizo. This award, which recognizes and showcases the contributions of women to Montréal’s theatre scene, comes with a $20,000 grant to be awarded by the Conseil to the winner.
The winner of the third Jovette-Marchessault Award will be announced on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
“Theatre showed me the way to collective, collaborative expression, where the whole is worth much more than the sum of the parts and where you see the benefits of creating as a group. Works, communities, revolutions. More than any other art form, theatre has also made me think about the role of women’s voices. From very young, the novel introduced me to the story, music introduced me to rhythm and lyricism. Theatre asked me: who is talking? And what does she have to say? Very soon, I was intrigued by the voices of female characters.”
To learn more about Fanny Britt, click HERE.
“[My approach] is rooted in rigour, guts, pain, the desire to bring something to the world. It is born out of my need for encounters, my curiosity about others. The characters in my work can touch me, wound me. They’re often barely hidden behind my own limits. I’m always seeking to reinvent the form to get as close as possible to the object of my current obsession so that my individual concerns can be experienced collectively.”
To learn more about Rébecca Déraspe, click HERE.
Marie Leofeli Romero Barlizo
“In my plays, I write about shame, survival, addiction and trauma (mental illness). My writing is largely inspired by watching my parents sacrifice their dreams so my sister and I could have a better life […] I write about things I don’t understand and that I want to make sense of. I write in order to have more Asian stories, and specifically Filipino stories, on Canadian stages. The plays I create are centered in strong, complicated, Filipino women who are struggling to survive and must make difficult choices. The stories I create give Asian female actors the opportunity to challenge themselves in their craft and redefine Asian Canadian characters for contemporary audiences.”
To learn more about Marie Leofeli Romero Barlizo, click HERE.
The Conseil des arts de Montréal is responsible for the composition of the jury, the selection of applications and the awarding of the grant, while ESPACE GO oversees the logistics and promotion of the award. The jury consists of professional artists. The evaluation of the applications was based on the quality and originality of the artistic approach, as well as the impact of the artists’ artistic work on the development of theatre practice.
In 2018, one of the priorities the Conseil des arts de Montréal included in its 2018-2020 Strategic Plan was to achieve a better balance between genders, notably for male-female parity within the artistic community. To this end, the Conseil helped fund ESPACE GO’s Chantier féministe, a week-long event on the place of women in theatre, held in the spring of 2019. At this event, the theatre community agreed that an award should be created specifically to recognize the outstanding work of women in theatre and to raise the profile of women theatre artists. On the same occasion, the Conseil’s Executive Director, Nathalie Maillé, expressed an interest in receiving proposals regarding the creation of the award.
Several partners (CAM, ESPACE GO, Imago Theatre, Théâtre de l’Affamée and artists associated with the F.E.T. movement) joined forces to make the new award a reality. All stakeholders agreed that the award should be named for the inspiring woman artist Jovette Marchessault (1938-2012), a Montréal novelist, poet, playwright, painter and sculptor. Starting with the second edition, new members joined the original partners serving on the Award Development Committee. They were artists Nahka Bertrand, Margarita Herrera-Dominguez and Gabe Maharjan.
Calls for nominations for this annual award vary on a three-year rotation based on the candidates’ artistic roles, alternating between directors, designers and playwrights. The finalists for the first edition were theatre directors Catherine Bourgeois, Pol Pelletier and Catherine Vidal, with Catherine Vidal being named the winner in May 2020. The finalists for the second edition were designers Sophie El Assaad, Claude Rodrigue and Nancy Tobin. Nancy Tobin was named the winner in May 2021.
*Members of the Jovette-Marchessault Award Development Committee: Nahka Bertrand, Margarita Herrera-Dominguez, Gabe Maharjan, Théâtre de l’Affamée, Imago Théâtre, and the Femmes pour l’Équité en Théâtre movement (F.E.T.)
This award created by the Conseil des arts de Montréal was named for Jovette Marchessault as a tribute to a great “tuner of the soul,” whose body of work reflects her desire to bring women’s culture out of the shadows, to reshape History, and to forge a collective memory that allows women to be role models for any gender.