Inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes Announced

The Metcalf Foundation is pleased to announce the fifteen finalists for the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes/Les Prix Johanna-Metcalf des Arts de la scène.

This new performing arts prize is named in honour of Johanna Metcalf, who was at the heart of the Foundation’s work for over 40 years. The prize has been created to carry on Johanna’s legacy as a tireless advocate for the arts, and to celebrate artists in Ontario who have made a recognized impact on the field and the public, and show great promise in the ongoing pursuit of their ambitious and visionary practices.

“My mother, Johanna, had a deep love of the performing arts. To her, the experience was about beauty, immediacy, connection, intellectual challenge, and pure delight. She was, all her life, a seeker of the truths and transformations to be found in the worlds of theatre, music, and dance,” says Kirsten Hanson, Chair of the Metcalf Foundation Board of Directors.

“Johanna had great faith in the ability of remarkable people to accomplish extraordinary things, and she backed them unreservedly,” states Sandy Houston, President and CEO, Metcalf Foundation.

Fifteen finalists have been selected from across Ontario in the disciplines of dance, theatre, and music/opera, including artists who are working in the spaces between and across these disciplines where many of today’s most innovative creators reside. Artists who have been producing and showing work over a period of at least ten years, are eligible for this meritorious and unrestricted prize.

The five winners will be announced on December 12, 2019 at a ceremony at Artscape Daniels Launchpad in Toronto. Each winner will receive a prize of $25,000 and will name a protégé as a way of celebrating early career artists who are themselves showing formidable promise. Protégés will be awarded $5000 each. The total value of the prizes is $150,000.

The 15 finalists for the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes/Les Prix Johanna-Metcalf des Arts de la scène are:

  1. Njacko Backo, Francophone musician
  2. Robin Dann, singer, composer, pop musician
  3. Sunny Drake, playwright
  4. Sarah Gartshore, Indigenous playwright
  5. Alice Ping Yee Ho, composer
  6. Jean-Michel Le Gal, Francophone theatre-maker
  7. Cecilia Livingston, composer
  8. Melody McKiver, Anishinaabe violist and composer
  9. Juliet Kiri Palmer, composer and interdisciplinary artist
  10. James Rolfe, composer
  11. Lucy Rupert, choreographer and dancer
  12. Santee Smith, multi-disciplinary artist, producer, and choreographer from the Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River
  13. Maylee Todd, multimedia artist and musician
  14. Maryem Tollar, composer and singer
  15. Bageshree Vaze, composer and choreographer

The Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes/Les Prix Johanna-Metcalf des Arts de la scène will be delivered on a biennial basis in partnership with the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). The nominees were selected through several juried OAC competitions in dance, music/opera, and theatre, with additional focus on creators from the Francophone, Indigenous, and Northern communities.

Established in 1960, The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation invests in three principal areas of focus: the performing arts, the environment, and poverty reduction. Through all of its work, the Foundation cultivates, supports, and celebrates those working on the frontlines of social change in order to improve the health and vibrancy of our communities, our culture, and the environment.

The Metcalf Foundation’s Performing Arts program supports innovation and leadership through a series of initiatives targeted at Toronto-based organizations and individuals from across the province of Ontario. Multi-year strategic funding initiatives help organizations build the capacity to adapt in rapidly changing environments and internships match promising leaders with exceptional mentors. The Johanna Metcalf Prizes celebrate promising individuals who will play a pivotal role in defining the performing arts sector’s future. The Foundation invests approximately $1.67 million each year in the performing arts.