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Sep 21, 2020

The RBC Rising Star Emerging Director Prize 

The Award

Crow’s is proud to invite submissions for the sixth annual RBC Rising Star Emerging Director Prize. This prize is designed to encourage and celebrate our most outstanding early-career directors, give them the opportunity to work with Crow’s Theatre, and receive ongoing mentorship.

Please note the deadline for submissions has been extended to Friday November 6, 2020.

The prize is made possible by the RBC Emerging Artists Project which helps advance artists' career trajectories.  This is a reflection of RBC’s long-standing commitment to supporting artists in a range of genres – including visual, music, theatre, dance, literature and film – through their meaningful investments. 

Launched in 2015, The RBC Rising Star Emerging Director Prize provides a $5,000 award to a Canadian emerging director, plus resources towards a residency at Crow’s Theatre and project developments, and mentorship. The three finalists will also be awarded a small cash prize in recognition of their outstanding submissions.

Crow’s Theatre is committed to supporting the work of artists that represent the diverse communities we serve, including BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and individuals from other equity seeking groups. With this in mind, the jury is tasked to ensure that a minimum of fifty percent of the four finalists come from these communities. 

The award recipient and finalists will be selected on a balance of award criteria by a jury of professional artists that includes Crow’s Associate Artistic Directors, Marie Farsi and Rouvan Silogix, playwright and arts leader, Marcus Youssef, director Esther Jun, and director Jackie Maxwell. The jury will take into account the merits of the emerging director’s current body of work as well as how meaningful the prize and residency would prove to the director’s professional development.  

This prize and the Crow’s residency will recognize the creative potential of an up-and-coming theatre-maker, and provide the means to substantially advance their practice, by providing a resourced incubation lab for a new or existing work. 

About Crow’s Theatre

Founded in 1983, Crow’s Theatre is nationally recognized as an award-winning contemporary theatre company. Crow’s has toured across Canada and abroad with memorable works including Seeds, Winners and Losers, True Crime, The Wedding Party, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, Eternal Hydra, Someone Else, The Watershed and A Short History of Night. The company seeks to ignite passionate and enduring engagement between audiences and artists by creating, producing, and promoting unforgettable theatre that examines and illuminates the pivotal narratives of our times. The company commits to a long-term artistic process, with an appropriate gestation period and multiple moments of audience engagement. Each work grows and is informed through its resonance with the public.

In 2017, Crow’s Theatre opened the doors of its first permanent home, Streetcar Crowsnest, a new state of the art performance facility in Toronto’s East End. Streetcar Crowsnest has become a bustling arts and community cultural hub for the residents of the neighbourhood, and a beautiful venue for Crow’s Theatre.

Crow’s productions at Streetcar Crowsnest to date include The Wedding Party by Kristen Thomson; A&R Angels, a playwriting debut by Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene; The Boy in the Moon, Emil Sher’s adaptation of a beloved memoir by renowned journalist, Ian Brown; True Crime, a brilliant one man show by Torquil Campbell; Breath in Between, by celebrated Canadian playwright, Anton Piatigorsky; and The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely by Ngozi Paul, winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. In addition, a carefully curated selection of outstanding quality partner productions has been presented such as Project: Humanity’s world premiere of Freedom Singer and the co-production of Towards Youth, Theatre Direct’s The Old Man and the River, Roseneath Theatre’s La Maleta (The Suitcase), Obsidian Theatre Company’s Darktown Initiative production of Judas Noir and the recent award winning co-productions of Ghost Quartet with Eclipse Theatre Company and Julius Caesar with Groundling Theatre Company. Crow’s has also hosted productions from Soundstreams, Morro and Jasp, Kaeja d’Dance, The Howland Company, Outside the March and Necessary Angel. In addition to theatrical productions, the space is home for music, dance, cabaret, youth classes and family programming.

Past recipients of this prize are Zack Russell, Rebecca Northan, Sarah Kitz, Tom Arthur Davis and Jivesh Parasram, and Alexandre Fecteau.

Zack Russell is a writer and director. His short film "7A" (starring Tom Rooney) premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. He was the 2018/19 playwright in residence at Canadian Stage and was an invaluable collaborator in the creation of two new pieces at Crow’s this past season: as the co-writer of STARS: Together and as the adaptor for our recent production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Other theatre credits include directing Ngozi Paul's Dora-Award winning The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely at Crow’s in 2017 and assistant directing at The Stratford Festival (most recently, The Breathing Hole by Colleen Murphy).  Zack is also a writer and director on the new Television series ‘New Eden’ and has received a commission from Crow’s for a yet untitled play to be workshopped in our 2020-21 season. 

Rebecca Northan is an actor, improviser, writer, director and Artistic Producer of Spontaneous Theatre. She is a Gemini-nominated TV actor and a two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner. Her one-woman show, Blind Date, was her first foray into the emerging genre of spontaneous theatre, and it has toured across Canada, the US, played off-Broadway and in London’s West End. During her residency at Crow’s Theatre, Rebecca trained a group of 40 participants in her Spontaneous Theatre method, bringing her influence and impact to a new level. Rebecca’s newest work An Undiscovered Shakespeare, was due to debut at the Stratford Festival in Spring 2020. In the summer of 2020, Rebecca and members of her Spontaneous Theatre Company created Sidewalk Scenes, a series of outdoor performances played at a safe distance during the pandemic.

Sarah Kitz is a director, creator, actor and coach. She is a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatory at Stratford, a past Stratford company member, and has acted across Canada. She has participated in directing programs at Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, and is a member of Directors Lab North in participation with Lincoln Centre. She has worked at Luminato Festival, Shakespeare In The Ruins, Tarragon, Passe Muraille, Crow’s Theatre, Canadian Stage, Next Stage Festival, SummerWorks, Pandemic Theatre, GCTC, Shakespeare in the Ruff, and across Canada. Sarah has taught and directed at the University of Windsor and directed and dramaturged the development of a new Canadian musical by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey as part of the Canadian Musical Theatre Project at Sheridan College. She’s mentored at Paprika Festival, and been extensively involved with the AMY Project, which supports the creative trajectories of young women and non-binary youth in Toronto through arts mentorship. Most recently she has been onstage in the premieres of Liza Balkan’s Out The Window at Luminato, Darrah Teitel’s Behaviour at GCTC, and Lorene Stanwicks's Broken Branches for CreateTruth and Workman Arts. To date, Sarah’s twin focus lies in re-visioning classical works for contemporary interpretation, and in new creation. 

Tom Arthur Davis is the founding artistic director of Pandemic Theatre. Originally from the unceded territory of the Algonquin people (Ottawa), Tom has toured his work across Turtle Island and overseas. As an artist, he is interested in elevating marginalized voices through facilitating the creation of new work. His works for the stage include Mahmoud (co-writer/director), Take d Milk, Nah? (co-creator/director), The Only Good Indian (co-creator), and Situational Anarchy (director), and most recently Johnnie Walker’s Shove It Down My Throat, Pandemic’s co-production with Buddies in Bad Times.

Jiv Parasram is a multidisciplinary artist, researcher, and facilitator of Indo-Caribbean descent. His work has played across Canada and internationally. His work centres around de-colonial aesthetics and the intersections of performance and political action. He is the founding Artistic Producer at Pandemic Theatre, and the Artistic Director of Rumble Theatre. He grew up in Mi’kmaki (Halifax) and now splits his time between T’koronto (Toronto) and The Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver.) Select projects include: Take d Mik, Nah? (Performer/Co-Creator), The Only Good Indian (Co-Creator), Victim Impact (Director), Daughter(Co-Creator) and Sound of the Beast (Co-Director/Dramaturge).

Last year’s recipient of the prize was Alexandre Fecteau. Alexandre is a director and writer, known most for his verbatim theatre creations, Changing Room and Le NoShow. He received the John Hirsch Prize in 2013. As an invited artist, he has directed Ionesco’s Rhinoceros and Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus for the Théâtre du Trident (Quebec City); Denise Boucher’s The Fairies Are Thirsty and Michel Tremblay’s Forever Yours, Marilou for the Théâtre La Bordée (Quebec City); and Tirso de Molina’s The Shy Courtier for the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier (Montreal). Passionate about site-specific work, he has served as the artistic coordinator of the outdoor ambulatory theatrical experience Où tu vas quand tu dors en marchant…? in Quebec City since 2016. Recently Alexandre premiered a new production about the hidden world of assisted living homes for the elderly entitled, Tout Inclus, at La Licorne Theatre in Montreal.

Award Guidelines:

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Applicants must be practicing theatre directors for at least three years and no more than ten years.

Directors of text-based or non-text-based work are invited to apply.

Applicants must have at least two professional directing credits. Productions at major curated theatre festivals (such as SummerWorks or The Next Stage Theatre Festival) will be accepted. 

The Prize jury will take into account the proposed residency’s level of ambition and its transformative potential for the applicant. Equally important is the vision of the proposal and the applicant’s potential to realize the residency’s central project.


Each applicant should include in their nomination package:

  1. An introductory letter that outlines the emerging director’s practice, experience and personal vision. This letter is to be conceived as a kind of artist statement that communicates the emerging director’s passion and the kind of work they are interested in.
  2. A one-page project proposal for either one or two projects to be considered for a Crow’s residency. The applicant should describe the proposed work-in-progress and their connection to it, its current phase of development, and in what way it could be served by a Crow’s residency. Whether the applicant chooses to put forward one or two projects, this component of the nomination package should still be limited to a total of one page.
  3. A copy of the applicant’s CV
  4. Two letters of support from theatre professionals
  5. A maximum of 5 pages of support material. This can include production stills, reviews, or materials relevant to the central project proposed in the application. In lieu of written materials, the applicant is welcome to submit a video link. The duration of the video should be no more than 5 minutes.

Please submit all materials to Crow’s Theatre electronically, as a single PDF file. A shortlist of candidates will be interviewed by phone or Skype in advance of a recipient being selected.

The DEADLINE for all submissions has been extended to Friday November 6th, 2020. The recipient will be announced in December 2020.

Please submit all materials to: applications@crowstheatre.com

Should you have any questions about eligibility or application details, please contact Associate Producer Margaret Evans: margaret@crowstheatre.com