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REBECCA NORTHAN Named Winner of the 2nd Annual Crow’s Theatre RBC Rising Star Emerging Director Prize

Oct 12, 2016

For outstanding work in what she calls “Spontaneous Theatre,” director-creator Rebecca Northan is the most recent recipient of Crow’s Theatre’s RBC Rising Star Emerging Director Prize. The $5,000 prize awarded to a Canadian emerging director, encourages and celebrates our most outstanding, early-career stage directors, affording them a forum in which to practice their craft with professionals along with a paid residency at Crow’s Theatre.

“Rebecca is unrivalled in this country in terms of bringing together the worlds of improv and professional theatre,” says Crow’s Theatre Artistic Director Chris Abraham. “Her work is exhilarating and very much the stuff of a burgeoning auteur director. Her enduring success with Blind Date comes as no surprise to me and I’m excited to see how her aesthetic carries into her expanding directing practice.”

Rebecca’s body of work advances a simple but thrilling premise: the creation of structured narratives that feature an Audience Member in a lead role. her mega-hit Blind Date (now enjoying a queer iteration at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre) wherein Mimi the clown goes on a fully-improvised first date with a different audience member each night, or her Legend Has It where an audience member gets embroiled with multiple improvisers in a fantasy adventure.

Rebecca’s “Spontaneous Theatre” is all about embracing the live-ness of performance and making audiences the heart of a story.

“My aim is to create and produce work that is entertaining, while at the same time surprising in its depth,” says Northan. “Typically, people do not expect to be moved when attending an improvised performance. I want to upturn that expectation. I'm interested in working with actors who improvise, and improvisers who act. I want to release the imaginations of the people I work with, and by extension, the imaginations of the audience...which is why I'm so keen to continue inviting 'civilians' up on stage to play with us.”

A call for submissions in Summer 2016 saw the number of applicants double from last year. A jury, comprised of Abraham and other professional artists, unanimously selected Rebecca from a group of exceptional, theatrical innovators in the early stages of their directing practice. The jury took into account the merits of the applicants’ current body of work, their creative potential, and how meaningful artistic residency would prove to the up-and-coming director’s professional development. Along with announcing Rebecca as this year’s recipient, we are proud to announce emerging directors Milton Lim (Vancouver) and Nancy McAlear (Edmonton) who made this year’s Prize shortlist.

About the Prize, Rebecca offers this: “It affords me the opportunity to press pause on some of the administrative duties of running my own company so that I can focus on deepening my practice and building a Toronto-based ensemble for my work.”

The Prize is made possible by the RBC Emerging Artists Project, which focuses on helping the next generation of artists with needed support in the early stages of their career. Rebecca joins more than 7,000 artists from many genres that have, or will participate in Emerging Artists Project programming in 2016.

Chris Abraham adds: “With its ongoing commitment to emerging artists in Canada, RBC has set its sights on the most critical group in need of support for a vibrant culture - the cultural innovators who seek to shake up the complacency of the world they inherit. This is Rebecca’s promise, and we congratulate her on this much deserved award.”

About Crow’s Theatre: Founded in 1983, Crow’s Theatre boasts national recognition as an award-winning contemporary, theatre company. Crow’s has toured Canada and abroad with memorable works including I, Claudia; Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love; Eternal Hydra; SEEDS; 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. Crow’s gravitates towards works that tackle big themes: the “State of the Nation,” the shape of our culture and democracy, and our engagement with our environment.

The company commits to a long-term artistic process, with an appropriate gestation period and multiple moments of audience engagement. Each work grows and informs through its resonance with the public. In January 2017, Crow’s Theatre opens its new state-of-the-art performance arts facility and community hub located in Toronto’s East End. On offer are a dynamic spectrum of affordable contemporary theatre, all-ages arts events, wide-ranging community programming and partnerships.