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The METAs celebrate
their fifth anniversary

The Montreal English Theatre Awards honour the local theatre scene’s best

By Byron Toben

On October 23, I was invited to hear Hilary Clinton at the Place des Congres, Salman Rushdie at the Jewish Public Library and even Mayor Denis Coderre debate Valerie Plante at the Oscar Petersen Hall.

I turned them all down to attend the 5th anniversary of the Montreal English Theatre Awards (METAs), once again at the magnificent Rialto Theatre.

Many theatre people, often seen about town in sweats and jeans, turned out dressed to the nines in our own mini Academy Awards event. Some attendees even showed up in a long white limousine.

META Awards 2017 hosts - WestmountMag.ca

META Awards hosts

The trophy for each category is called simply “The META”, its cylindrical shape may lack the contours of an Oscar, but it does the trick.

The nominations for shows between August 31, 2016 and September 1, 2017, are judged by large panels of peers – actors, directors, etc, unlike the now terminated MECCAs, which were voted on by the few critics of English theatre around.

The spine of the show is the musical background and specialty numbers, composed, as usual, by Nick Carpenter, who also plays the piano. He is joined by the METAS Five, all fine local actors as well: Shawn Campbell on bass, Alain Goulem on guitar, Mary Harvey on alto sax, Glenn Roy on trombone and Brett Watson on drums.

This year, the usual duo of M.C.s was expanded to four… two vets, Matthew Kahwe and Danette MacKay with two up and comers, David Noel and Michelle Rambharose. Besides introducing various presenters, they danced around with amazing fluidity and sang two longer numbers. Opening the evening was a paen to realizing they have been hooked into falling in love with the theatre, When Did You Know? One verse of that, sung a cappella went:

We are merely players / Quintessences of dust
It’s not for us to know / Why the theatre chose us

After the intermission, a companion piece, It’s All In The Training featured lines like:

We swallow fire. We laugh at fear. / We play the lead. We hold a spear.
We Keep the faith wherever we go / And wherever we go, we build a show.

The initial set of presenters included two suave M.C.s from past METAS, Holly Gauthier Frankel and James Loye. Ten other sets of duos presented various awards in different categories. A list of nominations and winners follows below.

Multiple awards were for My Name Is Asher Lev (Segal Centre) and the charmingly titled Fuck You, You Fucking Perv (Leslie Baker). The latter title led to a running joke among a number of presenters, each trying to announce it louder. Had I been a presenter, I would have played it oppositely, just mumbling the words under my breath. Would have made late stand up George Carlin proud.

Good to see timeless vet David Francis paired with new Centaur artistic director Eda Holmes as one set of presenters.

META Awards Angelique - WestmountMag.ca

Outstanding PACT production – Angélique

Patrick Llloyd Brennan was distinctive in his kilt. Petite Amy Blackmore (interim president of the Quebec Drama Federation) was paired with tall Deborah Forde (retiring QDF director). The QDF’s former head, Jane Needles was instrumental in getting the METAS started at its inception.

Writers for the patter were Stephanie Buxton, Danielle Desormeaux and Erin Lindsay.

Always nice to see an unsung hero award given to an unheralded supporter. This year. It was Brian Imperial at the Segal Center.

A team of three sign language experts were kept busy on the side throughout.

I guesstimated the attendance at about 320. The organizers have corrected my non- scientific eye balling… more like 460 spectators. I forgot to scan the upstairs balcony.

By chance, the table of eight that I was assigned to also contained Noelle Hannibal, who informed me that her In The Wings Promotions may present a second remounting of its successful but short run Hair. Also at the table were a number of members of the Hudson Music Club, headed by Gail Marchand. They will be performing Once Upon A Mattress in 2018.

The swinging after party got rolling around 11 pm. I had to leave lest I turn into a pumpkin, a bad move with Halloween just a week away.

Here’s the list of nominees and winners.

Same time, next year.


And the META goes to…

Winners are bolded.

Outstanding Lead Performance – Actor

Quincy Armorer – Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre)
Alessandro Costantini – Prom Queen (Segal Centre for Performing Arts)
Christo Graham – Million Dollar Quartet (Segal Centre for Performing Arts)
Jon Lachlan Stewart – Big Shot (Surreal SoReal Theatre)
Jean Marchand – You Will Remember Me (Centaur Theatre Company)

Outstanding Lead Performance – Actress

Leslie Baker - WestmountMag.ca

Leslie Baker

Leslie Baker – Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! (The Bakery & La Manufacture)
Jenny Brizard – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)
Nicola Cavendish – Bakersfield Mist (Centaur Theatre Company, in association with The Arts Club)
Holly Gauthier-Frankel – Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre)
Catherine Lemieux – Chlorine (creature/creature)

Outstanding Supporting Performance – Actor

Chip Chuipka – Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre)
Karl Graboshas – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)
Tristan D. Lalla – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)
Olivier Lamarche – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)
Alex Poch-Goldin – My Name Is Asher Lev (Segal Centre for Performing Arts & Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)

Outstanding Supporting Performance – Actress

Sponsored by Canadian Actors’ Equity Association

Lally Cadeau – You Will Remember Me (Centaur Theatre Company)
Ellen David – My Name Is Asher Lev (Segal Centre for Performing Arts & Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)
Susan Glover – Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre)
Amanda Lisman – Noises Off (Segal Centre for Performing Arts)
Amanda Silveira – You Will Remember Me (Centaur Theatre Company)

Outstanding Ensemble

Intractable Woman – Deena Aziz, Laura Condlln, Warona Setshwaelo (Imago Theatre)
The Halloween Tree – Eloi ArchamBaudoin, Trevor Barrette, Jimmy Blais, Davide Chiazzese, Lucinda Davis, Charlotte Rogers, Jaa Smith-Johnson (Geordie Productions)
Honesty Rents by the Hour – Patrick Keeler, Howard Rosenstein, Catherine Yale (Infinithéâtre)
Tragic Queens – Jillian Harris, Alex Petrachuk, Meagan Schroeder (CABAL)
Water Weight – Leah Fong, Michelle Rambharose, Dakota Jamal Wellman (Geordie Productions)

Outstanding Set Design

John C. Dinning – Prom Queen (Segal Centre for Performing Arts)
Martin Ferland – My Name Is Asher Lev (Segal Centre for Performing Arts & Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)
Cathia Pagotto – Water Weight (Geordie Productions)
Eo Sharp – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)
Eo Sharp – Intractable Woman (Imago Theatre)

Outstanding Costume Design

META Awards EDI - WestmountMag.ca

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion award went to MAI

Leslie Baker – Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! (The Bakery & La Manufacture)
Louise Bourret – My Name Is Asher Lev (Segal Centre for Performing Arts & Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)
Sophie El-Assaad – Tragic Queens (CABAL)
Sabrina Miller – The Halloween Tree (Geordie Productions)
Cathia Pagotto – Water Weight (Geordie Productions)

Outstanding Lighting Design

Sponsored by Solotech

Jon Cleveland – Tragic Queens (CABAL)
Cédric Delorme-Bouchard – Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! (The Bakery & La Manufacture)
Andrea Lundy – Constellations (Centaur Theatre Company & Canadian Stage)
David Perreault Ninacs – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)
Andrew Scriver – Big Shot (Surreal SoReal Theatre)

Outstanding Sound Design / Composition

Sponsored by Solotech

Devon Bate – Instant (Geordie Productions)
Peter Cerone (Sound Design) & Sam Wylie (Composition) – Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! (The Bakery & La Manufacture)
Dave Clarke & Jon Lachlan Stewart – Big Shot (Surreal SoReal Theatre)
Rob Denton – The Halloween Tree (Geordie Productions)
SIXTRUM Percussion Ensemble – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)

Outstanding Contribution to Theatre

Jane Chan: Live Musical Performance – Constellations (Centaur Theatre Company & Canadian Stage)
Kate Hagemeyer: Stage Management – Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! (The Bakery & La Manufacture)
Matthew Schuurman: Projection Design – Big Shot (Surreal SoReal Theatre)
SIXTRUM Percussion Ensemble: Live Musical Performance – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)
Frédéric St-Hilaire: Video Design – Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! (The Bakery & La Manufacture)

Outstanding New Text (Original or Adaptation)

Amanda Kellock – The Halloween Tree (Geordie Productions)
Michael Milech – Honesty Rents by the Hour (Infinithéâtre)
Erin Shields – Instant (Geordie Productions)
Kent Staines (Book) & Akiva Romer Segal (Lyrics) – Prom Queen (Segal Centre for Performing Arts)
Jesse Stong – Water Weight (Geordie Productions)

Outstanding Emerging Artist(s) – Performance

META Awards Quincy Armorer - WestmountMag.ca

Quincy Armorer

Sponsored by the National Theatre School of Canada

Anurag Choudhury – Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre)
Tiernan Cornford – Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre)
Justin Many Fingers – Yukonstyle (Talisman Theatre)
Michelle Rambharose – Instant & Water Weight (Geordie Productions)
Dakota Jamal Wellman – Instant & Water Weight (Geordie Productions) / Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre)

Outstanding Emerging Artist(s) – Production

Sponsored by the National Theatre School of Canada

Rhiannon Collett: Playwriting – Tragic Queens (CABAL)
Sophie El-Assaad: Costume Design – Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre) / Tragic Queens (CABAL)
Anthony Kennedy: Direction – Tragic Queens (CABAL)
Danielle Laurin: Stage Management – Much Ado About Nothing (Repercussion Theatre)
Michael Milech: Playwriting – Honesty Rents by the Hour (Infinithéâtre)

Outstanding Direction

Leslie Baker – Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! (The Bakery & La Manufacture)
Georgina Beaty – Big Shot (Surreal SoReal Theatre)
Micheline Chevrier – Intractable Woman (Imago Theatre)
Mike Payette – Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre)
Steven Schipper – My Name Is Asher Lev (Segal Centre for Performing Arts & Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)

Outstanding Community Production

Balconville – Hudson Players Club
The Great Gatsby – Hudson Players Club
Into the Woods – Hudson Music Club
Little Shop of Horrors – Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society
Ruddigore – Lakeshore Light Opera

Outstanding Independent Production

Sponsored by Caisse de la Culture

Big Shot – Surreal SoReal Theatre
Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! – The Bakery & La Manufacture
Honesty Rents by the Hour – Infinithéâtre
Tragic Queens – CABAL
Yukonstyle – Talisman Theatre

META Awards Angelique - WestmountMag.ca

Outstanding PACT production – Angélique

Outstanding PACT Production

Angélique – Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre
Intractable Woman – Imago Theatre
My Name Is Asher Lev – Segal Centre for Performing Arts & Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre
Prom Queen – Segal Centre for Performing Arts
Water Weight – Geordie Productions

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Award

Presented in partnership with the Conseil des arts de Montréal

MAI, Montréal Arts Interculturels

Unsung Hero of the Theatre (UHOT) Award

Paul Brian Imperial, Associate Producer, Segal Centre for Performing Arts

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.ca
Images: Andrée Lanthier

Read also: The Hockey Sweater: A Musical skates to a triumph


Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club.


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