Dora Awards honour lifetime achievement in theatre as COVID-19 shuts down live shows

TORONTO — The Dora Mavor Moore Awards celebrated lifetime contributions to theatre following a scuttled season in which the COVID-19 pandemic halted live indoor performances.

The annual awards, produced by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, typically recognize excellence in theatre, dance and opera.

However, organizers scrapped their usual bash this year saying jurors had nothing to adjudicate.

They focused instead on the Dora Ancillary Awards, which honour theatre professionals in both artistic and administrative roles for their body of work rather than specific performances.

Soheil Parsa, who is stepping down as artistic director of the Modern Times Stage Company this year, took the Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award recognizing a Canadian champion of the performing arts.

The John Hirsch Director's Award, presented every three years to Ontario-resident theatre director, went to Jani Lauzon, a multidisciplinary artist of Métis ancestry who has won accolades for her accomplishments as a director, writer, actor, singer and puppeteer.

The annual Pauline McGibbon Award, which honours an Ontario-resident theatre artist in the early stages of their career, went to Franco-Ontarian stage director Dillon Orr.

Managing director of Tarragon Theatre Andrea Vagianos took the Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for outstanding leadership in administration, which allows the winner to bestow the Victor C. Polley Protégé Award. This year it went to emerging arts manager and teacher Danielle Parris.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2021.

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