LSM Newswire

Friday, July 3, 2009

Multiple honours for Wajdi Mouawad

Multiple honours for Wajdi Mouawad

The Avignon Festival's Associated Artist is honoured by Canada and the Académie française

Ottawa, Canada – Just a few days before the opening of the Avignon Festival, where he is this year's Associated Artist, Wajdi Mouawad—writer, director, actor, and artistic director of the National Arts Centre (NAC) French Theatre—was honoured by the Académie française and appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

The first announcement came last week, when Mr. Mouawad received the Grand Prix du Théâtre presented by the Académie française in recognition of his achievements as a playwright. He will receive the award next December at a ceremony to be held under the Dome of the Institut de France in Paris. Established in 1980, the Grand Prix du Théâtre is awarded annually in recognition of a playwright's body of work; past recipients include Jean Anouilh and Marguerite Duras.

Wajdi Mouawad made the news again this week when Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced his appointment to the rank of Officer of the Order of Canada. The Order, this country's highest civilian honour, recognizes "a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large."

These honours came as Wajdi Mouawad was preparing for the July 7 opening of the 2009 Avignon Festival, where, besides acting as Associated Artist, he will present the original versions of three of his plays: Littoral (translated into English as Tideline), Incendies (Scorched), and Forêts. For the first time ever, the three plays will be presented in a single performance stretching from dusk to dawn. The Festival will also present (separately) Mr. Mouawad's latest play, Ciels, completing the tetralogy entitled Le Sang des promesses.

"The National Arts Centre congratulates Wajdi Mouawad on receiving these prestigious honours," said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. "We're proud to be associated with such an outstanding artist."

Wajdi Mouawad will return to Ottawa and the NAC in September for the exclusive North American engagement of Littoral.

Two other friends of the National Arts Centre were also honoured by the Governor General this week: Robert Lepage, former French Theatre artistic director, and John Manley, a director of the NAC Foundation, the Centre's fundraising arm. Messrs Lepage and Manley were appointed respectively to the rank of Companion and Officer of the Order of Canada.

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