LSM Newswire

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Micheal Hollingsworth : 2011 Silver Ticket Award Winner

Michael Hollingsworth
2011 SILVER TICKET AWARD WINNER
FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF CANADIAN THEATRE

Toronto, June 27, 2011 - Celebrated playwright, director and founding Artistic Co-Director of VideoCabaret, Michael Hollingsworth was presented with the Silver Ticket Award at the 32nd Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, held Monday evening, June 27, 2011 at Toronto's St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in the Bluma Appel Theatre.

Since 1980, the Silver Ticket Award has been bestowed to an individual who has excelled in their own career while also nurturing the development of Canadian theatre. Presented by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), the Silver Ticket Award winner is selected by a committee of previous winners and entitles the recipient to a lifetime of theatre tickets to any TAPA member company production.

A major contributor to Canada's theatrical landscape for over three decades, Michael Hollingsworth's artistic influence has been immeasurable. Begun in 1985, Hollingsworth's epic The History of the Village of the Small Huts play cycle stands as one of the country's greatest theatrical canons. It tackles the complete colonial history of this country (in twenty plays and counting), from Donnacona and Cartier to Brian Mulroney and George Bush. The treatment of the original native population, the building of the railroad, both World Wars, the Rebellions, Confederation, The Great Depression and more are all part of this historical comedy of manners.

At once satirical, over-the-top and magical, Hollingsworth's History Plays unleash a torrent of legends and losers, heroes and hosers, telling stories that arc over decades in a cinematic sweep of time and space. A rigorous experimenter in theatrical form and content, Hollingsworth, with the company's core artists, created a hyper-theatrical 'black box' style of staging as original as the content. Scores of characters with extravagant costumes and props appear and vanish like a dream, aided by precision lighting, sound and timing. Large-scale events, such as the battle of Vimy Ridge and the Red River Rebellion, are dramatized with only a handful of actors. VideoCabaret's recent and current sold-out remounts of these plays at the company's home in the back room of the Cameron House have drawn the attention of Toronto schools for their compelling storytelling and ability to bring history to life, and school matinees are now commonplace there.

Michael Hollingsworth's earliest plays brought him first celebrity and then notoriety. Strawberry Fields, his long-running debut, was followed by Clear Light, shut down after only six performances by the Toronto Police Morality Squad. He co-founded VideoCabaret shortly thereafter with partner Deanne Taylor in 1976 and has since created some of Canada's most unique plays, including early creative works integrating video and live rock music (1984 and Brave New World, among others) as well as the aforesaid ambitious The History of the Village of the Small Huts play cycle.

In 2000, after many fruitful co-productions with Theatre Passe Muraille, Factory Theatre and the Theatre Centre, VideoCabaret refurbished their own theatre space in the Cameron House, where script development, rehearsals and costume/wig/prop production are possible under one roof. VideoCabaret also provides opportunities to emerging theatre artists through workshops and master classes, and offers young actors the opportunity to perform alongside stage veterans with a generosity not seen in many companies.

Despite being a perennial outlaw in the theatre scene, Michael Hollingsworth has won multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards as a playwright and director, as well as two Harold Awards (one from the original Harold) and two Chalmers Awards. His History Plays have received more than 60 Dora nominations and have won more than 20 Dora Awards.

VideoCabaret has now been invited to join the Stratford Festival as part of its 2012 season, offering Hollingsworth the much-deserved opportunity to showcase his work on a larger stage.

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) is an arts service organization that represents nearly 200 professional theatre, dance and opera companies in the City of Toronto and administers the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. In addition to the Doras, other programs and services provided by TAPA include: T.O. TIX - Toronto's Official One Stop Ticket Shop at Yonge-Dundas Square and online at www.totix.ca; 5 STAR EXPERIENCE Theatre & Dining Packages; Toronto's official Theatre Guide; hipTIX, offering $5 tickets to students between the ages of 15 and 29; citySPECIAL; the Commercial Theatre Development Fund; and the Travel Retreat Initiatives Program - TRIP. For more information visit www.tapa.ca and www.totix.ca.

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