The first protegé who shared in the inaugural edition of the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize in 2001 is among the trio of nominees for the 2013 edition of the revived Canadian theatre honour.
Chris Abraham, artistic director of Toronto's Crow's Theatre, is one of this year's finalists for the prize. He is joined by Marie-Josée Bastien, head of Quebec City troupe Les Enfants Terribles, and Benoît Vermeulen, director of Montreal's Le Théâtre Clou.
A cross-Canada panel of five jurors chose the trio and will determine this year's winner.
"The jury was uniformly thrilled by the quality of the nominations and was frankly amazed by the extraordinary talent that has developed in the realm of directing for the theatre in Canada," jury chair John Van Burek said in a statement.
Established in 2001 to pay tribute to scientist and philanthropist Lou Siminovitch and his late playwright wife Elinore, the prize became a high-profile annual celebration of Canadian stage artists.The award's distinctive structure helped it stand out: the honour alternated through a three-year cycle that celebrated Canadian directors, playwrights and designers.
It toasts mid-career artists who have "contributed significantly to the fabric of theatrical life through a total body of work." Past recipients have included playwrights Carole Fréchette, and Daniel MacIvor, designer Ronnie Burkett and directors Daniel Brooks and Kim Collier.
The $100,000 prize also celebrates up-and-comers, with each winner receiving $75,000 and choosing a protegé to receive the remaining $25,000. Abraham was the inaugural year's first protegé, after he was chosen by 2001 winner Daniel Brooks.
In March 2012, organizers revealed it would be the final year for the prize. The original organizers — a number of prominent philanthropic Canadian families — had initially raised about $1.2 million to establish the award and had decided to award a significant cash prize for a limited number of years rather than a smaller amount for a longer period, so as to have more of an impact on each winner.
However, "over the last few months, many individuals and organizations have rallied together to support the Siminovitch Prize and help ensure that its legacy and impact on Canadian theatre continues," Lou Siminovitch said in a statement.
"We are delighted to partner with University of Toronto and RBC Foundation."
The winner of the 2013 Siminovitch Prize will be announced Oct. 21 at a reception in Toronto.