Blasted leads winners at Toronto's Dora Awards

The incendiary, controversial play Blasted led the pack among the wide field of winners at the 2011 Dora Mavor Moore Awards in Toronto.
David Ferry starred in the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre production of Sarah Kane's infamous play Blasted. (Omer Yukseker/Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

The incendiary, controversial play Blasted led the pack among the wide field of winners at the 2011 Dora Mavor Moore Awards in Toronto.

The annual honours celebrating excellence in the Toronto theatre, dance and opera industry were awarded at a downtown gala Monday night.

Given its English-Canadian debut by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and helmed by the company's new chief Brendan Healy, the infamous and thought-provoking play Blasted triumphed with five Doras — including the coveted award for outstanding production in the general theatre division.

The Sarah Kane work, which explores violence, sexuality and human depravity in a wartime setting, also picked up trophies for Healy's direction, its sound design/composition, set and lighting design.

Mirvish Productions nabbed four trophies for two high-profile musical theatre entries: Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Musical (for lead actor Tony Sheldon and its costume design) and Billy Elliot, The Musical (for lead actress Kate Hennig and its choreography).

The Canadian Opera Company earned a trio of Doras for two titles, Christoph Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (which won outstanding opera production and musical direction) and Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice (outstanding performance for tenor Alan Oke).

A host of troupes ended the evening as double-winners, including:

  • Soulpepper Theatre Company, for Death of a Salesman (for lead actor Joseph Ziegler) and Doc (with Jane Spidell honoured for her featured role).
  • Cabaret Company for The Situationists (in the independent theatre division for best new play/musical and male performance for Gavin Crawford);
  • Cahoots Theatre for paper SERIES (in the independent theatre division for its direction and its sound design/composition);
  • The Company Theatre for Through the Leaves (in the independent theatre division for outstanding production and set design).
  • The Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People's A Year with Frog and Toad (outstanding production, musical theatre division) and Routes (outstanding production, youth).

Other winners included:

  • New play, general theatre division: Brothel #9 (Anusree Roy).
  • New musical/opera, musical theatre division: Prima Donna (Rufus Wainwright/Luminato).
  • Outstanding production, dance division: Out of Context - for Pina (Harbourfront World Stage/Alain Platel/Les Ballets C de la B).
  • Touring production, general theatre division: The Andersen Project (Canadian Stage/Ex Machina).
  • Lead female performance, general theatre division: Yanna McIntosh for Ruined (Obsidian Theatre Company/Nightwood Theatre).
  • Female performance, independent theatre division: Sandy Duarte for Blood (Doghouse Riley Productions).
  • Featured performance, independent theatre division: Christopher Stanton for The New Electric Ballroom (MacKenzieRo: The Irish Repertory Theatre Company of Canada).
  • Performance, dance division: Juan Ogalla for Espejo de Oro/Mirror of Gold (Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company).
  • Performance, youth division: John Cleland for Edward the "Crazy Man" (Workman Arts Project of Ontario).
  • Costume design, independent theatre division: Melanie McNeill for Madhouse Variations (Eldritch Theatre).
  • Lighting design, independent theatre division: Trevor Schwellnus for Nohayquiensepa/No one knows (Aluna Theatre).
  • Choreography, dance division: Roberto Campanella & Robert Glumbek for ...inbetween... (ProArteDanza).
  • Sound design/composition, dance division: Joby Talbot for Chroma (The National Ballet of Canada).

The evening gala, hosted by comedian Craig Lauzon and actress Michaela Washburn, also included special tributes to playwright and director Michael Hollingsworth and sound and production designer Ben Chaisson.

The high-profile children's play The Railway Children was named winner of the publicly voted audience choice award.