Nadia Ross, boundary-pushing theatre artist, wins $100K Siminovitch Prize

Quebec director Nadia Ross, a boundary-pushing theatre artist known for creating stage work that is intimate and immediate, is the latest winner of the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize.

Ross hailed for 'integrity of her work, her profound vision for the theatre and her fierce spirit'

George Acheson and Nadia Ross appear in a scene from 7 Important Things. Ross is the latest winner of the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize for theatre. (Andree Lanthier/National Arts Centre)
Quebec director Nadia Ross, a boundary-pushing theatre artist known for creating stage work that is intimate and immediate, is the latest winner of the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize.

Ross was celebrated in Ottawa Friday afternoon at a ceremony at the National Arts Centre.

"We felt the integrity of her work, her profound vision for the theatre and her fierce spirit best reflected the aspirations of the Siminovitch Prize," jury chair Bob White said in a statement.

Based in Wakefield, Que., Ross is founder and artistic director of STO Union, a multidisciplinary troupe that's gained renown abroad for original theatre creations, live art, video and installation works grounded in real-life and focussed on human interactions.

Nadia Ross and her troupe STO Union tour theatre works in Canada and abroad. (David Irvine/National Arts Centre)

Ross founded her company in 1992, while she was part of an alternative theatre movement in Toronto (her contemporaries included Daniel Brooks, Daniel MacIvor, Tracy Wright and Jacob Wren). 

"To be recognized by the Siminovitch Prize for directing is life-changing," Ross said.

She was one of five finalists for Canada's largest theatre prize this year, after the jury expanded the short list due to the outstanding candidates. Also nominated were: Edmonton's Jonathan Christenson, Toronto's Ravi Jain and Ross Manson and Christian Lapointe of Quebec City. 

The annual prize — which recognizes playwriting, theatre design and direction in three-year cycles — also includes a protégé element: each year's recipient chooses someone to receive $25,000 of the total prize.

Ross has selected two protégés with whom she'll share the prize: Sarah Conn, STO Union's artistic producer, and Shaista Latif, a writer, theatre performer and facilitator.

Launched in 2000 in honour of scientist Lou Siminovitch and his late wife Elinore Siminovitch, the Siminovitch Prize celebrates Canadian theatre industry leaders who have created transformative and influential work. 

Past recipients have included Brooks, MacIvor, Carole Fréchette, Brigitte Haentjens, Kim Collier and Chris Abraham.