When Algonquin’s theatre arts professor Mary Ellis decided to dedicate her life to the theatre she was a high-school student, guided and inspired by her teacher Brian Doyle.
This year, the recognized actress has been honoured with Best Actress (professional) nomination from the Capital Critics’ Circle for her adaptation of Doyle’s book Angels Square.
“One of the reasons why I was so delighted to do Angels Square was because of the connection with Brian,” said Ellis.
But Ellis is not the only talented member of the theatre arts program nominated for the 17th annual English-language theatre awards for plays presented during the 2015-2016 theatre season.
Algonquin’s “newbie” Pierre Brault was also honoured with the nomination as Best Actor (professional) for his remarkable performance in the one-man show Will Somers: Keeping Your Head.
But acting and teaching are not the only talents of both Ellis and Brault.
Over the decades of working in the field, Ellis has earned a reputation as a director and Brault also as a playwright and a stand-up comic.
Despite the fact that Ellis has already been nominated both as an actor and a director, she said that she wasn’t expecting it would happen again.
“I didn’t realize it was coming until a friend of mine texted me to congratulate me on my nomination,” said Ellis.
For Ellis, the award will bring recognition not only to her efforts in directing the play and portraying characters from a 12-year-old boy to a middle aged woman, but it will also pay tribute to Brian Doyle, who inspired Ellis to adapt his book Angels Square into the play.
Although Brault already has six awards under his belt, this nomination is the first one that he has been honoured with for being a member of Algonquin’s theatre arts program. Starting in September 2016, Brault has been sharing his experience with 29 scriptwriting students.
“Pierre joined us this fall and we are thrilled, He is one of Ottawa’s best known playwrights and he has had his work staged nationally and internationally,” said Lynn Tarzwell, the scriptwriting program coordinator.
“He is a wonderful teacher and students are really loving him. He is putting them through their paces.”
Winners will be announced on Nov. 14 at the awards ceremony that will be held at Live! On Elgin from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Beside the recognition, winners will also bring home cash awards, plaques and commemorative certificates.
“I’m really honoured because I’m nominated with some really really beautiful actors, who I admire, so I’m actually touched to be nominated,” said Ellis.