By: Chelsea Brunette
Members from Algonquin’s theatre arts program were recently honoured with six nominations for their work in the theatre from the Capital Critics’ Circle, with one of the nominations being a first-time achievement for Algonquin.
The categories of the nominations include Best Professional Production, Best Community Theatre Production, Best Director (Professional) and Best Actor (Professional).
Algonquin’s student production from last semester received a nomination for Best Community Theatre Production, which is the first time that the college has been nominated for CCC award. The play was The Actor’s Nightmare and it was directed by theatre arts professor, Mary Ellis.
“So much of it is due to the hard work of the students. I’m there to kind of guide them, but they worked very hard and did a great show,” said Ellis. “So I was really proud of them and really thrilled that we’ve been honoured in this way essentially.”
Although Ellis said she was thrilled about the nomination and it was an unexpected, not all of the theatre arts faculty were surprised.
“I was very excited, again, not totally surprised,” said Peter Larock, chair of design studies. “The production last winter was very well received, it was very well done and I mean several of the people who are nominated are professionals working in the community and they are very highly regarded in the community. I’m pleased that they’re part of our Algonquin family and the theatre arts program.”
The other nominees include theatre arts professors Teri Loretto-Valentik for Best Director (Professional) and Best Professional Production for Speed-the-Plow and Catriona Leger for Best Professional Production for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both for their parts as directors. Zach Counsil, an Algonquin graduate, is nominated for Best Actor (Professional) and Best Professional Production.
“Nobody expects a nomination for an award; we do the work because we’re passionate about it, and we hope that people enjoy and they come away with something,” said Leger. “I don’t work in theatre for money or awards, that’s for sure, because those things are few and far between.”
According to both Leger and Ellis, financial insecurity is one of the risks of working in their field whether you’re an actor, director or stage manager. Loretto-Valentik said that the tentative nature of the business is also a risk because there’s no job guarantee once a project is finished.
“It’s highly competitive; one in 10 maybe will be able to actually make a living in the cultural sector as we call it, one in 100 might make a good living and one in a million will be the next Angelina Jolie, it’s very rare,” said Loretto-Valentik.
But groups like the CCC recognizes a director’s or an actor’s hard work is part of the benefits of working in this profession.
“You get the opportunity to comment on life, comment on reality around you, you get the chance to escape into another world, you get to make people happy, you get to entertain people,” said Loretto-Valentik. “You get to allow people to sit in a darkened room and watch you on stage and escape the worries of the world just for those two hours or hour.”
The CCC award winners will be announced on Nov. 26 at Orpheus House, 17 Fairmont Ave. from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. during the ceremony.
Winners will receive cash awards, plaques and commemorative certificates, as well as the satisfaction for having their work recognized.
“You have to work hard, you know it doesn’t come easily, but the more work you put in the more rewards you’ll get,” said Ellis.