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Queer artists win big at Dora Awards

Performance, lighting and musical categories shine bright

Earlier this week, the 35th annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards saw numerous queer artists claim their very own creepy clown statue in recognition of their theatrical achievements.

Stratford veteran Bruce Dow pulled a Tom Hanks, doubling up on last year’s prize for his role in Alistair Newton’s Lady Gaga musical Of a Monstrous Child, and snagged the trophy for his performance in Buddies’ production of British playwright Tim Luscombe’s edgy new work Pig.

Performer Damien Atkins was awash in nominations for his work on The Gay Heritage Project and his turn as Prior Walter in Soulpepper’s production of Angels in America. But it was his role in Canadian Stage’s London Road that got him the nod for Performance in the Musical division.

In the design category, Michelle Ramsay was recognized for Lighting in the Independent division for Cahoots’ production of Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! Bad boy puppeteer Ronnie Burkett captured the trophy for Costuming for The Daisy Theatre, presented as part of Luminato last year.

Finally, in the Dance division, Louis Laberge-Côté won Outstanding Choreography for …et même après. Both Laberge-Côté and his husband, Michael Caldwell, were nominated for their performances in the piece. But it was Montreal’s Marc Boivin who walked away with the award for his role in Would (with a trace). 

Established in 1978 by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts as a means of recognizing the city’s top talents in theatre, dance and opera, the Doras play a crucial role in the careers of many artists. The recognition that comes with winning or simply being nominated is an important door opener for new talent and a welcome validation for established artists. For those hungry to have their works recognized next year, registration for the 2014/15 season is already underway.