Oh, Feore, Mercer among those honoured by performing arts awards

Sandra Oh. Photo: James White/Corbis Outline

LouiseBessette. Photo: Pierre-Etienne Bergeron

It’s been a pretty big year for Ottawa’s Sandra Oh. She made history for winning a Golden Globe for her performance in the TV drama Killing Eve on BBC America. She also won a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series and an Emmy nomination for the role in the series that she co-produces.

She also co-hosted the 2019 Golden Globe Awards becoming the first Canadian and the first person of Asian descent to do so. Now she’s been given the National Arts Centre award as part of the annual announcement of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. The NAC Award recognizes “work of an extraordinary nature by an individual artist or company in the past performance year.”

The recipients of the 2019 awards will get their gongs April 26 and be celebrated in a gala on April 27 at the National Arts Centre.

Joining Oh in the parade of Canadian talent will be:

Colm Feore. Photo Ann Baggley

Rick Mercer. Photo: Jon Sturge

Concert pianist Louise Bessette who is credited with supporting contemporary classical piano and introducing the music of Quebec and Canadian composers to the world.

Colm Feore will have a different role at the gala this year. In the past he’s been the master of ceremonies. This year his work on stage and screen is being recognized. He is a regular at the Stratford Festival and has more than 140 film and TV credits to his name. The MC in April will be CBC broadcaster Heather Hiscox.

All those rants have paid off for Newfoundland’s own Rick Mercer. The satirist, comedian, screenwriter and actor has forged a career in comedy in Canada that has left a mark on many of the high and mighty in this country and beyond.

Lorraine Pintal. Photo: Jean-Francois Gratton

Quebec actor, writer and director Lorraine Pintal is being honoured for her career that has spanned more than 45 years. She has directed more than 150 stage productions, produced several TV series, hosted a literary radio show and served on the boards of numerous arts organizations. She assumed the helm of Montreal’s Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in 1992 and has raised to prominence works by Quebec playwrights such as Michel Marc Bouchard, Evelyne de la Chenelière, Réjean Ducharme, Carole Fréchette, Claude Gauvreau and Michel Tremblay.

Mavis Staines. Photo: Johan Persson

Dance educator Mavis Staines is being recognized for changing the way classical ballet is taught from her position as the head of the  National Ballet School for 30 years. Through her work she has guided generations of professional dancers.

Noel Spinelli. Photo Vadim Daniel

The Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts will be presented to Montreal businessman E. Noël Spinelli for his work to make music accessible to all. 

The GG awards also present a mentorship program in which a past laureate works with a Canadian artist in mid-career. This year’s mentor is the legendary Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. She will work with Gop Bartibogue, who is a First Nations artist and filmmaker from the Mi’kmaq community of Esgenoopetitj (Burnt Church, New Brunswick).

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.