Local playwright wins prestigious $100,000 theatre prize


The Siminovitch Prize is given to recognize achievement in Canadian theatre; specifically, professional directors, playwrights and designers. This year’s prize was awarded to Vancouver-based artistic director, playwright and author, Marcus Youssef.

Originally from Montreal, Marcus Youssef has made a huge impact in both Vancouver and Canada’s theatre community. Youssef is recognized for having written and co-written some of Canada’s best-known theatrical investigations that tackle ‘otherness’ and ‘difference’, including Winners and LosersKing Arthur’s NightLeftoversHow Has My Love Affected You?Ali & AliChloe’s ChoiceEveryoneAdriftPeter PantiesJabber and A Line in the Sand. His works have been performed across North America, Australia and Europe, and published by Talonbooks and Playwrights Canada Press.

A condition of the award is that one quarter of the prize must be awarded to a “protégé” selected by the winner. This year’s protégé recipient was theatre artist and fellow Vancouverite, Christine Quintana.

The Siminovitch Prize is launched in 2000 to honour scientist Louis Siminovitch and his late wife Elsinore Siminovitch, a pioneering playwright. It recognizes Canadian excellence and innovation within Canadian theatre. The bi-lingual prize is juried by theatre professionals from across Canada.

“The Siminovitch Prize means so much to me and – if I can say this – to the theatre community across this enormously small country”, says Youssef. “There is simply no other award like it, both in terms of prestige, and the practical difference it can make for nominees and winners… This is the sign of a mature culture. As the tiny neighbours of the world’s dominant power, I believe we must be unafraid to mythologize ourselves, fiercely and unapologetically. This is precisely what the Siminovitch Prize permits us to do.”

To learn more about Marcus’ work, visit marcusyoussef.com 

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Adam Nanji is the Content Manager at Vancouver Is Awesome. When he’s not scouring the city for awesome news, he performs as ¼ of local band, Belle Game. Adam grew up in Vancouver and earned a degree in Cultural Studies with a double minor in Communication and Gender Studies from McGill University. He’s the co-owner of Fine Print Media, where he has executed social media strategies for TELUS STORYHIVE and LG 104.3. He’s passionate about Vancouver’s social issues and local art. You’ll typically find him standing on a corner, contemplating where to eat in Gastown, Chinatown or Mount Pleasant. Tell him what you think is awesome: adam@vancouverisawesome.com