OAF News

Ontario Arts Foundation Disburses $3.3 million to Arts Organizations Across Ontario

Toronto - March 26, 2020 - The Ontario Arts Foundation is pleased to confirm that $ 3.3 million in endowment income payments have been disbursed to 261 arts organizations across the Province of Ontario earlier this month. The annual payout represents income earned on endowments created by arts organizations and funded jointly by the private sector and the government through two matching programs:  the Arts Endowment Fund, and the Canada Cultural Investment Fund, Endowment Incentives Component.

“Investment results in 2019 were strong, allowing the Foundation to continue disbursing this important source of operating revenue that is particularly critical in our current environment,” says Anthony Graham, Board Chair, Ontario Arts Foundation.  “As all investors are experiencing, the Foundation's portfolio of investments is being impacted by the market volatility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Rooted in a long-term perspective, the Board of Directors' investment strategy remains focused on a portfolio of high quality assets well positioned to grow over time and able to weather the ever-shifting disruptive economic climate.”

Arts Endowment Fund (AEF)
The Arts Endowment Fund (AEF) is a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation.  Under the AEF Program, money raised for endowment was matched, dollar for dollar, up to a predetermined maximum. Each year organizations receive income to be used for their ongoing operations. The Province of Ontario committed $60 million in matching funds between 1998 and 2008. Since inception, over $91 million in income has been paid from the endowment funds to Ontario arts organizations. Endowments established under the AEF Program now total over
$156 million

Canada Cultural Investment Fund - Endowment Incentives
The Canada Cultural Investment Fund - Endowment Incentives Component is a program of the Department of Canadian Heritage that provides matching funds of up to one dollar for every dollar raised privately for endowment - both the matching funds and the private donations are to be held in perpetuity.  Since its inception in 2001-2002, the Ontario Arts Foundation has received $8.1 million in matching grants under this program, which together with the $11.0 million in contributions from private donors result in a growing source of income that can be used by the beneficiary arts organizations for their operating budgets or special projects.  The Endowment Incentives Component has provided a total of $287 million in matching grants, leveraging private sector donations of $386 million, for a total of $673 million invested in public charitable foundations and benefiting the long-term financial health of 266 arts organizations across Canada. 


For further information, please contact:

Alan Walker
Executive Director Ontario Arts Foundation
T. 416-969-7413 awalker@oafdn.ca

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2018-2019, the OAF paid over $4.35 million in endowment income and $315,000 in awards and scholarships.

  Ce document existe également en français.

Jasmine Chen Awarded 2020 Gina’s Prize for Emerging Female Directors

Toronto  – March 10, 2020 – The Gina Wilkinson Prize Committee is pleased to announce that Jasmine Chen is the recipient of the ninth annual Gina Wilkinson Prize for an Emerging Female Director.  This annual prize of $ 5,000 honours female theatre artists transitioning to directing.

About Jasmine Chen
Jasmine is a Chinese-Canadian multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto/Vancouver.  She is the creator of The Mother Tongue Project which was featured on CBC Arts and Fête Chinoise Magazine. Her bilingual participatory theatre piece The Gateway Language Exchange Gameshow was featured in the Richmond News for bringing together inter-generational Mandarin and English speakers. Her performance credits include: the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Young People’s Theatre, The Arts Club, Prairie Theatre Exchange, and more. Her directing credits include: Hilot Means Healer (Cahoots Theatre/b current), Yellow Rabbit (Silk Bath/Soulpepper), Madness of the Square (Lift Off/Cahoots), Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) (Banff/Citadel), Le Ba-Ta-Clan (Opera 5), DIRT (Forward March Festival). Jasmine is a recipient of the Stratford Festival Jean Gascon Award, Toronto Harold Award, and is a Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominee. Jasmine is the incoming Artistic and Community Producer at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond, BC. Website: msjasminechen.com

"I never had the privilege of meeting Gina. Through her friends and colleagues, I’ve received stories of her warmth, her magic, her fabulous outfits, her fearlessness, but most of all, her generosity. I’m inspired by her legacy and the previous recipients of this prize, many of whom have had a profound impact on me, spurring me on to open even more doors for others.

I’m deeply grateful for the chosen family I have found in our nationwide community. Thank you to Norman Yeung, Victoria Wang, Miquelon Rodriguez, Meg Roe and the selection jury for believing in my nomination. I’m indebted to the women trailblazers who came before me and encouraged me to listen to and trust my voice. This prize recognizes what so often goes unseen: a transition that requires sacrifice, rigour and courage. I would not have had that courage without the unwavering support of my community. To my mentors, Marjorie Chan, Esther Jun, Chris Abraham, David Yee, Meg Roe, Brian Quirt, Nina Lee Aquino, Tanisha Taitt, Jovanni Sy, and many others: thank you for seeing in me what I had not yet discovered in myself.

In receiving this honour, I want to say this: when you invest in artists, a little bit of encouragement goes a long way. Without champions, without the people to tell you to keep going, there are too many burgeoning artistic voices that get lost along the way. In the spirit of Gina’s generosity, I would like to recognize two new-generation artists who inspire me and are blazing paths in their own communities, they are: Rinchen Dolma and Kemi King.”

Shortlisted Nominees
Ms. Chen was selected from a short list that includes, in alphabetical order,  Diana Donnelly (Montreal), Chanda Gibson (Hamilton), and Chiamaka G. Ugwu (Toronto).  Each shortlisted nominee will receive $1,000.

Diana Donnelly is a director and actor, originally from Montreal. In 2019 she directed Hannah Moscovitch’s The Russian Play at The Shaw Festival. Diana was a Neil Munro Intern Director at Shaw in 2018. She was the assistant director for Ravi Jain on The Orchard: After Chekhov and Craig Hall on The Hound of the Baskervilles. Her Director’s Project at Shaw was Caryl Churchill’s Far Away. She was a finalist for Crow’s Theatre’s RBC Rising Star Emerging Director’s Prize in 2019. Diana is a graduate of the National Theatre School where she currently mentors. She has worked across the country as an actor. She won the Best Ensemble Dora Award in 2018 with her cast mates in Jerusalem (Company Theatre/Outside the March). This summer she can be seen in M. Butterfly at Soulpepper Theatre. Diana will direct Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes at The Grand Theatre in 2021. She is very grateful for this recognition and in such excellent company.

Chanda Gibson, a versatile Franco-Ontarian actress and artist, is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Theatre Department (2005). She has performed in numerous theatrical productions including Le Passé antérieur (Th. l’Île); Exit(s) (Catapulte/TNO),; Silence en Coulisses! (Th. du Trillium); Le Désir (Th. l’Île); Les Médecins de Molière (Catapulte/TfT); Boeing Beoing (Th.l’Île); iShow (PCC); Les Précieuses ridicules (TfT); as well as Peau (She Said Films). On television, her projects include Météo+, Les Bleus de Ramville, Motel Monstre (TFO), Consensus (TV5/Web), Vision Polyphonique (TV5/Web), and Toi et Moi III (RDI). She also portrays the exuberant Dame Viviane in Mehdi & Val, a French children’s TV show produced by Slalom (RDI). Chanda’s directing career started with productions for young audiences (Les Zinspirés: Cinq sur Cinq, Six degrés de séparation and L’Âge de raison) for which she received two Dora-Mavor-Moore Awards for Outstanding Direction in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and last Fall she directed Eugène Ionesco’s absurd classic comedy The Bald Soprano at the Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT). Chanda is honoured to have been considered for the Gina Wilkinson Prize for Emerging Female Director's and would like to thank the jury and congratulate this year's recipient.

Chiamaka G. Ugwu (she/her) is an interdisciplinary actor-creator, writer, director, and producer. As a Dora-nominated actor, Chiamaka has worked in theatres across the country including Neptune Theatre, Odyssey Theatre, New Harlem Productions, Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre. As a director, Chiamaka has worked extensively in new play development including directing the workshops of Broken Windows (bcurrent, Theatre InspiraTO), The Disappearance of Laura May (fuGEN Theatre), Don’t Talk to Me Like I’m Your Wife (Factory Theatre) as well as creating, producing and directing as part of the Cardinal Direction Experimentation Lab for emerging, female directors of colour. Her other directing credits include The Twelve-Forty (Theatre InspiraTO - People’s Choice Award) and Neck-Breaking Car-Hop (Theatre Erindale), as well as assistant directing mentorships at Nightwood Theatre with Weyni Mengesha, at Factory Theatre with Judith Thompson, and at the AMY Project with Maya Rabanovitch and Lisa Codrington. In her training Chiamaka has sought opportunities that celebrate her interdisciplinary work which includes being a Chalmers fellow, as well as training with the SITI Company, Kristin Linklater, Directors Lab North, and Generator’s Artist Producer Training program. As a writer, Chiamaka is currently writing her first play Swallow which follows a PhD candidate whose study of an Igbo goddess disrupts her romantic, familial and spiritual relationships on the eve of her father’s death. She is honoured to be shortlisted for the esteemed Gina Wilkinson Prize.

Nominations and Selection Committee
The Committee received 21 nominations from across the country and was thrilled by the calibre of the artists vying for the Prize. The nominations spoke to an incredibly diverse, intelligent and passionate group of artists who, as emerging directors, are clearly dedicated to creating not only a lively, rigorous and positive environment for theatre-making but also to providing audiences in their communities with theatre experiences of the highest order.

The Gina Wilkinson Prize was established through the generous support of Gina's colleagues and admirers from across the country. The Committee (Micheline Chevrier, Bonnie Green, Eda Holmes, Krista Jackson, Lindsay Lachance, Tom Rooney and Jovanni Sy) extends its heartfelt thanks to all those supporters. Through their incredible generosity, the spirit of Gina lives on.

About the Award
Gina's Prize honours a Canadian female theatre artist who is transitioning from one theatre discipline (acting, stage managing, playwriting, administration, etc.) to that of directing. The Prize pays tribute to actor/playwright/director Gina Wilkinson, who passed away in 2010, and whose dedication, vision and indomitable spirit imbued her work and her life. An actor for over twenty years, Ms Wilkinson began turning her attention to both writing and directing and, in the last few years of her too-short life, established herself as a daring, strong, inventive director and collaborator in the Canadian theatre. In the spirit of Ms Wilkinson's appetite for life, the Prize of $5,000 is a gift to be used in any way the recipient chooses.

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the Gina Wilkinson Prize.  Anyone wishing to donate may do so at www.oafdn.ca.

Past recipients of Gina's Prize include Anita La Selva (2019) Tanja Jacobs (2018), and Kimberley Rampersad (2017).  See full list of previous recipients


For information, please contact: 

Tom Rooney
Gina's Prize Committee

Alan Walker, Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413, awalker@oafdn.ca


Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2018-2019, the OAF paid over $4.35 million in endowment income and $315,000 in awards and scholarships.

Ce document existe également en français. 

2019/2020 Winners of the Ellen Ross Stuart Opening Doors Awards Announced

Toronto, ON, March 4, 2020 – The Ellen Ross Stuart Awards Committee is pleased to announce the 2019/2020 winners of the Ellen Ross Stuart Opening Doors Awards.

2019/2020 Award Recipients

Madeleine Brown
Madeleine Brown is a playwright and actor from Peterborough, Ontario now based in Toronto. Her last three comedies debuted at the Toronto Fringe Festival including a sold-out run of Patron’s Pick Winner, Everyone Wants A T-Shirt!. She has previously received NOW Magazine Awards for Outstanding Ensemble and Individual Performance and was an inaugural Nightwood Theatre Young Innovator. She is a graduate of UTM/Sheridan College as a Loran Scholar and Second City's Conservatory program. Madeleine volunteers with L’Arche Toronto and plays the euphonium with the Swansea Community Concert Band.

April Leung
April Siutong Leung 梁筱彤is a performer and playwright raised in Hong Kong, now based in Toronto. Her current work tends to examine what it means to be Chinese-Canadian, the sociopolitical aspects of Hong Kong, technology, as well as food. In addition to Inside the Claypot Rice, she is working with Mammalian Diving Reflex to develop (a) round table, a show based on inter-generational cooking and the passing of recipes. April was also selected by Cahoots Theatre as one of their thirty theatre-makers who will shape the next thirty years in Canadian theatre. www.aprilleung.com

2019/2020 Award Runner-Ups

Polly Phokeev
Polly Phokeev is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg, and actor. She holds an honours bachelor from U of T, and is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at UBC. Her critically acclaimed play How We Are, created with Mikaela Davies, holds the 2016 Safe Words New Canadian Play Award and the 2016 My Entertainment World award for Outstanding New Work. How We Are has been produced in two sold-out independent productions in Toronto, as well as through the Kick and Push Festival in Kingston, ON. Other writing credits include Seams (SummerWorks 2015; noted in NOW Magazine for Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Design, and Outstanding Production), and The Mess (with Mikaela Davies; nominated for 2017 My Entertainment Critics’ Choice Award). Polly was honoured with the inaugural Award for a Young Canadian Playwright through the Jon Kaplan Legacy Fund in 2019. She is delighted to take part in Driftwood Theatre's inaugural playwrights unit in 2020. Polly is currently translating and adapting the classic Russian novel Master and Margarita with Mikaela Davies and Hailey Gillis (work-shopped with the Stratford Festival in fall 2019), and writing her new play Kostroma, as well as her debut novel.

Zahida Rahemtulla
Zahida Rahemtulla is an emerging writer of fiction and theatre. She studied Literature and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University in New York and Abu Dhabi. She was a playwright in residence at the Arts Club Theatre Company’s 2019 Emerging Playwrights’ Unit, where she wrote her second play, The Frontliners. Her first play, The Wrong Bashir, was a national finalist for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre's MSG Lab and Theatre BC’s 2019 Canadian Playwriting Competition. She’s also at work on a collection of short fiction and a humour novel for kids. Zahida is a graduate of the SFU Writer’s Studio and has been a resident at the Banff Centre in Alberta and Millay Colony for the Arts in New York.

Loreta Seto Sepehr Reybod
Sepehr Reybod is an Iranian-born emerging actor, playwright, and creator based in Toronto. Select credits include The In-Between, Geordie Theatre; Blood + Soil, Theatre ARTaud; Territorial Tales, Canadian Stage. Sepehr was a member of Factory Theatre’s acting enhancement program, The Mechanicals, for their 2018-2019 season, and joins them again as a playwright in their Foundry unit for 2019-2020. His play-in-development Saffron & Caviar was presented publicly at the curated Parkdale New Works Theatre Festival in 2019. His next play is about orgies in the Middle East.

About the Award

Award recipients were selected by a Committee of theatre professionals comprised of Ross Stuart, Award Founder; Ann Stuart, Award Founder; Autumn Smith, Award Managing Director; Gil Garratt, Artistic Director at the Blyth Festival; Rona Waddington, director and writer; Joanna Falck, Dramaturg at Tarragon Theatre; and Doug Floyd, General Manager at Hart House Theatre.

Each winner receives prize money plus dramaturgical support and mentorship from three partner theatres, Hart House Theatre, the Blyth Festival and Tarragon Theatre, and will create a script that will be showcased in workshop form at the Tarragon Theatre in May 2021.

Previous award winners include Bessie Cheng (2018), Sophia Fabiilli (2018), and Chelsea Woolley (2018).


For more information about the award and the application process contact:
Autumn Smith,  Managing Director

For more information about the Ontario Arts Foundation:
Alan Walker, Executive Director

Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2018-2019, the OAF paid over $4.35 million in endowment income and $315,000 in awards and scholarships."

Ce document existe également en français.

BLOG: The Role of an Endowment in COVID-19 Times... Read more »