Gina Wilkinson Prize for an Emerging Female Director

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Gina Wilkinson was a prolific actor/playwright and a stage director in constant demand. Her sudden passing was a great loss to her family, friends and the theatre community who cherished her joy, energy, and great lust for life. In memory of Gina’s great talent and in celebration of her life, the Gina Wilkinson Prize for an Emerging Female Director has been established. 

An award is given annually, offering financial support to a female theatre artist who is transitioning to directing from another discipline, e.g., acting, stage managing, playwriting, choreography, etc.


Jasmine Chen

2020 Award Recipient

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.  

“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.”


Award & Nomination Details


Nominees must be members of the Canadian professional theatre community and Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status, as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The re-nomination of previous candidates is welcome.

Preference will be shown to nominees who have spent several years in a theatre discipline other than directing (acting, stage management, design, theatre administration, etc.) and who are now transitioning into directing.


A prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the winning nominee.

A prize of $1000 will be awarded to each of three shortlisted nominees. 


Nominations open: October 15th

Nominations close: December 15th

Recipient is announced: March 10th (Gina’s Birthday)


The nomination should consist of:

1. A nomination letter in support of the nominee by a recognized theatre professional.

2. An acknowledgement of the nomination by the nominee, along with a brief outline of their artistic vision, and how the Gina Wilkinson Prize might assist them in furthering their practice in this time of transition.

3. The nominee’s resume.


Anyone wishing to re-nominate their past nominee is encouraged to do so.

All nominations must be submitted electronically.

Gina Wilkinson

Canadian actress, playwright and stage director.

Gina Clare Wilkinson was born on March 10, 1960, in Victoria, B.C. to visual artist, Jack Wilkinson, and ballet teacher, Marie Wilkinson. Gina graduated from the National Theatre School in Montreal and spent the first 20 years of her career as an actor working in theatres across Canada.

Her innate understanding of storytelling in the theatre was an invaluable asset when working on new plays and made her transition from actor to director a natural one.

Her incredible ability to communicate with everyone involved in the making of a play – actors, designers, technicians – made her a successful director and theatre collaborator.

Her dedication, imagination, humour and unique visual sensibility were some of Gina’s many strengths but it was her understanding and compassion for all things human – both the beautiful and the ugly – that made her a true artist.

“My focus is the rigor and discipline of clear storytelling. Collaboration is all. I come from a background of dance and visual art and in my work with designers, my desire is to ignite the fire of confluent imaginations. Out of that union must come the space for the ultimate alchemy – the actors’ process. I’m there to safeguard Story, yes, but beyond that, to help the artists, and therefore myself, defeat the limitations of fear.”

Gina Wilkinson

SubmiT a Nomination

All nominations must be submitted electronically, between October 15 and December 15, to the following email address:

 Nominations will be reviewed by the Gina Wilkinson Prize Jury: Micheline Chevrier, Bonnie Green, Krista Jackson, Lindsay Lachance, Kimberley Rampersad Tom Rooney, and Jovanni Sy.


Tom Rooney        

Alan Walker, Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation 
416-969-7413 |