The Gina Wilkinson Prize

Learn More

“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

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 was established in 2011.

For the past ten years, Gina’s Prize has honoured woman-identifying artists transitioning from one theatre discipline to that of directing. In 2021, we are moving forward by reimagining the prize to recognize woman-identifying artists who place community and new creation models at the heart of their artistic leadership.



All artists who experience the world as women are eligible for Gina’s Prize. Artists must also be Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or as a self-identifying Indigenous artist.


Gina’s Prize is awarded annually, offering financial support to a woman-identifying theatre artist/leader who is exploring new models of storytelling in the diverse and culturally specific theatre communities in what is now known as Canada.

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

A prize of $1,000 will be awarded to each of three shortlisted artists.

Past shortlisted artists or nominees are highly encouraged to apply for this new chapter of Gina’s Prize as your practice evolves.


1. A nomination letter from an artistic collaborator who can speak to the artist’s values in the work, the ways in which they create space and care for co-creators.                                           
2. In the spirit of Gina’s interdisciplinary artistry (dancer, visual artist, actor, director, playwright) nominated artists may use any platforms (written document, video vignette, photos, mixed media, movement piece or other) to share with us…
  • What do you value as a theatre artist/leader and how do you embody those values in your artistic practice?  

  • How does your practice serve your community(-ies)?

  • How are you disrupting storytelling and creation models to create your stories?

  • What is your hope for future generations of theatre artists?

3. The nominated artist’s headshot and CV 

DEADLINE EXTENDED: February 15, 2021                Nominators please email all materials to:








Gina’s Prize honours artists who work across Turtle Island on both treaty and unceded territories. Through this prize, we look to acknowledge and amplify their relationship to the land they live on and the communities they serve.


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.”




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.

Gina’s incredible ability to communicate with everyone involved in the making of a play – actors, designers, technicians – made her a successful director and theatre collaborator. A painter and visual artist all her life, her productions were visually exciting.

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.

Gina believed in the necessity of fun in the rehearsal hall, on and off stage, and in all aspects of one’s life.


DEADLINE EXTENDED to February 15, 2021

Nominators please submit all materials electronically between December 1, 2020 and February 15, 2021 to:

Videos can be uploaded and shared privately through YouTube or Google Drive.

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





Committee co-leaders Krista Jackson & Kimberley Rampersad are available to answer any questions about the submission process at:        

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