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Niagara on the Lake – March 12, 2012 – The jury of the Gina Wilkinson Prize for an Emerging Female Director announced that the 2012 inaugural prize recipient is Ann-Marie Kerr of Halifax, N.S. The announcement came on March 10 – what would have been Gina’s birthday; Ms. Kerr was chosen from a list of 23 nominees from across Canada. Ann-Marie, who trained at École Jacques Lecoq, brings a visual sensibility to her work as a director, actor and teacher. Selected shows she has directed/co-created are: 2b theatre company’s Invisible Atom that continues to tour worldwide, Zuppa Theatre‘s The Debacle that is set to play at Festival TransAmeriques, the premiere of Daniel MacIvor’s Confession, Dalhousie University‘s Comedy of Errors and Theatre Smith Gilmour‘s Chekhov Longs and Ward 6. She taught at the National Theatre School and directed Soulpepper‘s Youth Mentorship Program for several years. Ann-Marie’s playful, generous approach to theatre creation makes her a much sought-after director. In accepting the award, Ms. Kerr noted: “I am beyond thrilled to be the first recipient of this prize. I had immense admiration for Gina as I watched her career over the years. I feel a bit like our careers followed a similar track, acting first then evolving to directing, so it makes it very special. Apparently after opening night performances, Gina would ritually bare her bottom and sit on a cake. This image inspires me to work with more sense of abandon, to be wilder, reach further. I am deeply humbled and thankful for this acknowledgement and will use the momentum and the confidence it gives me to do a new project. Maybe it will begin with somebody sitting in a cake. Here’s to Gina!”

Gina’s Prize honours an emerging female theatre director 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 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 community. In the spirit of Ms. Wilkinson’s appetite for life, this Prize of $1,000 is a gift to be used in any way the recipient chooses.

The jury would like to thank all the nominators and nominees. The list was truly impressive and wonderfully varied.

The jury would also like to thank Alan Walker and the Ontario Arts Foundation for their administration of the Gina Wilkinson Fund. Anyone wishing to donate may do so at the Ontario Arts Foundation – Gina Wilkinson Fund.

The Gina Wilkinson Prize was established through the generous support of Gina’s colleagues and admirers from across the country and the jury extends its heartfelt thanks. Through this generosity, the spirit of Gina lives on.