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Monday, July 22, 2024

Highland Arts Theatre & Neptune Theatre top nominations for this year’s Merritt Awards

Theatre Nova Scotia has revealed the productions vying for this year's Robert Merritt Awards, celebrating excellence in Nova Scotia's professional theatre.

Theatre Nova Scotia has revealed the productions vying for this year’s Robert Merritt Awards, celebrating excellence in Nova Scotia’s professional theatre.

Topping the list is Sydney’s Highland Arts Theatre, with fourteen nominations for its productions of The Proletariat, The Happy Prince, Samqwan, and Cabaret. Halifax’s Neptune Theatre follows with twelve nominations for its productions of The Rocky Horror Show, Beneath Springhill – The Maurice Ruddick Story, and Misery

Both companies are vying for best production honours for the dystopian drama The Proletariat (Highland Arts Theatre) and the cult musical The Rocky Horror Show (Neptune Theatre) alongside Dayboil (Ship’s Company Theatre), Unity (1918) (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company) and Koqm (Nestuita’si Storytelling).

Leading with ten nominations for an individual show is Parrsboro’s Ship’s Company Theatre for its production of Dayboil, followed by nine nominations for Neptune’s The Rocky Horror Show.

The awards will be handed out during a ceremony at Alderney Landing on March 27. The event is open to the public. Visit theatrens.ca for tickets and more information.

A complete list of nominations follows:

Outstanding Costume Design

Helena Marriott – The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Kayla Cormier – The Happy Prince – Highland Arts Theatre
Tara Grude – The Proletariat – Highland Arts Theatre
Marie France Labbé – The Hobbit, or there and back again – Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre
Jennifer Goodman – The Stranger – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company

Outstanding Independent Production

The Aliens – Theatre in Space
Samqwan – Highland Arts Theatre
The Hydrofoil Mystery – Theatre Baddeck
How To Be FEARLESS! (With Roxy Roberts) – Binocular Theatre
PRUDE – Probably Theatre Collective (Lou Campbell)

Taylor Olson, Henricus Gielis and Sam Vigneault in the Theatre in Space production of Annie Baker's The Aliens.
Taylor Olson, Henricus Gielis and Sam Vigneault in the Theatre in Space production of Annie Baker’s The Aliens.

Outstanding Projection Design

Christian Ludwig Hansen – #IAmTheCheese – Halifax Theatre for Young People + Eastern Front Theatre
Aaron Collier – The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Christian Ludwig Hansen – The Proletariat – Highland Arts Theatre
Mackenzie Cornfield – Crypthand – Gale Force Theatre Co-operative
Anna Shepherd, Dan Bray, and Colleen MacIsaac – Shakespeare’s Time Machine – The Villains Theatre

Outstanding Musical Direction

Avery Jean Brennan – The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Stephen Muise – Dear Rita – Savoy Theatre
GaRRy Williams – Crypthand – Gale Force Theatre Co-operative
Chuck Homewood – Cabaret – Highland Arts Theatre
Allen Cole – The Stranger – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre

Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role

Allistair MacDonald – The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Stephanie MacDonald – Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
Burgandy Code – The Stranger – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
Sam Vigneault – The Aliens – Theatre in Space
Mara Teare – Crypthand – Gale Force Theatre Co-operative
Riel Reddick-Stevens – Unity (1918) – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company
Saphire Demitro – The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Jeremiah Sparks – Beneath Springhill – The Maurice Ruddick Story – Neptune Theatre
Sherry Smith – The Proletariat – Highland Arts Theatre
Mary Fay Coady – Lauchie, Liza & Rory – Theatre Baddeck

Actor Jeremiah Sparks & director Bobby Garcia chat about Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story.
Actor Jeremiah Sparks & director Bobby Garcia chat about Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story.

Outstanding Direction

Samantha Wilson – Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
Jeremy Webb – The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Dustin Harvey – How Quickly Things Change – Secret Theatre
Michael McPhee – The Proletariat – Highland Arts Theatre
Ken Schwartz – Unity (1918) – Two Planks and a Passion

Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role

Riley McGill – Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
Sharleen Kalayil – Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
James MacLean – Til Death Do Us Part – Kick at the Dark Theatre
Sébastien Labelle – #IAmTheCheese – Halifax Theatre for Young People + Eastern Front Theatre
GaRRy Williams – Hamlet – Shakespeare by the Sea
Henricus Gielis – The Aliens – Theatre in Space
Christian Murray – The Hobbit, or there and back again – Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre
Micha Cromwell – The Stranger – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
Raeesa Lalani – Cinderelly the Musical! – Shakespeare by the Sea
Wesley Colford – The Proletariat – Highland Arts Theatre

Outstanding Original Score or Composition

Aaron Collier – Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
Allen Cole – The Stranger – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
GaRRy Williams – Crypthand – Gale Force Theatre Co-operative
Jackson Fairfax-Perry – #IAmTheCheese – Halifax Theatre for Young People + Eastern Front Theatre
Rita MacNeil, Mike Ross, Lindsay Kyte – Dear Rita – Savoy Theatre

Allister MacDonald as Frank 'N' Furter and members of the cast of Neptune Theatre's The Rocky Horror Show. Photo by Stoo Metz Photography.
Allister MacDonald as Frank ‘N’ Furter and members of the cast of Neptune Theatre’s The Rocky Horror Show. The Rocky Horror Show has been nominated for nine awards, including outstanding performance for MacDonald and outstanding production. Photo by Stoo Metz Photography.

Outstanding New Nova Scotia Adaptation (Playwright)

Josh MacDonald – #IAmTheCheese – Halifax Theatre for Young People + Eastern Front Theatre
Christy MacRae-Ziss – The Hydrofoil Mystery – Theatre Baddeck
Ken Schwartz – The Stranger – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
JRR Tolkien, Adapted by Andrea Boyd – The Hobbit, or there and back again – Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre
Sarah Deller – Coarse – The Villains Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design

Alison Crosby – Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
Leigh Ann Vardy – The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Ken Heaton – Samqwan – Highland Arts Theatre
Olivia Rankin – #IAmTheCheese – Halifax Theatre for Young People + Eastern Front Theatre
Leigh Ann Vardy – The Hydrofoil Mystery – Theatre Baddeck

Outstanding Choreography

Sarah Prosper – Samqwan – Highland Arts Theatre
Mary Fay Coady, James MacLean, Katie Dorian, Ailsa Galbreath, Gina Thornhill – How Quickly Things Change – Secret Theatre
Jeff Dimitriou – The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Cynthia Vokey – Cabaret – Highland Arts Theatre
Jade Douris-O’Hara – Cinderelly the Musical! – Shakespeare by the Sea

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble

Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
Unity (1918) – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company
The Aliens – Theatre in Space
Crypthand – Gale Force Theatre Co-operative
Lauchie, Liza & Rory – Theatre Baddeck

Hugh Thompson as Paul Sheldon and Samantha Wilson as Annie Wilkes in the Neptune Theatre production of Misery. Photo by Nicole Martin.
Hugh Thompson as Paul Sheldon and Samantha Wilson as Annie Wilkes in the Neptune Theatre production of Misery. Photo by Nicole Martin.

Outstanding New Nova Scotia Play (Playwright)

Lily Falk – Crypthand – Gale Force Theatre Co-operative
Shalan Joudry – Koqm – Nestuita’si Storytelling
Katerina Bakolias – Til Death Do Us Part – Kick at the Dark Theatre
Michael McPhee – The Proletariat – Highland Arts Theatre
Dan Bray – International Waters – The Villains Theatre

Outstanding Scenic Design

Andrew Cull – Misery – Neptune Theatre
Katrin Whitehead – Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
Holly Meyer-Dymny and Ryan Wilcox – Crypthand – Gale Force Theatre Co-operative
Karen McCallum – The Hydrofoil Mystery – Theatre Baddeck
Wes Babcock – Outside Inn – Festival Antigonish

Outstanding Sound Design

Aaron Collier – Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
Rob Fortin and Susan Newman – Beneath Springhill – The Maurice Ruddick Story – Neptune Theatre
Jordan Palmer – Samqwan – Highland Arts Theatre
Jackson Fairfax-Perry – #IAmTheCheese – Halifax Theatre for Young People + Eastern Front Theatre
Jordan Palmer – The Hydrofoil Mystery – Theatre Baddeck

Sam Vigneault in the Halifax Theatre for Young People production of #IAmTheCheese.
Sam Vigneault in the Halifax Theatre for Young People production of #IAmTheCheese.

Outstanding Production

Dayboil – Ship’s Company Theatre
The Proletariat – Highland Arts Theatre
The Rocky Horror Show – Neptune Theatre
Unity (1918) – Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company
Koqm – Nestuita’si Storytelling

The winners of the Neptune RBC Chrysalis Emerging Artist Award, Theatre Nova Scotia Scholarship, Outstanding Stage Manager, Outstanding Technician, and Theatre Nova Scotia Legacy Award will be announced at the awards ceremony, which takes place at Alderney Landing on March 27.

Visit theatrens.ca for more information.

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