The Bridge (2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in association with Obsidian Theatre) and The Color Purple (Neptune Theatre) received eleven nominations each for this year's Robert Merritt Awards.
The Bridge (2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in association with Obsidian Theatre) and The Color Purple (Neptune Theatre) received eleven nominations each for this year's Robert Merritt Awards.

Halifax theatre companies are well represented as Theatre Nova Scotia announced the nominees for the 2020 Robert Merritt Awards, the province’s annual celebration of excellence in professional theatre.

Among the local professional companies to score multiple nods is the 2b theatre/Neptune Theatre/Obsidian Theatre production of Shauntay Grant’s The Bridge, the gospel-infused tale of two estranged brothers set in a rural Black community. Neptune also scored big for its production of the musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Both productions received eleven nominations each, including outstanding direction, musical direction and production.

Indie theatre company Keep Good [Theatre] Company walked away with nine nominations for its production of The Children, Lucy Kirkwood’s cautionary drama about the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown.

The Children is also vying for a trophy alongside the Halifax-based Xara Choral Theatre’s Rings Through Water and Kick At The Dark Theatre Co-Operative production of Every Brilliant Thing for outstanding production by a new or emerging company.

Neptune Theatre is also nominated for its productions of Peter Pan, Pleasureville, The Last Wife, Noises Off and Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells).

Other local theatre companies receiving nominations include KAZAN CO-OP’s The Realistic Joneses, Eastern Front Theatre’s Miss ‘N Me, Below The Salt’s Hamlet, The Villians Theatre production of Fox, Halifax Theatre for Young People‘s Brundibar, Zuppa Theatre’s tiny and Terra Novella Theatre’s Firebird: The Musical.

The outstanding new play by a Nova Scotia category saw three local productions – The Bridge, An Ordinary Afternoon in 1974 and Zomblet – all receiving nominations.

Among the other awards to be announced at the awards ceremony later this month include outstanding technician, stage manager, volunteer and the Theatre Nova Scotia Legacy Award.

“Theatre Nova Scotia is proud to promote the talents and creativity of theatre practitioners
working in this province,” says Nancy Morgan, Theatre Nova Scotia’s executive director in a media release. “From original works to classical repertoire, there is a vibrant theatre community in Nova Scotia.”

A complete list of nominees follows.

The 2020 Robert Merritt Awards will take place at the Dalhousie Student Union in Halifax on March 30 to coincide with International Wolrd Theatre Day. Visit theatrens.ca for tickets and more information.

Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role

NameShowCompany
Jacob SampsonThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Ronica SajnaniA Brimful of AshaFestival Antigonish Summer Theatre
Mauralea AustinThe ChildrenKeep Good [Theatre] Company
Martha IrvingThe ChildrenKeep Good [Theatre] Company
Tara JacksonThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Burgandy CodeHamletBelow The Salt
Jackie TorrensHamletBelow The Salt
Burgandy CodeIn This LightTwo Planks and a Passion Theatre
Taylor OlsonMonsterThat’s Us Collective
Kelly HoliffPeter PanNeptune Theatre

Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role

NameShowCompany
Jim CodringtonThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Daniel EllisThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Sophia WalkerThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Karen BurthwrightThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Janelle CooperThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Samantha WalkesThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Breton LalamaPleasurevilleNeptune Theatre
Sherry SmithPleasurevilleNeptune Theatre
Gil AndersonThe Realistic JonesesKAZAN CO-OP
Matthew LumleyThe Realistic JonesesKAZAN CO-OP

Outstanding Choreography

NameShowCompany
Veronique MacKenzieBen HurFestival Antigonish Summer Theatre
Veronique MacKenzieThe ChildrenKeep Good [Theatre] Company
Tracy FanousMiss ‘N MeEastern Front Theatre
Stephanie GrahamPeter PanNeptune Theatre
Sarain FoxRings Through WaterXara Choral Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design

NameShowCompany
Rachel ForbesThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Tamara Marie KucheranThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Kaelen MacDonaldFoxThe Villians Theatre
Janet MacLellanThe Last WifeNeptune Theatre
Emlyn MurrayMiss ‘N MeEastern Front Theatre

Outstanding Direction

NameShowCompany
Pamela HalsteadBed and BreakfastShip’s Company Theatre
Anthony BlackThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Laura Vingoe-CramThe ChildrenKeep Good [Theatre] Company
Kimberley RampersadThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Heidi MalazdrewichHe’d Be Your Mother’s
Father’s Cousin
Theatre Baddeck

Outstanding Lighting Design

NameShowCompany
Leigh Ann VardyThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Vicky WilliamsThe ChildrenKeep Good [Theatre] Company
Leigh Ann VardyThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Ingrid RiskThe Last WifeNeptune Theatre
Vicky WilliamsPeter PanNeptune Theatre

Outstanding Musical Direction

NameShowCompany
Murleta WilliamsThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Eszter HorvathBrundibarHalifax Theatre for Young People
Sean MayesThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Lisa St. ClairPeter PanNeptune Theatre
Christina MurrayRings Through WaterXara Choral Theatre

Outstanding New Play by a Nova Scotian

NameShowCompany
Shauntay GrantThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in association with Obsidian Theatre
Catherine Banks (based on Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen)
In This LightTwo Planks and a Passion Theatre
Daniel MacIvorAn Ordinary Afternoon in 1974Mulgrave Road Theatre
Gillian ClarkThe RuinsTwo Planks and a Passion Theatre
Dan BrayZombletThe Villains Theatre

Outstanding Original Score or Composition

NameShowCompany
Aaron CollierBed and BreakfastShip’s Company Theatre
Carolyn CurryFirebird:  The MusicalTerra Novella Theatre
Allen Cole and
Ken Schwartz
Frankenstein by FireTwo Planks and a Passion Theatre
Keke BeatzMiss ‘N MeEastern Front Theatre
Jenny Trites and
Deantha Edmunds
Rings Through WaterXara Choral Theatre

Outstanding Scenic Design

NameShowCompany
Rachel ForbesThe Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre
in association with Obsidian Theatre
Stephen Olser,
assisted by Patricia Vinluan
The ChildrenKeep Good [Theatre] Company
Tamara Marie KucheranThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
John DinningNoises OffNeptune Theatre
Jess Lewis and Anna
Shepard (video)
tinyZuppa Theatre presented by
Eastern Front Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design

NameShowCompany
Aaron CollierBed and BreakfastShip’s Company Theatre
Tori MorrisonThe ChildrenKeep Good  [Theatre] Company
Miquelon RodriguezThe Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
Aaron CollierLo (or Dear Mr. Wells)Neptune Theatre
Aaron CollierMiss ‘N MeEastern Front Theatre

Outstanding Production by a New or Emerging Company

ShowCompany
BunnyHighland Arts Theatre
The ChildrenKeep Good [Theatre] Company
Every Brilliant ThingKick At The Dark Theatre Co-Operative
He’d Be Your Mother’s Father’s CousinTheatre Baddeck
Rings Through WaterXara Choral Theatre

Outstanding Production

ShowCompany
The Bridge2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in association with Obsidian Theatre
A Brimful of AshaFestival Antigonish Summer Theatre
The ChildrenKeep Good [Theatre] Company
The Color PurpleNeptune Theatre
In This LightTwo Planks and a Passion Theatre