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Meet the inaugural winner of the 2023 PACT Green Award

April 20, 2024

Toronto, ON. February 3, 2023. – After an extensive search across the country, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) presents the inaugural Green Award to Vancouver-based The Only Animal Theatre Society. The award is presented for The Only Animal’s immersive work, THE ARTIST BRIGADE, a three year-old initiative that brings imagination, vision and the heart of artists into the telling of the climate story, mobilizing a society paralyzed by climate anxiety and grief.

A new initiative of the PACT Environmental Stewardship Committee, the PACT Green Award honours programming from companies and/or artists that inspires theatre workers and theatregoers to engage with the climate crisis and environmental stewardship in creative and exciting ways. This year, the committee has selected one winning project along with two runner-up projects, one for a company and one for an individual artist.

PACT Green Award winner, The Only Animal Theatre Society, specializes in immersive work, where the media they engage with is the natural world: water, sand, snow, ice and trees. This work mixes this media with theatrical adventurism and a love of the extreme, where the company hopes to re/connect human nature with Nature. In particular, The Only Animal seeks creative ways to address the climate challenges that threaten humans’ existence as a species. 

The Green Award-winning project, THE ARTIST BRIGADE, invited the first official cohort of 100 artists to the Artist Brigade from a wide range of disciplines including theatre, dance, fine arts, eco-arts, poetry, photography, filmmaking, and video game design. The selected artists spent the year with The Only Animal, meeting and learning, going on field trips, partnering with other organizations telling the climate story. After a two-day intensive called The Greenhouse, the artists attended four ‘field trips’ to places where they could witness the climate crisis first hand, all with a different theme: Forest in Danger, Co-Creating a Culture of Stewardship: Cloth, Plants and Place, The Artist Part and Sustainable Living. The upcoming year will feature the commission of up to 10 artists of the Artist Brigade to develop their own climate art works, forming a working group within The Only Animal with ongoing mentorship and support as they go through the creative cycle. This work will also develop into a research framework, taken from the original cohort to establish new national structures to bring art and artists to the climate emergency.

The Runner Up (Individual Artist) for this year’s award is GOSSIP WITH WHALES by Winnipeg-based Filipino-Canadian Dr. Dennis Gupa. GOSSIP WITH WHALES is an online performance on ocean stewardship that cuts across geographies, race, languages, class, gender, and academic disciplines. Informed by Philippine traditional sonic, oceanic aesthetics, oral culture, and the Filipino cardinal virtue of Bayanihan (working together before and after a disaster), the creators of this performance aimed to construct an intercultural, interdisciplinary, and intersectional contemporary theatre method that mobilizes ways to collectively think about mitigating climate change through transnational theatre collaboration. 

The Runner Up (Company) for this year’s award is THE GREEN SESSIONS by Toronto-based Soulpepper Theatre Company. The Green Sessions were a free online gathering between Canada’s performing arts community and some of Canada's most knowledgeable and inspiring climate leaders, activists, and educators. THE GREEN SESSIONS invited audiences, stakeholders, and our artistic community to join the company. The event fostered national networking opportunities, building partnerships and sharing resources amongst participants. This included financial investment for Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency (SCALE) and the Canadian Green Alliance as well as training for artists across disciplines on actions that can be taken and advocacy efforts that can be made in working towards a more sustainable sector.

Laura Caswell, Chair of the Environmental Stewardship Committee at PACT and the subcommittee for the PACT Green Award would like to thank all artists, collectives and companies who applied to the first-ever PACT Green Award. The award seeked to recognize a winning project under a framework specific to climate action or environmental stewardship, have had a profound and sustainable impact within communities and can serve as an exemplar for PACT membership of what can be accomplished at the intersection of the arts and environmentalism. PACT would like to thank the subcommittee for the PACT Green Award under the Environmental Stewardship Committee for their tireless work: Laura Caswell, Bronwyn Steinberg, Raeesa Lalani, Natasha MacLellan, and Kathy Mackenzie. And the jury for their work in evaluating the applications.

PACT Members as well as the general public are invited to the PACT Green Award Ceremony, taking place online via Zoom on February 23rd, 3pm EST/12pm PST. The Award includes a $1000 cash award as well as awarding the Green Award Seal, to be displayed digitally online and through future programming.

PACT 2023 Green Award Ceremony
February 23rd, 2023
3pm EST / 12pm PST
Online via Zoom

Register for the event: 
pact.ca/calendar/event/pact-green-award-ceremony

About The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT)

Since 1979, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) has served as a national arts service organization serving over 160 member companies, of various sizes, from coast to coast to coast. We offer programming and professional development for both artistic staff and arts administrators. We also have various caucuses where our members can connect with their peers, share knowledge and discuss the topic of the day. We are highly engaged in federal advocacy, and work with partners in the Department of Canadian Heritage, Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts to relay the concerns of our members and provide information used in crafting policy. We negotiate with partner organizations such as Canadian Actors' Equity Association to craft the Canadian Theatre Agreement, as well as with the Associated Designers of Canada and Playwrights' Guild of Canada to formulate various labour agreements. While we work across various territories on Turtle Island, the PACT office is based in Tkaron:to (colonially known as Toronto), which is unceded territories of the Anishinabek, Wendat, Haudenosaunee and the Mississaugas of the Credit.

For More Information:

Josh Marchesini
Membership & Communications Associate
joshm@pact.ca
Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT)
416-595-6455
pact.ca

 


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