Theater News: Director Kim Collier receives prestigious Canadian award

The prize is worth $100,000, of which $25,000 is given to a protégé or organization of the winner’s choosing.

During a rehearsal, director Kim Collier stands on the No Exit set, with the cast on screens. Photo by Nathan Medd.
During a rehearsal, director Kim Collier stands on the No Exit set, with the cast on screens. Photo by Nathan Medd.
During a rehearsal, director Kim Collier stands on the No Exit set, with the cast on screens. Photo by Nathan Medd.
During a rehearsal, director Kim Collier stands on the No Exit set, with the cast on screens. Photo by Nathan Medd.

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) announced that the director of its upcoming production of No Exit, Kim Collier, received this year’s Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s largest theater award.

Collier, the artistic producer of Vancouver’s envelope-pushing Electric Company Theatre, was cited for her innovation, leadership, and encouragement of artistic risk taking. Collier is the artistic force behind The Virtual Stage and Electric Company Theatre’s groundbreaking reinvention of Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential classic No Exit, which will receive its U.S. premiere at A.C.T. in April 2011.

The prize is worth $100,000, of which $25,000 is given to a protégé or organization of the winner’s choosing.

“I am honored and overwhelmed and humbled,” says Collier. “To be recognized for your work—I’m just stunned by it. It is a really, really beautiful thing to happen.”

Siminovitch Prize Jury Chair Maureen Labonté adds: “I think the excitement around Kim’s work is felt nationally. Her work is unique. There’s a real sense of passion and innovation there, and of an artist who’s developed her own style, her own theatrical vocabulary. She surprises audiences constantly.” Funded by BMO Financial Group, the Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize is awarded on a three-year cycle for direction, playwriting, and design.

In No Exit, a mysterious valet ushers three strangers into a shabby hotel room, where they soon discover that hell isn’t fire and brimstone at all—it’s other people arguing about their lives. Sartre’s 1944 existential classic, skillfully reimagined through the perspective of a series of hidden cameras, turns the stage into a cinema, and the audience into voyeurs, as a thrillingly staged “live film” takes place before your eyes.

A.C.T. continues its tradition of welcoming the work of innovative international artists to the Bay Area with this riveting multimedia event. Fresh from sold-out performances across Canada, No Exit plays April 7–May 1, 2011, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Tickets (starting at $10) are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or at www.act-sf.org.

The cast of No Exit (from left: Laara Sadiq, Lucia Frangione, and Andy Thompson). Photo by Michael Berz.
The cast of No Exit (from left: Laara Sadiq, Lucia Frangione, and Andy Thompson). Photo by Michael Berz.
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