Michael J. Fox, Martin Short, Brigitte Haentjens win Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards
Actors Michael J. Fox, Martin Short and theatre director Brigitte Haentjens are the latest laureates of one of Canada’s highest arts honours: the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.
Filmmaker Jean Beaudin and theatre artist Yves Sioui Durand are also among this year’s honourees.
The award recognizes the excellence and career achievement of Canadian performing artists, including actors, filmmakers, directors and musicians.
Edmonton-born Emmy winner Fox is best known for popular film and TV roles spanning three decades, including Family Ties, the Back to the Future trilogy, Spin City, Rescue Me and The Good Wife.
He’s also become an advocate for those living with Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 1991.
Hailing from Hamilton, Ont., Martin Short is one of Canada’s famed funny men, acclaimed for roles on both screen and stage, from SCTV to his Tony-winning turn in Neil Simon’s Little Me, from films such as Three Amigos, Father of the Bride and Mars Attacks to last fall’s TV musical Hairspray Live.
French-born Canadian director Haentjens has forged an avant-garde, provocative path in Quebec theatre over her career, which spans nearly 40 years and some 60 theatre productions. In 2012, Haentjens became the first woman named artistic director of French theatre at the National Arts Centre, a position she continues to hold today.
Montreal filmmaker Beaudin has won acclaim for creating gorgeous, memorable adaptations of Quebec literature and turning historical tales into successful films (gaining recognition at Cannes for J.A. Martin, photographe) and television series.
Hailing from the Wendake First Nations reserve near Quebec City, Sioui Durand is a pioneer of contemporary Indigenous theatre who has worked as a writer, actor, director and filmmaker over more than three decades. He founded Ondinnok, Quebec’s first French-language Indigenous theatre company, and has explored Pan-American Indigenous allegory, myth and history in stage productions that mix music, dance and powerful imagery.
The awards were established by former governor general Ramon John Hnatyshyn in 1992 and, for this 25th anniversary year, the recipient of his namesake award for voluntarism is Winnipeg executive and arts philanthropist William H. Loewen.
The classical music aficionado has a long association with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and, along with his wife Shirley, have also supported the Manitoba Opera, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Chamber Music Association and other groups.
For the awards foundation’s mentorship program — which matches a past lifetime achievement honouree with a promising protégé — 2002 winner, former prima ballerina and National Ballet of Canada artistic director Karen Kain will mentor Toronto choreographer and dancer Robert Binet.
This year’s laureates will be honoured at a ceremony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on June 29. CBC will live stream the gala and broadcast an hour-long special on June 30 at 9 p.m. ET.