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Heidi Taylor on Receiving the Vancouver NOW Award

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I am touched by being selected for the Vancouver NOW Representation and Inclusion Award, a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award given to “an individual, initiative or company who nourishes the values of empathy, reciprocity, compassion and responsibility, all while empowering the voices of those who have been historically silenced.” It’s hard to know what to say, given the fact that the work I’m being recognized for, I consider the bare minimum. It feels odd to get an award for just doing my job, according to the values that we’ve articulated as a company.

There is still so much work to be done on these stolen lands, where IBPOC people continue to seek justice every day, where we all must stand together to declare that Black Lives Matter, rally to defund the police, and act in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong as their freedoms are legislated away. Our liberation is interdependent, so we all must act. That is the bare minimum.

If the Award can bring attention to the exceptional artists whom I am so honoured to collaborate with, then I accept it with thanks, and with acknowledgment of my most recent creative companions: Carmen Aguirre, Derek Chan, Zahida Rahemtulla, June Fukumura, Tetsuro Shigematsu, Amber Funk Barton, Barbara Adler and Kyla Gardiner, and Catherine MacKinnon, and the exceptional production teams I’ve been a part of this past season. Thank you to all the artists, staff and board members who have been a part of PTC since I joined the company in 2005.

I am committed to interrogating how and why I work, and am so grateful for the team that makes that possible: Kathleen Flaherty, Melanie Yeats, Belinda Bruce, Davey Calderon, Joanna Garfinkel and our board led by Kathy Duborg.

If I think about how my work has changed in the last 15 years, I must acknowledge the indelible impacts of the artist leaders who have questioned my practices and led me to better ones. JD Derbyshire, Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen, Quelemia Sparrow, David Geary, mia susan amir, Donna Yamamoto, Rohit Chokhani, Jotika Chaudhary, Landon Krentz, Niall McNeil, all the artists of the NAC Cycles, and the emerging artists (now colleagues) who have gifted PTC with their energy and wisdom – Derek Chan, Davey Calderon, Anjela Magpantay, and Jess Amy Shead.

In the coming year, I can’t wait to see how plays about the injustices in Hong Kong, a Puerto Rican TV star, Temporary Foreign Workers, Filipinx diasporic experience, anti-Muslim hate crimes in India, and mermaids that remind us not to destroy the only world we have – all develop and spring to life. These are plays that tell us to engage more deeply in the world, to remake it, to demand more, to imagine better. Listen. The artists are leading the way.