In the Round: 2016 Doras – Outstanding Female Performance

At Intermission, we want to tell the stories behind the stories you see on stage. Monday’s Dora Mavor Moore Awards, which celebrate excellence in theatre, give us an opportunity to look back not only at the stories we watched unfold onstage over the last year, but also at the way they got there.

To best tell these stories, we have to bring together the artists who brought them to life. 

We approached actors James Graham and Sascha Cole to host a series of round table conversations with some of the 2016 Dora nominees for Outstanding Female Performance, Outstanding Male Performance, and Best New Play, in both the general and independent categories. James and Sascha created questions that would be catalysts for discussion, covering the artists’ work, the Toronto theatre industry, the issues we’re grappling with, and more. 

At the Outstanding Female Performance conversation were six dynamic, sharp women:

d’bi.young anitafrika, nominated for She, Mami Wata & The Pussy WitchHunt 
Claire Armstrong, nominated for Byhalia, Mississippi
Valerie Buhagiar, nominated for Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom
Claire Calnan, nominated for Iceland
Sarah Dodd, nominated for Mustard
Mayko Nguyen, nominated for Salt-Water Moon

Their shows all took very different approaches to the idea of cultural specificity, which is what they’re talking about in this clip. Salt-Water Moon deliberately eliminated cultural markers to avoid distracting from the story itself. Byhalia, Mississippi’s story is inseparable from the culture it tried to replicate. She, Mami Wata directly represented its own culture in an interesting way. Sunday in Sodom took certain cues from specific cultures but otherwise kept its scope fairly wide. Iceland is firmly rooted in geographic references to Toronto, to the degree that its creators have considered changing the text for runs in other cities. Mustard is the only one of these plays that doesn’t directly deal with these ideas, but Sarah Dodd has enough experience with accent work that she had a lot of insightful contributions to the conversation.

See the Outstanding Male Performance video here, where Greg Gale, Danny Ghantous, Sina Gilani, Matthew Gouveia, Tony Nappo, and R.H. Thomson talk about how the industry can impact the work.

See the Outstanding New Play video here, where playwrights Nicolas Billon, Anna Chatterton, Fab Filippo, Kat Sandler, and Severn Thompson talk about workshopping.

Hosted By

Sascha is an actor and producer. She spends a lot of time in her garden or thinking about being in her garden. Some of her favourite things include rap music, Barbra Streisand, the Toronto Blue Jays, and anything ever written by Michael Ondaatje.

Hosted By

James is an actor, producer, and founding member of The Howland Company. He is a lifelong sports fan and an overly enthusiastic rec-league athlete.

Video By

Jill is a Toronto-based theatre director with a film degree. She is the co-founder of Cue6 Theatre. She directs lots of indie shows, both for Cue6 and for other companies around town, but she still manages to find enough film work to subsidize her love of eating on a regular basis.


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