OAF News

2016 Recipient Announced – Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design Celebrates 10 Years

Toronto, May 9, 2016 – Costume designer, Camellia Koo  is the 2016 recipient of the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design.  The award is given annually to professional costume designers in Ontario in mid-career to further enrich their careers through research and travel.  In recognition of the 10th anniversary of the award, the annual prize money has increased to $20,000.

Moya O’Connell, Lady From the Sea, Shaw Festival 2015
Photographer: David Cooper | Director: Meg Roe | Lighting Designer: Kevin Lamotte | Cutter: Morgan Mackintosh

Camellia Koo is a Dora-Award winning set and costume designer based in Toronto.  She is a graduate of Ryerson Theatre School in Technical Production (Toronto) and has an M.A. from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in Scenography (U.K.).  Ms Koo is also a Sterling Award recipient, and shared the 2006 Siminovitch Protégé Prize.

Recent designs for theatre include collaborations with numerous Toronto companies including Ballet Jörgen, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company, Cahoots Theatre Projects, Canadian Opera Company, Fujiwara Dance Inventions, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Smash, Volcano, Tapestry New Opera, Against the Grain, and Young People’s Theatre.

Other collaborations include: The Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Minnesota Opera (Minneapolis, MN), Edmonton Opera (Edmonton), Pacific Opera Victoria (Victoria) and Vancouver Opera (Vancouver).

Camellia was selected as the winner from an outstanding group of nominees.  This year’s jury consisted of David Ferry actor and director (Toronto), Julie Fox, costume designer and 2013 Cooper Award recipient (Stratford), and Alyssa Westman, costume designer (London). The jury was unanimous in their praise of Camellia’s work, stating “Camellia’s work shows an understanding of the designer’s place in the dramaturgy of a production.  Her designs are inspired, and you can feel the strong connection linking inspiration to execution in her designs.”

Established through a generous gift under the will of Dr. Virginia Cooper, the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award is to be given "For the Love of Creation".  Dr. Cooper served as a director of the Tarragon Theatre, and was a charter member of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and active in its activities.  She had a keen interest in the performing arts, particularly in costume design. 

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the award.  The Ontario Arts Council administers the nomination and selection process. 


For more information, please contact:
Alan Walker, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation

416-969-7413 | awalker@arts.on.ca


The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) works with arts patrons to build long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2014-2015, the OAF paid out over $2.8 million in endowment income and $275,000 in awards and scholarships.

For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts and artists for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2014-2015, the Ontario Arts Council funded 1,709 individual artists and 1,078 organizations in 204 communities across Ontario for a total of $52.1 million.

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