OAF News

2018 Winners of the Ellen Ross Stuart Opening Doors Awards Announced

Toronto, ON, May 1, 2018 – Ross and Ann Stuart, along with Managing Director Autumn Smith, are pleased to announce the inaugural winners of the Ellen Ross Stuart Opening Doors Awards.

Award recipients were selected by a jury of theatre professionals including: Ross and Ann Stuart, Autumn Smith, Joanna Falck, Doug Floyd, Gil Garratt and Rona Waddington. Each winner receives a $2,000 prize plus dramaturgical support and mentorship from the Tarragon Theatre, Blyth Festival and Hart House.

List of Winners

Bessie Cheng: Upon completing her degree in Devised Theatre and Playwriting from York University, Ms. Cheng has worked with the Factory Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, fu-GEN Theatre Company, Summerworks Festival/AMY Project and performed at Next Stage Theatre Festival where her piece Silk Bath played to sold out houses and critical acclaim.

Sophia Fabiilli: Ms. Fabiilli sets herself apart by penning comedy and has had numerous successes with this genre, including winning the prestigious Second City Award for Outstanding Comedy for her production of The Philanderess at The Toronto Fringe, 2015. Ms Fabilli's second play Liars at a Funeral premiered in Toronto last year.

Chelsea Woolley: Ms. Woolley is a recent graduate of the Playwriting Program at the National Theatre School of Canada. Her plays have been performed in Montreal (Geordie Productions), Alberta (Theatre BSMT) and in Washington (National New Play Center's 2017 MFA Playwright’s Workshop at the Kennedy Center.) Ms. Woolley currently has several new works in development and is most recently has designed and facilitated a teen writer's program at Red Door Family Shelter providing teens with a space to cultivate their artistic voices.

The winners will work throughout the next 8 months to create a draft version of their work for presentation next December. At that time, one winner will be selected to win $7,500 and have a mounted workshop of their piece performed at the Tarragon in May 2019.

The following five young writers were also selected to receive dramaturgical support and a cash prize of $500: Caitie Graham, Charles Manzo, Robert Motum, Ankita Kumar Ratta and Hannah Rittner.

About the Award

The award was created to celebrate the too short life of Ellen Stuart (Nel) by awarding opportunity to young playwrights. By Opening Doors we hope that not only will the winners be able to fund their writing time, but also take advantage of key mentorship possibilities.

The Ellen Ross Stuart Fund was established at the Ontario Arts Foundation to fund the awards.  To make a donation, please visit the Ontario Arts Foundation website.


For more information about the award and the application process contact:
Autumn Smith,  Managing Director


For more information about the Ontario Arts Foundation:
Alan Walker, Executive Director

Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2016-2017, the OAF paid over $3.2 million in endowment income and $375,000 in awards and scholarships."

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