After a rollercoaster year for theatre in Toronto and the surrounding area, it’s time once again to look back at the best of the past 12 months. As we head into 2019 with promising new voices at the helm of our powerful institutions and a sense of real hope in the community and across the country, let’s celebrate what we loved in 2018 from the biggest commercial musicals to solo shows, dance across genres, improv performances, prestige drama, scrappy indie works, and everything in between.

Who Qualifies?
Any production one of our Toronto writers saw between January 1st and December 31st was considered for nomination, unless it was a remount of something we’d already seen (ie: Soulpepper’s Christmas Carol). If the remount has a new cast member, however, that cast member is eligible even if the production as a whole isn’t.

How Are the Categories Decided?
Due to budget constraints, unfortunately we’ve had to limit the awards to fewer categories this year. All of our writers submitted nomination suggestions based on all the productions they saw this year and we used those shortlists to decide where to make changes in to the category breakdowns. Rather than divide into three divisions like in previous years (large, medium, small), most categories this year only have one division or are divided into general and independent. Acting categories are no longer divided by gender and design awards are no longer divided at all, so the award will go to the entire team (set, costumes, lighting, sound, projections- all of it). But, while we had to have fewer categories, we couldn’t bear having so many fewer nominees so we’ve expanded the categories to include ten nominees each. It’s all an inexact science but we’ve worked hard to make the categories as fair as possible to celebrate as many artists as we can.

Who Picks the Winners?
Our Editors and Staff Writers all get a say but we use your votes for tie breakers and to choose a Fan Favourite so be sure to share your thoughts on Twitter or shoot us an email at

When Are the Winners Announced?
We’ll be announcing the winners at an exclusive bash in Toronto on April 15th, hosted by our amazing 2017 Solo Performance winner Pearle Harbour with the help of her steadfast music director Steven Conway, and featuring music from our signature band Hand-Picked Favourites.  A full list of the winners will be published on the site the following day.

DON’T FORGET: The Anonymous Award for Outstanding Stage Management
A good stage manager’s work is difficult to appreciate from the audience; we can’t see how tight a ship they run in rehearsal or how many fires they put out along the way. So in 2015 we decided to create this award and turn it over to the people who do see those things- other theatre artists.

If you worked with an incredible stage manager in Toronto (or at Stratford or Shaw) during the 2018 season, we want to hear about them. Send an email to with the subject line “SM Nomination: NOMINEE’s NAME” and describe in 100 words why you think they deserve to win (*Please only submit one nomination and respect the word limit). Make sure to include the production details and the nominee’s email address. The winner will be announced with the rest of the awards at the party in April, so make sure your nominee shows up!

Nominee Interview Series
If you’re nominated this year (including ensemble and production categories), e
mail to sign up for our annual Q&A series. No worries if you’ve done the series before, we always have more questions!

Also be sure to check out our nominations for the TV Awards and Cinema Awards.

One Last Thing: we are limited by program credits which are often incomplete, misleading or full of typos. If you find an error, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Without further ado, this year’s nominees are…

Outstanding Sketch or Improv Production
-Haunted (Cardboard Sword Productions/Bad Dog Theatre Company)
-Kinsey Fail (Bad Dog Theatre Company)
-The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)
-She the People (Second City Toronto)
-Brunch (Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival)
-Jon Blair (Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival)
-Generally Hospital (All Access Sketch/Toronto Fringe)
-A Kev ‘n Cal Mystery (Assface Project/Toronto Fringe)
-Ashley With a “Y” (Botting Productions/Toronto Fringe)
-A 6ix NNNNNN Revue (TallBoyz II Men/Toronto Fringe)

Outstanding Dance Performance
-Louis Laberge-Côté in The Art of Degeneration (DanceWorks)
-Esie Mensah in Shades (Dance-Theatre Work)
-Svetlana Lunkina in Anna Karenina (National Ballet of Canada)
-Skylar Campbell in The Dream (National Ballet of Canada)
-Jack Bertinshaw in Frame by Frame (National Ballet of Canada)
-Aria Evans in Finding Wolastoq Voice (Theatre New Brunswick/Native Earth Performing Arts)
-The Ensemble of Zayo (Esie Mensah Creations/SummerWorks Performance Festival)
-The Ensemble of Fantasylover (Rock Bottom Movement/SummerWorks Performance Festival)
-The Ensemble of The Fall (Frog in Hand Productions/Toronto Fringe)
-The Ensemble of La Femme Kabarett (Christina Digiuseppe/Toronto Fringe)

Outstanding Solo Performance
-Julie ‘Niuboi’ Ferguson in Scorch (Blarney Productions/Bustle & Beast)
-Kristen Thomson in Every Brilliant Thing (Canadian Stage)
-Amanda Cordner in Body So Fluorescent (Madonnanera/SummerWorks Performance Festival)
-Graham Isador in …And You’ll Never Believe What Happens Next (Pressgang Theatre/SummerWorks Performance Festival)
-Lauren Wolanski in Vitals (Theatre Born Between)
-Owen Fawcett in Thom Pain (based on nothing) (Theatre by Committee)
-Gord Rand in The Runner (Human Cargo/Theatre Passe Muraille)
-Bob Nasmith in Krapp’s Last Tape (Singing Swan Productions/Wily Pig/VideoCabaret/Theatre Passe Muraille)
-Eliza Martin in Harvey & the Extraordinary (tilt/shift theatre/Toronto Fringe)
-Clare Blackwood in BikeFace (Trailblazing Ladies/Toronto Fringe)

Outstanding New Play
-What I Call Her by Ellie Moon (In Association/Crow’s Theatre)
-The Orchard (After Chekhov) by Sarena Parmar (Shaw Festival)
-Animal Farm by Anthony MacMahon (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
-Secret Life of a Mother by Hannah Moscovitch with Ann-Marie Kerr, Maev Beaty, and Marina de Beer (Theatre Centre)
-Inescapable by Martin Dockery (RibbitRePublic/Toronto Fringe)

Outstanding New Musical
-Rumspringa Break! by Colleen Dauncey, Akiva Romer-Segal & Matt Murray (Marigon Productions/Next Stage Theatre Festival)
-I Call myself Princess by Jani Lauzon (Cahoots Theatre Company/Native Earth Performing Arts/Paper Canoe Projects)
-The Last Party by Nicky Phillips & Steven Gallagher (Next Step Productions/Toronto Fringe)
-Life in a Box by Landon Doak & Matthew Finlan (Offended Millennial Creations/Toronto Fringe)
-The Preposterous Predicament of Polly Peel (Act 1) by Kevin Wong & Julie Tepperman (Polly Peel Collective/Toronto Fringe)

Outstanding Ensemble
-LULU v.7//aspects of a femme fatale (Red Light District/Buddies in Bad Times)
-The Humans (Citadel Theatre/Canadian Stage)
-Jerusalem (Outside the March/Starvox/Company Theatre)
-The Wolves (Howland Company/Crow’s Theatre)
-Lear (Groundling Theatre Company)
-Punk Rock (Howland Company)
-Oh What a Lovely War (Shaw Festival)
-Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
-The Music Man (Stratford Festival)
-Girls Like That (Tarragon Theatre)

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
-Geordie Johnson in The Children (Centaur Theatre/Canadian Stage)
-Diana Bentley in Category E (Coal Mine Theatre)
-Janelle Hanna in Prairie Nurse (Thousand Islands Playhouse/Factory Theatre)
-Deborah Hay in Lear (Groundling Theatre Company)
-Leighton Alexander Williams in Judas Noir (BDB Productions/Obsidian Theatre)
-Shawn Ahmed in The Orchard (After Chekhov) (Shaw Festival)
-Brenda Robins in A Delicate Balance (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
-Sabryn Rock in The Royale (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
-Amelia Sargisson in Paradise Lost (Stratford Festival)
-Michael Blake in The Tempest (Stratford Festival)

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play (Independent)
-Elizabeth Saunders in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chekhov Collective)
-Nina Taylor in The Crucible (Hart House Theatre)
-Ron Lea in Kill the Poor (Leroy Street Theatre)
-Erin Eldershaw in Hamlet(s) (Skipping Stones Theatre)
-Robbie Fenton in Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens (Small but Mighty Productions)
-Alex Dallas in A Christmas Carol (Soup Can Theatre/Three Ships Collective)
-Lauren MacKinlay in The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome (High Park Productions/Toronto Fringe)
-Richard Young in The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome (High Park Productions/Toronto Fringe)
-Chantel McDonald in Tears of a Bullet (Hobby Horse/Toronto Fringe)
-Mark Paci in The Late Henry Moss (Unit 102 Actors Co.)

Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
-Rachel Cairns in Romeo & Juliet (Canadian Stage)
-Ric Reid in The Humans (Citadel Theatre/Canadian Stage)
-Aviva Armour-Ostroff in The Philosopher’s Wife (Paradigm Productions)
-Rick Roberts in Animal Farm (Soulpepper Theatre)
-Gregory Prest in La Bête (Soulpepper Theatre)
-Sarah Wilson in La Bête (Soulpepper Theatre)
-Lovell Adams-Gray in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Soulpepper Theatre)
-Lucy Peacock in Paradise Lost (Stratford Festival)
-Beau Dixon in Harlem Duet (Tarragon Theatre)
-Andrew Moodie in The Drawer Boy (Theatre Passe Muraille)

Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play (Independent)
-Emmelia Gordon in Fierce (Criminal Girlfriends)
-Mattie Driscoll in Dry Land (Cue6 Productions)
-Anne van Leeuwen in Kill the Poor (Leroy Street Theatre)
-Breanna Dillon in What Happened Was… (Witchboy Theatre/Leroy Street Theatre)
-Kate McArthur in Hamlet(s) (Skipping Stones Theatre)
-Erika Batdorf in The Red Horse is Leaving (Moleman Productions/SummerWorks Performance Festival)
-Thomas Gough in A Christmas Carol (Soup Can Theatre/Three Ships Collective)
-Peter Coleman in Dead for a Ducat (Reign or Shine Productions/Toronto Fringe)
-David Lafontaine in The Late Henry Moss (Unit 102 Actors Co.)
-Cass Van Wyck in Therac 25 (Unit 102 Actor’s Co.)

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical
-Shalyn McFaul in The Producers (Lower Ossington Theatre)
-Ephraim Sykes in Ain’t Too Proud (Mirvish Productions)
-Matthew Scott in An American in Paris (Mirvish Productions)
-Evan Buliung in Fun Home (Musical Stage Co./Mirvish Productions)
-Sara Farb in Fun Home (Musical Stage Co./Mirvish Productions)
-Theresa Tova in Music Music Life Death Music (One Little Goat Theatre Company)
-Michael Therriault in Grand Hotel (Shaw Festival)
-Allan Louis in Oh What a Lovely War (Shaw Festival)
-Robert Markus in The Rocky Horror Show (Stratford Festival)
-Troy Adams in The Preposterous Predicament of Polly Peel (Act 1) (Polly Peel Collective/Toronto Fringe)

Outstanding Leading Performance in a Musical
-Hugh Ritchie in The Producers (Lower Ossington Theatre)
-McGee Maddox in An American in Paris (Mirvish Productions)
-Laura Condlln in Fun Home (Musical Stage Co./Mirvish Productions)
-Georgia Bennett in Rumspringa Break! (Marigon Productions/Next Stage Theatre Festival)
-Daren A. Herbert in The Music Man (Stratford Festival)
-Paula Wolfson in Judas Star Supersong (Dusty Dora Productions/Moxie Productions/the mcguffin company/Toronto Fringe)
-Landon Doak in Life in a Box (Offended Millennial Creations/Toronto Fringe)
-Matthew Finlan in Life in a Box (Offended Millennial Creations/Toronto Fringe)
-Lisa Karen Cox in Now You See Her (Nightwood Theatre/Quote Unquote Collective/Why Not Theatre)
-Vanessa Sears in Mary Poppins (Young People’s Theatre)

Outstanding Design
-Helen Yung, Wesley McKenzie & Oz Weaver for LULU v.7 // aspects of a femme fatale (Red Light District/Buddies in Bad Times)
-Anna Treusch, Gabriel Cropley & Keith Thomas for Category E (Coal Mine Theatre)
-Nick Blais, Lindsay Junkin, André du Toit & Richard Feren for Jerusalem (Outside the March/Starvox/Company Theatre)
-Chris Penna, Brandon Kleiman, CJ Astronomo & Jeremy Hutton for The Crucible (Hart House Theatre)
-Camellia Koo, Kevin Lamotte & John Gzowski for The Baroness and the Pig (Shaw Festival)
-Ken MacKenzie, André du Toit & Richard Feren for Animal Farm (Soulpepper Theatre)
-Lorenzo Savoini, Gillian Gallow & Debashis Sinha for Idomeneus (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
-Joanna Yu, Kaileigh Krysztofiak & Alexander MacSween for The Comedy of Errors (Stratford Festival)
-Robert Lepage, Steve Blanchet, Ariane Sauvé, Mara Gottler, Laurent Routhier, Antoine Bédard & Pedro Pires for Coriolanus (Ex Machina/Stratford Festival)
-Adam Belanger & Jenni Lee Manis for Isaac’s Eye (Unit 102 Actor’s Company)

Outstanding Direction
-Frank Cox-O’Connell for Romeo & Juliet (Canadian Stage)
-Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster for The Wolves (Howland Company/Crow’s Theatre)
-Jillian Harper for Dry Land (Cue6 Productions)
-Jani Lauzon for The Monument (Factory Theatre)
-Selma Dimitrijevic for The Baroness and the Pig (Shaw Festival)
-Peter Hinton for Oh What a Lovely War (Shaw Festival)
-Ravi Jain for Animal Farm (Soulpepper Theatre)
-Jackie Maxwell for Paradise Lost (Stratford Festival)
-Esther Jun for Girls Like That (Tarragon Theatre)
-Sarah Thorpe for A Christmas Carol (Soup Can Theatre/Three Ships Collective)

Outstanding Production
-Romeo & Juliet (Canadian Stage)
-The Humans (Citadel Theatre/Canadian Stage)
-The Wolves (Howland Company/Crow’s Theatre)
-Kill the Poor (Leroy Street Theatre)
-Animal Farm (Soulpepper Theatre)
-Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Soulpepper Theatre)
-Paradise Lost (Stratford Festival)
-Coriolanus (Ex Machina/Stratford Festival)
-Secret Life of a Mother (Theatre Centre)
-The Late Henry Moss (Unit 102 Actors Co.)