May 4, 2012… Artistic Director Des McAnuff will receive the National Arts Centre Award of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards at a ceremony at Rideau Hall tonight. The ceremony is followed by a gala performance at the National Arts Centre, honouring each of Governor General Performing Arts Award recipients. Mr. McAnuff is being recognized for his extraordinary accomplishments over the past performance year.
“Des is very deserving of this recognition,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “He has indeed had an extraordinary year, directing two large-scale productions at the Festival, filming one and taking the other on to La Jolla and then to Broadway. This is all in addition to his international accomplishments, which in themselves required super-human strength to complete. We all congratulate him on his achievements and this very great honour.”
At the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Mr. McAnuff directed a celebrated production of Twelfth Night starring Brian Dennehy and Stephen Ouimette. His acclaimed production of Jesus Christ Superstar enjoyed an extended run at Stratford and moved to La Jolla Playhouse in California over the holidays. The show opened on Broadway on March 22 and was recently nominated for two Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival.
Mr. McAnuff opened the second North American tour of Jersey Boys in Philadelphia. He directed a new musical production of Doctor Zhivago, which played in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, Australia, and is now being performed in Seoul with an all-Korean cast. He directed Gounod’s Faust for the Metropolitan Opera starring Jonas Kaufmann, René Pape, and Marina Poplavskaya.
Mr. McAnuff’s achievements over the past year also include film, with his production of Faust shown in cinemas worldwide and his production of The Tempest, starring Christopher Plummer, released in cinemas. (His production of Caesar and Cleopatra, which also features Christopher Plummer, enjoyed a similar release in 2009, while Twelfth Night was released this year.)
The year 2011 also saw Mr. McAnuff planning Stratford’s 60th anniversary playbill, half of which are Canadian works, including three world premières – Morris Panych and Marek Norman’s Wanderlust, The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor, and Hirsch by Alon Nashmon and Paul Thompson, about the former Stratford artistic director and legendary theatre artist John Hirsch. Mr. McAnuff will also be directing Shakespeare’s Henry V and Christopher Plummer’s one-man show A Word or Two.