Nightwood Theatre is thrilled to announce the winner of this year’s Louise Garfield Award – playwright Shelley M. Hobbs. This annual cash prize is presented to an artist who has completed one of Nightwood’s new play development programs as a ‘later in life’ emerging creator. The recipient connects deeply to the company’s feminist mission and will have significantly enriched their community’s cultural or civic life. We are grateful that Louise has chosen Nightwood Theatre as the artistic home for this special award. It is part of Arts Etobicoke’s Presidents’ Legacy Scholarship Fund and is given annually and in perpetuity alongside 16 scholarships through an endowment fund at the Ontario Arts Foundation.
Shelley M. Hobbs (she/they) is a hearing-impaired lesbian cancer survivor who plays hockey. She recently retired as a lawyer for a government agency that protects the rights of incapable adults. Shelley writes plays about chosen family an**d the harsh choices that need to be made to survive trauma. Her previous work includes A Good Death (AKA Theatre, 2018); Happy Family (Toronto Fringe 2017); and two plays developed through the Ergo Arts Pinkfest program: The Sister Op (2018) and Monkey Wrench (2019). Shelley lives in Toronto, Canada, with her wife, Joan Jamieson. Shelley was a part of Nightwood Theatre’s Write From The Hip Playwright Program in 2019-20, through which she developed her play Refusal.
Shelley shares, “I am honoured to receive the Louise Garfield award on behalf of all the late starters, older emergers, and determined second chancers. A good story comes from experience. Thank you to Nightwood, Louise Garfield, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, the WFTH cohort of 19-20, and everyone who sponsored this award.”
Louise Garfield is a veteran of the thriving cultural community in Toronto since the 1970s. Her varied background in dance, theatre, film & television, as a producer, performer and choreographer lend her administrator’s eyes a distinct sensibility. She is Executive Director Emerita at Arts Etobicoke, where she lead the organization for fourteen dynamic years. In 2017 Louise received an Urban Hero Award for her contributions to the arts and culture in Etobicoke.
“In so many ways, this scholarship completes a wobbly, uneven circle in my life,” says Garfield. “Years ago, Nightwood nurtured The Clichettes in the early stages of our development. It was part of the root system as feminist artists in Toronto. So the idea of bringing along another wave of artists to be supported while they create new work, is just a thrill! My heartfelt thanks to both Arts Etobicoke and Nightwood Theatre for the honour.”