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Prescott – The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival has been honoured with seven production and performance nominations from Prix Rideau Awards for the plays Cyrano and The Winter’s Tale.

The shows were staged in 2019, the last season of the festival before COVID-19 shut it down along with theatre companies around the world. Normally, the awards would have been handed out in
2020 but were postponed for a year because of the virus; they’ll be presented virtually April 25.

“It’s very special to be recognized by your peers,” said SLSF Artistic Director Richard Sheridan Willis, pointing out the shows were juried by professionals in the regional theatre business. “Of
course, I’m delighted to be among the nominees… but I feel even happier for some of our young performers who earned nominations.”

Cyrano was nominated for best production and Sheridan Willis got an Outstanding Male Performance nod in the title role; also nominated in that category were Zach Council in Cyrano and Jesse Nerenberg in The Winter’s Tale.

Nominated for Outstanding Female Performance were Tamara Brown and Catherine Rainville, both in The Winter’s Tale. Sophia Swettenham was selected in the Emerging Artist category.

“We’re just beaming with pride,” said Jo-Anne Beckstead, chair of the festival board of directors. “It came up at our board meeting Tuesday and all directors were thrilled. We don’t do this to win
awards, but being recognized artistically is definitely a boost.”

In existence for 15 years, the Prix Rideau Awards recognize the best talent and live theatre productions in the greater Ottawa-Gatineau area. The intent is to foster artistic excellence and encourage communication between professional French and English theatre communities.

“For close to 20 years, the festival has created a lasting impression of excellence among its audience members,” Sheridan Willis observed. “The knowledge that we have a theatrical gem here keeps spreading farther and farther.”