Vancouver theatre artist Itai Erdal is up for Siminovitch Prize

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      Itai Erdal, a celebrated local lighting designer—not to mention writer and performer--has just been named to the shortlist for a Siminovitch Prize in Design.

      As well as illuminating shows for companies here like the Arts Club Theatre and Bard on the Beach, he's worked across the country at places like the Stratford Festival and Tarragon Theatre. He's also lit the work of dancers from Noam Gagnon to Chick Snipper.

      His one-man show How to Disappear Completely has travelled nationally. The Straight called it a "work of art" in its review.

      More recently, he's staged Hyperlink with TJ Dawe, produced by his Elbow Theatre company. In his own work, Erdal is known for going deeply autobiographical, such as mining his own divorce and his Israeli and family heritage for A Very Narrow Bridge.

      He's up against UBU co-artistic director Stéphanie Jasmin, Toronto-based designer for theatre, opera and dance Camellia Koo, and Montreal-based sound designer, composer and musician Alexander MacSween for the award, the country's richest in theatre. 

      “These four artists embody the future-focused spirit of the Siminovitch Prize. Though still very much in the midst of their journey, they have already made their mark on audiences, peers, and the art form itself,” said jury chair Vanessa Porteous in the announcement with the National Arts Centre today. “These are four inquiring, curious, even restless spirits. They undertake an active investigation every time they set to work. They are gaining significant momentum as creative forces, and their impact is felt both within their field of specialization and well beyond.”

      A celebration for finalists takes place October 15 at Hart House at the  University of Toronto. The final recipient will be announced November 5 at the National Arts Centre, in a ceremony hosted by playwright, novelist and songwriter Tomson Highway.

      This is the second year a local artist has earned a nomination. Last year, playwright Marcus Youssef went on to score the $100,000 prize, passing $25,000 of it to his chosen protégée Christine Quintana.

      The prize rotates on a three-year cycle, focusing on different areas of theatre.