2018 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award Laureates Announced

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of Canada’s most prestigious performing arts awards.

The laureates of the 2018 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement are:

Andrew Alexander – Theatre, film and television producer
Andrew Alexander is a prolific theatre, film and television producer, notably of The Second City—the world’s premier improv comedy club, theatre and school—and the award-winning sketch comedy show “SCTV.” As the CEO and executive producer of The Second City, he has devoted over 40 years to cementing its status as an international comedy empire. Through its theatres, training centres and outreach programs, the organization has popularized the art of improvisation and elevated the quality of comedic theatre in North America.

Geneviève Bujold – Actress
In a career spanning more than 50 years, Geneviève Bujold has appeared in more than 70 films in both English and French, and her intensity, passion, and luminous screen presence have earned her international acclaim and numerous awards. From historical dramas to thrillers and adventure movies, her work is as impressive for its range as for its quality: as Moe Doiron of The Globe and Mail remarked, “There’s nothing that could be called ‘a typical Geneviève Bujold picture.’” Her best-known lead roles include Anne Boleyn in Anne of the Thousand Days (directed by Charles Jarrott, 1969) and Élisabeth in Kamouraska (Claude Jutra, 1973); more recently, she appeared in Still Mine (Michael McGowan, 2012) and Chorus (François Delisle, 2015).

Peter A. Herrndorf, C.C. (Special Award)
Arts advocate, leader and passionate Canadian

Peter A. Herrndorf has devoted his career to journalism, broadcasting and the arts in Canada. As president and CEO (1999–2018) of Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC), North America’s only multidisciplinary, bilingual performing arts centre, he has worked tirelessly to fulfill the centre’s mandate: to play a leadership role in fostering artistic excellence in all disciplines of the performing arts in Canada. A visionary champion of performance, creation and learning, he was instrumental in establishing the National Arts Centre Foundation and the NAC’s Indigenous Theatre Department, and is credited with transforming the NAC artistically through major national and international cultural projects, and physically through a $225.4-million architectural rejuvenation and production renewal project completed in 2018.

Angela Hewitt, C.C. – Concert pianist
Angela Hewitt is widely considered the leading Bach pianist of our time. Known for her clarity, precision and vast repertoire, she has performed in recital and with major orchestras around the world and is especially renowned for her recordings of all of J. S. Bach’s major keyboard works. Her discography also includes solo recordings of Couperin, Rameau, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Chabrier, Granados, Fauré, Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen, as well as concertos by Mozart and Schumann. Personal communication with her audience is important to her, and she has built a huge international fan base.

Ginette Laurin, C.M. – Dancer and choreographer
Hailed internationally as one of Canada’s foremost choreographers, with more than 50 works to her credit, Ginette Laurin is a pioneer of the contemporary dance movement in Quebec. She is the founding artistic director of O Vertigo, and worked with the company for over 30 years. She has also hosted numerous dance workshops and taught at several universities and theatre schools in Canada and internationally.

Murray McLauchlan, C.M. – Singer-songwriter
Murray McLauchlan is one of Canada’s leading singer–songwriters. Known for his socially conscious songs, he achieved wide acclaim for his 1972 breakthrough single “Farmer’s Song,” which earned him the first of 11 Juno Awards. He is also an accomplished visual artist and a popular radio and TV host. Deeply committed to the art of songwriting and creators’ rights, he has had a long association with the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). He continues to tour regularly, both on his own and with the band Lunch at Allen’s.

The Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts

Florence Junca Adenot
In a prolific career spanning over 45 years, Florence Junca Adenot has held leadership roles in arts and culture, university administration, public transit, and heritage preservation. A passionate arts supporter actively involved in her community, she has volunteered with numerous arts organizations and coordinated several heritage, urban revival, and cultural projects. A native of Bordeaux, France (where as a teenager she organized guided heritage walks), she was the founding chair of Agora de la danse, the first permanent venue in Quebec devoted to contemporary dance; the Centre PierrePéladeau creation and performance centre for music and dance; and the Corporation de développement urbain du Faubourg Saint-Laurent, which laid the groundwork for the Quartier des spectacles, Montréal’s downtown culture and entertainment district.

The National Arts Centre Award

Tegan and Sara – Musicians, songwriters and activists
Tegan and Sara have sold more than one million albums and performed on some of the world’s biggest stages, from the 2015 Academy Awards telecast to major festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza and Glastonbury. They have appeared on Canadian, American, Australian and European television, and their songs have been featured in numerous films and TV shows. Tegan and Sara have openly identified as queer since the beginning of their career. Outspoken advocates for equality, gender justice, and progressive social change, they have built a strong and loyal fan base in both the straight and the LGBTQ community.

“Each of these extraordinary Canadian artists has made an unforgettable contribution to our lives,” said Douglas Knight, Chair and CEO of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation (GGPAAF). Added Anik Bissonnette, Co-chair of the Foundation, “Canada is a magnificent country of spectacular natural beauty. Our artists are among our nation’s greatest assets. The laureates we honour with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards are true gems. Their talent enriches us all, and through their art, they allow each and every one of us to sparkle with happiness.”

“For more than 25 years now, we have been celebrating the achievements of remarkable Canadian performing artists,” stated Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts. “During this time, audiences around the world have enjoyed the outstanding work of our 2018 award recipients. Through innovation, each of them—in their own way—has changed our perception of the arts and society.”

The 2018 laureates will be honoured at three events in Ottawa, culminating in the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala presented by Birks at the National Arts Centre on Saturday, June 2 at 6:30 p.m. “It is truly a privilege to honour exceptional talent in our nation’s capital,” said Jean-Christophe Bédos, President and CEO of Birks Group. “As a brand that is passionate about Canadian culture, we look forward to celebrating these special moments and recognizing those who are shaping this country.”

The gala, produced by the National Arts Centre, will feature superb performances, evocative short films about the Award laureates (created by the National Film Board of Canada), and personal tributes by guest stars. “I can’t believe it’s already been 10 years! Since 2008, we’ve been delighted to partner with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation to help honour excellence in Canadian performing arts, creating short film portraits that capture the visionary talent and dedication of our GGPAA laureates,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada. “These films bring Canadians into the celebration, and also stand as lasting works of cinematic art in their own right. As we get set to honour the 2018 laureates, our collection has grown to a remarkable 76 films. We’re thrilled to have been part of this celebration for 10 great years and look forward to many more.”