Local gay playwright Dave Deveau was among the winners last night at the 29th Annual Jessie Awards, which honoured the artistic achievements of Vancouver’s professional theatre community over the past year.
Deveau (pictured right with his award last night), who had also been nominated for outstanding original script, took home the Sydney Risk Prize for outstanding original script by an emerging playwright for his My Funny Valentine. The play, based on the true story of 15 year-old Lawrence King who was shot dead by a fellow student for reportedly asking him to be his Valentine, received critical acclaim during its run earlier this year.
“I was pretty floored,” said Deveau this morning as the win was still registering. “I was truly not expecting it. I thought it was amazing just to be nominated in the [outstanding original script category] amongst a number of Governor General Award winners that I have grown up reading.”
Deveau confessed he wasn’t even aware that the Sydney Risk Prize was for playwriting until it was announced during last night’s ceremony, thinking he should have applied for the award himself. Little did he know the award already had his name on it.
The $1,000 prize will allow Deveau to concentrate on his latest work that he says he desperately needs to finish: “this means I can take a couple of weeks off and completely focus on this new work”.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Deveau tells us he has two shows going into production soon and another work that he has just started.
Included in these new works is his new musical Homecoming King which will open at the Neanderthal Arts Festival at The Cultch in July.
“The musical is about a bigamist with two wives that don’t know about each other,” he explained. “The drama comes from when the two wives find out about each other”.
While Deveau said it is a bit unusual that Homecoming King has no gay themes to it, he is very excited the three-person musical he has been working on for the past four years will finally see the stage.
Deveau is also working on a commissioned piece for Green Thumb Theatre with a definite LGBTQ theme that is set to premiere in the fall and is also working on the first draft of a brand new piece that he says will explore the inter-generational relationship between a 17-year old boy and a 49-year old man.
The big winners at last night included Glass City Theatre’s Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train which won outstanding production in the small theatre category and the Arts Club Theatre Company who received the same nod for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in the large theatre category.
The 29th Annual Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards (The “Jessies”)
A complete list of all the winners can be found on the Jessie Awards website.