Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Pat Donnelly Award: The Golden Boot

The Montreal infringement Festival has created its first award!

In collaboration with the Indie Theatre Times & Review, we are pleased to announce the first annual Pat Donnelly Golden Boot Award, to be awarded June 25th, 2006 at the closing ceremonies of the 3rd annual festival.

This trophy goes to the infringement act most likely to have been kicked out of any other festival, especially for generating reflection, heated debate and political controversy, especially by artistically exposing and challenging oppressive structures, systems, and discourses.

The award is named after former Gazette (Can-West Global) theatre critic Pat Donnelly, who is responsible for booting the only show in the history of “Fringe” theatre out of a festival.

Abusing a conflict-of-interest position that included both critic and corporate sponsor, in 2001 Ms. Donnelly demanded that “Fringe” organizers boot the play CAR STORIES after it refused to give her a free ticket and then critiqued her performance at the box office.

By canceling reviews of “Fringe” performances and threatening to withdraw financial sponsorship, Ms. Donnelly succeeded in demonstrating corporate power over the “Fringe” agenda and artists’ autonomy. On June 19th, 2001, CAR STORIES was kicked out of the Montreal “Fringe” Festival. It remains the only show ever to have been booted from any “Fringe” across the globe.

While Ms. Donnelly is no longer with us as a theatre critic, her name lives on in the form of the Golden Boot Award – a glowing reminder to artists that instead of bowing down to abusive power-structures, we should celebrate creative resistance to oppression, monoculture, and hegemony.

The 21st Century heralds a new way of doing the arts – by reclaiming our authority as autonomous creators freed from corporate influence, we begin the long process of reclaiming our culture. The Pat Donnelly Golden Boot Award acknowledges this fact and reminds us to keep vigilant, while simultaneously celebrating and highlighting excellence in critical artistry.

The Pat Donnelly Golden Boot Award is on display at infringement headquarters BAR MIAMI (3831 St. Laurent), where it will be presented to a deserving artist or collective on June 25th, 2006.