By Al Beeber on May 5, 2021.
The Allied Arts Council is seeking nominations for the annual awards recognizing contributions to the city arts community.
Nominations are open until June 1 with recipients to be honoured in September. The ceremony this year will be a virtual one.
The awards were started in the mid-2000s when the late Joan Waterfield was honoured in a ceremony at the Yates Centre for her contributions to the city’s arts.
Any resident of Lethbridge can nominate a person, organization or business to be honoured by the AAC which will be handing out awards in five categories.
â€¢ Aspiring artist award, introduced in 2019, which acknowledges an artist in Grades 9-12 in the Lethbridge region who is “working to advance and enhance the arts in Lethbridge.” The $1,000 award is intended to support and encourage artistic work, says the AAC in a press release.
â€¢ Young Artist award has the same criteria as the aspiring artist prize and is also worth $1,000.
The AAC is also handing out its excellence awards.
The AACE award for an individual “recognizes a person who had made philantrhopic contributions to an organization and thereby enhanced the entire arts community.”
â€¢ The AACE business award goes to a business “that has made outstanding philanthropic contributions and thereby enhances the entire arts community.”
â€¢ The service organization award “recognizes a club, service organization or non-profit group that has contributed to the Lethbridge communty through the arts.
Lastly, there is the Joan Waterfield Memorial Award which “recognizes a member of the arts community, respected by their contemporaries for advancing and enhancing the arts. This individual has made a substantial contribution community in the area of the arts: literary, music, dance, new media, theatre or visual arts. Nominees shall have demonstrated an extraordinary contribution over an extended period.
Waterfield came to Lethbridge from Scotland as a war bride in 1951. Born in Egypt where her father served in the First World War, she grew up in Aberdeen, where she developed a love for theatre and film.
Discovering Lethbridge had live theatre, she volunteered as a costume mistress for Playgoers and soon moved into performing and directing.
In 1967, she won the best actress award at the Alberta drama festival for her role in a three-act play called Chinook, written by Lethbridge weatherman and radio talk show host Bill Matheson.
Her co-star, George Mann, also won an acting award for the play.
The longest active member in Playgoers, Waterfield was also involved with other theatrical groups including Lethbridge Musical Theatre which she helped found. In 1972, she won the onstage Lemmy – LMT’s version of the Oscars – for her role in The Man of La Mancha.
Perhaps her most memorable role, several people have said, was as The Madwoman of Chaillot for the Playgoers in the late 1960s.
She directed about a dozen plays in the 1970s and ’80s, including Hello Dolly in 1986 which was memorable for a painful experience Waterfield suffered – a broken ankle when she fell into the orchestra pit. Ed Bayly filled in for Waterfield, who was laid up for several months after the accident
As an actor and director, she was highly respected for her mastery of the art and she had a knack for ad libbing when she forgot her lines. She was a voracious reader with an immense knowledge of film, theatre and books.
Waterfield wrote film reviews for The Herald and in a story years ago about the award, late entertainment editor Pat Sullivan said Waterfield’s knowledge actually earned her the wrath of a Hollywood big wig. After one scathing review, Waterfield was called up by a producer to complain “and by the time she finished with him, she’d convinced him his movie stunk,” he said.
Last year’s winner of the Waterfield award was Mary-Lynn Muhly. Other recipients have included Linda Bayly, Ed Bayly, George and Nellie Mann, Peggy Mezei, Lotti Austin and George Evelyn, Van Christou, Don Robb and Bob Fenton.
Nominations can be made by downloading a package at artslethbridge.org/awards-scholarships
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