OAF News

Recipient of the 2008 Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design Announced

Toronto – June 3, 2008 – Toronto based costume designer, Michael Gianfrancesco is the 2008 recipient of the $15,000 Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design. The award is given annually to professional Canadian costume designers in Ontario in mid-career to further enrich their careers through research and travel.


Mr. Gianfrancesco's work has appeared in theatres across Canada. He was engaged by the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for the past seven years, most recently designing the sets and costumes for Much Ado About Nothing and The Blonde, The Brunette & The Vengeful Redhead. Mr. Gianfrancesco designed sets and costumes for Queen of Puddings Music Theatre's The Midnight Court, which premiered at Harbourfront Centre and was presented in the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2006.


In the past year, Mr. Gianfrancesco's designs appeared in the The Wizard of Oz at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, Fiddler on the Roof at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and The Miracle Worker at the Neptune Theatre, Halifax. He is a recipient of a Tyrone Guthrie Award and the Brian Jackson Award from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.


The Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design was established through a generous gift under the will of the late Dr. Virginia S. Cooper of Toronto. The award is given "For the Love of Creation". Dr. Cooper served as a director of the Tarragon Theatre, and was a charter woman member of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and active in its activities. She had a keen interest in the performing arts, particularly in costume design, and was working on a book titled "Pins and Needles", which featured some of the dresses that her mother, Myrtle Cooper, designed and made for her.

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award. The Ontario Arts Council administered the selection process. A jury consisting of Astrid Janson, designer, JoÎl Beddows, artistic director, and Sue LePage, designer, selected Mr. Gianfrancesco as the winner from a field of nominated costume designers from across Ontario.

The Ontario Arts Foundation holds over 270 endowments established by individuals, private foundations, corporations and arts organizations in support of the arts.




For information, please contact:

Janet Stubbs, Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413 jstubbs@arts.on.ca

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