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2013 Barrie Arts Awards 


Excellence in the Arts

Joy Thompson - founder of Strolling Youth Players, a triple threat company where Joy acted as the artistic director, director, writer, choreographer and teacher.  The Strolling Youth existed for almost 20 years and provided a forum for Joy to launch the careers and dreams of many local professional artists.  Joy left a a successful acting career to create this company and she has performed at the Old Vic in England, Broadway, the Stratford Festival, the Royal Alex and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.  Joy has completed over 27 national and international commercials and has played roles in feature films with stars like Jamie-Lee Curtis, Leslie Neilson and Mary Steenburgen.  Joy has mentored and educated over 400 students, produced over 200 musical compositions, co-written 12 new Canadian productions, most of which have been presented in the Barrie-Huronia area and some across Canada.

Emerging Artist

Alex Dault - currently runs an award winning theatre company in Toronto called Single Thread, which creates site-specific theatre.  Alex is an accredited playwright with several produced works: Campbell House Story, Keekeeper's Apprentice, The Loyalists, Firebrand and Nine Mile Portage.  The Nine mile Portage was presented on the City's Waterfront Trail in June of 2013 as part of Theatre by the Bay's summer season.  Alex has worked with Theatre by the Bay for seven seasons, beginning in the compnay's young theatre company when he acted in Treasure Island followed by four other main stage productions.  Alex, born and raised in Barrie, got his start wtih Barrie's Strolling Youth Players and then progressed to perform with Kempenfelt Community Players.  Alex has been previously recognized as "Toronto's Best Emerging Artist" in 2012 by Toronto Entertainment Wold.

Most Promising Youth

Brina Romanek - is an incredibly talented young woman and is set apart by her absolute commitment, passion, perserverance and boundless energy for her work as a performer.  Brina is in her first year at George Brown Theatre School and has just completed a summer program at Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  Bring was chosen out of hundreds of international applicants to be one of 16 actors and actresses in the Theatre Performance Intensive, a program designed to prepare theatre school candidates for the rigors of their first year in a post secondary theatre program.  Brina's accomplishments are many and include awards in school musicals, improv teams, drama and speech as well as her 94% average in high school.  Brina has performed with several local theatre companies including Kempenfelt Community Players and Theatre by the Bay.  Brina is well on her way to an amazing career.

Contribution to the Community

Errol Lee - is the founder and president of “Music is the Method Inc.” a company that provides unique and innovative programs designed specifically to teach character education through interactive multimedia concert presentations and workshops.  Errol is a singer, songwriter and children’s author who over the past 11 years has created 6 full length CDs to effect positive change in youth both locally and internationally.  Errol’s messages are not only focused on the motto ‘dare to care’ that encourages youth to help their Canadian friends and neighbours, but it extends to assisting children in the developing world.  Errol has been awarded extensively for his volunteer efforts, with the YMCA Peace Medallion, the Planet Africa Arts Award – 2012 BBPA Harry Jerome Award, the 2011 MACA Award and recognition from the OPP and the York Region Police.  Errol is a deserving recipient of the “Contribution to the Community” award with his campaign to change the world, one concert at a time


Chad Ballantyne -  has spent the last 20 years in some form of creative communications, as a speaker, musician, producer and designer.  Chad is the Creative Director of Rhubarb Media and considers himself the gardener of Simcoe County’s first co-working space, The Creative Space.  Chad has sponsored or offered expertise to the MacLaren Art Centre, Kempenfelt Community Players, Moving Art, The Loft Art Space, Talk is Free Theatre, Cingolani Arts, Arts ce Soir, Barrie Arts and Culture Council, the Green Room and the Barrie Arts Awards!  Chad and his lovely wife Sandra, along with their 3 children continually demonstrate a deep commitment to the arts as they believe that “the arts are one of the biggest contributors to positive and cultural transformation”.  Chad’s generosity is unlimited and his company has clearly demonstrated a sustained support and investment in helping to make the Barrie arts community thrive, for which we are all grateful.

2012 Barrie Arts Awards Winners

  • Barbara McCann: Contribution to the Community
  • John Hartman: Excellence in the Arts
  • Joe Anderson: Business Award
  • Cassadra Fox: Emerging Artist
  • Julie Choi: Most Promising Youth

A Big Thank You To Our Arts Awards Sponsors

The Barrie Arts Awards program is made possible by the City of Barrie Department of Culture and the generosity of several local businesses that have provided either financial or inkind donations. 

The Presentation Sponsor for the Barrie Arts Awards since it's inception in 2008 is TD Trust.  The design sponsor is Rhubarb Media and the media sponsor in 2012 was CTV Barrie.  Thank you!

A big thank you as well to Georgian College and The Barrie Advance for their award sponsorship.

For more information on the Barrie Arts Awards, please contact the Department of Culture at (705) 739-4299 or

History of the Arts Awards Program

“Building A Creative Future” the City of Barrie’s ten year plan for culture was approved by City Council in May of 2006.  One of the recommendations in the plan was for the City to provide oversight of the arts community.  This was to be achieved in a number of ways; namely the development of a Cultural Department that would support the arts, the cultural grants program that provides funding to non for profit organizations, organizing a data base of statistical information on the arts groups, to better predict and monitor growth, and to develop an arts awards program.  The awards program is designed to raise the profile of our dynamic arts community and provide local artists with well deserved recognition.

The Arts Awards program was also the inspiration for the Poet Laureate program that rolled out in 2010 when the Department of Culture crowned it’s first Poet Laureate, Dr. Bruce Meyer.  Bruce was nominated for his many contributions to poetry and the literary arts.  Bruce has many published works and has received much recognition for his significant body of published works.  Bruce is acting as an amazing ambassador for the City of Barrie in his new role, and created a delightful poem for the opening of the Mady Centre for the Performing Arts.

Each year five individuals are honoured for their contributions to the arts and here is the list of those recognized since the inception of the awards program.

2011 Barrie Arts Awards Winners 

  • Excellence in the Arts - Curley Bridges
  • Contribution to the Community - Carla Tucker
  • Business Award - Scott Elliott (Sarjeant Company Ltd)
  • Most Promising Youth - Abigail Johnson
  • Emerging Artists - Sarah Melody 

 2010 Barrie Arts Awards Winners

  • Contribution to the Community - Claudine Forget-Benoit
  • Excellence in the Arts - Ted Fullerton
  • Emerging Artist – Leigh-Anne Martin
  • Emerging Artist - David Ball
  • Most Promising Youth - Madison Angus

At the 2010 Barrie Arts Awards we also celebrated the crowning of our first Poet Laureate, Dr. Bruce Meyer. Bruce is a well known poet and author who will hold the position for a term of 4 years.

2009 Barrie Arts Awards Winners

  • Contribution to the Community Bruce Owen
  • Emerging Artist – Niall Donaghy
  • Excellence in the Arts (3 winners) - Larissa Mair, Scott Hurst and Renee Cingolani

2008 Barrie Arts Awards Winners

  • Contribution to the Community - William Moore 
  • Emerging Artist - Heather Tobin 
  • Excellence in the Arts (3 winners) - Don Stuart, Trudee Romanek and Arkady Spivak


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