ACTRA Toronto is proud to announce that Shirley Douglas will be presented with ACTRA Toronto’s 2013 Award of Excellence at the ACTRA Awards in Toronto on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at The Carlu.
Born in Saskatchewan, Ms. Douglas is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England. She began her stage and television career in England and has performed in the U.K., Canada and the U.S. playing such iconic roles as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Oenone in Phaedra, and Hagar Shipley in The Stone Angel. She is best known to Canadians for playing May Bailey on the long-running television series, Wind at My Back, which garnered her a Gemini nomination. She won a Gemini for Shadow Lake and was also nominated for Passage of the Heart. She holds honorary doctorates from Ryerson University, Brandon University, University of Windsor, and University of Regina. She has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and was Women in Film and Television’s 2009 Crystal Award recipient. In 2003, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Ms. Douglas was previously awarded ACTRA’s Bernard Cowan Award. Shirley Douglas is the daughter of Canada’s first federal NDP leader, Tommy Douglas, and the mother of three children, Thomas Douglas and Rachel and Kiefer Sutherland.
“It’s no surprise to anyone who knows Shirley that she has portrayed impressive women like Madeleine Albright,” said Heather Allin, President of ACTRA Toronto. “Shirley has always been a powerful and persuasive advocate for all performers. She led the charge in ACTRA’s fight for protection of children working in our industry. Her fierce advocacy is effective and inspiring.”
At a joint presentation from ACTRA Toronto and the University of Regina, Ms. Douglas recalled her experiences in the American Civil Rights and anti-war movements, saying, “When I think of the marches of Martin Luther King, always the artists were there. The artists were fearless through this period.” In addition to her activism on behalf of performers, Ms. Douglas continues her father’s fight for public healthcare in Canada and support for the New Democratic Party of Canada.
The annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto recognize outstanding performances by ACTRA Toronto members and celebrate accomplishment and excellence in our industry. Three juried awards will be presented in addition to the Award of Excellence: the ACTRA Awards for Outstanding Performance, Female and Outstanding Performance, Male, and the ACTRA Award for Outstanding Performance, Voice.