Archive » Arts and Entertainment

Beckie Morris brings two Dora Awards home to Theatre Orangeville

July 5, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) is an organization of theatres which, among other things, hosts the grand event when the Dora Mavor Moore Awards are presented at The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, in Toronto.

According to TAPA, “The annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards celebrate excellence on Toronto stages and are the oldest and largest professional theatre, dance and opera awards program in Canada. Founded in 1979, with the first ceremony occurring in 1981, the Dora Awards recently marked a 40th year anniversary.” 

A huge accolade locally is the two wins at this year’s Dora Award Ceremony, co-awarded to Steve Lucas and Beckie Morris, Theatre Orangeville’s brilliant designer of nearly every set we see on its main stage, all of which are made in the theatre’s own workshop.

They are “Outstanding Production” and “Outstanding Scenic Theatre, Projection Design” for the play “Appropriate,” at the Coal Mine Theatre.

These awards are seen too, to the credit of the Technical Director, Lisa Lahue’s leadership and the creative team, who make a reality of Ms. Morris’ design and creation of what a play needs and how to fit that set onto the stage, in any theatre.

Ms. Morris shares the Dora’s with Steve Lucas, with whom she has been working for “18 years,” as she told us in a Google interview that included Lisa Lahue, this week.

Steve Lucas was nominated for the Lighting on that production, as well.

She said, “He mentored me and did work for TOV. When he was hired to design the set for “Appropriate,” at the Coal Mine Theatre, he told the theatre he needed a collaborator and asked me to fill the need.”

Basically, the scene on stage called for a full living room but set in a space rather small for what was required. Ms. Lahue found, as she always does, means of accommodating all that was necessary: “she crammed it into the rafters,” Beckie Morris told us, adding, “I don’t know how we would have managed but for [her] problem solving talent getting a large piece into a small space.”

Candice Jeromkin was the Scenic Artist for the set.

“‘Appropriate,'” as Ms. Morris briefed us, “is about a family coming back to their crumbling plantation home for a reconciliation, following the death of the patriarch. It raises such questions as ‘can someone you love so much but have such differences of opinions still be loved?’ or ‘Do we just reconcile what they believe?’” 

“It was phenomenal,” she declared. “It began with a long sound tape that lasted enough to make people feel uncomfortable. Then, they were ready for the difficult discussions in the play.”

As Theatre Orangeville’s focus is on Canadian playwrights, the story, if not the play could be told here. In fact, as Ms. Morris mentioned, “We do shows here that open conversations.”

She noted that theatre is a close-knit community and she feels lucky to have the amount of work that she does in regional theatres around here.

“I’m honoured to stand among artists that I admire.”

Lisa Lahue made the point, “This opened a lot of doors for Theatre Orangeville, as a great showing of what our little shop is capable of. We already have other theatres calling us.”

The prestige of the Dora Awards is clear but, for Beckie Morris, it seemed to be more about Theatre Orangeville than herself, observing that it was nice to announce “from that platform where that set was built.”

The Theatre Orangeville team recently also built the set for “Woking Phoenix” at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto.

For history’s sake, they told us about building a set in Toronto for the show “Falsettos” at the Acting Up Stage Company, now called the Musical Stage Company about eight years ago.

It received good accolades at the time, we were told. 

“We’re both sitting in a place but also looking to expand our place. Beckie and I work together,” said Ms. Lahue, “but we also bring in other artists to work. What’s really cool about it is TOV gets a big share of the spotlight. We take things visually before we start. That’s our reputation, the willingness to work with the company. There is a price tag but TOV will do what it can to make sure those stories are being told.”

A busy summer schedule is upon them, with the two Young Company productions on the Main Stage coming up in July (Mean Girls) and August (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

Theatre Orangeville’s Summer Arts Fest is set for the weekend of August 16 to 18.

Congratulations to Beckie Morris, Lisa Lahue and the Theatre Orangeville creative team for these tremendous awards.

For lots of TOV details, to buy tickets, a subscription to the new 2024/25 season or make a donation to the I Love Theatre Orangeville tap site, go to or visit the lovely people at the Box Office in the Town Hall at 87 Broadway.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.