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Kaylee Harwood is Vancouver Theatre’s Most Promising Newcomer!

TWU grad Kaylee Harwood won the Sam Payne Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the 2010 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. This prestigious award honors an emerging artist within three years of professional debut, and is open to playwrights, stage managers, and designers, as well as performers. Nominations are secret and the winner is selected by all members of all Jessie juries.

“As anyone at the awards ceremony can confirm, I was completely shocked,” says Harwood. “Having my name read aloud on the same stage honoring the artists who are part of the reason I do this, humbled and utterly floored me. There is nothing more intimidating or wonderful than looking into a sea of black that is peopled with those I have long admired from afar, trying to thank those who helped me get there. And then to realize the brilliance of others who have won this award! It was an amazing evening capping off the absolute whirlwind of the last year and a half.”

That whirlwind began immediately after finishing classes in December, 2008. Kaylee went directly from Mr. Pim Passes By at Chemainus Theatre Festival, into the role of Cosette in Les Miserables at Vancouver’s largest professional company, The Arts Club Theatre. This acclaimed production was followed by a school tour of a new Canadian play with Shameless Hussy Theatre, the role of Eliza in My Fair Lady at Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, playing Johanna in Sweeney Todd at The Citadel in Edmonton, and then coming home to be part of the multiple-Jessie winning production of A Year With Frog and Toad at Vancouver’s Carousel Theatre.

In fact, Kaylee received a second Jessie on the same evening, for Ensemble Performance in A Year With Frog and Toad, which also won Outstanding Production in the Theatre For Young Audiences category.

“I am so grateful for all those who have contributed to my success,” Harwood says. “The teaching and mentoring I received at Trinity was fantastic preparation for my professional career. I’ve had some incredible opportunities and recognition so far, and I’m excited to see what the future brings.”

The School of the Arts, Media and Culture has just launched a BFA in Acting, strengthening and formalizing the training TWU offers. So while Kaylee is the first TWU grad to win the Most Promising Newcomer Award, she is unlikely to be the last.

Congratulations, Kaylee!

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