Arts & EntertainmentFeature

Winners honoured at 2023 Markham Performing Arts Awards

The 8th Annual Markham Performing Arts Awards recently took centre stage at the Flato Markham Theatre to celebrate local artistic achievements and those who supported them.

“We are honoured to recognize the 2023 Markham Performing Arts Awards Winners and look forward to seeing more of their success in the future,” says theatre GM Eric Lariviere.

These awards are a chance to elevate homegrown talent in arts, music, dance, and creative expression – a mission that has been the foundation of the organization since 1985.

Community Group/Artist of the Year
Education Arts Canada (EAC) is a Canadian-incorporated not-for-profit organization using performing arts experiences, teacher resources, music, and creative play to challenge, educate and empower children. They present a range of highly interactive musicals and concerts which ‘break the fourth wall’, reaching out from the stage to directly engage children in the experience. They have been working with the theatre for decades producing hundreds of educational shows, outreach to schools, families, and the community at large. Every EAC program includes supporting educational materials that are used in classrooms and homes to extend the impact of the presentation. This award was accepted by Judy Adelman Gershon and David Gershon on behalf of the organization.

Professional Artist of the Year
MOTUS O came to the theatre to perform their first show in 1990. The group has been instrumental in the creation of camps and has been an integral part of the theatre and arts community over the last 34 years. They will perform their last show in this year’s Diamond Season in May 2024. The three Artistic Directors of MOTUS O dance theatre – Jack Langenhuizen, James Croker, and Cynthia Croker ­– believe that the art of dance can and should inspire all sections of society thereby causing them to reflect, examine and appreciate both the diversity of communities and the uniqueness of individuals. Their desire to create original works of art emphasizing narrative expression and visceral aesthetics is inspired by our ever-evolving interpersonal relationships and our place within society. These works are created for either young or adult audiences and are always in a contemporary style of dance enhanced with theatrical elements.

Ambassador of the Year
Linda Briggs has been and continues to be a strong voice and presence in the arts community here in York Region. She has been a driving force within The Markham Jazz Festival, and she is the current President and Marketing Chair of the festival.

Winners of the 2023 Markham Performing Arts Awards join a roster of star-studded recipients including: Community Group/Artist of the Year: Markham Concert Band, Markham Little Theatre, Unionville High School, Tony Murphy & the late Ross Sutherland, Unionville Theatre Company, Kicks Dance Studio and The Dance Institute; Professional Artist of the Year: Michael Kaeshammer, Natalie McMaster & Donnell Leahy, The Nylons, Menaka Thakkar Dance Company and the late Maestro Kerry Stratton; Partner of the Year: Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, York Region Media Group, Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel Suites and Conference Centre, Durham Radio Inc. (DRI) and Wiens Canada; and Ambassador of the Year: Judi McIntyre, and Alicia & Alex Chiu.

Partner of the Year
Arterra Wines Canada has been a pioneer in the Canadian wine industry, partnering and sponsoring the theatre’s special events over the last several years. Their origins date back to 1874 when the Niagara Falls Wine Company was founded. One hundred and twenty years later, they became known as Vincor International. In 2006, they were acquired by Constellation Brands, a U.S.-based company that is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine, and spirits. In 2016, the Canadian branch of Constellation Brands was acquired by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and thus Arterra Wines Canada was born. This award was accepted by David Barwise, Sales Representative for Retail and On-Premises Toronto East.

Tickets to the 2023/24 Diamond Season can be purchased online at


Photo: 2023 Markham Performing Arts Awards recipients.


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