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Shoshana Wasser

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Set and costume designer Samantha McCue honoured with 2023 Pauline McGibbon Award

May 29, 2023

Theatre designer Samantha McCue is the recipient of the 2023 Pauline McGibbon Award. This award is presented to an Ontario-resident professional artist in the early stages of their career who has contributed to the well-being of Ontario’s theatre community, displays unique talent and has the potential for excellence.

Samantha received the award today during the nomination announcement press conference for the 43rd annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, held by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) at Meridian Hall in Toronto.


About Samantha McCue

  • Samantha McCue is Anishinaabekwe from the Chippewas of Georgina Island and Ned’u’ten from Lake Babine First Nation. She grew up on the Musqueam Reserve in Vancouver, B.C., and currently lives in Ottawa.
Samantha McCue
Samantha McCue
(Photo: Red Works Photography)
  • With a variety of skills in costume design and construction, theatre management and administration, Samantha is passionate about developing the Indigenous theatre community in Canada and beyond.
  • Samantha graduated from York University’s Theatre Production and Design program in 2017 and has been working as a set and costume designer ever since. She joined the Associated Designers of Canada in 2019.
  • In addition to her design work, Samantha integrates anti-racism advocacy into her practice and aims to work with arts organizations to be conscious of and make space for Indigenous artistic processes.
Thanks for Giving
Production still from Thanks for Giving
Costume design by Samantha McCue

Honour Beat
Production still from Honour Beat
Costume design by Samantha McCue
  • Selected design credits include: Maggie (Theatre Aquarius), Little Red Warrior and his Lawyer (Theatre Calgary, The Belfry) The Breathing Hole (National Arts Centre), Kamloopa (Soulpepper Theatre Company, Western Canada Theatre), Where The Blood Mixes (Soulpepper Theatre Company), I Am William (Stratford Festival), Honour Beat (The Grand), Aqsarniit (Confederation Centre of the Arts), The Monument (Factory Theatre) and Thanks For Giving (Arts Club Theatre Company). 


“Samantha designs and creates Indigenous garments that become an active part of storytelling,” stated the jury that selected her for this award. “She designs in ways that are authentic, aligned with her values and her commitment to community. We commend her for her clear focus, well-informed practice and spirit of collaboration.”

About the Pauline McGibbon Award

  • Established in 1981, the award honours former Lieutenant Governor Pauline McGibbon for her support and patronage of the arts. It includes a $7,000 prize and a bronze medal designed by Dora de Pédery-Hunt.
  • The award is given each year by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and is administered by the Ontario Arts Council.
  • The award is cyclical in nature: the first year of the three-year cycle, the award goes to a designer, the second year to a director, and the third year to a production craftsperson.
  • The winner is selected by a peer assessment jury, which this year consisted of Duncan Appleton (sound and lighting designer, technical director and educator, Toronto), Melissa Joakim (lighting designer, Toronto) and Anna Treusch (costume designer, Toronto).
The Pauline McGibbon Award medal
The Pauline McGibbon Award medal,
designed by Dora de Pédery-Hunt.
Pauline McGibbon Portrait
Official portrait of Pauline McGibbon,
by Cleeve Horne.