Richmond Arts Awards: Richmond Direct Theatre Collective gets nod for Artistic Innovation

Direct Theatre Collective’s (DTC) founder and artistic director Jill Raymond was in so much shock about winning the Artistic Innovation Award, that the only sound that came out of her mouth was a non-stop scream.

And the first thing she did was record her excitement to her fellow founding members Isabel Sanchez and Jenna Grubaugh.

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“Winning the Artistic Innovation Award is like giving us affirmation that we are doing something meaningful and something important,” said Raymond.

“The company focuses on giving a stage for artists of all races, ages and identities and… theatre is like a portal for change for these artists.”

The Richmond-based not-for-profit organization had debuted in 2018 after Raymond, Sanchez, Grubaugh and fellow cast members put on a production called Hysteria at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

Raymond said she felt such a strong connection from everyone in the cast that she decided to reach out to see who would be interested in starting the company.

The original production, of Hysteria, said Raymond, explored social and societal disquiet, sexual consent and the international #MeToo movement, which led to the concept of using theatre as a “device to evoke and provoke,” and to use theatre to represent different viewpoints and marginalized voices in different communities.

Sanchez told the Richmond News everyone felt a sense of “honour” to have received the award.

“To know we’re contributing to the community and the arts industry in the way we wanted to … makes us feel like we’re on the right track, especially during these challenging times,” said Sanchez.

“What makes our work so important is the personal connection that we have with our audience members and the synergy that we can create (with them).”

The company is expecting to have their award-winning production play in Richmond in Spring 2021, with plans for a new production coming to the Vancouver Fringe Festival this year.

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