GOLD WINNERAllister MacDonald
SILVER WINNERNathan Simmons
BRONZE WINNERJade Douris-O'Hara
While seeing a supernova with the naked eye is the sort of rare experience that stargazers could wait a century for, Halifax was lucky enough to be able to witness one nightly in the summer of 2022 as Allister MacDonald took the stage in Neptune’s production of The Rocky Horror Show. Playing Dr. Frank N Furter in their first role since winning the Nova Scotia Merritt Award for Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role, MacDonald not only embodied the type of over-the-top glamour that made the role a cult classic, but also aimed to create an ephemeral gathering space for the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community during a time when designated queer spaces were missing from the landscape.
“I try to seek out characters that are misunderstood, and [are] either underdogs or are on the outskirts of their situations. And I try to fill them out with as much likeability, and with as much joy, as there may be sorrow. And I feel like what I do is inherently kind of campy, in that I mask a lot of the characters’ pain with humour. And I feel like you can always still see that pain underneath the humour. I feel like that is kind of what resonates—I think, at least,” says MacDonald with a slight self-deprecating laugh.
“I feel very lucky that I get to play such complicated, wild characters. I feel like being an actor, you spend so much time seeking out and carving out the stories you want to tell and the people you want to play. So the fact that I've gotten to take on in the last year, specifically in Halifax, the Mad Hatter and Frank N Furter who are two wild and uninhibited characters and fill them out with a longing to be loved or a longing to be understood? It's been just an artist's dream.” They take a breath, before adding: “So getting to do that, in Halifax specifically, I've learned so much about myself as an artist and as a queer person, and it's been really wonderful to see that resonate with people.”