Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award

Young People’s Theatre is delighted to announce Abigail Shabtay as the third recipient of the Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award. Abigail’s research, teaching, and community work focuses primarily on the use of drama-based methods for examining young people’s experiences and promoting children’s rights. See details below.

Abigail will receive a cash award of $10,000, made possible through the support of The Slaight Family Foundation. In 2015, YPT received an extraordinary gift of $3 million from the Foundation which resulted in the creation of The Ada Slaight Education Centre at YPT, celebrating her inspiring commitment to young artists and audiences.

The Award Advisory Committee was once again excited by the breadth and depth of research demonstrated in the pool of applications received this year. YPT will continue to support the 2018/19 applicants as well as other graduate students working in the realm of Drama in Education through a Scholars in Residence program — an initiative which was piloted in 2016/17 as a way to continue to support and advance this field of research.

The Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award will next be presented in 2019/20. Application details for the upcoming season will be announced in the spring of 2019.

Past Recipients:
The Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award was first awarded in YPT’s 2016/17 season to Rachel Rhoades, a Ph.D. candidate studying at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. In 2017/18, the prize was awarded to Dennis Gupa, a Ph.D. candidate studying Sea Rituals, Climate Change and Applied Theatre at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.


Abigail Shabtay
Abigail Shabtay

Abigail Shabtay:

Abigail’s research, teaching, and community work focus heavily on the use of drama-based methods for examining young people’s experiences and promoting children’s rights. Abigail has taught undergraduate and graduate students at McGill University, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto (OISE) in a variety of subject areas, including drama education, creative arts for early childhood, research methods and applications, arts in educational contexts, and children’s rights. She has been involved in several research projects and artistic endeavours involving children and youth, and, in addition to the Ada Slaight Drama-in-Education Research Award, has been awarded the McGill Dean’s Award, the Jackie Kirk Fieldwork Support Fellowship, and several grants for community and cultural projects. Abigail’s Doctoral research examines the use of participatory play-building in examining connections between social justice issues, and young people’s academic experiences. Abigail’s research interests include: children’s rights, youth-led initiatives, and drama-based participatory action research. Abigail’s research has been published in several academic journals, including Canadian Art Teacher (2017), NJ: Drama Australia (2017), The Qualitative Report (2018), Journal of LGBT Youth (in press), and Qualitative Research Journal (in press). She enjoys serving the academic and artistic communities as an organizer of a wide range of conferences and initiatives, including the Children Youth and Performance conference (2018) as conference chair, Provoking Curriculum (2017) as an organizing committee member, and Artful Inquiry Symposium (2016) as Program Chair. In addition to her academic work, she has worked as the Managing Director of Artucate Canada, a local non-profit organization that empowers young people through arts-based initiatives and participatory action research, and the Program Director of Kids Love Tech, where she advocates for cross-disciplinary learning between the arts and sciences.