York University PhD graduate awarded Barbara Godard Prize 

People at theatre

Signy Lynch, a PhD graduate of Theatre & Performance Studies at York University, was awarded the 2021 Barbara Godard Prize for the Best York University Dissertation in Canadian Studies for her thesis “Intercultural Relations: Direct Audience Address in Contemporary Theatre in Canada.” 

Signy Lynch

The honour is awarded yearly to the doctoral dissertation on a Canadian topic defended at York University that best advances the knowledge of Canada. Special attention is given to dissertations that transcend disciplinary boundaries and demonstrate innovation in thought and/or methodology. 

Lynch earned a PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies at York University under the supervision of Associate Professor Laura Levin. Her areas of research specialization include contemporary theatre in Canada, audience research and theatre criticism. Lynch’s dissertation, “Intercultural relations: direct audience address in contemporary theatre in Canada,” examines how theatre makers construct performer-audience relationships to facilitate ethical exchange, intercultural understanding, and to affect social change. Her work on theatre criticism, which includes developing programs for the Toronto Fringe, challenges conventional approaches to imagine critical and creative practices that can reflect digital and intercultural present and futures. Her work in audience research has involved exploring new methodological approaches that seek to better understand difference in audience response, including the experiences of minoritized spectators. She has presented her work at national and international conferences, and has been published in a variety of journals and edited collections.  

The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University offers the award in memory of a former colleague, Barbara Godard, who made substantial contributions to the study of Canada.  

The award is accompanied by a prize of $500 and Lynch will also be nominated for the dissertation prize of the Canadian Studies Network – Réseau d’études canadiennes to be adjudicated in later 2022. 

To learn more about the award, visit the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies website.