Each and every one of us at What’s Up Yukon finds local theatre to be a fantastic entertainment value.

We like to think that covering theatre in our pages shows our support and we are happy to do it. But is there something more we can do?

Yes, there is. We have a lot of creative and organized people on staff here and, so, after a summer of planning and work, we are ready.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of The Bob Couchman Yukon Theatre Award. It will recognize the outstanding play, actor, actress and director of Yukon-produced plays, this season.

The name of the award program was the easiest part: the late Bob Couchman was all about the support of the theatre arts and those who bring their passions to it.

“Perfect,” we heard.

“Lovely,” we were told.

It is amazing how many lives Mr. Couchman touched with his own passion for theatre. So, with the permission of his family, we gave the award his name and our efforts were boosted with the encouragement we received.

Some of that encouragement came in the form of good, solid advice from the local theatre companies. We sought their input because we were determined to have an award program that they could respect and that would be useful in the promotion of their art form.

We laid it all out for them and it looks much different than what we started with … and it is all the better for it.

Winners will be decided by a panel of three expert judges. They will be guided by the nominations from the public sent to nomination@whatsupyukon.com, or faxed to 667-2913 or mailed to our office.

Some theatre companies may print the nomination form in their programs. These can be dropped off with the front of house volunteers and they will be forwarded to the judges through our office.

Along with nominations, we want audiences to tell us why their choice should win. We want this to be a dialogue between audience and judge. After all, this is a subjective job; the more discussion, the better the decision.

The trophies have been designed and built by Bob Atkinson. They act as a stand for Nicole Bauberger’s painting on six-inch by six-inch plates. It was sole-sourced to her this year, to maintain the surprise for you, but next year we will open up the competition to all Yukon artists. In this way, each year’s trophy will look different.

This is a big project, so we were thrilled when the Yukon Arts Centre immediately agreed to become a partner. Besides providing a venue for the award ceremony, next spring, they brought their enthusiasm, and for that we are very grateful.

Three other partners will join us soon (sadly, we could not give them a lot of notice because we wanted to keep it a surprise), and they will each bring skill sets to make this bigger and better.

But The Bob Couchman Yukon Theatre Award is only one step in our efforts to celebrate the arts in the Yukon. This award program is actually the launch of the What’s Up Yukon Awards which will be an umbrella for additional awards to honour and support others in the arts.

Theatre just came first because it has a “season” and, therefore, a deadline for us. But stay tuned for some exciting plans for visual arts and music.

So, dear reader, go see Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? sometime between now and Oct. 11 and send our judges your thoughts if you feel it should win a Bob.