On February 22, 2020, winners of the 18th Annual ACTRA Toronto Awards were announced during a ceremony at The Carlu, in downtown Toronto. Before the ceremony got underway, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jean Yoon, who was being honored with the Award of Excellence in commemoration of her career an actress and advocate in the entertainment industry, and Julie Limieux, nominated for her voice work on Binky: Pets of the Universe “Happy PURSTgiving”.
Jean Yoon is a playwright and actress born in Illinois and raised in Toronto. Jean has lived and worked in Vancouver, Edmonton, Harbin City and Yanji City in North Eastern China and makes her home in Toronto.
Jean began her career in Toronto in the early 1980s performing with now long gone companies such as Upstage Theatre, Toronto Free Theatre, and Canadian Artists Group. In the 1990s, Jean was active as a cultural equity advocate and new play producer. She was Cross-Cultural Coordinator for Theatre Ontario 1991/92, and then Co-Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Projects 1992 to early 1994, founding Lift Off! and cementing Cahoots’ role as a leader in new play development for playwrights of diverse cultures.
Jean’s playwriting credits include the Dora-nominated stage play, The Yoko Ono Project, a multimedia performance art comedy, produced by Loud Mouth Asian Babes and Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, January 2000, and published by Broken Jaw Press. Jean’s comedic adaptation of a classic Korean folktale Hongbu & Nolbu: The Tale of the Magic Pumpkins premiered at Young Peoples Theatre in 2005 and was published in Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas, edited by Esther Kim Lee, Duke University Press in 2012. Other playwriting credits include Sliding for Home, Spite, and Yes Yoko Solo.
Jean is well-known for her work as Umma in the CBC comedy series Kim’s Convenience. She is also known for work on The Expanse, Orphan Black, Dragon Boys and The Time Traveler’s Wife. Jean voices Connie on the Emmy Award-winning PBS Kids show Peg + Cat; is especially proud of her work on the CBC mini-series Dragon Boys for which she earned a Gemini nomination in 2007.
Julie Lemieux is an award-winning voice actress. She has worked on over 100 animated series and feature films and is one of Canada’s most versatile and highly regarded voice performers. A five-time ACTRA Award nominee, Julie is honored to have received the award in 2010 for her performance as Fuzzy Snuggums in Spliced, and in 2016 for her role as Grandma Butternut in Numb Chucks. Julie has also been nominated twice for a Canadian Screen Award and won in 2016 for her performance as Dawn Dingledash in Numb Chucks.
Julie loves animation. She thrives on the challenge of bringing characters to life, is passionate about the industry, and grateful every day to be part of the team of talent in Canada that brings excellence, creativity, and fun to the world of animation. Julie has voiced a range of iconic characters in animated series and films such as Rupert, Tin Tin, Sailor Moon, Paw Patrol, Max & Ruby, Arthur, True and the Rainbow Kingdom, Numb Chucks, Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot, Rusty Rivets, Cupcake & Dino, The Nut Job, and The Cat in The Hat.
ACTRA TORONTO AWARDS images courtesy of George Pimentel Photography
Carolyn is a Freelance Film Critic, Journalist, and Podcaster – and avid live tweeter. Member of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), her published work can be found on But Why Tho, The Beat, Observer, and many other sites. As a critic, she believes her personal experiences and outlook on life, give readers and listeners a different perspective they can appreciate.