Trailblazing playwright David Yee has been awarded this year's $75,000 Siminovitch Prize for his body of work dedicated to uplifting Asian Canadian voices in theatre.

It's Canada's biggest theatre purse, celebrating an artist whose work helps transform the country's theatre scene.

The 2023 jury praised Yee's artistic range spanning forms and genres, and the way he's opened doors for talent in the Asian Canadian community as both an artist and advocate.

The Toronto playwright is also an actor and co-founding artistic director of fu-GEN Theatre Company, which produces the works of Asian North American playwrights.

His distinctive voice has earned him a Governor General's Award for his play "carried away on the crest of a wave," as well as residences at theatres in Toronto and beyond.

He says his playwriting, which "has been informed and cultivated by an overwhelming and essential need for community," is inherently linked to his role at fu-GEN.

Yee also received an additional $25,000 to award to a protege. He has selected Vietnamese-Hoklo writer, performer and arts manager Julie Phan, currently an artist-in-residence at Toronto's Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

The runners-up -- d'bi.young anitafrika of Brampton, Ont.; Mishka Lavigne of Gatineau, Que.; and Berni Stapleton of St. John's, N.L., will each receive $5,000.

In addition, each runner-up will choose an emerging artist to receive $5,000.

The Siminovitch Prize rotates on a three-year cycle, recognizing professionals in the alternating fields of theatre design, direction and playwriting.