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Legacy Award Winners

The Legacy Award honours outstanding contribution to professional theatre in Nova Scotia. It is our privilege to honour the following individuals and organisations who have made exceptional contributions in the areas of organisational development, community building, mentorship, and education.


Mary-Colin originally hails from Antigonish  and still returns to her favourite spot by the sea, on the edge of a beach called Jimtown. She is an actor, director, writer and co-founder of Frankie Prod. and LunaSea Theatre. Her plays include Half-Cracked the Legend of Sugar Mary,  Strange Humours, Safe Haven, He’d Be Your Father’s Mother’s Cousin and To Capture Light.  As an actor she has appeared in over one hundred plays many of them new works.  She premiered the role of Margaret in the Glace Bay Miner’s Museum by Wendy Lill.  She has worked with Mulgrave Road Theatre, Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, Festival Antigonish, The Ship’s Co. Theatre, Live Bait, Artistic Fraud Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Eastern Front, Neptune Theatre, the Centaur Theatre, the Blythe Festival, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, the National Arts Centre, the Belfry, the Tarragon,  and numerous homegrown, indie companies as well as in TV and film.  For Festival Antigonish and Mulgrave Road and indie company ‘Frankie’,  she directed Lauchie, Liza and Rory by Sheldon Currie a productions which has seen toured the Maritimes and beyond; from the Yukon, to Ottawa and even to New Zealand.  She has sat on the Maritime Actra Advisory Board, the Talent Trust, and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Maritime council.

She lives in the old North End of Halifax with her partner Christian Murray and their cat Kyo and she is very proud of their daughter the wonderfully creative Emlyn Murray.

2017 – DEB ALLEN



Deb’s love of theatre started over 50 years ago in Queen Elizabeth High School’s production of The Curious Savage. From senior year she served as Neptune Theatre’s first apprentice and learned the ropes in every department from wardrobe to front of house. Plus she got to watch and learn from some of the country’s leading players like David Renton; Ted Follows and longtime friend and mentor Joan Gregson. Deb then cut her teeth on private study in acting; singing; dance and voice in Toronto. To pay for her classes she worked at the National Ballet and the Canadian Opera Company building props and was a background player in many CBC TV series and dramas.

On her return to Halifax she was invited by Evelyn Garbary to be a member of the new Mermaid Theatre and toured the province in MicMac Legends. Deb also returned to university and was active at Saint Mary’s University appearing in many plays directed by the late Faith Ward. At that time Deb got involved with CBC radio and began a long career as an on- air host, eventually moving to PEI to anchor the first afternoon show for CBC Charlottetown. Her radio experience grew to include multiple radio dramas, notably the lead role in the highly acclaimed national series Clean Sweep with Richard Donat.

She has appeared on many stages throughout the region including Atlantic theatre Festival; Charlottetown Festival ; King’s Playhouse (PEI) Neptune; Ship’s Company; Mulgrave Road;Chester Playhouse and Live Bait. She was also a co-founder and director at Upstart Theatre Company and has been involved on the boards of many theatres like Shakespeare by the Sea; Eastern Front; Willpower and LunaSea.

Deb has had extensive experience in film and television series shot in Nova Scotia, most recently The Mist. Remembering always the rare opportunity to watch and work alongside Dame Judi Dench on The Shipping News.

Currently she is working with the valiant board of Pal Halifax ,of which she is a co-founder, to get the city’s local chapter up and running. We hope our goal is not too far off.



Bruce Klinger, Treasurer

Bruce Klinger has been working in Atlantic Canada’s arts community for over thirty-five years.  He began his career at Neptune Theatre in 1981 and worked in the Box Office, as Front-of-House Manager, Tour Coordinator, and Assistant to the Theatre Director.  In 1985 he served as Tour Coordinator and Company Manager for the 26 week national tour of Neptune Theatre’s production of John Gray’s DON MESSER’S JUBILEE.

Prior to becoming Neptune Theatre’s General Manager in 1988 he managed a small performing arts centre in rural Nova Scotia and served as an independent producer and actor’s agent.    He spent 10 years as General Manager of Neptune Theatre and saw the organization through the building of their new $13.5 million facility from the early planning stages to completion.   His work experience includes the areas of strategic and business planning; the administration of small and large cultural organizations; and all administrative aspects of two major capital building projects.

He opened his own business as an arts management consultant in 2001.  He has assisted organizations with the creation of business plans, strategic plans, and governance policies.  He has also served as a management and capital project consultant as well as assisting in the creation of Theatre Nova Scotia and in the development of the Nova Scotia Theatre Sector Strategy.  Clients have included Ship’s Company Theatre, Gwen Noah Dance Society, suddenlyLISTEN Music, the Nova Scotia Professional Theatre Alliance, the Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre, the Stephenville Festival, Live Bait Theatre, OneLight Theatre, 2b theatre company, Mulgrave Road Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Live Art Dance Society and the Nova Scotia Drama League.   He was one of the three founding consultants of the Strategic Arts Management Society, a not-for-profit society with a mission to provide Nova Scotia’s artists and arts organizations top quality mentoring, management and administrative resources at affordable, subsidized rates. He now serves as that organization’s Director of Internal Operations.

In 2009 he began Valley Summer Theatre, a professional theatre company based in Wolfville, Nova Scotia that features classic works of theatre from the Canadian and International canons. He continues to serve as Executive Producer of that organization.



Gay Hauser 2

Gay Hauser was born in London England, grew up in Ontario and graduated from Carleton University and the University of Toronto. Gay’s studies focused on Art History and led to work at the National Gallery of Canada but it was her passion for theatre that brought her to Nova Scotia to co- found the Mulgrave Road Theatre Co. in Guysborough. Gay has worked as an actor, director, designer and general manager in non-profit arts sector for 37 years. Currently an arts consultant for Strategic Arts Management and administrator for Upstream Music Association Gay continues to perform annually in Symphony Nova Scotia’s The Nutcracker.



Chris Shore

CHRISTOPHER SHORE is a professional actor and writer, and is currently the Director of Arts Nova Scotia the funding agency for the province of Nova Scotia.  He has over twenty five years’ experience in both the artistic and administrative aspects of professional theatre and film.  As an actor Christopher has appeared in many of Canada’s leading theatres including Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, The Globe Theatre, Neptune Theatre, The National Arts Centre, to name a few.  He has received two Merritt Award nominations for Outstanding Performance by Actor.  He has written for CBC radio, the children’s animated television series Olliver’s Adventures, and produced numerous plays for the stage. His play Liar won a Merritt Award for best new play.  Some of Christopher’s film and TV credits include a recurring role on the hit tv show Haven as well as principle roles on TV with TV’s Jonathan Torrens, Mr. D,  Just Buried, October 1970, Shattered City, and a recurring role on CBC radio’s Backbencher.Christopher won an ACTRA award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a short film for his work in the film he co-produced, The Long and Short of Barry Small.



The company began in 1994 with a dream of presenting Shakespeare in Point Pleasant Park, an historic urban park in South End Halifax, Nova Scotia. Patrick Christopher Carter, Elizabeth Murphy and Jean Morpurgo invited the original company to perform Twelfth Night in the ruins of a military battery for a weekend in July, and to their great surprise, over 3000 people attended the inaugural production in just four days! With the energy from such a positive response, the company was incorporated as a not-for-profit charity called The Shakespeare By The Sea Theatre Society. The company has been consistent with annual productions of Shakespeare’s work for 25 seasons, and has included classical and modern pieces in it’s repertoire to round out the theatregoer’s experience in the beautiful surroundings of Point Pleasant Park, or in the cozy confines of The Park Place Theatre. Hundreds of thousands of people have been entertained by their unique brand of outdoor theatre, and have been delighted to find the quality of the work is upheld in the intimate indoor venue that houses performances during inclement summer weather, as well as during the fall/winter/spring months. Shakespeare by the Sea is dedicated to the development of Canadian theatre artists, and the list of alumni is long, with many of them gracing stages across Canada. SBTS is a company where many emerging and established artists get the opportunity to play major roles in some of the greatest plays ever written.

Highlights:  First public performance: July 1st, 1994 was Twelfth Night at Cambridge Battery, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax.

Artistic Directors:     1994-2005 – Patrick Christopher Carter, 2006-2011 – Elizabeth Murphy, 2012-present – Elizabeth Murphy & Jesse MacLean




Marguerite McNeil 2

MARGUERITE McNEIL has had a long and varied theatre and film career since leaving her native Cape Breton in the early 50’s for the wilds of New York and beyond.  Her early studies were in New York, primarily with Vera Soloviova, a former star of the Moscow Art Theatre, at Herbert Berghof Studios, voice with Alice Hermes and Marian Rich, dance with Valerie Bettis, Katherine Litz and Savilla Forte among others…she took courses in London at LAMDA and Black Friars… subsequent performances included musical and dramatic roles in over 60 shows in those cities.

Since returning to her native Province she has taught, directed and acted with most of our major theatre companies, including Neptune Theatre, Mulgrave Road, Atlantic Theatre Festival, Dangerous Dreamers, Stephenville Festival, Ships Company, Festival on the Bay, and was founder and Artistic Director of the Glace Bay North Wall Theatre Company and acted, directed, taught and wrote two original scripts for that company.

She has appeared in a number of television shows and motion pictures including principal roles in ‘The Divine Ryans’, ‘The Scarlet Letter’, ‘The Daily Blade’ ‘Sweet Angel Mine’, ‘Love and Death on Long Island’, ‘Homeless to Harvard’, the short film ‘This Boy’, three episodes of ‘Black Harbour’, ‘Shattered City’, ‘Black Eyed Dog’, and most recently is featured as Rose in the film ‘Marion Bridge’ and ‘Whole New Thing’, both written by fellow Cape Bretoner Daniel MacIver. \Her most recent film work includes appearances in ‘All the Wrong Reasons’ and the upcoming Trailer Park Boys new season for Netflix…   She was awarded the ACTRA best actress award for the award winning short film ‘Rhonda’s Party’ and was recently was made a Life Member of ACTRA. 

Marguerite continues to work as actress, coach, director and adjudicator (most recently for the Cape Breton University Festival of One Act Plays) and at one time hosted her own Seaside cable television show in Cape Breton, ‘It’s Our Town’ interviewing many community movers and shakers, on a wide variety of subjects, including para-Olympic winners, politicians, singers, actors and directors, school administrators, medical professionals, writers, children etc.

Her current agent representative is with Cassidy Group, Halifax, N.S.

 2011 – WENDY LILL


Wendy Lill

Playwright and former politician WENDY LILL has written extensively for radio, magazines, film, and television. Her work has resulted in two ACTRA awards, a Golden Sheaf award (for her film Ikwe),  a New York Festivals Radio Program and Promotion Award in 2011 (Backbencher) and four nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama (The Occupation of Heather Rose, All Fall Down, The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum, and Corker.) Chimera, her first play since leaving politics premiered at the Tarragon Theatre. She created and was head writer for the award winning CBC Radio Series Backbencher. (2009-2011)

Lill was born in Vancouver and grew up in London, Ontario. She completed a B.A. in political science at Toronto’s York University.  Lill lived in Winnipeg from 1979 until 1984 and during this time she began writing plays and developed a productive association with Prairie Theatre Exchange and its artistic director, Kim McCaw. In 1988, Lill moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and continued to write for theatre. She is a co-founder of the Eastern Front Theatre Company, in Dartmouth. (1993). In 1997, Lill was elected as a Member of Parliament (NDP) for Dartmouth. She was re-elected in 2000 for a second term.


Deborah Allen, a member of Performing Arts Lodge Halifax, wrote a tribute to Jean on the PAL website, titled “In Memory of Jean Morpurgo.”




Sara Lee Lewis

A native of Montreal, Quebec, SARA LEE LEWIS studied at McGill University and worked in journalism and arts promotion prior to moving to Nova Scotia in 1971. Lewis was co-founder of Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia in 1972, and worked with the company in several capacities prior to being appointed Managing Director in 1991.  Her professional focus is directed to the development of export markets, and the promotion of unique entertainment for very young children. Mermaid now ranks among North America’s most respected family audience theatres and has played for more than five million spectators on four continents.

During her fifty- year career in arts management, Lewis has served with regional, national and international organizations in related fields, and is active in film promotion in her community. In recognition of her contributions, she was awarded a Canada Council “A” grant in 1989,  a Cultural Life Award (Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia) in 1993, and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in April 2000.  In November 2000 she received the Progress Club Women of Excellence Award in the category of Arts and Culture, in the Spring of 2001 received a D.Litt. (honoris causa) from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, and in the Fall of 2002 was the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.  Lewis was awarded The Deep Roots Music Festival Valley Arts Award in 2005, was awarded the Nova Scotia theatre community’s Merritt Legacy Award in 2009. In the spring of 2012  she was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Windsor.  Lewis is a resident of Wolfville, Nova Scotia.




ADDY DOUCETTE came to Antigonish with her family in 1979 and went to work for St. Francis Xavier University to run Theatre Antigonish, producing an annual program of classics, musicals, modern plays and a One Act Play Festival, with participation from students and members of the Antigonish community. Theatre Antigonish, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015, has introduced numerous young people to careers in theatre and music, hosted many touring companies, and fostered an integration of town and gown.

In 1988 Addy founded Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre, a professional company producing a mixed repertory Main Stage program, as well as a Concert Series and drama workshops for young people.  FAST expanded to include a Children’s Series, often producing new work for young audiences, as well as a Late Night program which gave first productions to primarily Nova Scotian plays, premiering work by Daniel MacIvor, Sheldon Currie, Mary-Colin Chisholm, Yvette Nolan, Carol Sinclair, Mary Ellen MacLean, Bryden MacDonald, Wanda Graham, Mike Petersen and others, many of which went on to subsequent productions, toured widely, and are still being regularly produced.  FAST furthered the careers of a generation of Nova Scotia’s actors, playwrights, stage managers, directors, designers and other theatre artists.  In the early 1990’s Addy oversaw a major renovation of the Bauer Theatre, making the old gymnasium into a much prized intimate performance space.

Addy holds an MA in theatre from UBC, a BEd from McGill and a diploma from the London Academy of the Dramatic Art.  Before beginning her professional theatre career, she worked for nine years as a teacher and department head for the Montreal Catholic School Commission. She retired in 2007 and received the St.  F.X. Outreach Award at that time.



Jenny Munday

JENNY MUNDAY is a playwright, actor, dramaturge and arts administrator. Since 1997, she has been the Artistic Director of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC). She has been Crake Drama Fellow at Mount Allison University, Artist in Residence at NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival, Writer in Residence and Artistic Associate at Theatre New Brunswick, Writer in Residence at Live Bait Theatre, Artistic Director of Mulgrave Road (Co-op)Theatre, and Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of The Comedy Asylum. In 2013, she was awarded the New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor’s Award for high achievement in the performing arts. She has been awarded a lifetime membership in the Canadian Association for Theatre Research. She was the recipient of the inaugural Mallory Gilbert Award, acknowledging “creative, inspired and sustained leadership in theatre in Canada” and was awarded a Theatre Nova Scotia special Merritt Award, acknowledging her outstanding contribution to theatre in the province.

As an actor, she has worked with companies across the country, including: Eastern Front Theatre, Blue Munday Productions, Neptune Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Rising Tide Theatre, Ship’s Company, Mulgrave Road, The Blyth Festival, The National Arts Centre, The Grand, and the Banff Playwrights’ Colony. Plays she has written and co-written have been produced by companies including Mulgrave Road, The Comedy Asylum, Upper Canada Playhouse, Theatre New Brunswick, Ship’s Company Theatre, and Live Bait Theatre.

Jenny has made her home in Atlantic Canada for most of her life. Born in Toronto, she grew up in New Brunswick and Quebec, lived for many years in Fredericton, NB and Guysborough, NS, and currently is based in Sackville New Brunswick. Her 30 year career has largely been dedicated to the development of new Canadian work for the stage. Plays – written and co-written – include: Battle Fatigue, The Americans Are Coming, The Last Tasmanian, Have You Ever Been To Bombay, Relatively Harmless (published by Playwrights Canada Press), Never Drive East Before Noon, and The Bunk Beds.



Joan Orenstein

JOAN ORENSTEIN (1923-2009) was revered for her passionate, engaging, electric performances on stage and screen. In her own words, she worked to portray “strong women who have battled against the elements.”

Born in England to parents in service, Joan was a lifelong political activist. Her commitment began while trying to raise funds for homeless children during the Spanish Civil War. She studied at the London School of Economics and survived the Blitz. During the war, she met and married her husband of 63 years, artist Henry Orenstein, with whom she would have 6 children. As a war bride entering Canada through Pier 21, Joan’s early years were spent following a political path in Toronto and New York. Joan and Henry were devoted to social issues, helping to unionize factory workers and registering black voters in the United States.

Joan came to acting later in life, in her 40s, but had a prolific career. Settling in Halifax, while at home with her daughters, she began writing for CBC Radio and T.V. Her first stage work was with the Nova Scotia Drama League and their historic production of “The Highland Heart in Nova Scotia.” Later at Neptune Theatre, she worked with director John Wood, who would ask her to join the lauded N.A.C. English Theatre Company, which launched her national career. Joan worked for regional theatres across Canada and the Shaw Festival. She also had a rich film career, winning a Genie, a Dora Award, and two Atlantic Film Festival Awards. Joan’s voice work in animation and radio drama was extensive and her singing voice was legendary.

With theatre credits too numerous to list, some iconic roles include Mother Courage, Juno and the Paycock, La Sagouine, Stone Angel, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Mrs. Klein, Blood Relations, Angels in America, Peer Gynt, Ghosts, and Emily Carr. Selected film credits include The Hanging Garden, The Event, The Judge, Hunger Point, and Charlie Grant’s War. Her work inspired many in her field.

Shortly after her death, CBC published an article in recognition of Joan Orenstein’s prolific career and contributions to Canadian theatre and film.



Linda Moore

LINDA MOORE was the recipient of the Theatre Nova Scotia Legacy award in 2005. That same year she also received the HRM Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Theatre.

Linda Moore’s theatre directing career began at the Halifax Independent Theatre in 1980 when she directed Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, followed by a professional production of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child with Halifax’s Actor’s Tryworks and a production in the Belfry Theatre’s 1983 season in Victoria, BC.  In 1984, she was appointed for two seasons as Artistic Associate at The Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, where under the leadership of Artistic Director James Roy and General Manager Zaz Bajon, she gained valuable experience in both directing for a major regional company and in the administrative aspects of running a theatre. In the summer of ’85 she worked as Assistant Director at the Stratford Festival with a true mentor, British director Ronald Eyre.

In the late 80’s she began directing at regional theatres throughout Canada such as The Centaur,  the Citadel, The Grand, the Blyth Festival and also directed for three consecutive winters at the National Theatre School of Canada. In 1990, she became the Artistic Director of Neptune Theatre in Halifax, a position she held until the spring 2000, and during which time she became deeply committed to the renovation and expansion of Neptune including improvements for actors, technicians, and audience amenities,  the inclusion of teaching studios for the theatre school, and most importantly the addition of the Neptune Studio Theatre.  Since leaving Neptune  in 2000, Ms. Moore has been directing throughout Canada at theatres including the Arts Club, GCTC, Alberta Theatre Projects, the Shaw Festival, and the National Arts Centre. In Nova Scotia  she has directed for Eastern Front, ATF, Ship’s Co., Mulgrave Rd., Vocalypse Prod., Valley Summer Theatre, and Kazan Co-op.

Over the last decade, She has also worked on play development projects with organizations including Banff Playwrights Colony, Saskatchewan Festival of Spring Plays, Native Earth, the PARC Playwrights Colony, Playwrights Workshop Montreal, & ATP’s playRites.

In 1997, Ms. Moore received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Mary’s University, and from 2008-2010, she was the Crake Fellow in Drama at Mount Allison University.  She has also taught and directed for the Theatre and Music Programs at Memorial University, the University of Victoria,  Dalhousie University and McGill.





David Renton 1

DAVID RENTON (1934-2006) came to Canada from Geelong Australia in 1954 and worked for CBC television in Toronto. In the early 1960’s he toured Canada and the US with the Canadian Players Theatre Company. He joined Leon Major in 1963 as part of Neptune Theatre’s first company and served as Neptune’s artistic director for the 77 – 78 season.

David performed at theatres across Canada from the Vancouver Playhouse, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Stratford and Shaw Festivals, the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, to the Ship’s Company in Parrsboro and Theatre Antigonish in Nova Scotia.

For forty three years he made Halifax his home and was tireless in his efforts to support fellow and aspiring actors. He was an active and contributing member of ACTRA, Equity, the Canada Council and the Performing Arts Lodges of Canada.  In 2003 David received the Robert Merritt Achievement Award for his contributions to theatre in Nova Scotia.

David’s granddaughters, Cate and Claire Fleming are accomplished young performers. Both are dancers and skaters. They live in Boston.

Deborah Allen, a member of Performing Arts Lodge Halifax, wrote a tribute to David on the PAL website, titled “In Memory of David Renton.”



Mary Vingoe
MARY VINGOE is a director, artistic director, teacher, actor and playwright who has worked across Canada. Recently she directed Wendy Lill’s The Glace Bay Miner’s Museum for the National Arts Centre and Neptune Theatre. Other recent credits include Catherine Banks’ It Is Solved By Walking for Homefirst and White Rooster Theatres, Mary- Colin Chisholm’s To Capture Light for Mulgrave Rd  (Merritt Award nominee for Best Director), the première of Colleen Wagner’s Home, Bev Brett’s Out The Meadow for Ship’s Company Theatre, Alden for Notable Acts in Fredericton, and both Ibsen’s An Enemy Of The People and Ann Marie MacDonald’s Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet for Mount Allison University.

Mary is past Artistic Director of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa. She is a co-founder and past Artistic Director of Toronto’s feminist Nightwood Theatre, a co-founder and past co-Artistic Director of Ship’s Co. Theatre in Parrsboro, and founding Artistic Director of The Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax. Her play Living Curiosities, based on the story of the 19th century giantess, Anna Swan, is published by Playwrights Canada Press.

Mary’s new play Refuge, about the tragic suicide of a refugee claimant to Canada, premiered at Eastern Front Theatre in 2013 and will be produced by Nightwood Theatre in Toronto in April 2016 and will be published by Scirocco Press.

In 2009 she was awarded the Portia White Prize, Nova Scotia’s highest award for artistic excellence. In 2011 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.