The Legacy Award honours outstanding contributions to professional theatre in Nova Scotia. It is our privilege to honour the following individuals and organizations who have made exceptional contributions in the areas of organizational development, community building, mentorship, and education.
Award nomination forms are available here
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 the 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 Company Theatre in Parrsboro, and founding Artistic Director of 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 play Refuge, about the tragic suicide of a refugee claimant to Canada, premiered at Eastern Front Theatre in 2013 and was produced by Nightwood Theatre in Toronto in April 2016. It has been published by Scirocco Press. Her most recent play, Some Blow Flutes was premiered by HomeFirst Theatre in Halifax in 2018.
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.
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, and 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 with his wife Karine 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.”
Jest in Time Theatre began in 1983 and the company of four Sherry-Lee Hunter, Mary Ellen MacLean, Christian Murray and Shelley Wallace – toured the world with their style of theatre for twenty years.
The Halifax sketch quartet and insatiable social commentators travelled at the speed of sound, loved physical slapstick and took expertly aimed pot shots at human foibles with alarming abandon. The troupe was and is still known for their high-energy ensemble work, which touched the heart and probed the mind.
The company drew from extensive backgrounds in theatre, vaudeville, mime, dance, athletics, stage combat, mask, puppetry and clown. Based in Halifax, they toured Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, every province in Canada (several times) and extensively in the USA (including Alaska). The company made appearances at: Just For Laughs in Montreal, the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, the Vancouver Comedy Festival, the Halifax Comedy Festival, We’re Funny That Way in Toronto and Festival d’ete in Quebec City. Special performances include Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa, Order of Canada Gala at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, a command performance for her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, a Vietnamese refugee camp in Hong Kong and guest performers with Symphony Nova Scotia – Peter and the Wolf and The Carnival of Animals.
Jest created and starred in three national television specials for CBC, broadcasting their work into three million Canadian homes. They had a series of successful collaborations with Neptune Theatre, including Jesters Christmas, Alice, Seduced and the critically acclaimed Jest in Time Meet Beckett, which was part of the prestigious Beckett Festival held at the University of Victoria, BC in 1996.
Jest self-produced numerous productions including The Best of Jest, Accidental Blood, Sleep Tracks, Human Oddities, Fear, and Trip which won the 2002 Merritt Award for Best Production. Jest received the 2003 Achievement Award for twenty years of theatre excellence.
Words from the press about Jest:
Journal de Quebec
“It is the language of the body with all the eloquence it can have. Bodies that speak with verve, with nuance – they know how to find the right word.”
“Timing is laser-sharp…the continuity brilliant…”
Lowdown Adelaide, Australia
“Jest in Time suspends disbelief and what more can a piece of theatre achieve.”
“Halifax – based comedy quartet Jest in Time will have you laughing till it hurts.”
Daily News, Halifax
“Jest in Time stands out as one of Nova Scotia’s most talented, disciplined, genuinely world class acts.”
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, and 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 of 2000, 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, Kazan Co-op, Theatre Baddeck and Festival Antigonish.
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.
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.
Jenny Munday is an actor, playwright, dramaturge, coach, mentor and arts administrator.
As an actor, she has worked with theatres across the country. In Nova Scotia: she originated the role of Agnes in the premiere production of Daniel MacIvor's Marion Bridge at Mulgrave Road Theatre; played Leda in MacIvor's Communion with Kazan Theatre at Neptune and the NAC and played Patricia in the Mulgrave Road/Neptune production of Small Things. She originated the role of Dianne in Don Hannah's The Cave Painter at the University of Alberta and played that role again in two other productions: at the NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival and in a Blue Munday/Eastern Front Theatre production. She's also worked with Ship's Company Theatre, Valley Summer Theatre and on the Neptune main stage, notably in Wendy Lill’s All Fall Down. Most recently, she played Aoife Muldoon in Outside Mulingar, at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival in Cow Head, NL.
As a playwright, her work has been produced by The Comedy Asylum, Ship's Company, Live Bait, Upper Canada Playhouse, Mulgrave Road and Theatre New Brunswick.
As a dramaturge, she has worked with Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC), where she was Artistic Director for twenty years (1997-2017), The Manitoba Association of Playwrights, Theatre New Brunswick (where she ran Brave New Words - an annual script development program in collaboration with Playwrights Workshop Montreal), Mulgrave Road (Co-op) Theatre (where she initiated Writes of Passage - then an annual play development workshop), Festival Antigonish, Live Bait Theatre and many other organizations.
As a former Artistic Director of Mulgrave Road, Artistic Associate and Writer in Residence at TNB and at Live Bait, Crake Fellow in Drama at Mount Allison University and Co-Artistic Director of the Comedy Asylum, her 30 + year career has largely been devoted to the development of new Canadian works for the Stage. She has mentored many emerging playwrights, dramaturges, actors and administrators over the years.
Jenny's contribution to Canadian theatre has been acknowledged with several awards: The inaugural Mallory Gilbert Award (PACT and Tarragon Theatre), the Theatre Nova Scotia Merritt Legacy Award, the New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor's Award of Excellence and she has been awarded honorary lifetime memberships in the Canadian Association for Theatre Research, Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre and Theatre 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 the 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.
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, was the company’s first administrator, and served as Managing Director from 1991 to June 2015. Her current focus as Public Affairs Consultant continues to be directed to the development of export markets, and the promotion of puppetry arts. Mermaid now ranks among North America’s most respected family audience theatres and has played for more than six million spectators in nineteen countries on four continents.
During her sixty- year career in arts management, Lewis has served with regional, national and international organizations in related fields, and is active in film, lliteracy and health promotion in her home community of Wolfville. Among other honours, Lewis was named a Member of the Order of Canada in April 2000, received a D.Litt. (honoris causa) from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax in 2001, was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Windsor and a a Merritt Legacy Award winner in 2009.
Everyone in this community was touched in some way by Jean Morpurgo (1946-2010). Many had been directed by her, shared the stage with her, seen her work, gotten sage advice from her or simply looked out into the audience and seen her smiling face. She was a pillar of the Halifax theatre scene. Jean directed at the Shaw Festival and Manitoba Theatre Centre as well as several seasons with Festival Antigonish. She co-founded Shakespeare by the Sea with Patrick and Elizabeth. She sat on many boards and committees because she was a great one to have on your team.
Jean had had a career before the theatre in physiotherapy for which incidentally she could have also earned a legacy award. Her passion for her work has always been unstoppable and inspirational.
A young actor once asked jean “what is the one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in this career?” She replied, “be generous.” Be generous with your fellow actors on stage, the creative team and the audience. The door to Jean’s beautiful home was always open for people to pop by for tea and chats, advice or coaching. Her generosity, intelligence, insight, passion and pure joy made her the wonderful artist and person that she was.
Jean was a consummate theatre professional; friend extraordinaire; mentor to many young artists; tireless volunteer and a dutiful mother and daughter. She loved gardening and tended to friendships and affiliations with a nurturing hand. In the past few years she took on big personal projects i.e. refurbishing her delightful living room; reworking her garden and planning a family trip to England with her kids for her Dad’s 90th birthday.
Thank you, Jean, for your legacy of great theatre, generosity, chutzpah, courage, and indomitable spirit!
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.
MARGUERITE McNEIL is 85 and still working because she doesn't know enough to lie down and shut up... She started her career at 17 in New York City working with Madam Vera Soloviova of the Moscow Art Theatre. There were subsequent studies at Herbert Berghof Studios, dance with Valerie Bettis, Savilla Forte and Katherine Litz, and voice and diction with Marion Rich and Alice Hermes. In the subsequent years in New York, Marguerite performed in over 50 plays, many Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, including revivals of Streetcar Named Desire as Blanche DuBois and U.S.A by Don Dos Passos as Isadore Duncan. She continued her studies in London with summer courses at LAMDA and Black Friars and appeared in London's West End in Beckette's Happy Days under the direction of Omry Nitzan of the Israel State Theatre.
Since her return to Canada and most especially in her native Nova Scotia, Marguerite appeared in all the major theatres, including Mulgrave Road, Ships Company (2 seasons), Atlantic Theatre Festival in Wolfville, Stephenville Festival (5 seasons), Theatre Antigonish (3 seasons), Neptune Theatre, Centre Stage and studio.
Part of the burgeoning film industry in Nova Scotia, she has appeared in many films for the big screen and tv and was a featured player on the fun/scandalous Trailor Park Boys. She did Scarlet Letter, Sweet Angel Mine, Love and Death on Long Island, Black Harbour (3 episodes) and the made for tv film Homeless to Harvard. She had major roles in the award-winning The Divine Ryans and Marion Bridge for which she received an ACTRA award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
She won the ACTRA Best Performance by an Actress in the title role of Rhonda in the multi-award-winning short film Rhonda’s Party directed by Ashley MacKensie. She was honoured by the Merritt Awards with their Legacy Award and was granted Lifetime membership by ACTRA Fraternal.
Marguerite teaches, writes, directs and adjudicates and takes her role as a mentor to the next generation very seriously. She is vindicated by the energy in the local theatre scene, and impressed by the work being developed. As she told her Merritt audience "I look out and see your beauty, your energy and your commitment and I know 'we are safe' ".
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 its 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
Chris is a director of Culture and Heritage Development for the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. Formerly, he was the first director of Arts Nova Scotia, the professional arts funding agency for the Province of Nova Scotia. Before joining the public service, Chris amassed over twenty-five years of experience in the cultural community as a leader for many key organizations such as: Theatre Nova Scotia (ED), Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia (Chair), Strategic Arts Management (Chair), The Legacy Centre for the Performing Arts (Chair) and Performing Arts Lodge Halifax (Chair).
An award-winning professional actor and writer, Christopher has appeared across the country in many of Canada’s leading theatres, including Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, The Globe Theatre, Neptune Theatre, and 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, appeared on television and film, and produced numerous plays for the stage.
Christopher lives in Halifax with his talented wife, actor/writer Joanne Miller, and their three children.
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 the 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.
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 facilities 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, suddenly LISTEN 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.
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 a 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.
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 production 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.
Susan Stackhouse is an actor and an educator specializing in voice, speech, and dialect coaching. Born in Middleton, NS, she attended West King’s District High in Auburn, NS and went on to receive her post-secondary education at Dalhousie University and the National Theatre School of Canada. She completed her education at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England as a recipient of the Chevening Scholarship.
Beginning in 1983, Susan spent sixteen seasons with the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake both as a member of the acting ensemble and as a voice coach. She has performed at many other theatres over the years, including The Royal Alexandra Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Persephone Theatre, and the Blyth Festival.
Susan began her career as an educator in 1989 at George Brown College and Ryerson University. In 1996 she moved back home with her husband David Christoffel and daughter Gwyneth to take a position as a Professor in the Department of Theatre at Dalhousie University (now the Fountain School of Performing Arts).
Since returning to Nova Scotia, Susan has been invited to teach at the National Theatre School, The Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Theatre New Brunswick. She feels privileged to have taught hundreds of acting students and coached many professionals and takes great joy in their successes. Over the past many years she has acted in Shakespeare in Love , Romeo and Juliet , Rabbit Hole , and, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again , all for Neptune Theatre; Under Milk Wood for Off the Leash Creative; White Rabbit, Red Rabbit for DMV Theatre; Parrsboro Boxing Club , Ship’s Company; Blithe Spirit and For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again , Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre.
Susan is a huge supporter of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust. This registered charity provides scholarships to Nova Scotians who demonstrate exceptional potential and commitment to becoming established artists in their chosen field.
Joan Craig, along with her late husband Jack, have made generous donations to Nova Scotian artists and Nova Scotian theatre companies since the 1980s, both as individuals and later, through the Craig Foundation, which they formed in 1995. To say the Craigs have given generously is an understatement. The Craig Foundation contributed close to $100,000 to multiple Nova Scotian theatre companies in the last two years alone. Joan often sent a handwritten letter with their financial support, personally wishing you success. Their foundation was often the first major donor that small or emerging companies could approach. As such, they were instrumental for many companies in securing significant and stable funding for their work.
Joan's passion has not only been in financial support. The Craigs were the original founders of the Provincial Autism Centre, now known as Autism Nova Scotia. Joan has remained an active and enthusiastic advocate for making theatre and performance accessible for all. The Craigs have been significant donors to Symphony Nova Scotia, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing and Canada's first research chair in autism at Dalhousie University. They have been beneficiaries of many awards, accolades and honorary degrees. Like her late husband Jack, Joan Craig is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Theatre Nova Scotia is honoured to present Joan with the TNS Legacy Award for her tireless work, support of thousands of artists on hundreds of projects, and helping build our community into the rich tapestry it is today.
In 1979, Chris joined the Mulgrave Road Co-op Theatre in Guysborough. Through collective creation and as an individual writer, Chris created six plays with Mulgrave Road that have toured to dozens of locations in all three Maritime provinces. He served as Artistic Director from 1987 to 1989.
Working with Stage Cabaret in Halifax in 1980, Chris authored Pogie. It was published and later toured Nova Scotia and Newfoundland before being picked up by theatres in Ontario and BC.
Chris became writer-in-residence at Mermaid Theatre in Wolfville, NS in 1984 and went on to create three touring plays with Mermaid. Chris abandoned solo writing for Mermaid and founded Mermaid Youtheatre in 1990 in order to encourage younger writers and actors. He remained Associate Director of Mermaid until 2012.
With Tessa Mendel, Chris co-founded Halifax Theatre for Young People in 2008 and adapted for the stage prose works by Sheree Fitch and Alistair MacLeod. Encouraging other Canadian writers was also a goal for Chris while serving as Managing Director of the Chester Playhouse from 1996 to 2004. He travelled widely around Europe with the Liverpool International Theatre which he directed from 2006 until 2010.
Chris has lived in Mahone Bay since 1983 apart from several years living and working in Nunavut. In all of his endeavors, Chris has been supported by his longtime partner Deborah Hickman and their two children.
Mauralea (she/her) has been an actor for over forty years with side excursions into directing, adjudicating and dramaturgy. A major part of her life has also involved teaching acting and voice; twenty years in various programs at Neptune, several years at Dalhousie and Mount St. Vincent and a number of independent workshops, courses and coaching. She is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor and has incorporated that practice into her teaching. As well, she holds a CELTA trained teacher for English as a Second Language. After an MFA in Theatre and working for a number of years as an actor in Toronto, she returned to school for an MA in journalism, subsequently working at CKCO in Kitchener and then CBC TV and Radio in Winnipeg, balancing theatre and journalism. Inevitably theatre won and in 1999, she and her family moved to Halifax because it was finally the right time to fulfil her dream of living by the ocean. She co-founded LunaSea Theatre in 2006 appearing in a majority of its productions until 2016, has worked with a number of other theatre companies around the province and is a recipient of three Merritt acting awards.