Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Celebrate Talent Trust's 2021 Scholarship Recipients

The NS Talent Trust Continues to Invest in 
Aspiring Nova Scotian Artists. 

Having finished its scholarship selection process, the NS Talent Trust has awarded scholarships to 55 emerging Nova Scotian artists in dance, music, theatre, circus arts, literary arts, and visual arts coming from all over the province. 
This year's Talent Trust recipients come from Windsor Junction, Lower Sackville, Middle Sackville, Hammonds Plains, Truro, Montague Gold Mines, Upper Tantallon, Wolfville, Derbert, New Glasgow, Millville, Sydney, Canning, Upper Kennetcook, Conquerall Mills,
Timberlea, Glace Bay, Hants Port as well as Bedford, Dartmouth and Halifax. These aspiring artists have proven their commitment to their art by adapting through the uncertain times of a global pandemic by adjusting and changing their programs and studying virtually. Recipients attended online programs all over the world, from the United States to the UK to Spain.
Through their residencies, mentorships, and schooling, NSTT scholarship recipients inevitably promote Nova Scotia's cultural relevance by studying in some of the best institutions worldwide. Like Portia White herself, the original catalyst for the organization's formation, recipients sometimes become world-renowned. Think Jane Archibald, Bretten Hannam, and George Elliott Clarke. Since Portia's impetus in 1944, the Talent Trust has distributed over 2.5 million dollars in scholarships to over 1,000 recipients. 

The independent, volunteer Scholarship Selection Committees, made up of twelve professional artists, two from each discipline, obviously recognize the artistic skill and look for lasting commitment signs. The artist's life has more than its fair share of challenges, and for the NSTT, dedication to professional achievement is as essential as artistic potential. Since the province is overflowing with talent, the decisions are never easy. 
This year's 67 successful scholarships were chosen from a field of 129 applications over two submission periods, 1 March and 1 May 2021. Five of the 67 scholarships are supported by the NS Arts Endowment Fund of $2,000 each. They are Katrina Ouellette for Dance, Spencer MacKay for Film, Jacob MacDonald for Music, Emily O'Leary for Theatre, and Hannah Craig for Visual Arts.

The new CN Halifax Community
Board scholarship of $1,000 goes to Reva Bhardwaj who studies film in Vancouver. 

The Nova Scotia Talent Trust's scholarships totaled $71,000 in 2021, which is only possible through various generous grants and individual donations. We thank our individual donors, the Craig Foundation, the RBC Foundation, CN Halifax Community Board, and Arts Nova Scotia for their support during this special time. 

More than ever, have we realized over the last couple of months how much the arts and the individual artists help us to stay mentally healthy. Nova Scotia artists supported us in the darkest days with their talent and generosity. Let's celebrate the 2021 Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarship recipients, which signify our cultural future. 
Below is the complete 2021 list of Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarship recipients.

List of the 2021 Talent Trust Scholarship Recipients including the Nova Scotia Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship, and CN Halifax Community Board Scholarship Recipients


  • Luca Haase, Conquerall Mills
  • Sahara Nyathi, Halifax
  • Maggie Oates-Johnson, Dartmouth
  • Katrina Ouellette, Middle Sackville, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Emma Purdy, Debert
  • Aidan Vaudreuil-Wakeham, Lower Sackville
  • Julia Barkhouse, Dartmouth
  • Sienna Nyathi, Halifax
  • Priyadarshini Satheesh, Halifax
  • Minuet Charron, Halifax
  • Stan Tonin, Windsor Junction
  • Gabrielle Trudel, Timberlea
Film Production
  • Reva Bhardwaj, Dartmouth, CN Halifax Community Board Scholarship
Producing, Writing, Directing
  • Spencer MacKay, Windsor Junction, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
Creative Essay
  • K.R. Byggdin, Halifax
Creative Nonfiction
  • Peggy Walt, Halifax
Short Fiction/Poetry
  • Sidney Robichaud, Halifax,
Brass – Euphonium
  • Ross Macintosh, Truro
Brass – Trumpet
  • Shaw Nicholson, Halifax
  • Kayleigh James, Halifax
  • Jessica MacIsaac, Halifax
Gaelic Culture/Fiddle
  • Abby Hanson, Montague Gold Mines
  • Ella Hanson, Montague Gold Mines
Keyboard – Organ
  • Gabriel O'Brien, Halifax
Keyboard – Piano
  • Sherry Chen, Hammonds Plains
  • Natalia Comeau, Hammonds Plains
  • Devin Huang, Bedford
  • Lala Lee, Halifax
  • Carmen Peng, Wolfville
  • Chantal Peng, Wolfville
  • Alex Yang, Bedford
  • Lucas Goudie, Halifax
Strings – Cello
  • Jacob MacDonald, Upper Kennetcook, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
Strings – Violin
  • Kelvin Mansaray, Halifax
Voice - Opera
  • Rhian Merritt, Upper Tantallon
  • Natalie Mitchell, Halifax
  • Nicole Ross, New Glasgow
  • Abigail Sinclair, Halifax
  • Shanice Skinner, New Glasgow
  • Connie Young, Halifax
  • Kevin Munroe, Sydney
Musical Theatre
  • Ryan MacDougall, Hammonds Plains
  • Deanna Mann, New Glasgow
  • Emily O’Leary, Glace Bay, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Jillian Peters, Dartmouth
  • Charles Bourne, Halifax
Digital Media, Digital Illustration 
  • Leena Elkhatteeb , Bedford
Drawing, Textiles
  • Madeleine West, Halifax
Expanded Painting, Art History
  • Excel Garay, Halifax
Fine Arts
  • Olivia Haill, Halifax
Interdisciplinary/Computation Arts
  • Jonah McKay, Canning
Jewellery, Hollowware
  • Hannah Craig, Halifax, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Anna Syme, Hantsport
  • Kaya Panthier, Halifax
  • Ada Denil, Halifax



Wednesday, September 8, 2021

CN Halifax Community Board believes in the future of Nova Scotia Artists

Supporting Nova Scotia students on their way to pursue an artistic career is a joy and privilege. Also, partnering with an international corporation like CN through the CN Halifax Community Board for an annual named scholarship is an honour. 

The Nova Scotia Talent Trust 

highlights exceptional commitments for Nova Scotians to become established artists. The CN Halifax Community Board is honoured to support these scholarships for emerging NS artists with a focus on supporting people and arts, a core principle not only of our board but also a corporate philosophy at CN," states Alan Abraham, Chair, CN Community Board

It is with excitement the Nova Scotia Talent Trust announces the CN Halifax Community Board Scholarship. In spring 2021, CN Halifax Community Board approved a grant of $25,000, which has been invested throuand will support the named scholarship for years to come. 

“The investment in our next generation of Nova Scotia’s artists will enhance and further our cultural landscape. Not only will the monetary support help our scholarship recipients pay for their studies, but it also reaffirms their hard work to become established artists in their discipline. We thank the CN Halifax Community Board for believing in our Nova Scotia artists,” says NSTT Executive Director Jacqueline Steudler. 

The annual CN Halifax Community Board Scholarship of $1,000 will be presented annually to a scholarship recipient who shows exceptional commitment and professional potential as an artist. The first recipient selected by the Scholarship Selection Committee of the NSTT will be announced on September 15, 2021. 

About CN

CN is a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler. Essential to the economy, to the customers, and to the communities it serves, CN safely transports more than 300 million tons of natural resources, manufactured products, and finished goods throughout North America every year. As the only railroad connecting Canada’s Eastern and Western coasts with the U.S. South through a 19,500-mile rail network, CN and its affiliates have been contributing to community prosperity and sustainable trade since 1919. CN is committed to programs supporting social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

About Nova Scotia Talent Trust

Since 1944, the Talent Trust has provided more than $2 million to over 1,000 Nova Scotians, primarily young people, who have demonstrated talent and potential to become professional artists in theatre, dance, fine craft and design, music, circus arts, media, film, literary, and visual arts. There is no other comparable organization in the country. In 2019, the Talent Trust celebrated its 75th anniversary year featuring former scholarship recipients with a travelling art exhibition, pop-up events in theatre, music, dance, film screenings and more.  

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.
Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

FIN Opening Night for Bretten Hannam and Gharrett Paon!

Congratulations to former Talent Trust scholarship recipients Bretten Hannam (writer and director) and Gharrett Paon (producer) for having their film WILDHOOD selected as the Opening Night Gala Film for FIN 2021!

Gharrett was the winner of both the Shelagh MacKenzie Award and the 2011 Canada Game Young Artist of Excellent Award in 2017.

From the FIN Press Release: 

We have selected WILDHOOD - written and directed by Two-Spirit L’nu filmmaker raised in Kespukwitk, Mi’kma’ki (Halifax, NS) Bretten Hannam - as our 2021 Opening Night Gala Film on September 16! 

When Link discovers his Mi'kmaw mother is still alive, he runs away from home with his younger brother Travis in a desperate gamble to start a new life. They're soon joined by Pasmay, a pow wow dancer drawn to Link’s story. Together they embark on a Two-Spirit odyssey, reconnecting with culture and the territory of Mi'kma'ki / Nova Scotia, while trying to find Link’s mother, Sarah. 


WILDHOOD, Bretten Hannam, Canada, NS (100:00)*** Thursday, September 16, 7:00PM – Cineplex Park Lane Theatre 8 Thursday, September 16, 7:30PM – Cineplex Park Lane Theatre 4

FIN STREAM: Access Dates: September 16, 7:00PM – September 17, 6:59PM

On-Demand Duration: 24 hours (viewer must start streaming during Access Dates) 

WILDHOOD (MI’KMAQ LANGUAGE VERSION), Bretten Hannam, Canada, NS (100:00)*** Saturday, September 18, 2:00PM – Cineplex Park Lane Theatre 1

FIN STREAM: Access Dates: September 16, 1:00AM – September 23, 11:59PM

On-Demand Duration: 24 hours (viewer must start streaming during Access Dates

FIN Atlantic International Film Festival and FIN Stream - taking place September 16-23, 2021. Featuring 158 films, 87 in-cinema screenings and 28 online screenings, the festival will be presented in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane and it will be accessible virtually online throughout Atlantic Canada.

View the FIN 2021 Film Listing here

More about Bretten Hannam (they/them) can be found on their website: 
Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.
Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)
(Bretten Hannam photo credit: Jack Leahy)

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Brandt Eisner - Splitt: The Art of Drag Exhibition


"We're all born naked and the rest is drag"

"Splitt: The Art of Drag" presents the wearable art which helps create The Ice House Gallery's curator, visual artist, and former Talent Trust recipient, Brandt Eisner's drag performance characters “Lickity Splitt” and “Persnickety Splitt.”
Not just for fun and entertainment, drag challenges the constructs of gender and societal norms. Drag is a political act which reminds us that however we present ourselves to the world it's not always who we are but a role we play.
Opening reception: September 4 between 1:00-2:30pm
Exhibition continues until October 3, 2021.
The Ice House Gallery
Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

More info about the exhibition can be found here.

Photo by Brent McCombs, AlterEgo Photography

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

ADVENTURES: Talent Trust Connections

Keep Good (Theatre) Company is thrilled to present the world premiere of ADVENTURES by Gillian Clark. Directed by former Talent Trust recipient Luciana Silvestre Fernandes and Christian Barry.

Part fairy tale part gritty-real-life tale, Adventures invites us to the roots of the Mother Tree to witness the stories of PJ and Wendy, two teenagers on the edge of a life altering moment.

Tue, Aug 24, at 9:15pm - Sun, Aug 29, at 10:30pm

at Point Pleasant Park (In a hidden location) 

Adventures is produced by another Talent Trust recipient Laura Vingoe-Cram and Colleen MacIsaac.

For more information visit: 

Luciana was the winner 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Award in 2016 and Laura was the winner of the Theatre Nova Scotia Award in 2015.

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Celebrating Raymond Simpson's legacy

We're grateful to Raymond Simpson's family for establishing and sustaining this fantastic and generous special award since 1999.

The Raymond Simpson Award, named in memory of Raymond Simpson, long-time Secretary for the NSTT who contributed years of service to its management, will be awarded, if merited, to a recipient who shows exceptional commitment and potential in music as an instrumentalist. The award is $1,000. 

Note from his daughter Joan Bears and sons David and Eric Simpson:

As Secretary of the Talent Trust our father, Raymond Simpson, found a quiet and deep fulfillment for his love of music, education, young people and the province of Nova Scotia. The Simpson family is delighted that the Talent Trust founded a special award in his name, to celebrate the joy he found in helping to establish and encourage the careers of young Nova Scotian musicians and artists.

More about Raymond:

Raymond Simpson was widely known for his enrichment of the musical culture of Nova Scotia. His vocation was education but his avocation was music. He served as Secretary of the Talent Trust for 24 years and worked for the NS Department of Education from 1944 to 1978.  

In these dual roles, he was an important liaison between the Talent Trust and the provincial government, the Talent Trust’s primary supporter in its formative years. 

He was a member of the Acadian Male Quartet on the CBC national radio broadcast Harmony Harbour for over 15 years. He was a frequent soloist in Halifax concerts and on CBC radio and television. He was bass soloist in the Andrews United Church choir and  a member of many other Halifax choral groups. 

He sang leading roles in productions of the Nova Scotia Opera Association between 1949 and 1955, including Don Giovanni, Tales of Hoffmann, and the Nova Scotia folk opera The Broken Ring. He was active in the early years-of the Halifax Symphony, the Halifax Music Festival and the Nova Scotia Festival of the Arts.

Listen to Raymond Simpson at

Past Raymond Simpson Award recipients:

  • India Gailey (cello) 2020
  • Amelia Bruce (flute) 2019
  • Mimisu Lee (French horn) 2018
  • Ross Macintosh (euphonium) 2017
  • Heemin Choi (violin) 2016
  • Emery Van de Wiel 2015
  • Claire Ahern (flute) 2014
  • Darren Hicks 2013
  • Jocelyn (Lan-Fen) Yang (piano) 2012
  • Evan Mounce 2011
  • Heemin Choi (violin) 2010
  • Ian Hopkin (bassoon) 2009
  • Lucas Porter (piano) 2008
  • Lauren DeRoller 2007
  • Dorothy Ro (violin) 2006
  • Celeste Williams 2005
  • Dorothy Ro (violin) 2004
  • Lucas Pearse (bass) 2003
  • Marc Djokic (violin) 2002
  • Denise Ro (violin) 2001
  • Graeme Gillis 2000
  • Denise Djokic (cello) 1999

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Musical Theatre Intensive with Talent Trust recipient Katie Cochrane!

Musical Theatre Intensive
 🎭 August 23-27

Do you want to enhance your musical theatre vocal technique? Join former Talent Trust recipient Katie Cochrane and Patrick Maubert as they guide you through incorporating healthy vocal technique into your belt, mix, crossover vocal production.

This week-long course will offer an opportunity to expand your repertoire, enhance your audition skills and broaden your network of friends and industry professionals. 

Group I: ages 14-17 | Group II: ages 18+
Led by Faculty members: Katie Cochrane & Patrick Maubert

You can learn more on Instagram and Facebook.

Katie was the winner of the 2015 Theatre Nova Scotia Award.

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)