Friday, March 29, 2019

Veronique MacKenzie Wins the 2019 Merritt Award for Outstanding Choreography.

Veronique MacKenzie receives recognition for her choreography in Kamp, presented by Eastern Front Theatre & Neptune Theatre. Kamp, a two-act musical that tells the story of a group of homosexual men, interred in a Nazi concentration camp took home several Merritt awards. 

The award adds to the growing list of her accomplishments. Veronique is a recipient of Nova Scotia’s prestigious Established Artist Awards, and two-time recipient of Live Art’s Diane Moore Scholarship for choreography. 

Véronique has presented her work across the country in a variety of festivals and productions including Toronto’s Junction Festival, The Edmonton Fringe Festival, Labrador Arts Festival and Festival Antigonish. Her status as an independent dancer has allowed her to dance for a variety of contemporary dance productions as well as develop a successful choreographic and solo performance career. Véronique most recently completed choreography for POP TV's "Let's Get Physical" (L.A.) and has worked on CBC's Mr. D, Bo on the Go, and Street Cents.
Véronique has served on faculty at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD University), Neptune Theatre School, The Fountain School of Performing Arts (Dalhousie University) and Halifax Dance. She’s been a board member of Dance Nova Scotia and Keep Good (Theatre) Company. She is the Atlantic rep for the Dancer Transition Resource Centre out of Toronto.

Her eclectic background includes training in modern dance (York University and The School of the Toronto Dance Theatre), jazz and ballet (The National Ballet School/R.A.D./Checcetti/Vagonova), visual art (NSCAD), clown and Fool-work (Laban Int’l School), creative movement (Virginia Tanner School/USA) and theatre (University of NB and Theatre NB) from which she has developed a unique performance style.

Biographical information has been summarized, and can be found in full on her website, 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Susan Stackhouse wins the 2019 Theatre Nova Scotia The Legacy Award

Congratulations to former recipient, former Talent Trust Board Member and continued supporter, Susan Stackhouse for her 2019 Merritt Award win. Susan received The Legacy Award, which honours outstanding contribution to professional theatre in Nova Scotia. 

Photo from Dalhousie Website

Susan Stackhouse is a specialist voice, speech and dialect coach as well as an actor, trained at Dalhousie University, the National Theatre School of Canada and the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England, as a recipient of the prestigious Chevening Scholarship. 

Her teaching career began at George Brown College, in the Performing Arts Department before Susan returned to her home province, Nova Scotia as a Professor (Acting Program) and Associate Director (Productions) in the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University.

Susan has directed several DalTheatre productions and 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, in numerous productions. Theatre, radio and film productions have sought her talent and expertise all over the country, and for the past three years she has been associated with the Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program, drawing on her extensive portfolio of performance and mentorship.

Locally, Susan has appeared in Under Milk Wood at various theatres in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, at the Neptune Theatre playing the parts of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and of Nat in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole for which she won the 2011 Robert Merritt Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

Biographical information has been summarized, and can be found in full on the Dalhousie University Website.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Mocean Dance Engages the Community at the Marigold Cultural Centre March 31 – April 5, 2019

NSTT’s 75th Anniversary Ambassadors, Mocean Dance celebrate creativity in Truro with their second creation residency series in the development of Sara Coffin’s Wild Within.

The residency runs from March 31- April 5 2019 at Marigold Cultural Centre in Truro, and culminates with an artist talk and community workshop. 

Throughout the residency, Sara Coffin, Georgia Skinner and Lydia Zimmer - past program alumnae, will be acting as ambassadors of the Talent Trust program, inspiring and informing young students, dancers and community members of the NSTT's scholarship program. 

Guests are invited into a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of dance and choreography. On April 4, the Truro community will hear a talk about Sara Coffin’s work-in-progress Wild Within
On April 5, students and community members are will partake in movement workshop, a short performance and a second artist talk focused on the creativity within Nova Scotia. 

Mocean Dance will also be hosting a benefit event on April 11 at Alderney Landing called “Heart of the Wild” in support of Wild Within. 

Mocean Dance is an award-winning contemporary dance company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. View their video compilation of past works. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Craig Gallery shows Curtis Botham’s Effluents Exhibition April 3 – 28 2019

Curtis Botham, 2018 winner of the 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence and 2017 winner of the Charlotte Wilson-Hammond/VANS Award, returns from his one-year artist residency program in New Glasgow, to share Effluents, a body of large-scale charcoal artworks dealing the coal, lumber and steel industries in Pictou County. 

Opening Reception:
Wednesday April 3 2019 5-7pm

Artist talk on Sat April 6 2019 2pm 

Drawings on display until April 28

2 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth 

The work alludes to the history of these industries on the province, as well as the effects on surrounding communities. The work stands as both a critical examination and a memorial to what was once considered the industrial heart of the Maritimes.

Read press coverage on Curtis in the New Glasgow News.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Writer/director Bretten Hannam & producer Gharrett Patrick Paon screen WILDFIRE at the BFI Flare LGBTQ+ Film Festival on March 22 & 23 2019.

WILDFIRE is a short film about a rebellious Mi'kmaw runaway, stalked by his abusive white father, who meets a two-spirit teenager drawn to his journey. As he learns Mi'kmaw language and culture from his new companion a deeper bond begins to grow between them. 

As Bretten Hannam reveals in his director’s notes, WILDFIRE is a story drawn from personal experience, re-imagined and turned on its head. On the surface the story is very much an adventure—three boys travelling the back roads on a quest. In reality, it’s a very personal story of reconnecting to heritage and coming to terms with two-spirit identity. 

Since Nova Scotia doesn’t have any Indigenous teenage actors in ACTRA (the professional actors union). Bretten and Gharrett set out on a grassroots journey to find their two leads. Over 2 weeks they traveled to various reserves and communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and auditioned over 50 Mi’kmaq teenagers, become the largest casting search ever, for Indigenous talent on the east coast on Canada.

The BFI Flare LGBTQ+ Film Festival is the biggest LGBTQ+ film festival in Europe and running for over 30 years. Wildfire is programmed in CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, a selection of ‘bold shorts showing the courage, intelligence and heart of those who have found a way to rise above their circumstances’.

Wildfire is a part of Telefilm’s Not Short on Talent program, and was one of ten short films in Canada selected for Telefilm’s Not Short on Talent showcase at the 2019 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. Not Short on Talent is a Telefilm Canada initiative that presents a selection of new Canadian short films at international markets.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Talent Trust is looking for new Board members

The Talent Trust's work wouldn't be possible without the hands-on support from our dedicated board members. 

Would you be interested to share their dedication and passion for the arts?

We're looking for a new treasurer. (Accounting knowledge would be an asset).

After eight years, our Treasurer Daphne Cruikshanks is stepping down to enjoy her retirement. We are grateful for her insight, knowledge, and support to help grow the Talent Trust. Thank you Daphne!

We're also looking for new board members that want to help us reach our fundraising goals. See more at

If you're interested in a board position and want to know more please send us an email at director(at) or give us a call at 902-492-6801

Thank you,

Jaqueline Steudler, Executive Director,  director(at)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Barbara Hannigan wins 2019 Juno Award

Congratulations to Barbara Hannigan for winning the 2019 Juno Award for Classical album of the year: vocal or choral.
Barbara Hannigan with Reinbert De Leeuw, Vienna: Fin de siècle​

This is the second time in a row that Barbara Hannigan from Waverley won a Juno Award. 

In 2018, she won a GRAMMY Award and a Juno Award for her album Crazy Girl Crazy. More information can be found at

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Celebrating Portia White as Catalyst on the 75th Anniversary of her Breakthrough Concert.

On March 13, 1944, Portia White delivered her breakthrough concert that changed her own life and many more. 75 years to the day, Portia White became the first Canadian ever to perform at the New York Town Hall. 

Hedley Rainnie’s portrait of White hangs in Government House
The concert initiated her ascent to become one of the best singers of the 20th century, a particularly incredible triumph considering the systemic racism of segregation. 

Internationally recognized in her day, Portia White is now revered as part of Canadian heritage. Her legacy represents the catalyst for the Talent Trust and its 75-year commitment to aspiring artists across the province. Since 1985, many deserving vocalists have been awarded the Talent Trust’s Portia White Award, including the 2016 winner Shanice Skinner, also a female African Nova Scotia operatic singer.

To celebrate the anniversary of this historic achievement Cecilia Concerts will bring Grammy Award-winning, African American Harolyn Blackwell to Halifax to perform in "Genius Child: Portia White at Town Hall" on Nov 9, 2019

The concert revisits some of the material Portia White sang in her milestone concert while also showcasing a collection of beautiful songs encompassing poetry by the timeless, and timely, African American writer and social activist Langston Hughes. Blackwell will be accompanied by prize-winning Texan pianist Danny Zelibor.

Read the Talent Trust editorial “Celebrate Portia White’s Legacy,” published in The Coast.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Breagh Mackinnon Plays for the Juno Awards with her Port Cities Band on March 17, 2019.

As a member of Port Cities, past recipient and current Board member, Breagh Mackinnon was selected to perform in front of over 1,200 music industry elite at the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards on March 17 2019.

This follows her participation in the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, where Breagh and her bandmates received industry mentorship courtesy of The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and Slaight Music.

This masterclass and performance adds to a list of growing accolades including 2019 East Coast Music Award nominations for Songwriter of the Year and Entertainer of the Year, five 2017 Nova Scotia Music Awards, a SOCAN #1 Award (for “Back to the Bottom”), and stints at #1 on CBC and Spotify charts. Breagh Mackinnon with Port Cities has amassed over 1.5 million streams internationally, showcased at The Great Escape, Focus Wales, and the Reeperbahn Festival, and will be releasing their debut in the U.K. and Germany this year.

Read more about her Nova Scotian influence in a recent CBC article and watch her performance on JUNO Awards.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Karen Myatt Helps Celebrate 200 Years of Province House on March 20, 2019

The Province House celebrates its 200th Anniversary with a House Concert Series open to the public.

Recipient Karen Myatt adds her voice to mark this milestone with Jazzing up the Red Room:

March 20, 2019
7:30 p.m., Red Chamber, Province House

joins Daniel Matto and pianist Holly Arsenault to pay homage to their favourite jazz singers in the oldest legislative building in Canada.

Join the trio for a 2-set soiree of new and old 
smooth and sultry, classic and contemporary standards.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are limited to 60 and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will open on March 6, 2019.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Reeny Smith gets high recognition in CBC’s Searchlight Competition.

Last week Reeny Smith’s song, Good Girl Swag, ranked in the top 10 out of thousands of deserving submissions. 

Through a combination of public voting and jury selection, the annual competition awards Juno-ready Canadian musicians prizes courtesy of the Juno Awards, the National Music Centre and CBC Music.

By getting to the final round, Reeny Smith accrued national attention to her music and in particular, her song writing.

As Smith says on her website, the thing she’s the proudest of, is developing her craft as a songwriter; and being recognized for all of the hard work she’s put into the depth and realism of her work.

“My biggest achievement thus far has been recognized internationally for my song writing work. Song writing was never something I thought I was good at, so to have reached this level of validation means a great deal to me.”
Since winning the Talent Trust Portia White Award in 2010, Smith has gone on to receive a series of additional awards including the Music Nova Scotia’s African Canadian Artist of the Year award in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as well as Best RnB Artist award in The Coast’s Best of Halifax awards in 2017 and 2018.

Watch the Good Girl Swag official music video

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lise Cormier makes her Netflix debut in The Umbrella Academy.

In the opening scene of Episode 9 of the Umbrella Academy’s first season, Lise Cormier plays an unsuspecting nanny to a troubled and powerful girl in a backstory flashback. 

Netflix's Umbrella Academy.
Lise Cormier converses, sings and eventually flies through the air as she is tossed out of frame. The series stars Nova Scotia’s Ellen Page and other celebrity names like Mary J. Blige.

As Lise describes in her IMDb profile, she’s been acting, singing, and dancing in English and French productions. Her work onstage has been nominated twice for a Dora Award, and she has worked with many theatre companies across Canada, including Toronto theatre giant Soulpepper.

Lise has voiced 'Misty Simmons' on the award-winning CBC Radio drama Backbencher, voiced roles for The National Film Board, and has also appeared in many Lifetime Network movies.

Lise played the title role in Odyssey Theatre's production of The Amorous Servant. About this role, Patrick Langston from Artsfile wrote: 'A firecracker . . . played by the tirelessly excellent Lise Cormier.'

Watch the full Netflix clip and others on Lise Cormier’s reel.