Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
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Mary-Lynn Bernard wins 2016 Rhonda Payne Theatre Award


March 26, 2017 (St. John's, NL) – ArtsNL announced that actress Mary-Lynn Bernard has won the 2016 Rhonda Payne Theatre Award.  The award honours the memory of actor, writer and director Rhonda Payne. It assists women theatre artists in Newfoundland and Labrador who are struggling to achieve their goals as actors or writers and comes with a $500 cash award.

It was awarded Sunday, March 26, 2017 in the main theatre at the LSPU Hall following the performance of Kate Crackerberry, directed by Lois Brown, adapted for stage by Ruth Lawrence.

Of the acknowledgement, Bernard said, “I would like to thank everyone responsible for giving me this award. It came out of the blue and I was very shocked to get it, but I will humbly accept it. This award really encourages me.”

Rhonda Payne established the award by dedicating royalties from the production and publication of her works to a fund to assist women working in the Newfoundland and Labrador theatre community. After her death in 2002, Rhonda’s father, Rod Payne, established the Rhonda Payne Memorial Fund. Donations to the fund can be made at TD Canada Trust, St. John’s Place, 140 Water Street, St. John’s, NL.

The Rhonda Payne Theatre Award is managed by ArtsNL. All female applicants to the Professional Project Grants Program in the theatre category are considered for the annual award. The winner is chosen by the peer assessment committee for theatre during the fall granting session.

“Mary-Lynn Bernard has worked hard in a variety of film, television, and stage projects throughout her career – everything from being a puppeteer to character performances,” said Reg Winsor, executive director of ArtsNL. “It’s a pleasure to congratulate Mary-Lynn as she receives a well-deserved award that recognizes the challenging roles she has had so far in her career.”

Previous winners of the Rhonda Payne Theatre Award are Willow Kean, Berni Stapleton, Megan Coles, Tara Manual, Lois Brown, Darka Erdelji, Nicole Rousseau, Michelle Rex Bailey, Sara Tilley, Ruth Lawrence, Sherry White, Joan Sullivan and Wendi Smallwood.

Media Contact:
Joshua Jamieson
Communications Officer, ArtsNL
Phone: (709) 726-2212 ext. 203
Mobile: (709) 746-6531
Toll free: 1 (866) 726-2212 (NL only)

The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (now known as ArtsNL) is a non-profit Crown agency created in 1980 by The Arts Council Act. Its mission is to foster and promote the creation and enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The Council is governed by a volunteer board of 13 appointed by government, reflecting regional representation of the province. This includes 10 professional artists who provide sectoral representation of the arts community; one community representative (with an interest in the arts); one business representative (with an interest in the arts); and one representative of the Department of Tourism, Industry, and Innovation (non-voting). ArtsNL receives an annual grant of $1.9 million from the Province to support a variety of granting programs, program delivery, office administration, and communications. It also seeks support from the public and private sector. It supports the following artistic disciplines: dance, film, multidiscipline, music, theatre, visual art, and writing.