Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
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Monica Walsh wins 2018 Rhonda Payne Theatre Award


January 24, 2019 (St. John's, NL) – ArtsNL announced that writer and actress Monica Walsh has won the 2018 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 Thursday, January 24, 2019 at the LSPU Hall following the opening night performance of Berni Stapleton’s Offensive to Some, produced by PerSIStence Theatre Company, directed by Ruth Lawrence, and presented by the RCA Theatre Company.

Of the acknowledgement, Walsh said, “I'm so honoured to be chosen for this award. It feels so good, after many years of work in my field, to have the community recognize me in this way. It’s important to honour not only Rhonda Payne's memory, but also to acknowledge the hard work that women in theatre do in this province. Getting this award will help me to continue producing my own work, while also enabling me to provide opportunities through my theatre company for other emerging theatre artists.”

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.

“I wish to thank the arts community, ArtsNL, and all of the more experienced artists who have helped me, guided me, and worked with me for free.  Huge thanks to my parents.” Walsh concluded.

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.

“Monica Walsh has been developing her professional artistic skills in theatre, and continues to build up her creative writing catalog, in recent years,” said Reg Winsor, executive director of ArtsNL. “Monica has enjoyed some wonderful success through her Scene, and Blurred open mic series and her Mon Show sketch comedy show. ArtsNL is pleased to extend its congratulations to her on this occasion.”

Previous winners of the Rhonda Payne Theatre Award are Shannon King-Campbell, Mary-Lynn Bernard, 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 enquiries:

Joshua Jamieson
Communications Officer, ArtsNL
Tel: (709) 726-2212 ext. 203
Toll Free: 1(866) 726-2212 (NL only)

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, Culture, Industry and Innovation (non-voting). ArtsNL receives an annual allocation 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.


Monica Walsh
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Monica Walsh is an actor, writer, producer, theatre teacher, and singer. Walsh holds a B.A. in Drama from Memorial University, as well as a Diploma in Performance and Communications Media. She has appeared in over 20 films and 15 theatre productions. Film credits include Love and Savagery (John Smith), Boarding (Jenina McGillivary), Flankers (Justin Oakey) and Waste It (Emily Bridger). TV Credits include Republic of Doyle, Legends and Lore of the North Atlantic, and Save My Pet.

Walsh is the artistic director and founder of Kanutu Theatre, which produces theatre and leads acting workshops within the province. In 2015, she established the Scene, and Blurred open mic series for writers and theatre artists. Walsh then took the open mic concept on the road for three successful tours that visited other provinces. She is currently completing her first full length play, Dan of the Galapagos, and in April 2017 starred in her original screenplay Lamenting Pluto.

In 2018, Monica wrote, produced, and acted in her first sketch comedy show, The Mon Show.