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Annual Onstage Gala promises to be a spectacular celebration

by on May 4, 2011

The Fredericton Playhouse will be hosting its annual Onstage Gala, presented by Bell Aliant, on Saturday, May 7. A benefit for The Playhouse’s community work, the gala also celebrates and recognizes the 2011 recipient of The Playhouse Honours, Walter Learning. Founder and long-time artistic director of Theatre New Brunswick, Learning’s contributions to the community are many, and the program for the evening will celebrate his long-time commitment to the arts.

Learning served as artistic director of Theatre New Brunswick from 1968 to 1978 and returned as artistic producer from 1995 to 1999. An accomplished actor, director, and playwright, he collaborated with critically acclaimed literary figure Alden Nowlan to produce several world premieres during his tenure at TNB. He also oversaw the institution of TNB Young Company, which has been bringing professional theatre performances to elementary, middle, and high schools in Fredericton, and in communities across the province, for over 35 years.  His contributions also led to the establishment of TNB Theatre School in 1999, which currently boasts an enrolment of over 300 students a year.

Learning looks forward to the event, and to being honoured in a place so steeped in history for both he and the community. “The Playhouse is a brilliant jewel in Fredericton’s crown,” says Learning. “It has played a major role in my life and the lives of many others here and across our land. To be a recipient of The Playhouse Honours gives me great pleasure.”

Kim Hill, chair of The Playhouse board of directors, is thrilled with the organizing committee’s work on this celebratory event. The evening will include a champagne reception, dinner on the stage of The Playhouse, live music, and a moving tribute to Learning that will include special guests, as well as live theatrical and musical performances by some of the region’s top performers. “Excitement is building as we get closer to the Fredericton Playhouse’s annual Onstage Gala to be held on May 7,” says Hill. “We are looking forward to recognizing Mr. Learning’s significant contribution to live theatre in New Brunswick.”

Sponsored this year by the Delta Fredericton, The Playhouse Honours was established to foster a deeper appreciation of the value that individuals can make to community life through their work in the performing arts. The honouree is selected annually by the Playhouse board of directors from nominees proposed by the public, and recommended by a selection committee. The honouree is fêted at the annual Onstage Gala, a benefit event for The Playhouse’s community work, and is recognized in a permanent display located at The Playhouse. Previous recipients of The Playhouse Honours are Ilkay Silk, Brent Staeben, and Philip Sexsmith.

For information about the Onstage Gala or for tickets, please contact:

Janine Papadopoulos, Development Director | 506.459.6207 |

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