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Peter Pacey a Shining Example of Using the Arts to Build People, Community

by on August 23, 2016

Peter Pacey (Photo: Ryan O’Toole)

Fredericton’s vibrant performing arts scene wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of dedicated individuals focused on fostering the arts. That’s why we at the Fredericton Playhouse introduced The Playhouse Honours a number of years ago, a program intended to recognize the work of Frederictonians whose work in the performing arts has had a profound impact on our community.

Just last month, we were thrilled to announce that the recipient of The Playhouse Honours for 2016 is actor, director, writer and producer Peter Pacey. Best known for his work with the Calithumpians Theatre Company over the past 35 years, Mr. Pacey exemplifies a high level of commitment to the arts that is certainly worthy of recognition.

Established in 2008, The Playhouse Honours is given annually to an individual selected by the Fredericton Playhouse Board of Directors. This program recognizes an individual’s involvement in the performing arts in Fredericton, fostering a deeper appreciation of the value that people can bring to community life through their work in music, theatre, dance, spoken word and multidisciplinary performing arts.

The Playhouse Honours is our way of thanking community leaders who have contributed significantly to our city through the arts. It’s a celebration for an individual, and for the community members who have been meaningfully affected by the recipient’s work.

Over the years, we have been pleased to recognize just a few of the many people who contribute to our city’s thriving arts scene, including string performers and teachers Hrvoje and Aida Tisler; musician, composer, sound designer, producer and musical director Michael Doherty; dance educator and mentor Bonnie Kilburn; singer and voice teacher Mabel Doak; actor, director, playwright and artistic director Walter Learning; educator and theatre troupe founder Philip Sexsmith; music director Brent Staeben; and actor, director, playwright, producer and educator Ilkay Silk.

We’re excited to add Mr. Pacey to this illustrious list. One of the most recognized theatre personalities in Fredericton, he has performed professionally at the National Arts Center, Theatre New Brunswick and Neptune Theatre. He is often called upon to perform as Lord Beaverbrook or Bull of the Woods for special events and conferences. Through his work with the Calithumpians, Mr. Pacey has given the gift of free, live theatre and historic walking tours to more than 400,000 locals and tourists.

Like many of The Playhouse Honours recipients, his work has impacted the lives of hundreds of youths, challenging young performers to combine history and culture with comedy and exuberance to develop Theatre in the Park performances. The troupe can be found all summer long in Officers’ Square, performing for large audiences.

We are always impressed by the range of suggestions we receive each year when we put out the call for nominees. Our board members face a difficult decision when they meet to select the recipient of The Playhouse Honours, as there are so many individuals in our city who dedicate their time and energy to the performing arts.

This high level of involvement in the arts is a clear sign of a healthy community, and it benefits all of us. A survey called Arts and Heritage in Canada conducted by the Department of Canadian Heritage in 2012 found that 91 per cent of respondents believe arts and cultural activities in a community make it a better place to live, and our strong arts scene is certainly one of the many things that makes Fredericton so special.

That’s why it’s so important that we continue to recognize those who improve our community through the arts and culture sector with programs such as The Playhouse Honours. As these recipients pass a love of the performing arts on to a new generation, our arts scene and the quality of life of our community will only continue to expand and improve.

Tim Yerxa is the Executive Director of the Fredericton Playhouse.




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