When Roberta (Robbie) Thomas passed away in December 2010 after fighting bowel cancer, she left behind a community full of young artists who had been inspired by her spirit and love of all art in all disciplines.
Those — and any — local artists can continue Thomas’s legacy, thanks to an award established by her family and administered through Neighbourhood Dance Works.
Neighbourhood Dance Works (NDW) has announced it will award the $1,000 Roberta Thomas Legacy Award annually to a dance practitioner or artist in any discipline collaborating with a dance practitioner on a project.
The award can be used for ideation, professional development, or different components of the creation and production process.
“It’s an honour for Neighbourhood Dance Works to administer it,” said Michelle Bush, acting executive director of the organization. “Robbie was very involved with the dance community and put a lot of her time, energy, enthusiasm and expertise into doing amazing things with Neighbourhood Dance Works. She was a phenomenal woman in terms of the impact that she had on people and on young artists.”
A native of the U.K., Thomas was executive director of NDW until 2009, and was also associated with the LSPU Hall, where she worked as operation manager, and Memorial University, for which she was an archivist with an interest in local history.
She was a restaurateur, opening the Continental Café on Water Street; a painter; a mom of three boys — Louis, Danny and Lil, all musicians and best known as the Thomas Trio — and a grandmother. She was an advocate for artists and arts communities, and was known for her encouragement, her passion for life and her sense of humour.
Thomas was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2010.
She died in hospital in Halifax months later, surrounded by her family and friends.
The application deadline for this year’s Roberta Thomas Legacy Award is Tuesday, July 31.
Interested applicants should apply in writing to NDW with a one-to-two-page letter describing the intended project and its participants and how it will acknowledge Thomas’s legacy; a brief budget note describing the money needed (up to $1,000) and how it will be spent; and a short biography.
Applicants must be residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.
A three-member jury will deliberate over the applications over the next two months, and the winner of the award will be announced and presented with the grant during the Festival of New Dance, Oct. 9-14.
More information is available by calling NDW at 722-3663.