The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council has awarded the 2012 Rhonda Payne Theatre Award to local performer, producer and writer Tara Manuel.
The award is presented in the memory of actor, writer and director Rhonda Payne and assists female theatre artists in Newfoundland and Labrador. The winner is awarded a $500 cash prize.
Council member Todd Hennessy presented the award to Manuel on Friday at the Fine Arts Theatre of Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook.
“I’m thrilled to receive this award,” Manuel said in a news release from the NLAC. “It’s lovely to be recognized by my peers for my work.”
She said the support from the NLAC has been “a key factor in me honoring my personal commitment to create original work here on the west coast, in my home community. Many, many thanks.”
Rhonda Payne set up the award by giving proceeds from the production and publication of her works to a fund to assist women working in the theatre community in Newfoundland and Labrador. After her death in 2002, Rod Payne, her father, founded the Rhonda Payne Memorial Fund.
The award is administered by the NLAC to female applicants to the Professional Project Grants Program. The peer assessment committee for theatre chooses the winner during the fall granting session.
“Tara has built a multi-faceted foundation for her career in the arts and cultural sector, exploring a variety of performance roles and styles, from writer to producer, and live acting to puppetry,” said Reg Winsor, executive director of the NLAC. “It’s a pleasure to congratulate Tara on this achievement.”
Manuel owns Shadowy Souls Inc., a production company for family audiences, with her husband Michael Rigler. The company has been around since 2009 and, with the help of the NLAC, Manuel toured the company’s debut production, an original shadow puppet show, St. George and the Dragon taking it to 40 schools all over Newfoundland and Labrador. She also taught workshops on building, teching and performing the solo show.
Donations to the Rhonda Payne Memorial Fund can be made at TD Canada Trust, St. John’s Place, 140 Water St., St. John’s, N.L.