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REF NO.: 168

SUBJECT: Well-known actor and theatre producer to receive honorary degree at Memorial University convocation in Corner Brook on May 9

DATE: May 5

Memorial University will confer an honorary doctor of laws degree on Donna Butt, well-known actor and theatre producer, at the 2003 spring convocation session in Corner Brook.

Convocation proceedings are scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 9, in the gymnasium located in the Arts and Science Building, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. Approximately 140 degrees will be awarded to students in fine arts, arts programs, nursing, social work and science.

Sir Wilfred Grenfell College's spring convocation is being broadcast live on the World Wide Web (WWW). More details about this Internet broadcast are available at

Donna Butt

Donna Butt has been a driving force in Newfoundland and Labrador theatre for the past twenty-five years. Born in St. John's in 1952, Ms. Butt became involved in theatre as a member of the Newfoundland Mummer's Troupe. From 1978-1984 she served as co-artistic director of Rising Tide Theatre and since 1984 she has been its executive and artistic director.

Ms. Butt has directed and co-created such Rising Tide productions as Joey and the highly successful political Revues. Besides originating the one-woman show, Michael Cook's Terese's Creed, Ms. Butt has also toured with the highly acclaimed Abandon Hope, Mabel Dorothy. With Ms. Butt as artistic director, Rising Tide has brought to the stage works that explore broad-ranging themes while remaining uniquely Newfoundland in flavour, including Kent Stetson's adaptation of Margaret Duley's Eyes of the Gull, Kevin Major's No Man's Land, Paul Rowe's To Dare Mighty Things: William Ford Coaker and The Fisherman's Protective Union and Des Walsh's The Moon Shone. New for the 2003 season are As Near to Heaven by Sea by Kevin Major and The Queen of Swansea by Des Walsh.

Ms. Butt works tirelessly to promote and maintain professional theatre in the province, especially in work that seeks to portray the culture and character of Newfoundland and Labrador. Nothing exemplifies this more than her work in Trinity Bay where The New Founde Lande, a large historical pageant she created with Rick Boland, has become a "cultural flagship" on the Bonavista Peninsula. With the addition in 1994 of the Summer in the Bight Theatre Festival, a companion event to the pageant, and its extension to Autumn in the Bight in 2002, the Trinity Bight region has become one of the island's primary tourist destinations. Her work has been recognized by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council which named her Artist of the Year in 1989. Her endeavours in cultural tourism have garnered her the prestigious Tourism Award from Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador.

This year marks Rising Tide's silver anniversary as a professional theatre company, the 20th anniversary of Revue and the 11th season of theatre in Trinity Bight. In all of this, Ms. Butt has worked with countless numbers of actors, writers, directors and designers and through them has shared with all of us her pride in our heritage and culture.

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