Premier Presents Portia White Prize to Walter Borden

Tourism, Culture and Heritage (To Jan. 7)

March 1, 2006 2:42 PM

Walter Borden, an internationally renowned theatre artist from New Glasgow, is the 2005 recipient of Nova Scotia's Portia White Prize.

Premier Rodney MacDonald presented Mr. Borden with the prize, which recognizes artistic excellence and achievement by a Nova Scotia artist, at a ceremony at Province House today, March 1.

"Mr. Borden is a fine example of a Nova Scotian artist who has excelled in the arts," said Premier MacDonald. "He truly exemplifies the spirit and prestige of the Portia White Prize, and is an extraordinary cultural ambassador for our province."

The prize is named after the classical singer from Nova Scotia who overcame adversity to achieve international acclaim on the great stages of Europe and North America. Her artistic achievements and dedication to teaching young artists are a model for all Nova Scotians and continue to foster pride in African Nova Scotian communities and Nova Scotian artists.

"Portia White was known for her artistic accomplishments but especially for her dedication to help young people realize their artistic dreams," said Mr. Borden. "Knowing her legacy, it is indeed a truly great honour to receive an award which by definition implies that I have mirrored these attributes."

Throughout his 40-year career, Mr. Borden has been an activist and advocate for Black artists, as a public speaker, teacher and mentor to young theatre artists.

In 1972, he became the first Black professional actor in Nova Scotia and he has performed in numerous productions at Neptune Theatre and throughout the province.

His one-man show Tightrope Time, is a frank discussion of male homosexuality. This play which he wrote and performed in the mid 1980s, was a groundbreaking achievement in African-Canadian theatre. Revived by Black Theatre Workshop, the play was published for the first time in 2005.

Mr. Borden is currently preparing for his fourth season as a company member at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, where he holds major credits in both classical and contemporary repertoire. This summer, he will be performing in the Governor General Award winning, Harlem Duet, marking the first theatre production ever written and performed by Black Canadian artists at the festival.

The $25,000 Portia White Prize will be awarded in two components. The first part -- $18,000 -- will be awarded to the primary recipient, Walter Borden, and a secondary prize of $7,000 will be awarded to a protege named by Mr. Borden. This year's protege is Jonathan Munro, a young soprano singer from Truro.

Nominations for the 2006 Portia White Prize will be accepted until Sept. 15.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Nova Scotian theatre artist Walter Borden was awarded the

2005 Portia White Prize today (March 1st) at Province House by

Premier Rodney MacDonald.

     The 25-thousand-dollar prize recognizes artistic excellence

and achievement by outstanding Nova Scotian artists.

Mr. Borden says it is a great honour to be recognized for

mirroring the legacy of classical singer Portia White.

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Media Contact: Vicki Fraser
              Tourism, Culture and Heritage
              902-424-7608
              E-mail: fraserv@gov.ns.ca