Newfoundland and Labrador, Artistic and Executive Director of Rising Tide Theatre

Donna 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 the sole Executive and Artistic Director of the Company. Donna has been a driving force in Newfoundland theatre for the past thirty years and, under her direction the company has played a major role in the theatrical and cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Whether as actor, writer, director or producer, Donna 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, 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.

It is not surprising that Donna’s work has been recognized by naming her the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council’s Artist of the Year in 1989. Her endeavours in cultural tourism on the Bonavista Peninsula have garnered her the prestigious Tourism Award from Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. For her contribution to the development of Newfoundland’s theatre, tourism and rural economy, Donna was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree at the session of convocation held at Grenfell College in May 2003. In January 2004 she was named a Member of the Order of Canada by Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, and in 2009 received the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.