Roberta Thomas Legacy Award

Neighbourhood Dance Works is honoured to administer the Roberta Thomas Legacy Award. The Award was established by Roberta (Robbie) Thomas' family in 2012 as a way to continue her infectious human spirit by supporting development and presentation in the field of dance and dance collaboration.

The Roberta Thomas Legacy Award (RTLA) is awarded annually to a dance practitioner or an artist in any discipline collaborating with a dance practitioner. Projects are funded up to $1000.00 and can be for ideation, professional development, aspects of creation or final production.

The deadline for the 2018 Roberta Thomas Legacy Award is midnight on Friday, September 14, 2018. Priority is given to artists living and working in Newfoundland and Labrador, however, all artists with NL roots are welcome to apply. 

 2017 Roberta Thomas Legacy Award Winner, Lori Clarke (center) with Anne Troake (left), and Calla Lachance, (right). Photo: Enlightened Photography

2017 Roberta Thomas Legacy Award Winner, Lori Clarke (center) with Anne Troake (left), and Calla Lachance, (right). Photo: Enlightened Photography


Harriett Roberta Thomas was an English émigré to Newfoundland who became a beloved and essential figure to the cultural life of her adopted country. A true believer in the creative arts, she was a friend and second mother to the swarms of young people drawn to her and her sons' musical home in St. John's. As an administrator she worked tirelessly to shore up many arts organizations, giving guidance to eager spirits that matched her own. She had a compelling desire to further all forms of art and loved collaboration. A champion of youth, she was an inspirational mentor to many emerging artists while fostering an environment of independent thinking and community activism. She was someone who got things done, embracing life and all it offered. She had a special passion for dance and was Executive Director of Neighbourhood Dance Works until 2009. She was emerging herself as a talented painter and her passing in December of 2011 left unfinished what was already a rich body of visual art work. A mother, a grandmother, a cook, a traveller, a painter, an archivist, an activist for human rights, an indispensable friend: in all those roles she had a profound effect on those whose lives she touched.

PAST Award Recipients 

2017- Lori Clarke

2016- Anne Troake

2015- Sarah Joy Stoker, Pink Noise

2014 -Candice Pike, coeurPulse 

2013 - Colleen Quigley, Dancing Documents

2012 - Dave Gardiner, Gros Morne National Park Residency


To donate to the Roberta Thomas Legacy Award please click below. 

Banner photo of Robbie Thomas provided by the Thomas Family