Bursaries for Performing Arts Students

Each year the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Society makes available bursaries to promote and assist students in their pursuit of careers in the Performing Arts OR Performing Arts Management.

Bursaries are made possible by the generosity of the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre patrons from the tips and gratuities from the coat check, bar and concession, affectionately referred to as our "Usher Fund". The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre also accepts donations specifically made for our Bursary Program.

Who Can Apply?

Students from Vernon, Coldstream and Electoral Areas B or C, who are entering into or returning to full-time studies at a university, college or technical school majoring in accredited Performing Arts or Performing Arts Management programs; OR registered in a recognized apprenticeship program in the Performing Arts, may apply for a bursary.

Download the Bursary Guidelines to view bursary requirements.

Inquiries about our Bursary Program or application should be directed to:

Jim Harding, Executive Director at: [email protected] or phone: 250-542-9355.

How to Apply?

Download the 2021 Bursary Application Form

Emailed applications are preferred but must include the completed Application Form & all required documents listed on the form as attachments to a covering email with "2021 VDPAC Bursary Application" in the Subject line.

All applications must be received by the deadline date.

Deadline for 2021 Bursary applications is Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Recipients will be announced in the following week.

Notification & Announcement

The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Society's Bursary Program Committee will review all applications and make recommendations to the Society's Board of Directors, who will set the number and amount of the bursaries to be awarded. Selected recipients will be notified directly and confidentially by email by the Society's executive director immediately following approval by the Board of Directors. Public Announcement will be made at the annual Birthday Bash celebration and Society Presentation at the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre (In the absence of student recipients unable to attend, the students' families will be provided complimentary tickets & will be recognized as part of the official announcement). Media announcement of the Bursary recipient(s) will be issued immediately following the Birthday Bash. Copies of print media features will accompany bursary cheques. An official tax receipt will also be issued. Bursary recipients are requested to credit "Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Society Bursary" on their resumé or curriculum vitae (CV).


VDPAC Announces Winners of 2021 Performing Arts Bursaries

Despite its 20th Annual Birthday Bash celebration placed on Hold for a second year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Society (VDPAC) again chose to proceed with its annual Bursary Program and is proud to announce this year’s successful recipients.

The three recipients of $1,000 bursaries are Rachel Glessing of Coldstream; and Robyn Shanks and Emily Campbell, both of Vernon, BC. Families of each year’s recipients are traditionally invited and publicly recognized as part of pre-show ceremonies each Fall at VDPAC’s annual Birthday Bash that officially launches the Society’s annual SPOTLIGHT Season.

Each year, the Society makes available bursaries to Greater Vernon and area Grade 12 students entering, or currently enrolled in post-secondary Performing Arts or Performing Arts Management programs; or a recognized apprenticeship program in the Performing Arts. Under the program guidelines, students are eligible to receive a maximum of two VDPAC Society bursaries over their post-secondary career.

VDPAC’s bursaries are made possible from the generous donations by Performing Arts Centre patrons, tips collected at the coat check and the bar & concession; as well as specified, tax deductible donations and memorial gifts by donors and sponsors made throughout the year. The number and amount of the Society’s bursaries relies on funds collected each year and awarded based on the quality and need expressed in applications.

“This year, with the return of full public performances still delayed, we just introduced our Audience Cut-Outs promotion as a fundraiser to help replenish our Bursary Program Fund for 2021 and beyond,“ says VDPAC executive director Jim Harding. Those wanting to support the Society’s Bursary Program can visit Ticketseller.ca to purchase an Audience Cut-Out for a tax deductible donation. Audience Cut-Outs will help fill those seats in the Performing Arts Centre the Society cannot fill while Public Health Orders limit indoor events to a maximum 50% capacity.

The Society’s board of directors set 2021 bursaries at $1,000 each due to the high cost of post- secondary programs, despite the absence of year-round audiences.

“Again this year, applicants indicated that most of their post-secondary Performing Arts programs are proceeding, with some offering hybrids of online and in-class learning with COVID safety precautions of masking, physical distancing and now vaccinations,” says Harding. “Our Bursary Program Committee noted the high calibre of all applications, as well as the dedication and perseverance these students demonstrated. It’s very encouraging for the future of the Performing Arts.”

About the 2021 Recipients:

Rachel Glessing, a graduate of Kalamalka Secondary, is a 4th year student at the University of Calgary having completed two years in a Bachelor of Music in Integrated Studies, combined with her Bachelor of Science (Biology), with two years left in her BMus degree program (trombone). Rachel’s courses include private lessons, brass choir ensemble, musicianship (ear training and sight-singing) and composition. She has a keen interest in music therapy and in future looks forward to studying music history, including ethnomusicology and Canadian music history, conducting, band instruction and interdisciplinary performing arts. She is also trained in piano and violin. Rachel has received numerous music awards, graduate scholarships and bursaries in recognition of her academic and artistic achievements. This is her second VDPAC Performing Arts Bursary.

Robyn Shanks, a graduate of Clarence Fulton Secondary School, is a 4th year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. After graduating, Robyn completed the Royal Conservatory Grade 9 piano exams and became involved in multiple theatre productions, including several with Powerhouse Theatre, Kelowna Actors Studio, Vernon Community Music School and later, UBCO Advanced Performance, Theatre 26 in Kelowna, BC, Actors Pulse Theatre and at UBC. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from UBCO (2015), with extensive training in Music (Vocal & Piano) and Dance (Ballet, Hip Hop & Jazz). Her Acting courses include both Theatre and Film. Upon graduating next spring, Robyn plans to pursue career opportunities in Theatre, TV & Film.

Emily Campbell, also a graduate of Clarence Fulton Secondary School, is a 4th year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) at the University of Victoria, with a focus in applied theatre, (as an accessible art form), technical (lighting) and directing, while completing a minor in English. For UVic’s Phoenix Theatre, Emily has worked as a lighting operator and head electrician on several productions, and locally as a venue technician for Intrepid Theatre Company, host of the Victoria Fringe Festival. With her BFA, she plans to complete a Secondary Education degree for high school teaching. Her career plan is to become a high school theatre teacher.

“We have a very accomplished local community of theatre, dance and music school programs and private academies here, which signals how important the Performing Arts are to our emerging young artists,“ says Harding. “We want to continue encouraging them with our Bursary Program to help them explore and develop careers. Live performance will return, so we will certainly need this coming year and the continued generosity of our supporters to help re-build our Bursary Fund to offer that support.”

Guidelines for VDPAC’s Performing Arts Bursary Program are available on the Society’s website at vdpac.ca and application details will be announced in the Spring of 2022.

For more information or to donate to the Bursary Program, please contact the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre (250-542-9355) or by email at: [email protected]; OR to make a tax deductible purchase of an Audience Cut-Out in support, please visit: Ticketseller.ca.



Robyn Shanks 2021
Robyn Shanks
Emily Campbell 2021
Emily Campbell
Rachel Glessing 2021
Rachel Glessing