Walter Learning was one of three New Brunswickers to receive the Order of Canada last week in Ottawa.
The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to honour people who have made an extraordinary contribution to the country. The following year, in Fredericton, Walter Learning established Theatre New Brunswick with a goal to bring professional theatre to the people of the province. Last week, Learning, originally from Newfoundland, joined actor Donald Sutherland, philanthropist Ann McCain Evans and several others in receiving Canada’s highest honour.
“As adults we lose, almost of necessity, the child’s capacity for uninhibited play. We are banished to a world that allows little room for free expression and none for magic,” stated Learning in Theatre New Brunswick’s 1968 season brochure. “We can escape this fate by becoming childlike in the willing suspension of disbelief. We can attain expression and regain the magic voraciously. This may be realized through sympathetically sharing in the experience of another as represented by an actor. This end alone would justify the existence of the theatre.”
Theatre New Brunswick is currently in the midst of its 51st season of professional theatre. The company’s next production, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is currently in rehearsal and will open December 12 at the Fredericton Playhouse before heading out on a tour of the province.