Shaughnessy O’Brien, recipient of a 2019 bursary from the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Society. (Submitted photo).

Vernon Performing Arts Centre announces 2019 bursary winners

Shaughnessy O’Brien , Sierra Shaw and Kayleigh Wagner are this year’s $1,000 bursary winners

The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Society’s SPOTLIGHT series kicked off last weekend with a show by Michael Kraeshammer that drew 500 patrons and special guests, But before the night was taken over by jazz music, the society shone the spotlight on its three local bursary winners for 2019.

Sigrid-Ann Thors, president of the society, announced the three winners at the society’s 18th annual Birthday Bash celebration on Sept. 28. Shaughnessy O’Brien, Sierra Shaw and Kayleigh Wagner were each awarded $1,000 bursaries to help them along their path through university studies in performing arts.

Shaughnessy O’Brien is a graduate of W.L. Seaton Secondary now in the second year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts – Acting degree at the University of Alberta. She’s also in the first of three years in a 14-member acting conservatory.

Upon graduating, her class will head out on an audition tour across Canada. Her goal is to pursue live theatre, as well as acting in film and television.

Also a graduate of W.L. Seaton, Sierra Shaw is a first year student at Concordia University in Montreal in the Faculty of Fine Arts with specialization in Design for Theatre and a Minor in Human Rights. Her theatre-related passions are in set design, lighting, sound and stage management, and these passions are what led her to the internationally renowned theatre design program at Concordia.

Kayleigh Wagner is a graduate of Vernon Secondary School and is currently in the final year of a two-year diploma program in Costuming for Stage and Screen at Capilano University in North Vancouver. She’s striving to become a costumer in the theatre industry, and will be getting first-hand experience with these skills on Capilano stage productions.

Bursaries are made possible from donations by patrons of the Performing Arts Centre, tips collected at the coat check the bar and concession, as well as specified, tax deductible donations and memorial gifts by donors and sponsors throughout the year. The number and amount of the bursaries depends on the quality and need expressed in applications and the amount of funds collected.

Bursary Program Committee has set bursaries at $1,000 each due to the high cost of post-secondary programs. Students are eligible to receive a maximum of two Performing Arts Centre Society bursaries over their post-secondary career.

“We are very grateful to the patrons, donors and sponsors of the Performing Arts Centre who help make our bursaries possible,” says Jim Harding, executive director.

“This year, we received so many worthy applications with real financial need and we are happy to help this year’s students, but wish we could do more. We will certainly need the coming year and the continued generosity of our supporters to help re-build our Bursary Fund resources for 2020.”

Guidelines for the bursary program are available on the society’s website at and application details will be announced in the Spring of 2020.

READ MORE: Legendary folk guitarist Martin Simpson coming to Vernon

READ MORE: Summerland cadet earns glider wings

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

First win for longtime New Westminster skip

Donna Mychaluk wins BC Senior Women’s Curling crown after five runner-up finishes

Vernon Panthers roll to second-straight OK Valley crown

Led by Super Seven grads, the second-ranked Cats dumped Kelowna’s OK Mission in championship

Vernon protest draws close to 40 people

Earth Strike Vernon holds peaceful rally in support of Wet’suwet’en people and land

North Okanagan Knights drop playoff preview

Kelowna Chiefs hold on for 3-2 KIJHL victory; best-of-seven series starts Friday in Rutland

Vernon gas station lowers price nearly 20 cents/litre

Super Save Gas at 25th Avenue and 43rd Street selling regular gasoline at $1.09.9

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read