Stephenville Theatre Festival The Longest running professional theatre festival in Newfoundland and Labrador

Stephenville Theatre Festival

Maxim Mazumdar’s Legacy

Brief History


Maxim Mazumdar, 1952 – 1988

Maxim Mazumdar, a well-known Canadian actor and director, toured Newfoundland and Labrador between 1976 and 1978 as an adjudicator for the Provincial Drama Festival, a showcase for amateur acting groups in the province. He returned in the spring of 1979 to once again adjudicate, with the festival taking place that year in Stephenville.

He was impressed by the calibre of the performers who had gathered for the festival, and recognized the potential this culturally rich area had to offer. He was also impressed with a Stephenville committee interested in starting a summer acting school for local youth. The seeds for what would become Newfoundland and Labrador’s first professional theatre festival had been sown.

Mazumdar established the Provincial Drama Academy as a place for local people to learn about theatre, work with established theatre professionals and practise the craft. The first drama class of ’79 and a small faculty worked punishingly long days and nights during the summer to present “The Man Who Came to Dinner” and “Macbeth” — which Stephenville Theatre Festival considers to be its very first season.

Many people supported Mazumdar, the Festival’s founding Artistic Director, with a commitment that was unparalleled in professional theatre development in this region of Canada — and the Festival emerged to become one of Canada’s most eclectic and exciting repertory theatre companies.

“The Stephenville Festival experience is unique in that it offers a distinctive performance of works that entertain and enlighten. Performances that burn themselves into your memory!” stated Mazumdar in 1986. “Remember Gordon Pinsent in ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’, Barbara Chilcott as Sarah Bernhardt, John Gilpin in ‘Oh Coward!’, Meghan Robinson in ‘Guys and Dolls’, Cliff LeJeune in ‘Superstar’, among a host of others? Remember Tom Kerr’s production of ‘Waiting for the Parade’, Edmund MacLean’s ‘Galileo’ by Eric Bentley, the Kabuki ‘Godspell’? All these are part of that special Festival magic.”

The rest, as they say, is history!

Maxim Mazumdar Memorial Legacy Award

The Maxim Mazumdar Memorial Legacy Award is presented annually to a member of the STF Company. This award is intended to provide financial support for professional development and will be awarded to a company member who best demonstrates a desire to grow as an artist and a determination to succeed. The Stephenville Theatre Festival Awards Committee will screen applicants and the recipient will be announced at the Gala Performance.

Patrons who wish to contribute to the Award Fund may do so by contacting Stephenville Theatre Festival at 129 Montana Drive, Stephenville, NL, A2N 2T4; 709-643-4982; or All contributions will be issued a charitable donation receipt.

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