Hilda Cliffe Scholarship

Hilda Cliffe was active in the arts and culture in New Westminster since 1963. She served as President of the Vagabond Players from 1972-74, on the Board of the Arts Council since 1988, and as President from 1991 – 2001. She also served as a Director on the Board of the Massey Theatre and on the Raymond Burr Performing Arts Centre Society task force. At the regional and provincial level, Hilda served on the Board of the South West Regional Arts Council and the Assembly of BC Arts Councils. Hilda Cliffe was a member of the City of New Westminster’s Arts and Culture Commission and played a significant role in assisting with the creation of the first Arts and Culture Policy by the City of New Westminster.

Hilda Cliffe represented the Arts Council at numerous committees including the City of New Westminster Arts & Culture Commission, City of New Westminster Museums & Art Centre Strategic Planning Committee; City of New Westminster Canada Day Committee; City of New Westminster Murals Committee; Chair of the Arts Council of New Westminster Selection Committee; and the New Westminster Endowment Grant Chair.

Hilda Cliffe was recognized for her commitment to the Arts in our community as the recipient of The Queens Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and the BC Governor General Award and the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce Bernie Legge Cultural Award in 2000.

Hilda Cliffe exemplified the spirit of giving back to your community through her dedication and commitment to the arts. The Arts Council continues to honour Hilda’s contribution to the Arts with an annual scholarship in her name.

Hilda Cliffe passed away on May 3rd, 2021. You can read her obituary here


To support the continued legacy of Hilda Cliffe, please click the link to donate to the Hilda Cliffe Scholarship Fund


In partnership with New Westminster Secondary School

Emily Simko has always been involved in the arts. Her passion began at a young age. Emily participated in school talents shows, jazz band, drama, to performing in school plays and musicals. Emily was also on the student council in grades 7 and 8.

At New Westminster Secondary school Emily’s main focus was the arts. Emily took drama, dance, was in the musical theatre program as well was a peer tutor in the drama program for grades 9 and 10. Emily was a cast member in the musicals ‘Crazy for You’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast. Emily also performed in the musical revue ‘What is Love’ at the Anvil Centre. 

Outside of school Emily volunteered her time as a cast member since 2012 to 2019 with the Royal City Youth Ballet. With RCYB, Emily performed various roles in the ballet the ‘Nutcracker’ as well one summer in the ballet ‘Coppelia’ as well danced with GOH Ballet, out of Vancouver, in the ballet the  ‘Nutcracker’.

Emily has been involved for many years with a local dance studio, formally known as the Northwest Academy of Performing Arts and now known as Royal Principal Ballet Academy, in New Westminster. Emily has danced in various styles of dance. Emily has competed in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Contemporary and Musical Theatre. With her dance studio she has performed in Disneyland, and on Princess Cruises, competed in Vancouver and around the lower mainland and well internationally in Seattle and New York City. Emily also had volunteered her time and was a teachers assistant at her dance studio and assisted ballet class for 5-6 year olds. Emily has volunteered her time and has performed in the Hyack Christmas parade and the Century House.

In the last 2 years Emily has also focused on getting experience in the acting side for film and T.V. Emily has taken acting workshops and scene study classes in Vancouver. To get some on set experience, Emily worked as a background actor one summer for a couple movies for Netflix and a Hallmark movie. 

Emily has been accepted to the 4 year Bachelors of Fine Arts degree program in Acting in sunny Los Angeles at the American Musical and Dramatic Arts Academy.  

In partnership with the Douglas College Foundation

Biography to come

In partnership with the Douglas College Foundation

Anja Frohnsdorf is an 18 year old music student in Douglas College’s Music Technology Diploma program. She is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist who has been singing and playing since she was 3 years old. Her years with the Coastal Sound Children’s Choir formed her desire to pursue music as a career, and now she is working hard to achieve her dreams of earning a living producing music and composing for film and television. She draws inspiration from classical music, film scores, musical theatre, indie-alternative, folk, jazz, and everything in between, and her deepest passion is to create music that tells stories.

In partnership with New Westminster Secondary School

Claire was born and grew up in New Westminster with her mom, dad and older sister, and spent most of her time growing up playing in Queens Park and jumping rope. She is a graduate of New Westminster Secondary School as of June 2020, and spent most of her time as a student at the high school volunteering or working at the Massey Theatre. She fell in love with the arts at a young age, learning to play 7 instruments throughout middle and high school
and then ultimately pursuing technical theatre in grade 10. Due to the incredible opportunities she was offered at the Massey theatre, she was able to work with companies such as Royal City Musical Theatre, The Stage New West, ACNW, the Vagabond Players, and the Pacific National Exhibition. Claire loves the teamwork aspect of technical theatre and she has always been fascinated by the secret workings of backstage that an audience wouldn’t see. She is currently
enrolled in the technical theatre program at Capilano University and on her way to starting her second year in September. Since starting in technical theatre, Claire has gained experience in stage management, lighting design, rigging, set construction, costume and prop design and construction, followspot operation, and backstage crew work. Claire is very thankful to everyone who has encouraged and mentored her along the way, including the Hilda Cliffe scholarship, which helped pay for her first semester at Capilano University. After completing her diploma at
Capilano, she hopes to ultimately work in live music and tour around the world as a theatre technician.

In partnership with the Douglas College Foundation

Basic Musicianship Certificate
Biography to come

In partnership with the Douglas College Foundation

Theatre Diploma
Biography to come

In partnership with New Westminster Secondary School

Ben is a Theatre and Live Events Technician from New Westminster, with experience working in the industry since 2015. During his time at New Westminster Secondary School, Ben was heavily involved in the arts, playing trumpet in the concert and jazz bands, as well as working with crew for the school’s musical productions and participating in the “Tech Club” offered by the Massey Theatre. He was nominated for the 2016 New Westminster Youth Award in Arts & Culture for his work with the high school’s performing arts department. Graduating from NWSS in 2019, he gratefully used his Hilda Cliffe Scholarship towards studying technical theatre in post-secondary school. In 2021, Ben graduated from Douglas College with a diploma in Stagecraft & Event Technology. Ben will attend the University of British Columbia beginning in September 2021, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design & Production. At university, he hopes to focus on lighting design, as he enjoys bringing energy and spectacle to the stage with his lighting. Ben also works at the Massey Theatre and Anvil Centre Theatre as a Technician and Front of House Manager. 

Notable credits include: Follow Spot Operator for The Nutcracker Tour (Royal City Youth Ballet), Head & Stage Carpenter for Mere Mortals and Others (Douglas Theatre), Head of Video for Julius Caesar (Douglas Theatre), Student Stage Manager for Crazy For You (School’s Out Productions), Assistant Stage Manager for Legally Blonde (School’s Out Productions), Stage Manager and Lighting Designer for the NWSS Performing Arts Department (New Westminster Secondary School).

In partnership with the Douglas College Foundation

Theatre Diploma
Biography to come

In partnership with New Westminster Secondary School

Biography to come

The Arts Council of New Westminster is proud to announce Hailey Connor as the 2018 recipient of the ACNW Scholarship through the Douglas College Foundation. Hailey is studying as an actor in the performing arts department at Douglas College. We are excited for Hailey’s future as an actor and look forward to her sharing her artistic talent with the community of New Westminster.

In photo (left to right): Barb Webb, ACNW Secretary; Stephen O’Shea, ACNW Executive Director; Leanne Ewen, ACNW President; Hailey Connor, Scholarship Recipient, Simrit Kainth, ACNW Vice-President; Leslie Murray, ACNW Treasurer; Jane Evans, Manager, Philanthropic Relations, Douglas College Foundation.

The Arts Council of New Westminster is proud to announce Arash Rahmani as the recipient of the ACNW Scholarship through the Douglas College Foundation. Arash is studying as a classical guitarist in the performing arts department at Douglas College. We are excited for Arash’s future as a musician and look forward to presenting his talents to the community of New Westminster.

(pictured L-R) Stephen O’Shea, Executive Director, ACNW; Arash Rahmani; Leanne Ewen, President, ACNW

Sarah Quinn is a skilled and highly-trained voice, piano, music and speech arts teacher of 9 years. With extensive knowledge in communication and experience and certification in speech arts, drama and voice, she has guided countless students in great success in performance and professional affairs. She is the owner of Sarah’s Voice Studio and is a teacher at The Bolton Academy of Spoken Arts. In September 2021, she will be the primary music teacher at Surrey Christian School teaching grades K-3. Sarah is known to be personable, professional and dedicated with strong leadership, organizational, and client service skills along with a “can do” work ethic.

The Hilda Cliffe Scholarship allowed me to pursue my passion for all things performance. Without the support of The Arts Council of New Westminster, I wouldn’t have been able to study at the world-renowned Shakespeare Academy in Stratford, Ontario. I was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue my passion and for that, I will be forever grateful. 

The Arts Council  contributed to the Douglas College Foundation—this  was a great opportunity as all donations were being matched. So the Arts Council donation of $8,000 designated for our Scholarship funds became $16,000.

Each year the Arts Council scholarships are awarded to students pursuing a career in the Arts at Douglas College.

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