Ruth Thomas Receives Edgar Humann Award

The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts recently awarded the annual Edgar Humann Award of Merit to Ruth Thomas.

A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts held its annual Edgar Humann Award of Merit on November 4th, 2020. This year’s recipient was the fascinating Ruth Thomas, MBE.

“The Festival was very pleased to recognise Miss Thomas’s contributions to the arts in Bermuda and to the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts.

“The Edgar Humann Award of Merit is awarded annually by the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts. The award is named in memory of Mr. Edgar Humann who served on the Festival’s Board for ten years and played an integral part in promoting the performing arts both for the Festival and through his generous support to other organizations in the performing and visual arts arenas both in Bermuda and abroad.

“Each year, the Festival strives to recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to the performing arts, and additionally, is committed to promoting the performing arts across the community with a strong interest in developing an appreciation for the performing arts with Bermuda’s youth.

“This year’s recipient, Miss Ruth Thomas, MBE, is synonymous with the arts in Bermuda, and her list of accomplishments is long and varied. Miss Thomas spent her early years in Devonshire West, she attended Central School [now Victor Scott School], Skinner’s School and the Berkeley Institute.

“She trained as a teacher at Ottawa and Toronto Teachers’ Training College and in England at the London University Institute of Education. While in London she also studied educational broadcasting at the BBC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling from Indiana University.

“Ruth’s early career was as an educator, and she was well known as a singer and an actress. Encouraged to run the Government of Bermuda’s Department of Cultural Affairs in 1984, Miss Thomas Became the Government’s First Cultural Affairs Officer where she became an authority on Bermuda culture and an advocate for the arts.

“During her tenure she initiated several television shows which some of us may remember, including Treasures, a show profiling seniors, and The Learnalots, a children’s program. She also initiated the annual Premier’s Concert as a showcase for talented young musicians, dancers, artists, and writers.

“During a 12-year term as Chairman of the Bermuda Arts Council she established the Council’s Lifetime Achievement Awards. She would herself become the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award as well as a Founders Award.

“Miss Thomas was also a founding trustee of the Bermuda National Gallery where she often gave informal lunchtime talks on Bermuda traditions and culture to tourists and newly arrived expats. For several years she was a judge at a music competition in Sicily.

“The 2003 Festival featured Ruth Thomas and Company through which Miss Thomas researched and wrote some 90 productions she calls Mosaics which incorporated spoken word, music, dance and Bermuda’s folklore, traditions and gospel. And if that were not enough, she has also served for many years on the Festival’s Programming Advisory Committee where she has made invaluable contributions to the annual lineup of artists and events.

“It was with great pleasure that the Board of Directors recognized Miss Ruth Thomas’s contributions to the arts in Bermuda and to the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts.

“The Patron of the Bermuda Festival, His Excellency the Governor, Mr. John Rankin CMG, concluded the evening by presenting Miss Thomas with a memorial plaque and flowers in recognition of her lifelong contribution to the performing arts in Bermuda.”