Getting ready for the March of Anna
January 31, 2012

 Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr star in the classic 1956 musical The King and I. As part of 125th anniversary celebrations, there will be a King and I singalong on March 2.

It’s NSCAD University’s 125th anniversary. Want to get involved?

The celebrations kick off in March, which has been renamed in these parts as “the March of Anna” in honour of NSCAD’s founder Anna Leonowens.

The first event on March 2nd is purely for fun. There will be a sing-along to The King and I in the Bell Auditorium. The King and I is the classic 1956 musical about a widow (that’s our Anna!) who accepts a job as the governess to the King of Siam's 67 children. Cheer on Anna (Deborah Kerr) as the King (a dashing Yul Brynner) tells her: “You are a very difficult woman!”  Laugh heartily as the King delivers his signature line: “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!” Sing along to Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes including I Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You and Something Wonderful. The event starts at 5:30 p.m., D440 Bell Auditorium. There will be a wine cash bar in the foyer before the screening.

And, look for our own special Anna and the King in the flesh! There will be a prize for the best costume.

Also in March, a juried exhibition of artwork inspired by Anna Leonowens will be held, where else but in the Anna Leonowens Gallery. The show runs from March 6 to March 10; the opening reception is Monday, March 5, 5:30 p.m. 

“She was a feisty, independent woman at a time when women were not expected to be activists,” says Linda Hutchison, director of the 125th anniversary. “Her role in Halifax and as the founder of the school is generally not known. So we’re inviting artists to discover Anna Leonowens and her influence on Halifax and NSCAD. What motivated her? Who was she?”

Throughout March, there will be public lectures by four dynamic artists and educators. Lois Yorke, the foremost expert on Anna Leonowens, will talk about the independent, forthright woman “who has time and again tweaked our imagination and charmed her way into our popular culture.” Not to be missed, her talk is set for Wednesday, March 7, 12 noon, in the Anna Leonowens Gallery. As part of the NSCAD Public Lecture Series, NSCAD hosts Judy Pfaff, sculptor and printmaker (Thursday, March 8, 7 p.m., Bell Auditorium) and Jackie Sumell, installation artist (Thursday, March 22, 7 p.m. , Bell Auditorium) and as part of the Sculpture Lecture Series, we will host Liz Magor (Friday, March 30, 7 p.m., Bell Auditorium). Also happening in March are: the Wearable Art Show on Saturday, March 10 at the Halifax Forum and the March of Prints exhibition and sale from March 26 to April 15.

That’s March … on to May! The marquee event for May is called Artist for a Day—and volunteers are needed to pull this off. The idea is to encourage interest and understanding in all the NSCAD has to offer. Artist for a Day will take place on Saturday, May 12 on the Halifax Waterfront close to Bishop’s Landing.

“We’re looking for big, participatory art projects that will get a lot of people involved,” says Peter Wünsch, president of the Alumni Association. “Do you have an idea for something really cool that you’d like to try? Let us know.”

Some ideas include a parade, printmaking in the parking lot using a steamroller, a tile mosaic and historic photo booth with a costumed Anna Leonowens.

Proposals are invited and encouraged. With sponsorship for this day provided by Canadian Heritage, the Waterfront Development Corporation and Halifax Regional Municipality, there are funds available to cover materials. Present your ideas to Linda Hutchison at

“This is a time to think big—astound us,” she says.