Walter Borden

All the World's A Stage

For the past half century, Walter Borden has been an acclaimed actor, playwright, poet and teacher. Along the way, he has performed on stages across Canada. Importantly, Walter says the foundation for his career was laid in his hometown of New Glasgow. That's because it was when he was growing up in Pictou County that he began to grasp the potential he possessed. “By the time that I left New Glasgow in 1960, everything that I had been taught combined to make me ready to go and do whatever I want to do. I’ve lived by the maxim be a sower of seeds, a witness and a messenger.”

Walter graduated from Acadia University and the Nova Scotia Teachers' College, then went to New York to study acting at the highest possible level. He came back to Nova Scotia, and the rest of Canada, as a fully developed performer and creator. In the late 1960s, he helped establish Kwaacha House – an interracial teen-oriented, drop-in and social education centre that inspired young Nova Scotians to seek full equality of citizenship and full equality of opportunity for African Nova Scotians. Walter was a mentor to many young Blacks at this time.

On the stage, Borden joined Halifax's Neptune Theatre Company in 1972, and performed with them and other theatrical troupes many times since. He has also had numerous roles in films and on television. In each role, Walter Borden captivates audiences. One particularly noteworthy work was the play he wrote and performed entitled Tightrope Time: Ain't Nuthin' More Than Some Itty Bitty Madness Between Twilight And Dawn. It was an autobiographical examination of the complex world of a central character who is Black and gay, who is raised in small town Nova Scotia but is living in a city facing challenges like racism, impoverishment and homophobia.

For his long and distinguished career in the arts, Walter Borden has received many awards and honours — including the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the African Nova Scotian Music Association’s Music Heritage Award and the Portia White Prize and been made a member of the Order of Canada.