About the Guild

In 2011, the Shaw Librarians prepared a History of Volunteering at The Shaw, in recognition of the volunteers who have been such an integral part of the theatre over the past 50 years (cover design at right).

Preparing the document, information was gathered from many sources, including early newspaper articles, The Shaw archives, Brian Doherty’s Not Bloody Likely, A. R. Day’s The Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1962-1981 and approximately 40 oral histories which have been collected by Nancy Butler over the past 25 years.

This document, which has been adapted to focus more specifically on volunteers, has been prepared for the Shaw Guild in response to a request for a history for their records.

The Shaw Festival’s beginnings date back to the 1960s, with a small group of volunteers and a big idea. As the Festival grew, so did the group of volunteers.

Land Acknowledgement Statement
Niagara-on-the-Lake is situated on the historical land of the First Nations people. In fact, there is evidence that the area around the Shaw Festival Theatre was once an ancient site for Indigenous rituals, ceremonies and storytelling.  Theatre is based on gathering people for a communal experience.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the First Peoples of this land and especially thank the Neutral Nation, Mississauga, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe for their continued stewardship over the millennia.



Small groups of volunteers, no formal organization 1962-1963


Marjorie Rand 1964
Audrey Wooll 1965
Unknown 1966
Marjorie Rand 1967
Betty Mitchell 1968-1969
Grace Moogk 1970
Jean Gent 1971-1973

1974: SHAW FESTIVAL GUILD FORMED: List of Presidents

Lillian Magder (1st President) 1974 (160 members)
Jean Gent 1975
Christine Elder 1976-1977
Eric Monks (1st male President) 1978-1979
Grace Wildfong 1980-1981
Audrey Storey 1982
Ken Gent 1983-1984
Lorraine Rayment 1985-1986
Elfie Northey 1987-1988
Howard Martin 1989-1990
Keith Norman 1991-1992
Robert Aylesworth 1993-1994
Marybeth Moyer 1995-1996
Shirley McKeown 1997-1998
Kelvin Service 1999-2000
Gail Nagley 2001-2002
Ron Dagleish 2003-2004
Faye Goodwin 2005-2006
Suzanne Hebert 2007-2008
Carol Reid 2009-2010
Peter Barwell 2011-2012
Peter Gill 2013-2014
Arlene Carson 2015-2016
Julian Rance 2017-2018
Laurie Harley 2019-2020
Alan Walker 2021 - present

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