50/50 Benefits All
Hosting Update

Thank you, Greeter team, for persevering during July's very hot/humid weather. We were all looking forward to a warm summer, but consistent 32C?  Oh No! 

We also had another hurdle to overcome: how do we welcome and guide Patrons to the Festival performance and Sex at the Studio?

To keep us on our toes, we had to direct patrons with grandchildren to Horse and His Boy at the Festival Theatre and Sex at the Studio. Very quickly, Greeters became adept at judging the arriving audience and selecting their words accordingly. Interesting!!

But Greeters were able to hold their own.  Here are some fun comments:

Greeting on the day of Brigadoon and Sex. I said, “Welcome to the Shaw. Are you here for Brigadoon or Sex?" It was out of my mouth before I realized what I had said.  The elderly gentleman looked at his wife and said “Sex? You didn’t tell me about Sex!" It was very funny, we laughed but I’m sure my face was scarlet.  His wife just grinned and he said “I guess we are going to Brigadoon"!  "

Another elderly couple, when I welcomed them and asked if they were here to see Brigadoon, he said. “No, we're going to Sex and hoping to learn a few things!"

Actually, I think it’s more entertaining when we say to patrons, “this way for Sex or “for Sex, please proceed to the next theatre". Usually, folks just giggle or are surprised when they haven’t heard about Sex, are puzzled by the comment but laugh when you tell them.

One patron had the best line: “I hear Sex is highly overrated."

A gentleman told me he was seeing the plays Sex in the afternoon and Getting Married in the evening and what does that say about him?? I responded that he is seeing them in the wrong order! 

When I asked patrons whether they were going to see the Mae West play, some said, "No, I’m going to see Sex". Conversely, when I asked patrons whether they were going to see Brigadoon, some said, "No, the other one"! Most people were titillated just walking to the theatre - laughing and asking "Is this where we go to see Sex?" or I’m going for Sex”!

Finally, the title of the review in Broadway World was "SEX is Alive and Well at Shaw Festival" Need we say more???


                                                                  John and Marg Mather,

Left to right: Brian Parr, Paul Madely, Joe Cassidy, Bob Buchanan



       Paddy Parr, Shaw Theatre Gardens Chair

News from the Driveway:                          is on Everyone's Mind!

First Impressions

You never get a second chance to make a positive first impression!  Currently in year three of developing the tranquil Gallery Garden behind the Royal George Theatre, our volunteer gardeners were acutely aware that the garden entrance was marred by the sight of a giant air conditioner. 

Working with Shaw staff to meet maintenance criteria, Guild Member Bob Buchanan designed and built a rolling screen using deconstructed greenhouse pallets.  His creative and functional design guarantees a positive first impression for patrons attending events such as Continue the Conversation.   Bravo, Bob Buchanan, and welcome to the beautiful GALLERY GARDEN!

I hope that you are all having a wonderful summer. We have now reached mid-season peak at the Shaw with only Man and Superman and the Christmas shows to open for the remaining 2019 Season.  At this point it seems appropriate to recap the 2019 Season so far, so here it goes.

2019 Hosting by the numbers

  • 201 = Number of Hosts on the current 2019 Host List
  • 111 = Number of Hosts Signed Up For Emergency List
  • 19 = Number of Host Pairs
  • 22 = Number of New Hosts in 2019 
  • 172 = Number of shows hosted April 10 to August 2  
  • 403 = Number of Host Assignments completed


What these numbers tell me is that we are a large group of very dedicated volunteers in Hosting.  Over half of our membership is willing to pitch in on a moment’s notice in an emergency situation, so we have a lot of members residing in the NOTL area.  

And welcome, New Volunteers! You have amply demonstrated your eagerness to jump in and support the Shaw by being active participants in the Guild. These numbers look very good to me and I hope you agree.    

Thank you!

Greg Fedoryn, Host Chair, and a man who loves numbers!

Presents the Canadian Forces Snowbirds at Niagara District Airport, September 11. VIP tickets and General Admission tickets available at

Theatrical Cemetery Tours at St. Andrew’s Church. September 20, 21, 27 & 28 at 6 pm, 7 pm & 8 pm. Tickets are limited, must be purchased in advance. Call 905-468-3912.

RiverBrink Art Sale: Join us at the opening reception: August 30, 4-7pm to purchase artwork while enjoying delicious appetizers, local wine and music in support of RiverBrink Art Museum. $50 Tickets available now! Art Sale open to the public with free admission August 31st & September 1st 11am-4pm.

Exhibit and Opening: Looking Back – Forging Forward: Trench Art & Ronald Boaks. Exhibit is on now and runs to September 29.

Moonlight Picnic: Book your table for Friday, September 6th, 2019 6 - 10 pm.

Announcing Suzanne Hebert as new Guild Fundraising Chair
Suzanne has been with the Guild for 17 years and has served in many roles, including President.  Currently she’s active as a Docent and facilitates Continue the Conversations. 
Suzanne says, "In a moment of total lack of lucidity, I accepted to become the 2020 Fundraising Chair!  Seriously, it’s a wonderful challenge, for me and for all of you.   The Garden Tour is the Guild’s biggest annual fundraiser for Shaw. We’ll need every Guild member’s help to make it a success and the best ever. Please answer our calls for help over the next few months.  WE NEED ALL OF YOU!"
If you are interested in being a part of the Garden Tour team, contact Suzanne at
Already planning for the holidays? Well we have something that will interest you.
Renew your 2020 Guild membership by November 5 to be eligible for a draw to win two tickets for the Opening Celebration of the new Shaw Christmas production, Holiday Inn, Saturday, November 23, at 7:00 pm.
To enter the contest, each Guild member should log into MVP, sign up for Membership Renewal (under the Other category) and follow the payment instructions.
The contest closes on Members' Day, November 5. Payment must be received by that day.
The winner will be notified by Friday, November 8.
How’s that for a Christmas special?
More than 60 Guild members gathered on a lovely,
warm summer evening in July to enjoy each other’s
company, listen to music and share a delicious meal
prepared by Gooddine’s Catering. 
The weather was perfect and the tables were set on the
Member’s Terrace according to the “Southern Charm” theme.
Guild Members were treated to drinks and live music, followed
by a southern themed dinner menu. Guests enjoyed mingling
and the lively conversation. 
The committee would particularly like to thank Chuck Weafer
for his music and Rene Bertschi for his marvelous
“glass” animals which graced each table, a la Glass Menagerie.
Such an event cannot take place without the dedication and efforts of several very talented people.  
I would like to express heartfelt thanks to the following committee members: Annie Holcombe, Cindy Grant, Linda Baines, Elaine Evans, 
Glenna Collins, Jan Reid-Fielden.
                                         Thanks as well for the great support from Laurie Harley, Cheryl Morris, Keith Mills, Julian Rance, Arlene Carson, Rob
                                         Carson and Joseph Allevato.  We couldn’t have done it without you!  Our appreciation also goes to Janet Hanna and the
                                         Shaw staff who are so supportive of these events.   Well done everyone – Bravo!
                                      SAVE THE DATE!  Props and Warehouse Tour, September 23. More info coming soon!
                                          Brenda Weafer, Activities Chair
A Delightful Evening at the Summer Celebration!
You know all those loonies and toonies that weigh down your pockets and handbags?  Well, fear not!  I have a way to put them to good use.  On Thursday, August 1st, the month-long 50/50 began to benefit Boxill Doherty.
Tickets are available at the Stage Door/Admin desk - $2 for one; $5 for three; $20 for an arm’s length.  The next draws will be on August 23rd and 30th (for alcohol, graciously donated by Jane Dagg), with the final draw for half the cash raised on Saturday, August 31st.  Last year’s winner took home $556.00!!  All secondary winning tickets will be put back in the box for the final draw.
50/50 for Boxhill Doherty
Marg Mather (10 years)
Keith Mills (10 years)
About Jane and Maureen: Beyond being accomplished Docents, they both give of their expertise, support, and time in many other Beyond the Stage activities, allowing The Shaw to be able to offer programs such as: pre-show workshops; Escape Room events; and Teachers’ Days.  Always with a welcoming smile and a 'what can I do to help' attitude.  We count ourselves most fortunate indeed to have Maureen and Jane in our corner.
Jane Calver
From the age of five I grew up in in Niagara and have lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake for 36 years. My husband and I attended the Town Performances over the years and in 1987 I brought a class of six-year-olds to see Peter Pan. Oh no! . . .up in the balcony, to my horror!
My first experience with live theatre was behind the scenes, assisting my dad to create sets for the Grantham Operatic Society, a volunteer group who met at Grantham United Church.  The first musical I saw was Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance. This theatre group still exists today as Garden City Productions.
My introduction to the Shaw, as a young teen, was to attend the first play, Candida, at the Court House. My friend’s uncle, known as Louis Berais had designed Barbara Ransom’s (as Candida) dress and had been able to get tickets for us. Perhaps the content was a little beyond us but the experience of live theatre was a memorable event.
In 2010, I became a member of the Guild and have enjoyed volunteering in many ways and at different events. In 2011, I became a Docent and love sharing my enthusiasm for all aspects of the theatre with adult and student groups. Each season, it is necessary to immerse yourself in the plays, and the Education Department provides us with the tools and workshops to enable us to actively engage the people on the tour. Facilitating Continue the Conversation following the matinees and being engaged in the children’s and family workshops is certainly part of two-way theatre and should encourage the next generation to be active participants in live theatre.
The Shaw is reaching out with such things as Secret Theatre, workshops and chats with the actors, to engage in the theatre experience. It makes theatre more approachable and the audience become in a sense, participants in the whole theatre experience.
Way to go, TC and the Shaw!
Maureen Dalgleish

This season marks my 20th year as a Shaw Guild volunteer. It all started as a request by Peggy Service to join her "Gala" committee back in 1999 when Christopher Newton was Artistic Director. In 2003 I was one of 17 volunteers who participated in a Pilot Project for the Docent program.

Initially I guided back stage tours but presently, working with the Shaw Education Staff, I also have the opportunity to do Introductions at the Festival Theatre and to facilitate the "Continue the Conversation " discussions. This is one of my favourite activities! Every year is different and I make myself available where needed. I have helped out in Escape Rooms and in the Narnia workshops and for several years I have been a Garden Manager in support of the Shaw Guild Garden Tour fundraiser.
How very fortunate I am to be a member of the Shaw Guild and to have the opportunity to share my passion for the theatre with our Shaw patrons. I am grateful!

Jane Calver (5 years)
Maureen Dalgleish (20 years)
Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport Volunteer Service Awards to Guild Members

August 2019

Message from Laurie Harley, President, Shaw Guild

The season is in high gear with the last three shows, Victory, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Man and Superman, all scheduled to open this month.  Before we know, it will be November and we’ll be waiting for the return of A Christmas Carol and the debut of Holiday Inn

We’ve all been asking and anticipating what’s in store for 2020 and now we know! Be sure to have a look at the announcement of next year’s playbill.  As Tim Carroll put it, “This is a season of classics across the board, classic musicals, classic comedies, classic dramas”.  Fasten your seat belts for an exciting 2020!

There’s still a lot happening in 2019.  You’ll find an interesting lineup of features in this edition from the enjoyable Summer Celebration, to spotlighting our amazing volunteers, to a new Poems in the Trees contest.  Check out the article in this newsletter for all the details.   

Request for nominations for election to the 2020 Guild Executive Committee
Due September 1

The Chair positions open for nomination for 2020 Executive Committee are:

  • Docent Chair
  • Hosting Chair
  • Membership Chair
  • Fundraising (Garden Tour) Chair


The term of office is two years. A current Chair may stand for re-election. The maximum number of years a member may serve on the Executive Committee is six, or three terms. Elections will take place at the Annual General meeting of the Shaw Guild.  This year’s AGM is November 24.

The Shaw Guild By-laws state in Article XIII - Section 3; "A Member of the Guild may recommend a Nominee to the Nominating Committee not later than September 1st, providing that the Nominee meets the criteria for the position, has consent in writing and the nomination has been seconded by another Member". 

For further information and/or to submit nominations by September 1, please contact the Nominating Committee Chair, Julian Rance, at

The Early Bird Gets the Tickets! Renew your Guild Membership for 2020 Now!

There is also a new section this month dedicated to promoting events from our sister arts and cultural organizations who call Niagara-on-the-Lake home.  Many of our Guild members donate their time to these groups as well as to the Shaw.   Sharing information about their fundraising initiatives is another way the Guild can strengthen its connections with the local cultural community.  

Your comments and questions are welcomed at

Enter the "Poems in the Trees" Treasure Hunt Contest

Have you strolled through the Festival Gardens lately?  It might be time for you to have another look. There is something special going on. We call it “Poems in the Trees”. Inspired by London Transport's 'Poems On The Underground', Artistic Director Tim Carroll has come up with an idea to marry the beauty of the Shaw Festival Gardens with some of the most beautiful words ever written.  Shaw Company members have shared their favourite poems and they are now laid out throughout the Gardens for you to discover and enjoy.

“Poems in the Trees” represents four months of teamwork between the Guild’s Garden Chair, Paddy Parr and the Shaw’s Senior Marketing and Brand Manager, Nathalie Ivany-Becchetti and Graphic Designer, Sarah Dowes.  Thanks to funding provided by an RBC Community Volunteer Grant received by Brian Parr, what started as a creative idea is now a new feature in the beautiful Shaw gardens, cared for each week by the Guild Gardeners. 
Your challenge: wander through the gardens, hunt for all 25 poems, pick the favourite you treasure, and send a note to with:
  • the name of the poem, and
  • the Company member who submitted it. 
Deadline for submissions is September 16. All of the entries will be included in a draw for 5 pairs of tickets to attend the Director/Designer Presentation for Holiday Inn on FRIDAY NOVEMBER 15. Draw will take place on Friday, September 20, 2019. Winners will be notified by email.
President’s Corner
This month’s question:
What is the Guild Endowment Fund?
Joe Allevato (Guild Treasurer) and I recently sat down with Roy Reeves, Shaw’s Director of  Finance
and Administration for a practical primer on how endowment funds operate.  
We learned the legal, governance and accountability issues related to endowments can be  difficult to
grasp; however, we’re fortunate that Roy has a way of describing complexity in terms  that even I can
understand.  Thanks to Joe’s audit background and Roy’s explanations, here is all you wanted to know about  Endowment Funds.
What is an Endowment Fund?
Let’s start with a brief explanation of Endowment Funds in general.  An endowment is a long-term fund that holds its principal in perpetuity and pays out a sustainable portion each year to support a charity’s operations and programs.  Endowment funds have two goals:  to solicit additional contributions to grow the endowed capital and to prudently invest these funds to generate investment income.   
Shaw Festival Theatre Endowment Foundation
The Shaw Festival created the Shaw Festival Theatre Endowment Foundation in 2003.  It’s a separately incorporated entity in Canada, registered as a charitable foundation, with the objectives of receiving, holding and maintaining funds for the benefit of the Shaw Festival Theatre.  The Foundation’s funds are invested by a portfolio manager with performance monitored by the Investment Committee of the Foundation’s Board.  Fund balances have grown to $26.6 million as of December 31, 2018.  They include donor contributions, contributions from the Canadian Cultural Investment Fund of Heritage Canada, and contributions from the Ontario Arts Fund.  For anyone who wants to delve into the structure and financials of the Foundation, there is an excellent write-up in the Shaw Festival 2018 Annual Report.
Shaw Guild Endowment Fund
For those who don’t know, the Boxill Doherty Committee raises money throughout the year in order for us to help each other. Any member of the company can approach the Committee with a request for financial assistance.  The Committee discusses each request, and helps out where we can.  All requests are treated with the utmost confidentiality.
Please be as generous as you can.  It is most appreciated. 
Submitted by Margaret Ferencz, on behalf of the Boxill Doherty Committee.
The Shaw Guild Endowment Fund, formed in 2006, is one of a group of endowed funds that make up the Shaw Festival Endowment Foundation.  At year-end 2018, the Fund’s balance was $300,674. The Shaw Festival Endowment Foundation leverages this amount and counting the effect of government matching and investment income (not including unrealized gains or losses on equities), it is valued at over $500,000
Contributions from fundraising projects may be directed to the Guild endowed fund within the Shaw Festival Theatre Endowment Foundation to continue its long-term growth and eligibility for matching grants. 

It provides an annual distribution that the Guild uses to support Shaw operations and programs. 

Each year an Endowment Fund Committee is formed with representatives from the Shaw Guild and the Shaw.  Together they direct the Shaw on the use of the annual distribution from the Guild’s endowed fund with consideration to those areas where the Shaw Guild’s membership is active.   That amount varies from year to year and has been used for projects such as improvements to the Royal George Lounge, the Alice Project and puppet play development. 


As always, we welcome comments and questions at

In July 2013, my husband Chris and I took a drive to check on the progress of our new home being built in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  On that visit we met our first neighbours, who in NOTL fashion were friendly, warm and of course invited us over for a glass of wine.  As the conversation progressed, Robin had to excuse himself as he was off to the Shaw Festival.  He was a Docent.  I was unfamiliar with the term “Docent”, but when I understood what it was and what it involved, both my teaching and acting antennas were fully raised.
Fast forward to June 2015 standing in the Festival Theatre auditioning to be part of the Docent Program.  
I spoke about my passion for teaching students with special needs, my love of theatre and acting.
Getting to Know You, Wendy Glazier!
All tours are enjoyable. The patrons experience some of the most interesting aspects about both our theatre and company.  Although we always share key information about the Shaw, backstage tours can be tailored to anyone, any age. 
I particularly enjoy working with students of all ages and individuals with special needs.  Seeing all types of different people on tours and attending plays makes me tremendously proud of the Shaw Festival and my involvement as a Docent. 
One grade 4 class, were, a particularly engaging group.  A boy asked a final question: “How do actors fake cry?”   Standard answers just didn’t suffice. Eventually, we did a little scene together and I managed to squeeze out some tears.  Fake crying achieved and much appreciated! 
We have also had successful tours for the visually impaired and blind. Wardrobe provided tactile items for these groups.   Hats that everyone, including those the guide dog could try on, were in the dressing room.  Our groups of young adults with special needs often take some improvising yet are absolutely wonderful.
Spotlight on Sue Henry
Have you heard the saying:  if you want something done, give it to a
busy person?
If that person is Sue Henry, the saying fits perfectly. Sue has been a Guild member
since 2017.  Over the past two years, her extensive skill set has benefitted the
Guild in many ways. 
As the Newsletter Convener, she helped to redesign and streamline communications;
she’s jumped in to solve website problems; she’s helped develop strategies to recognize volunteers; and she’s been a key force in implementing the new scheduling tool, My Volunteer Page, for Hosting.  Sue and her husband, Greg Fedoryn (Hosting Chair), are the dynamic duo behind the transition from the old to the new hosting process, investing hours in producing comprehensive resource materials and introducing regular Hosting communications. Add to these roles her work as a Hosting Captain as well as a Host, and you have the profile of an exemplary Guild volunteer.
We thank Sue for all the time she donates to the Guild as she passes one of her roles, as Social Media Convener, back to the Communications Chair.  You’ll continue to see her involved in Hosting and who knows what else she may choose to explore in the future.  Indeed, a very busy lady!
If you know a remarkable Guild member who has gone above the call of duty, please contact a Guild Chair, Convener or Hosting Captain to submit their name and a few details about their special contributions and why they should be Spotlighted.
All nominations will be considered by the Chairs and exceptional volunteers will be showcased in the newsletter. 
You can also send nominations by email to
Arts & Culture Notices from Organizations in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Starting this month, the Guild newsletter will post relevant notices about arts and cultural events or items of interest sent to us by various organizations in town. Note: The Guild is not responsible for the content, so please visit the respective organization’s website for any additional information you require.

Change, doggone it, We Can’t Escape It!

My Volunteer Page (MVP) volunteer system was introduced and rolled out the beginning of 2019.
Just recently the Guild sent out a survey to get your feedback. While the final survey results have yet to be tallied
it is worth noting the key intent of MVP is to provide a more fair and equitable process for the volunteers to “sign-up” for Hosting, Greeting, Events, and various other support initiatives. This tool empowers our volunteers to determine – what they are interested in, where they want to volunteer. and when they want to volunteer. It also helps us understand you as a volunteer and how you would like to support the Guild. While we realize this is a big change for everyone, this tool really does help the Guild with managing our volunteers and activities.

So, your input on this work-in-process endeavor is greatly encouraged. We know there is room for improvement so please do not hesitate to offer any, and I stress any, comments or suggestions. After all, we truly appreciate our Most Valuable People – our Volunteers. Contact Kim Mustill: Note: Specific questions about hosting or greeting should be directed to the respective Chairs.

Announcing The Shaw's 2020 Season:  A fabulous season is in store!
“Not one, but two magnificent Sondheim musicals! An epic story out of India. The continuing battle for Narnia. A devil of a rebel straight out of the American Revolution. A dog more Casanova than canine. An Irish classic, an American classic and a forgotten classic. Plus, the return of Sherlock Holmes!”

The following Guild Members were nominated by the Shaw Festival:

About Marg and Keith:  Marg has served as the Greeting Chair since 2015.  Under her leadership, she has expanded the Greeter program from just matinees to all Openings and some evening performances.  With support from her husband, John, she manages a team of 74 volunteers who contributed over 1200 hours across 392 shifts.  In a recent Shaw Guild Member Survey, she received glowing comments on her role as Greeter Chair.  

Keith has been involved in fundraising for the Guild for many years. But his efforts in 2018 to organize and manage a Guild Cricket event went above and beyond expectations.  90+ people came out to cheer on the Shaw Cricket Team, which raised more than $1,100 to donate to the Team.  For the first time in recent memory, 13 people from Stratford’s Friends of the Festival made the trip to NOTL to join in the event.  Even the threat of rain didn’t dampen spirits.  The 2018 Cricket event will go into the record books as one of our most successful and this is all due to Keith’s efforts.

Marg Mather
Growing up in Welland, I have fond memories of attending Shaw productions with my parents. I left Welland, moving to Toronto, but always returned for my Shaw "fix".  Ten years ago my husband, John, and I retired to Niagara-on-the-Lake and immediately joined the Guild. We became Hosts and later I became a Hosting Captain for 5 years. We joined the team delivering "Playing This Week" which we continued for several years, and were asked to setup and implement the delivery schedule for the Shaw Film Series flyers. We volunteer for the Shaw Garden Tour and volunteered for the CAVORT conference held at Shaw.
In 2014, we helped Christine Lancaster with the development of the Greeting Pilot Project, became Conveners of the new program and subsequently, I was asked to join the Executive Committee as Greeting Chair. In this position, I oversee the Greeting program, do the monthly scheduling of Greeters, update all Greeters on any new information, and meet with our Greeting team, Shaw administration and new volunteers.  Our program has grown to 85 dedicated volunteers.
I thoroughly enjoy my involvement with Shaw......"Teamwork makes the dream work" (John C. Maxwell)
Keith Mills

I was very active in Amateur theatre for over 10 years in Halton Hill, in musicals, dramas, both directing and producing. My efforts culminated in the winning of a Thea award from Theatre Ontario for my performance as Ruddy in Hello Dolly. After moving to Niagara-on-the-Lake just before retiring from an international corporate life, I once again felt a great desire to get involved in the theatre. I joined the Shaw Guild and was delighted to be accepted into the docent program which I thoroughly enjoyed for 10 years. I’ve also had the pleasure to be one of the facilitators for Continuing the Conversation for the last 3 years, which is a terrific way to engage with patrons from all over the globe, after the show. 

My love of gardening motivated me to become very active in the organization of the annual Shaw Garden Tour for many years. 

And, while I am not a cricket player, I have had a lot of fun helping to coordinate the annual Cricket Match between the Shaw company and the Stratford company over the past 3 years. Currently, I am member of a committee of Guild members in the early planning stages of establishing a new major annual fundraising event, which we hope to launch in the late fall of 2020.

This website is created and hosted by's Site Builder.