April 2021 Newsletter


Skills Survey Still Open

There was a very good response to our online Skills Survey in March.  Of the Guild volunteers who have renewed for 2021, 40% filled out the survey.

However, we had some feedback that the skills listed in the survey were too focused on business and didn’t reflect many of the “soft” skills that Guild Volunteers possess.  That was not our intent when creating the survey questions, so thank you for that feedback! 

Message from Alan Walker, President, Shaw Guild

In several ways it has been a better time since the last Newsletter. Let me begin by mentioning the truly remarkable Shaw Festival 2020 season financial, and artistic results, as widely reported in the media, and shared with us at the Annual General meeting.

Shortly before that, in mid-March, Guild members enjoyed, as always, an informative, reflective and entertaining with TC, this time at the “Unplugged” session by Zoom.

Our most recent session on March 26, the hugely-entertaining “Setting the Stage”, was elegantly hosted by Brenda Weafer and featured wonderful “insider” stories from Lesslie Tunmer and David Edwards. Frankly, it is difficult to reconcile the professed aversion of these two Shaw stalwarts to being on stage, with the bravura performance we all enjoyed, based on your feedback.

On March 28th, tickets went on sale for the first of the two main Guild fundraising events, Sip, Savour and Stroll, set to take place on August 28.  Within three days all 100 tickets had been sold, a remarkable boost to us all, a testament to the belief we have in this event, and a reward for all the hard work and commitment by the organizing Team.

This wonderful news was followed by the update from the organizers of the annual Garden Tour (happening on September 11) that several local businesses had agreed to become sponsors of the Tour, in addition to many of the sponsors who signed on last year.

Finally, and despite the latest provincial COVID-related restrictions, there is renewed hope that the new Shaw season will begin in May; although it may be in a different form, or with restricted audience numbers.

We will learn more from Tim Jennings and TC, when they join us on April 22nd for the “What’s the Buzz” online event, timed to celebrate 2021’s National Volunteer Week. This year’s theme is The Value of One, The Power of Many”.

As Volunteer Canada notes, “this theme reflects on the awe-inspiring acts of kindness by millions of individuals AND the magic that happens when we work together towards a common purpose.  This past year we have seen people supporting family, friends, neighbours, and strangers, people standing up to systemic racism, and people sharing insights on how to create a more just and equitable society.  We recognize the value of the caring and compassion that each one has shown another, and we recognize the power of people, organizations, and sectors working together. “

Please join the session on April 22 at 11:00 a.m. on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwCjHQyvgqY

Please send questions in advance to info@shawguild.ca and you can ask questions during the live session as well.

Volunteers Needed for Sip, Savour & Stroll eventSaturday August 28, 2021, 6:00 - 9:00pm

At the Shaw Festival AGM, Board Chair Peter Jewett spoke about a major area of focus to ensure the Shaw is a diverse, inclusive and safe environment for staff.

In 2020, the Festival created a new equity, diversity and inclusivity task force comprised of 14 artists, board members and staff, along with a third-party consultant to make recommendations on the company’s next steps and policy improvements. Jewett said those recommendations are expected by late April.

“We are determined that the Shaw will be a safe, respectful, trusting, diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace,” he said. “All of our Black, Indigenous and other employees and artists of colour have been on the receiving end of unacceptable racial comments and behaviours, whether consciously intended or not,” he said. “We cannot turn a blind eye on our history. So, Shaw has taken this moment to look at how it can more widely supported and diversify its workforce, include a wider range of communities in its programs, boards and volunteers.” He said the Shaw would “continue to ensure that those who have been excluded from our stages or treated in an unacceptable manner within our walls, by intent or not, will never have those barriers in front of them again.”

Trouble in Mind: A play from the 1950s that’s still relevant in 2021

Trouble in Mind is a play written in the U.S. in the 1950s about white people putting on plays about Black people. It will be premiered at the Shaw Festival in August. This funny and moving satire on the rehearsal hall as a microcosm of society is a piece for our times.

Director Philip Akin talked about the play and the subject matter in a recent interview with the Shaw. Click here to read this interview.

At times, a particular expertise is needed when the Executive Committee is searching for a candidate for an open position, and the input from the skills survey will help us find those candidates.  But we are interested to know about any other talents you would like to include.

If you haven’t filled out the skills survey yet, you can still participate until the end of April. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE SURVEY

Your responses will be updated in your MVP profile. You can go into your profile at any time to change or add other skills. (Under My Profile -> Additional Information)

Guild volunteers are exceptional in our roles at the Shaw Festival:

  • Greeters and Hosts are excellent communicators when helping patrons find their way in the theatre.
  • Volunteers who have worked at the Garden Tour, Student Workshops and other Guild activities, have experience with events.
  • Docents have experience speaking to groups, and are good communicators.
  • Gardeners work well in teams, and “project-manage” their work in the gardens each week.
  • Volunteers who run “Continue the Conversation” sessions are excellent facilitators.

From the results of the survey responses so far, many volunteers have listed even more talents!

Guild volunteers include nurses, runners, coaches, singers, art consultants and engineers.  Many of us are bilingual in languages such as French, Russian, German, Mandarin and Latvian.  We have volunteers who are proficient in first aid, photography and catering. 

These are just some of the many talents within the Shaw Guild. 

Thanks for participating in the survey!

Update on the Shaw Festival’s Diversity & Inclusion Efforts

Now that tickets have been sold out (!!) we are looking for a few more volunteers to work at the event!

Sip, Savour & Stroll will be held Saturday, August 28, 2021.  It’s an exclusive garden event featuring two private gardens as well as the Gallery garden behind the Royal George.  

We still need a few volunteers to help with set-up, serving food during the event and clean-up.

Volunteers shifts start around 5:30 p.m. and last approximately 3 hours.  The event will be “action packed” but promises to be a lot of fun!  

If you would like to join the team, contact Mary Mizen at mary.mizen@gmail.com for more information.



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