MVP News

As we await the start of the 2020 Shaw season, we have been working on some enhancements to MVP to make volunteering for the Guild even easier. Details will be communicated in April.

We will also be offering MVP refresher training throughout the year to provide any additional support. The first one is scheduled for Monday March 2 at 10:00 am. We will let you know soon how to sign up for this session and future ones.

Do you know that your volunteer hours could have a cash value for Shaw Festival?  RBC retiree Brian Parr recently received word that once again his former employer has recognized his annual volunteer hours as a Guild Gardener, with yet another $500 grant.

Brian’s annual application to RBC has generated a total of $6,000, celebrating his twelve seasons (over 1,200 hours) volunteering weekly in the gardens.   IBM and Honda Canada are two more community-minded corporations that have joined RBC to financially support the Shaw Festival through volunteer recognition programs for Guild Members.     

Does YOUR former employer offer financial support for YOUR volunteer hours?  Ask if they do, and you may be able to become one of the Guild’s “value-added volunteers”!




                                       Paddy Parr, Shaw Gardens Chair

Last year’s event was very popular and served as a welcome for both new and returning Guild AND new Shaw members, while strengthening our support for the ensemble

If you are in town and wish to join us, please sign up in MVP under the category Events.  There is a limit of 35 people, so sign up today for this excellent opportunity!  You can also register by email to Brenda Weafer at

Registration opens January 30.  Hope to see you there!

Extra Benefits from Volunteering for the Shaw Guild

There are also 2 new indicators where you can let us know if you are SmartServ qualified, and if you are interested in finding out about future leadership roles in the Guild.

You can check the Resources page of our website to find a description of the roles and responsibilities of each member of the EC in the 2020 Executive Committee Role Descriptions.

One last request: Please go to your Interests tab (under “MY PROFILE”) and review/update your interests. If you are happy with your choices, no need to make any changes.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon! 

Kim Mustill, MVP Chair,

Shaw Guild 2020 Events

Each event will also appear in the relevant month of the Event CalendarCheck there for updates.





February 15

Meet & Greet New Company Members (Slaight Family Intensive)

NOTL Library

7:30 – 8:30pm


March 23

Scene Shop Visit

Scene Shop in Virgil

7:00 – 9:00 pm


April 6

Spring Preview Luncheon & Show and Tell

Lunch in Festival Theatre Lobby 11:30am – 1:00pm

Show & Tell 1:00pm


April 22

Volunteer Week Reception & Dress Rehearsal for Prince CaspianRoyal George Theatre

Reception 6:00 pm (coffee and dessert) in the Gallery Space at the Royal George. Dress Rehearsal called for 7:00pm

Thursday, May 7

The Shaw Company Day

Festival Theatre  11:00am

Friday, June 12

Saturday June 13

Sense, Savour & Stroll

Garden Tour



Friday September 11

SpeakEasy/cocktail party, “An Evening under the Stars”

Terrace outside Festival Theatre

7:00pm – 10:00pm

Late August/Early September Date TBD

Cricket Match vs Stratford

The Commons in NOTL

Mid – Late October TBD

Set-Changeover from Gypsy to Me & My Girl 

Festival Theatre

Time TBD

Monday, October 19

Shaw Guild Members Day

McDonald Heaslip Lounge & Rehearsal Hall 1

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Monday, November 23

Shaw Guild AGM

Rehearsal Hall 3

1:00pm – 4:00pm

News from the Driveway

Hello All and Happy 2020!

A big "Thank You" to our Greeters   who, during the Holiday Season, welcomed Patrons
even in the rain and that white "stuff". 
Also, thank you to Shaw for allowing Greeters
to "work" in the Box Office Lobby when it was just too cold.

In December, Greeters responded with an overwhelming "Yes" when we asked them to
add the Evening performances of "Holiday Inn" to their schedules.
 Man, it was cold some
(No, most) evenings.  Greeters were needed to send Patrons, arriving at the Festival Theatre
for A Christmas Carol, off to the Royal George in time for the curtain and that they did!

Even with the rain, snow and cold, the Holiday Season was a lovely time of year to greet and
engage with our Patrons; Barbara and Dennis (at right) being great examples!

                                                        Now it's time to look ahead to an exciting 2020 Shaw Season!         

                                                        All the very best wishes and see you soon on the Driveway.


                                                        Marg and John Mather,  Shaw Guild – Greeting,

Help us Help you!

Periodically the Guild looks for people with various skills and experiences
to assist with special projects, new initiatives and to join the Executive Committee.
e invite you to go to your MVP Profile and under “MY PROFILE” go to the
dditional Info option.  
Please fill in any info regarding your skills, professional experience, certifications, and interests.

In Memoriam

Cheryl Ann Phillips, with family by her side, on December 4, 2019, lost her battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 65. Beloved wife of the late Jim (2014). Loving mother of Michael (Sarah), Bobby (Erin) and Christopher. Proud Gramma of Adrianna, Madelynne, Eric and Evie. Dear sister of Carol (Bert) and aunt of Brent (Andrea) and the late Adrienne. Caring niece of Irene.

Cheryl happily retired to Niagara-on-the-Lake a year ago and became an active member of the community and in the Shaw Guild. She will be missed by many friends. For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Shaw Festival seeks volunteers and storytellers from the South Asian community

In August and September, 2020, the Shaw Festival in conjunction with Toronto’s Why Not Theatre will present a contemporary take on the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit poem of ancient India that is foundational to Indian culture.

This stunning spectacle will be presented in two parts - each part an approximately three-hour stage play. The two parts can be seen on separate days, or on several dates, the epic will be performed in its entirety with a meal of traditional Gujarati food served in between, allowing participants to share a meal and stories together.

For audience members to fully experience this rich, cultural journey, the Shaw Festival and Why Not Theatre are reaching out to the South Asian community to ask for volunteers to help on performance days as greeters, hosts, and storytellers. Volunteers will welcome audience members to the Shaw, answer audience questions and help enhance the Mahabharata theatrical experience. Mahabharata volunteers will join members of the Shaw Guild who regularly donate their time to support the Shaw Festival.

If you would like to learn about this unique production and how you might be involved, please contact


Sneak Peek: Saturday, February 15th!

The Shaw Guild is excited to offer a chance to see this year’s newest Shaw company members in action as they present their culminating performance after a week of the Slaight Family Intensive workshops. 

The event takes place at the NOTL Library, 10 Anderson Lane, NOTL on Saturday February 15th from 7:30 - 8:30 pm.

Coffee and cookies will follow during a “Meet and Greet” with the performers. 

Early bird tickets are now available!

Tickets are now on sale for the annual Shaw Guild Garden Tour, and Sense, Savour & Stroll! 

This year we are offering an Early bird ticket price for both events.  Buy your tickets before March 15 to take advantage of this discount!


The 15th annual Shaw Guild Garden Tour in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake will be held Saturday, June 13, 2020.   Eight private gardens will be featured.  Master Gardeners are on-site at each garden to answer questions and provide expert advice. 

Back by popular demand and limited to 100 guests, Sense, Savour & Stroll is an elegant garden party on the evening of June 12, 2020.  Enjoy delicious food, drink, an art auction, and music at three unique gardens, each a short stroll from one another.  Tickets for Sense, Savour & Stroll include admission to the full garden tour on June 13. 

  • Shaw Guild Garden Tour Saturday June 13, 2020 : Early bird ticket: $20; after March 15, 2020: $25 
  • Sense, Savour & Stroll: evening of Friday June 12, 2020 : Early bird ticket: $90; after March 15, 2020: $100 

Drop by or call the Shaw Festival Theatre Box Office, 1-800-511-7429 or 905-468-2172  

Or buy online at 

We need your help to promote these fantastic events.

  • Use social media to tell your friends about the Garden Tour and Sense, Savour & Stroll.  “Like” the events posted on the Shaw Guild Facebook page and share with your Facebook friends.
  • Brochures, bookmarks and posters advertising these events are now available.  If you would like copies, send an email to
  • Make sure your friends and family know about these events.  Take advantage of the Early bird pricing – only available until March 15, 2020!

Note: a call for Guild members to volunteer to help at the Garden Tour will be sent in April.

Shaw Guild Garden Tour and Sense, Savour & Stroll event

Black History Month Film Series LUNCHBOX CINEMA | FRIDAYS @ 11:30 AM

  • Feb 14: Journey to Justice (47 min)
  • Feb 21: Remember Africville (35 min) & Black Mother, Black Daughter (29 min)
  • Feb 28: Speakers for the Dead (50 min)

Pack a lunch and learn about the Black experience in Canada. Snacks and refreshments available for purchase.  Free admission.

LECTURE: Colours to Dye For presented by Sandra Lawrence, February 15 at 10 am

Dying of textiles has been going on since mankind was first able to twist plant and animal hair fibres into threads, and to weave those threads into fabrics. This presentation looks at the fascinating, and sometimes tumultuous histories behind some of those dyes.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum, 43 Castlereagh Street | 905-468-3912 |

The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre invites you to join us for upcoming exhibits & events. The facility is now closed due to extensive renovations. Watch for the announcement of re-opening in March.

  • Instructors Exhibition: runs April 5-May 5, 2020 
  • Volunteer Celebration Party on April 9, 2020, 7:00-9:00 pm. See our upgraded facility! 
  • Pop Art Fashion Show: May 24, 2020, 12:00-5:00 pm at the Hilton Garden Inn, NOTL, ON.



January 2020

Message from Laurie Harley, President, Shaw Guild

A year ago, when I wrote my first message as President of the Guild, I anticipated 2019 would be a year of challenges.    A quick look back confirms it was indeed a memorable year.  The Guild welcomed 52 new members who, along with you, donated over 13,500 hours to support the Shaw Festival breaking all previous volunteer hour records.  If we use the Conference Board of Canada’s formula to put a value on that achievement, it translates into a contribution to the Shaw of $365,000.  Well done! 

But your contribution went well beyond donating time.  You raised funds that allowed us again to donate $25,000 to the Shaw to support the holiday production of A Christmas Carol.  You worked with us on the introduction and implementation of MVP (My Volunteer Page), a web-based tool that entirely changed the way you sign up for volunteer shifts. 

Major change is never easy but with your patience and support, MVP had a successful 2019 season.

For 2020 we have created a new Chair position on the Executive Committee, dedicated to supporting MVP.  Kim Mustill, the MVP Chair, will be focused on finding ways to improve your MVP experience along with training and technical support.  Have a look at her profile featured in this Newsletter.  

As we bid a fond farewell to 2019, 2020 promises to be an equally exciting year.  Our strategic goals, established in 2018, will continue to guide our actions:

  • to make your volunteer experience as meaningful and satisfying as possible
  • to enhance patron experience
  • to continue strengthening our relationship with the Shaw Company and Staff

To help us measure progress towards these goals, we plan to conduct a Member Survey in late spring.  Watch for more information in future Newsletters.

In this Newsletter, Brenda Weafer, Activities Chair, provides a first look at the Guild Calendar of Events for 2020.  It’s an impressive line-up that combines “old favourites” -  like  the Scene Shop visit in March and the annual Shaw/Stratford Cricket Match to be held in NOTL this fall -  along with “innovative adventures” -  like a return invitation to attend the Shaw Company Day in May and a new format for the summer event in July.  These are opportunities to not only learn more about theatre but to build relationships with Guild members and Shaw staff.  We hope you are able to come out and enjoy them.   

Thanks for an amazing 2019.  Let’s do it again in 2020.  

Your comments and questions are welcomed at any time at

Your comments and questions are welcomed at

Make Sure You are Ready for the 2020 Shaw Season!

Renew your Guild membership so you don’t miss out on . . . Musicals… Mysteries…
Narnia… An Indian epic… Scene Shop Visit… Garden Tour… Set Change-Over… and more!

The 2020 season is packed with opportunities to volunteer and learn the Shaw’s secrets.
All 2019 memberships will expire on January 31. Don’t let your membership lapse. 

If you haven’t renewed for 2020, now’s the time to do so in order to see and sign up for volunteer duties and Guild activities in MVP.

To renew your membership, send your $20 per person annual fee by e-transfer or mail, as follows:



  • Send your cheque with the name(s) of the renewing member(s) to Shaw Guild Membership,
     Box 83, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0

Your involvement in the Guild and the Shaw Festival counts. Keep your membership active!

                                                                                                                          Susan MacDonald, Membership Chair

Arts & Culture Notices from Organizations in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Featuring 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.

Table of Contents (click link to go to article):

Message from the President       Renew 2020 Guild Membership       Shaw Guild Garden Tour      Sneak Peek Newbie Performance    

Extra Benefits for Shaw Guild        MVP News      Shaw Guild 2020 Events      News from the Driveway   Mahabharata Volunteers

Community Notices  In Memoriam                      Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome! Send email to

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