And by way of a reminder, we will soon have another opportunity to learn more about the Shaw’s creative process. On May 13th from 4-5 pm we will be joined by our very special guest, Kimberley Rampersad, Shaw’s Associate Artistic Director. This session, “Director’s Process”, will be hosted by Brenda Weafer, who will join Kimberley in a discussion on the process of putting a large production on the stage. See below for the link to join this conversation.
Finally, a shout out to, and recognition of, other contributions Guild members are making in the Community at this time. In this Newsletter you will learn of significant contributions that Lois Flatley, Ellen Wodchis, Cheryl Morris and Kim Mustill are making. You will probably not be surprised to learn that they were reluctant to have these efforts showcased but were persuaded otherwise. Heroes all!
Keep well and safe.
Coming to a YouTube Screen near you! The Director’s Process, starringKimberley Rampersad: May 13 at 4pm
Join this broadcast to hear an in-depth discussion with Kimberley Rampersad, Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival. Kimberley will share some of her journey, and particularly how she prepares to direct a huge production such as Man and Superman, balancing the big picture with all the tiny details!
Tune in Thursday, May 13th at 4 pm for an interesting conversation with a wonderful and talented director, actor, dancer and choreographer!
Should you have questions for Kimberley, you can send them
in via the live chat on YouTube and we will address them
as we are able.
In their own words . . .
Kim Mustill: Like many people enduring this life with COVID, we are all looking for outlets and activities to keep us stimulated and engaged. With many volunteer activities being sidelined, when I saw the opportunity to join the Niagara Public Health organization to support their COVID Immunization and Vaccination program here in Niagara, I jumped at it.
It required approx. 6 hours of online training, the ability to stand for at least 5 hours per shift and have a car to be mobile enough to support multiple Vaccination Clinic sites. What I also did not know, other Shaw Guild colleagues also leapt at this opportunity.
Why else did I join? I want:
- to help the Niagara region become strong and healthy again
- this wonderful community to become vibrant and thrive again
- to create memories with family and friends again.
- and I long to hug again!
I know vaccinations are going to be a huge factor in helping the world to get back on its feet. I have truly enjoyed every shift I have been on as it’s been a pleasure to meet many wonderful people who, for the most part, are thrilled to finally get immunized.
I have also met some remarkable volunteers and Niagara Health staff who make this whole experience so worthwhile. We in the Shaw Guild do understand that sometimes volunteers seem to be invisible, but without them, an organization simply could not be successful. Volunteers tend to be a humble lot but bring extraordinary value. Let's go Niagara - everyone can make a difference in someone's lives!
Ellen Wodchis: I knew that Niagara Region Public Health was planning vaccination clinics throughout the region starting in March. I jumped at the chance to put my application in for two reasons: the opportunity to be part of the local vaccination solution to the pandemic and selfishly to have something to do. It was a perfect time to do some volunteering since most of my other gigs (like being a Shaw docent) have been on hold or greatly reduced.
I retired from Public Health three years ago after a long and very rewarding career. Public Health has a well-established volunteer program so I knew the whole process would be amazing. We started using the same volunteer software program (Better Impact) many years ago and I was pleased that the Shaw Guild began using it when I joined upon retirement.
People ask me what it’s like being at the clinics. All I can say is that it is a totally happy place - the clients, staff and volunteers are all happy. Residents and their families are so grateful to get their jab. They constantly give the clinics accolades in terms of organization and person to person touch points. The volunteers are amazing - all ages and walks of life. One volunteer told me that he would volunteer seven days a week to move vaccinations forward. So inspiring!
It is very competitive to secure volunteer shifts. The shifts are all taken in a flash. This is a good thing of course but I am hoping for more shifts as the vaccine roll out continues. Very proud to be part of this amazing experience!
Lois Flatley: This last year has been a year like no other! And COVID continues to dominate our lives. We can’t escape as there is no place to go.
At the end of 2020, the possibility of vaccines to fight this deadly virus became a reality. We were able to believe that we could, and would defeat this virus and end a worldwide pandemic.
Although our vaccine roll-out in Canada was a slow go initially, I knew I wanted to contribute in some way. As a retired nurse, I felt I still had some experience and skills to share! I almost missed my chance, but one evening, I found something on the Niagara Public Health website. “Volunteers Needed for Immunization Clinics in Niagara Region”. I almost missed the deadline for applying. The window of opportunity was closing that day, and I quickly registered. After supplying the Region with two references, I was accepted and began to receive the online training modules.
Armed with a fierce pair of “old lady shoes” and knee braces, I was ready to go!
Once I began at the clinics, I found it a joyous and purposeful experience! I am so amazed at the energy and co-ordination at these clinics. The staff are so exceptional, from the top down!
And my fellow Volunteers......it’s just amazing to see the engagement, interest and kindness these wonderful people demonstrate. I’m so proud to be part of it.
But I think the best part of the experience is seeing the happy and grateful smiles on the faces of the vaccine recipients! You may be tired at the end of your shift.....but it’s more than worth it when the Clinic Manager tells you “We vaccinated 980 people today!”
Cheryl Morris: I was sitting in the breakroom on the Friday before Volunteer Recognition Week in April and someone from NR Public Relations came by to ask if I’d be willing to be interviewed about my experience at the clinics to be used for Niagara Region Public Health communications, and if she could take my photo. “Sure”, I said. She also mentioned that if the story were picked up by a media outlet, would it be OK if they called to interview me. “Sure”, I said again. “I’m happy to help spread the word if it encourages people to get vaccinated.”
A few days after her article appeared on a Niagara Region Public Health website, an interview time was set up with someone from CBC Hamilton, who then called me for an interview. I’m pleased that he caught my sentiments exactly and used the photo that the PR person took. You can read the interview here.
NOTE: If you are also volunteering for Niagara Region Public Health we’d love to know! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Guild Starts Conversations on Diversity and Inclusivity
Guild Members Volunteering at Niagara Region Public Health Immunization Clinics
Message from Alan Walker, President, Shaw Guild
I write this on the day following the announcement that the Shaw Festival is now forced to delay the start of the 2021 season to early July. As you will have seen in the email we circulated, EC will take time to time to absorb this news, and determine the implications for the Guild’s involvement in a season that continues to be a victim of current circumstances.
That disappointment is counterbalance with sage words from TC, referring to Shaw’s plans to present shows outdoors affords us “the opportunity to present these shows amid the beauty and magic of Niagara’s outdoors – in the light of day or under the early evening stars, and allows us all to experience them in an entirely new and special way”. TC’s words serve as a reminder, that despite all our current travails, just how fortunate we are to be part of the Shaw family, in this special place.
and a photo of her garden!
News from Marg’s Home (Driveway)
Hope to see all of you at the Shaw when our season opens. In the meantime, stay safe!
So, here we are at Home, not on the Driveway at Shaw. How do we spend our time?? Well, we all do need to smile every once in a while, so here’s our attempt.
Sitting on the couch I heard John whisper:
“The best part about all this is that I get to spend more time with you.”
I looked over at him . . . and realized he was talking to the dog!
Tip of the day:
Blow on your wine in your coffee mug to convince the rest of the Zoom meeting, it’s tea.
And lastly . . .
Who’d have thought, one day we’d be smoking weed at a family gathering. And the illegal part would be . . . the family gathering.
That’s all folks . . . back to dreaming of Shaw’s driveway.
‘Til we Greet again. Marg and John Mather, Shaw Greeters
Garden Tour Convenor
Message from Mary Mizen, Vice President
We encourage you to enjoy a September day outdoors with your friends and family!
Mark your calendars for what will be a fabulous self-guided tour of eight outstanding private gardens in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
And, you will also be delighted by a few new entertaining features as part of your Garden Tour experience. Let’s just keep this as a surprise for now 😊
We will share those with you in the months ahead, but for now, it’s important we all understand the subtleties of racism and how each of us may inadvertently be hurtful to Black, Indigenous and people of colour within the Shaw. To learn more about microaggressions and hear from actors you might recognize, there are links to videos on the IDEA page of the Shaw Guild website. Here’s the link to that page.
Let’s all take the time now to be prepared for action when the Shaw season begins.
15th Annual Shaw Guild Garden Tour – Tickets go on sale May 21September 11, 2021, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Four conversations took place on Zoom during April with Guild volunteers who expressed interest in an Inclusion and Diversity Survey, which was sent electronically in February to everyone in the Guild.
Participants in the conversations reported they found them eye-opening, in particular to learn about microaggressions — what they are and how they exist at the Shaw. They discovered Indigenous,
Black and other employees and artists of colour have been on the receiving end of unacceptable racial comments and behaviours, whether consciously or not.
Late last year, the Shaw Festival formed the Equity and Inclusion Task Force, comprised of artists, board members and staff, to make recommendations on policy improvements and next steps so the Shaw can be a leader in creating a safe, respectful, trusting, diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. These recommendations are expected in early June, and the Guild will be included in them.
With much sadness we report the passing, at age 97, of Yvonne Playle on Monday May 3.
Yvonne joined the Guild in 1987 and could still be seen scanning tickets and greeting guests into her 90s. She will be remembered as an energetic Ambassador, dedicated to volunteering not only at the Guild but in the community.
Virtual Garden Tour June 19-July 11, hosted by Canadian Federation of University Women, St. Catharines
This year the CFUW (Canadian Federation of University Women), St. Catharines is organizing a Virtual Garden Tour as their 100th Anniversary Fund Raising Campaign. All proceeds from ticket sales go to their Registered Charity for Scholarships and to support local Charities that help women and children in Niagara.
The video tours of seven beautiful, unique gardens, hosted by the owners, will be available from June 19th through to July 11, 2021. In addition, two respected and knowledgeable garden experts will deliver presentations on topics that are engaging and relevant to our times. You can view them online as often as you wish.
Click the PINK FLOWER or BUY NOW button on that page to purchase your tickets.
We wish them well in this innovative approach and we now can enjoy 2 garden tours, this one in early summer and the Shaw Guild’s on September 11.
Contributed by Barb Legg, a Shaw Guild Greeter
Thus, a year ago, in late May, my hubby and I headed over to the Festival feeling quite blue that the pandemic had forced the cancellation of the ‘Opening Celebrations’.
As we entered the main terrace, I gasped at the sight of the glorious wisteria! There it stood, in absolute perfection, with all petals perfectly pooled on the terrace below, totally untouched by wind or feet! As this was something I had never seen before, it truly warmed my heart, but I yearned for all those petals to be in disarray once again, blowing all over the lobby, much to the housekeeper’s chagrin!
Here we are one year later, with a glimmer of hope that one day soon, we will gather on that beautiful terrace to drink in the beauty of the gardens, and especially our beloved wisteria, that will “kiss our noses and warm our bones” and 2021 will be “the season of becoming: of blooming into all we desire”.
Shaw Gardens Chair
A poem for Spring - by S.N. White
it is the season of all things nature:
pastel petals cascading
and spring blossoms blooming.
lilac wisteria climbs walls
and tulips are shy but beautiful
a neighbourhood walk
smells like a French parfumerie,
as abundant as a Provençal lavender field.
the glistening sun is ever hopeful –
kissing our noses and warming our bones.
it is the season of becoming:
of blooming into all we desire.
Porch Pick-Up Food Drive, May 15 & 16
Petal Blanket – Perfection!
During my 22 years at Shaw Festival, the month of May always brought great joy. Well into previews, all departments were fully focused on planning ‘Opening Week’, to be celebrated the end of May.
The first ‘opener’ was called the ‘flagship’ and was always at the Festival. A band parading up Queen Street signaled the top of the season. Patrons, dignitaries, and company members, all dressed in black tie and formal gowns packed the lobby and the excitement mounted. There was always great energy in the house. The evening ended with a grand buffet in the lobby, and a magnificent fireworks display. As the festivities drew to a close, Shaw company members would linger back in the wee hours of the morning, coming together to quietly celebrate their months of incredible effort to ‘build the season’.
A special highlight for me and my Operations Department crew, was the suspense around the glorious wisteria on the main terrace trellis. Would it co-operate and provide a profusion of purple petals that would shower down like confetti at a wedding? It rarely let us down, and 2020 was no exception.
I look forward every Spring to the rhododendrons by my front porch coming into bloom. There have been a lot of visits out on that porch in the last 12 months, in all kinds of weather.
I hope that you are all well and ready to enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather that will surely follow what has been a very cold and very wet April. Looking forward to getting back to what we all love - the theatre!
Message from Shaw Hosting
Hello fellow Shaw Hosts. It has been a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World over the past 14 months, as we continue to hunker down in our homes and try to ride out the Covid-19 Pandemic. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are flowing into Canada at a rapid rate and our collective immunization levels are rising, we wait with great anticipation for the day when COVID -19 protocols will allow us to gather again in numbers.
We all long for the opening of the Shaw Festival, where we can again be able to use our talents through the Shaw Guild, to support the Shaw Festival. In the interim keep gardening, walking, cooking, reading, crafting, TV watching, and Zoom calling to keep yourself active and engaged. Stay tuned for future developments at the Shaw and once there is some clarity on when the Shaw theatres will again be open, we will send out a Host Communique to advise you of the next steps to be taken in Shaw Hosting.
Look after yourself, your family and friends and try to assist all those people you can in their personal Codid-19 challenges. We are all in this together (by staying apart and looking after each other). Keep well!
I’m spending a lot of time in my garden this spring.
AND looking forward to Sip, Savour & Stroll on August 28th!
Thanks to all the Guild volunteers who have offered to help us out with this event.
Tickets have sold out!
Hope to see all of you at the Shaw when our season opens.
In the meantime, stay safe!