August 2022 Newsletter

Message from the President

Greetings to all!

Another busy month gone by and another one in prospect; 3 more Shaw Openings, and together with September, the two busiest periods in our year begin this month. Again, this is to express our gratitude to you all for responding to the continuing challenges of this season.

On the evening of Saturday August 13, the Guild was proud to host Sip, Savour & Stroll at two fabulous properties in town, along the waterfront. More than 130 guests enjoyed food, wine, live music and activities. Comments from people were very complimentary, and I want to thank all the volunteers who helped put SS&S in the forefront of Niagara-on-the-Lake must-attend-events! Read Mary's recap below.

And by way of a reminder, the Company cricket match against Stratford takes place on Monday August 29th. I recently met with Shaw Team captain, Jeff Irving, following an intensive practice session with his squad, and he advised me that he is quietly confident of “a result”. I encourage you to join in the fun.

Earlier that same day we are holding our penultimate Coffee Connections event of the season, from 10am - 11am on the Members Terrace at the Shaw Festival Theatre. If you are planning to join us please sign up through your MVP page and also complete the Shaw’s online COVID assessment form. If you experience any difficulties with this aspect, worry not, as copies of the form will be available for your use at the event.

And finally, I draw your attention to the updated history of the Guild document referenced later in this Newsletter. As part of our Celebrate 60 theme, it highlights and celebrates 60 years of volunteering at the Shaw Festival and updates the last version produced 10 years ago. Authored by our own Jim and Micki Clemens and Mary Mizen, with input from members of the Executive Committee, it takes our story to the present day. Enjoy!

Cheers and hope to see you soon!

Alan Walker, President

Executive Position Opening for 2023

 The Nominating Committee invites Guild volunteers to recommend candidates to fill the Shaw Festival Gardens Chair position that we have recently learned will become open in 2023.
Nominations should be sent to Laurie Harley, Chair of the Nominating Committee no later than September 9, 2022.  

Shaw Gardens Chair is responsible for managing the 25+ gardeners who assist in the maintenance and development of the Festival Theatre and Royal George Theatre gardens, and other Shaw properties as needed.

Responsibilities include: collecting Emergency Contact Information for Volunteers;   authorizing the purchase of new plant materials;    keeping record of weekly tasks completed;   liaising with the Garden Team Leader, and Shaw staff as needed;    being "the voice of the gardeners" on the EC.

The Shaw Gardens Chair also maintains monthly volunteer hours for gardeners and submits monthly reports for the EC meetings.

And speaking of Gardens . . .

We are looking for volunteers to join the Garden Tour Organizing Team! If you are interested in learning more about what’s involved in the Shaw Guild’s major annual fundraising event, please contact Patricia Scrivener, Garden Tour Convenor.

Sip, Savour & Stroll 2022

Oh, what a night!

On Saturday, August 13th, more than 130 guests attended Sip, Savour & Stroll for a truly magical evening!

The event included two magnificent properties on the Niagara River in Old Town, generously donated by the homeowners.  Guests enjoyed delicious food catered by Let’s Get Fresh Catering.  Lailey Winery and Konzelman Winery donated a selection of great wines.  In each garden, guests were entertained by live musicians and fabulous views.

Guests also tried their luck in our silent auction for prizes, or they purchased tickets to pull for a mystery bottle of wine.  Prizes and wines were all donated by local business and friends.

I heard from many guests, thanking the Guild for a lovely evening.  They enjoyed the event, and were impressed by the organization and the helpful volunteers.  Several guests were returning, as they also attended SS&S last year, and new ones asked to be added to our mailing list for 2023!

Our success would not have been possible without the help of our Guild Volunteers.  Thank you to Marzanna Bednarek, Jo Ann Ely, Susan MacDonald, Heather McNeil, Cheryl Morris, Elizabeth Skronski, Brenda Weafer, and Deborah Williams on our core planning team.  Thanks also to the many Guild Volunteers who assisted with decorating, serving food and wine, running activities, helping to set up and clean up, and doing whatever was needed to make the event successful. Thanks also to the Sponsorship Team who worked with local businesses, securing auction prizes and donations.  Thank you to the husbands - some of them are technically not part of the Shaw Guild, but who helped out with deliveries and pick-ups.  You were all terrific!

We’re still tallying results, but I’m confident the evening was a financial success.  Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Shaw Festival from the Guild. An event to thank volunteers from the Garden Tour and Sip, Savour & Stroll is planned.

Thank you! Mary Mizen, Vice President and Lead for Sip, Savour & Stroll

Shaw Cricket Wine Raffle!

Hey all you wine enthusiasts! Here’s another great opportunity to support the Shaw Cricket team.

Here's the raffle works: Enter the raffle in teams of 4 people. Each team member's name gets put in the draw. If one of your names gets pulled, your entire team wins the wine!

Cost of entry.

The fee is $100 PLUS 4 bottles of wine per team. That's $25 and a bottle of wine per team member. (No homebrew)

If more than 3 teams enter the draw we will add a 2nd prize, if we have more than 6 teams, we will add a 3rd prize.

·       All the proceeds go to the Shaw Cricket team and all the liquid will go to YOU!

·       The cut off for the draw will be Friday August 26th.

·       The Draw will be on August 27th.

To enter the raffle or if you have questions, please email Jeff Irving at shawcricketwineraffle@gmail.comPlease include your team name, your team members and contact information for each person: phone number and email.

Come to see the Shaw Cricket Team on Aug 29! You are invited to attend the annual showdown with the team from Stratford Festival! Game on Monday August 29th at 12 noon, on the cricket grounds behind Upper Canada Lodge, Wellington Street, NOTL. As seating is limited, be advised that you will need to bring along your own “chaise pliante”.

Photo courtesy of Guild Volunteer, Terry Babij

Spotlight on Volunteers: Darlene Kertcher

After 32 years working as a Critical Care RN in a major Toronto hospital and commuting from her home in Oakville, DarleneKertcher decided that she had had enough of the GTA rat race. Darlene retired from nursing, and after visiting and talking to a friend, Darlene decided that Niagara-on-the Lake would be a good fit for her. Darlene sold her Oakville home and made the very wise decision to move to St David’s in 2016

Being new to Niagara–on-the-Lake, Darlene looked for opportunities to get involved in the Community through her volunteer service. So her journey began.

In 2017 she joined the Shaw Guild as a Host and greatly enjoyed her involvement with the Shaw and “sitting in” at theatre performances. In 2018, in a moment of weakness, she agreed to become a Host Captain and has been one ever since. Back in those days before MVP, Host Captains would spend a week on the telephone calling Shaw Host Volunteers to book them into shows for their assigned period. This took great perseverance and organizational skill to complete the Host booking process in a timely and well-balanced manner. Darlene was well versed in chaos management through her critical care nursing background, so she excelled in her Host Captain role.

Not busy enough for her liking, she joined TD Niagara Jazz festival in December 2016 as an event Volunteer. In 2018 she took on the role of Office Administrator and now looks after all Niagara Jazz ticket sales, office administration, acts as team lead at various TD Niagara Jazz events and is the contact person for client interface.

Darlene loves music and being involved in events, so she also volunteers to help in Bravo Niagara offerings.  

Darlene is very organized and this year she served as the Garden Manager at the Shaw 2022 Garden Tour at the 27 Delater Street location.  This prime garden property had a plein air artist and 2 musicians and a steady flow of patrons throughout the day. The Shaw 2022 Garden Tour was a huge success this year with outstanding weather, great garden offerings, terrific volunteers and appreciative patrons. 

In her spare time since 2018, Darlene co-ordinates gift collection for Christmas and Easter for the Women’s Place Shelter in South Niagara. With a group of 20 Christmas Elves and Easter Bunny donors, Darlene coordinates the gift collection for the children and their mothers residing at the South Niagara Women’s shelter during the Easter and Christmas seasons each year. During these most difficult times for the shelter residents, Darlene and her donors try to find a way to lift the spirits of those in need through gift donations.   

Darlene loves to travel when not volunteering in the Niagara Community.  She has visited Africa, Europe, Russia, India, and the Caribbean. Her favourite country to visit is Tanzania, and also hiked a mountain in Rwanda to see the silverback gorillas.

Darlene loves to visit with her son and daughter- in-law and her daughter and son-in –law who live in the GTA, and especially to spend time with her 2 and a half-year-old granddaughter. She recently took her daughter-in-law, son and granddaughter to The Shaw Festival production of A Year of Frog and Toad.  What a great play choice to get young children interested in live theatre. Way to go Darlene!  Not sure how her granddaughter would react to her encounter with a live theatre performance, she asked her what she liked best about the play. Her immediate response was when Christmas was shared between Frog and Toad. Thank you, Darlene for bringing in a new theatre patron to the Shaw Festival, even though it will be a while before your granddaughter can make the Shaw theatre ticket arrangements on her own. 

Bravo to you, Darlene, for your outstanding service to the Niagara Community!

Recipients of the Shaw Festival Town Preview Funding Program

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, we were very excited to welcome this year's recipients of the Shaw Festival Town Preview Funding Program last week.

The Town Previews offer Niagara-on-the-Lake residents the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets to preview performances and proceeds raised are distributed to various Niagara-on-the-Lake charitable organizations who apply for funding. Alan Walker, in his role representing the Shaw Guild, is a member of this Funding Program and assists in disbursing the monies.  All proceeds from ticket sales of this season’s Town Preview performances in the month of April went directly into funding the program and donated to local charitable organizations through an application process. The Town Preview Funding Program and Town Preview performances occur annually.

Congrats to all the recipients! In photo (l to r):   Juliet Dunn and Peter Shea, TD Niagara Jazz Festival; Alan Walker; Bonnie Bagnulo, Executive Director, NOTL Community Palliative Care Service; and Walter Weaver, Niagara-on-the-Lake Branch, Canadian Cancer Society. Not pictured: Kurt Hamm and Ted Vanderkaay, NOTL Soccer Club. Photo by Jen Anand.

Summer Workshops Lead up to Full Shaw Values Training in 2023

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Personal Communication is the title of the one-hour session presented by George Webber, a member of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s DEI Committee. In partnership with The Shaw, these workshops are designed to help us all understand more about micro-aggressions and unconscious bias so we can listen and respond without judgement.

The first workshop on July 25 included an overview of the terms ‘diversity,’ ‘equity”' and ‘inclusion,’ a discussion on the characteristics of a good conversation, and tips on handling patron complaints with practice and role-playing.

Participants agreed it was a valuable and engaging session.

This is a lead-up to a series of training sessions the Shaw plans to roll out to all employees and volunteers in 2023.

Two more workshops are scheduled on August 22 and September 19, with a maximum of 30 spaces in each session. At the moment, both sessions are full; however, you can put your name on a back-up/wait list for each date. Openings may become available, and you will be contacted. If there is a large back-up list, a fourth workshop will be considered.

To enter your name on a wait list, simply log on to MVP and click on the workshop you want under Opportunities, then Shaw Values & Inclusivity. The option to be added to the back-up list appears after the workshop description. 

All volunteers are urged to attend a workshop. They’re interesting and enjoyable. And we will all benefit from them.

If you have any questions, you can contact Susan MacDonald.

What's New and Not So New in the Gardens?

With the increased focus on enriching The Shaw experience, many new events and activities have been added to our lush gardens.  Not only are patrons offered the gift of outdoor performances, and events such as Fairground and Shawground, but a 2019 treat, Poems in the Trees, has recently been reintroduced.   This pre-pandemic project spearheaded by Tim Carroll (TC), invited ALL company members to submit their favourite nature poems for consideration.  A panel of judges pondered the 40 submissions, and selected 25 for placement in the trees, and discretely hidden at ground level!  The intended literary treasure hunt is sure to bring, not only  lovely wander through the gardens, but an appreciation for all the efforts  of our Guild Gardeners! 

Take a ‘walk-about’ and see if you can find them all!!

Another beautiful addition to the gardens can be found in the tranquil oasis of the Greenroom Terrace.    There company and volunteers are awarded the pleasure of seeing a stunning wee natural bench, quietly tucked away. The natural vine covered wall provides a perfect backdrop. This bench belonged to a much loved, former ensemble member, Mary Haney, who passed away in 2020.   Mary was an avid gardener, and she loved her time spent in the gardens of Niagara.  When her Stratford home was sold, her dear friend Bea Campbell arranged to transport this lovely bench, to find a new home in the gardens at The Shaw.  It is only fitting that it lives on in a company space as a tribute to Mary.  I invite you all to wander down to the greenroom terrace, and pause in the garden, and remember ensemble member, Mary Haney 1954-2020.

Contributed by Paddy Parr, Guild Gardener

Mini Fundraising Offer

Jane Catcher is offering very cool wooden plant stakes for sale: $12 for a pack of 10 stakes, $20 for 2 packs of 10. Each stake has a “blackboard” area where you can write on (and erase) the plant name.

Contact Jane if you’d like to participate. All proceeds go toward supplies for the Shaw Gardens team.


60 Years of Volunteering: A Record of the Last 10 Years!

Volunteers have been an important part of The Shaw Festival from the very beginning.  Past Guild President Faye Goodwin and Shaw Librarian Nancy Butler described the roles we filled as volunteers in their history Fifty Years of Shaw Festival Volunteers.   A lot has happened within the Guild in the past 10 years, and in celebration of our 60th anniversary, we now have a history of the roles we have played from 2012-2022. 

Many important changes have happened within the Shaw Guild over the past 10 years.  We continue to support the Shaw Festival with pride and professionalism.

Thanks to all the volunteers who contributed their stories and favourite memories to this history.  We couldn’t include them all, but it was a lot fun reading about what has happened over the past 10 years!

In Memoriam: Gayle Stokes

Gayle and her husband Paul settled into Niagara life having moved from North York in 2015. She embraced the activities in the area, regularly walking, cycling and golfing, as well as volunteering with the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre and the Shaw Guild.

Gayle passed away in June.