March 2023 Newsletter

Message from the president

It's been a busy month!

The Shaw 2023 season is officially underway with the opening of Mahabharata on March 9.

The Shaw Festival hosted its Annual General Meeting.

Rehearsal halls are filled with preparations for Prince Caspian, Gypsy and On the Razzle.

Several Guild Volunteers attended our annual visit to the Scene Shop on March 11. Associate Artistic Director Kimberley Rampersad talked with us about her plans for The Amen Corner which she is directing and will preview in August. Lesslie Tumner, Head of Scenic Construction and Mark Carreiro, the new Head of Scenic Art, gave us a tour of several sets currently in construction, including Gypsy, On the Razzle, and Blithe Spirit. Our next event will be the Spring Preview Luncheon on May 1.  Read Brenda's article below for details!

You may have heard that our Guild Vice President Cheryl Morris is moving to France! Cheryl has tremendous skills, and is interested in remaining part of the Guild and the Executive Committee (EC). However, she knows that the President role (scheduled for 2025-2026) requires more face-to-face time, and it would be challenging to do while living outside of Canada. For 2023, Cheryl will remain as Vice President. The EC is looking at the best ways to transition her role in 2024 and will present their nominations at our Annual General Meeting in November.

This month, I attended both the Shaw Board of Governors and Board of Directors meetings. Members on both Boards reinforced their appreciation for our Guild Volunteers and the support we provide to the Shaw. Your commitment, professionalism and hours volunteering at the Shaw are recognized and highly valued. Thank you for all that you do!

Mary Mizen, Shaw Guild President

This , if you would like to get in touch, send me an email at

Alan Dyer

What inspired you to join the Shaw Guild and become a volunteer?

I have always been amazed at the creativity of musicians, actors, directors, writers, record engineers and all the production people. In the Shaw Festival’s case, it was watching how the words on the page become something really special. I have been lucky in my career to have been involved with arts and entertainment.

For most of my working life, I worked in the music industry in Toronto, and watched Canadian musicians and singers develop into world class talent. After leaving Toronto for my first retirement, I had the opportunity to be the Finance Director at the Shaw Festival. I have been lucky to work in companies that support all creative individuals. How did this bring me to the Shaw Guild?

When I retired from the Festival, I found that I missed being involved. I tried to fill my time with working with other not-for-profits such as the Niagara Symphony, Lyndisfarne Theatre Projects and Carousel Players. But I still missed the excitement of being with the Shaw Festival and that is when I looked at the Shaw Guild. It was very exciting to be able to join the Guild and become a volunteer in many different ways. 

What do you do as a volunteer, and do you have a favourite “job”?

My first role with the Guild was as a Greeter. It was amazing to be able to talk to patrons and hear their stories and love of live theatre. My first opportunity was greeting at the Christmas shows. Now that was cold! And one night, a deer decided to run into my car as I headed in for a shift.

Soon after, I was able to join the Hosting team (although I was afraid that I couldn’t work the scanners at first). Then a year later I applied to be a Docent when there were openings in that group and what an amazing experience that has been. I have learned so much and can feel the excitement in the theatre as we tour people around. There have been a couple of other areas in the Guild where I was able to help, but one of the best things has been working with other dedicated Guild volunteers, wherever that may be.

What do you like to do when you’re not at the Shaw?

These three roles have kept me quite busy through most of the year, but my wife and I travel into Toronto for every Argo CFL game! Aside from cutting grass and shoveling snow, I have been able to follow up on a couple of my earlier passions, although in a much more passive role. Soccer has always been something that I enjoyed, and I spent many years coaching competitive teams in Toronto and here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This has now led me to following the Canadian Men and Women’s soccer teams as well as the different leagues around the world. Car racing is another passion, which for me included go-kart racing in Toronto and Hamilton. But it is now much easier just to watch!

Shaw Guild Garden Tour Early Bird Tickets – Last Day to Purchase is March 31!

A reminder that Garden Tour tickets at $25 (plus Eventbrite fee) are now on sale and Early Bird pricing ends on March 31. Regular ticket prices ($30 + fee) start April 1 until June 23. Tickets will be available at each garden on Tour Day, June 24 for $35 cash only.

The Garden Tour organizing team will be soon be looking for volunteers to work on the day of the tour, and will send out information to everyone by email.

As well, a “save the date” notice has gone out on social media for our annual Sip, Savour & Stroll  - An Elegant Garden Party event. These tickets - $125 (+ fee) will go on sale May 15, for the event on Saturday, August 12. We’ll send you a reminder when they are available.

From the Activities Corner

Brenda Weafer, Volunteer Event Chair (and Team)

Introducing our VETS! (Volunteer Events Team). This amazing group of women has begun planning wonderful events for you this coming season. They are: Glenna Collins, Wendy Glazier, Elaine Evans, Linda Baines, Cindy Grant, Caroline Kindness, Patti Knipe, Kim Mustill, Sheila Serio, Heather MacNeil and Brenda Weafer. We are excited and ready to go with plans for an excellent year of events, both large and small, to interest, entertain and inform you!

We began the year in February with a Meet & Greet with the cast and crew of Mahabharata. It was so interesting to meet these talented folks and enjoy some time together.

Next, the Guild hosted a very popular annual event: the visit to the Scene Shop. As Mary mentioned in her message, those in attendance were fascinated to hear from Kimberley Rampersad, Lesslie Tunmer and Mark Carreiro about the creation and decoration of the amazing sets we will see this season. Thanks to Janet Hanna as always for the coffee and for taking such good care of us!

Coming up on May 1 is the Spring Preview Luncheon followed by a Show & Tell to showcase the upcoming season. Tickets for the luncheon are once again $30 each, and will include a complimentary glass of wine. Catering this year will be done by Antipastos. If you wish to attend the Show & Tell portion only, there is no charge. The email invitation will go out early in April – so watch your inbox and sign up quickly! This is always a very popular event.

On May 9, there will be an opportunity to attend a dress rehearsal of Gypsy. We will be hosting a reception beforehand, so make plans to join us. More news about that soon!

The first Coffee Connections is May 29 and will be held on the Members’ Terrace. This is a casual opportunity to get together for coffee and a chat with fellow volunteers in a lovely setting.

As you can see, we are busy with all these plans and more, so save the dates and get ready for a wonderful season ahead!

Wishing Tim Jennings a Speedy Recovery!

Some of you may have heard that Tim Jennings had surgery to repair a detached retina recently. He will be off work and face down (!) for a while, with several weeks of recovery ahead.

We wanted to send him good wishes from all of you, and sent him this e-card (at right), which he very much appreciated and sends his thanks!

(P.S. The names included are active Guild volunteers with a profile in MVP)