Members » Newsletter

February 2019

In this edition:

Message from Laurie Harley, President, Shaw Guild

Spring has officially arrived!   

We’re delighted to see the change in the weather and the return of so many Members from their sunny winter destinations!

They’ll be back in time to join us in celebrating this year’s National Volunteer Week (April 7 – 13).  Be sure to drop by the Green Room on April 8 for coffee, treats and a chat as Tim Jennings and Tim Carroll host a “thank you” reception for Guild members.  Just come to the Jackie Maxwell Studio entrance and we’ll be there to direct you to the Green Room. 

You had a lot to tell us about volunteer appreciation in the December Member Survey.  We listened, have been reviewing our current program, and will have more to say about future plans at the Spring Preview Luncheon on April 15th and in the April Newsletter. 

There are many ways to show appreciation.  Suzanne Merriam, Senior Education Manager, wanted to say “thank you” to the Guild for the vital role volunteers play in supporting her Education’s initiatives.   To do that, she has donated 80 complimentary tickets to this season’s Director/Designer talks – opportunities to get up close and personal with the creative teams who deliver this season’s amazing productions. 

Thirty tickets have already been drawn by lucky Members who attended Guild events in March and there will be more to win at the upcoming Spring Preview and events throughout the season.  Our thanks to Suzanne for her generous donation.

In this month’s Newsletter you’ll find two new features.     

First, there is the President’s Corner.  It’s a channel for two-way dialogue where you have the opportunity to ask questions about the Guild and we have the opportunity to respond and explain what we do.   This month’s question:  Why does the Guild charge a membership fee to volunteer? 

You can submit questions to be included in future Newsletters by sending an email to or drop us a note at The Shaw Guild, P.O. Box 83, NOTL L0S 1J0 and mark “President’s Corner” on the envelope.

You’ll also find a new section designed to help you get to know the amazing group of volunteers who make up the Guild.   Each month we’ll highlight the personal story of a Member, learn about his or her experiences and share the anecdotes that make volunteering at the Shaw such a rewarding experience.  Our thanks to Gail E. Kendall, who joined the Guild last year, for offering to be our first featured story.  

We know there are many more stories to tell.  Want to participate?  Just contact Cheryl Morris, Communications Chair at and we’ll look forward to reading your story in a future issue.

Current Shaw Guild Membership


18 = New members joining in 2019

298 = Returning members


Anyone who has not yet renewed should contact Membership Chair, Lindsay Thomson at

Getting to Know You, Gail E. Kendall!

A new Guild Member with Drive!

It didn’t take Gail long to get into the swing of things once she moved to Queenston from Toronto in August 2018.

She hadn’t even unpacked when she was out exploring ways in which she could get involved in the community.  She happened to meet Jane Calver, a long-standing Guild member at the Queenston Library, who suggested she check out volunteer opportunities with the Guild. With a daughter who is an actor, and a Wheaton Terrier, Ella, who “starred” in the Mirvish production of Annie, Gail was already a fan of live theatre and so made a point of coming to the Shaw Guild table at the Newcomers Community Volunteer event in November. After chatting with Laurie Harley, Gail was sold!

Many people who join the Guild start off with one or two programs. Not Gail. She is now a Docent, a Host, and has distributed Shaw programs in Town as part of Playing This Week. In the photo above, she is handing Shaw 2019 Programs over to Carolyn (on right) of ValuMart on Queen St. On March 5, the day she volunteered with other Guild members, the temperature was -20C and the wind was fierce. Gail was undeterred, but she did complete her assignment really quickly!

“All of this is very exciting,” says Gail. “I love the peek-behind-the-scenes opportunities as a Guild member, and enjoy seeing how things evolve from set design and early readings to the final production. This is wonderful!”

Along with her Guild membership, Gail is also involved with Red Roof Retreat and is starting a part-time job at Maison Apothecare in April. She also blends her own aromatherapy oils. Gail is one busy, energetic person, and the Guild is fortunate to have her as part of the team!

Thanks, Gail!

In addition to being helpful, volunteering has been shown to make you happier, healthier, and provide a sense of meaning

My Volunteer Page Hints & Tips

This month we’ll cover how to view and sign-up for Opportunities. Start by signing on to MVP at Some computers’ internet settings are set to remember user names and passwords – very handy! But if yours does not, just enter them and login.



Go to the Opportunities tab. No need to select any of the filters, as you will see all Opportunities (activities) for the programs you have selected and been qualified for in your General Interests (e.g. Hosting, Greeting), as well as those open to all members. If you want to narrow down the list to those with openings available, click that filter box.

Next to Display, click the down arrow and select By Date Ascending. This will show the Opportunities in chronological order. Then click the little box next to Make these my default filters, which will save this view for the next time you look at this page. Click the blue button Filter Activities.

Scroll down the page to see the activities under each category heading.  You may need to open each category heading to see the Activities. Click the little arrow next to the heading.






When you see an activity you would like to sign up for, click on the sentence. It will open a new page that shows you that activity date, time, who else is signed up for that activity, and the Sign Up button you can click on.




Once you click Sign Up, you will see the Withdraw button. Do not click that UNLESS YOU MUST CANCEL YOUR SIGN-UP. Within 48 hours of the activity date, you cannot cancel through MVP and you must telephone the Host Captain or Greeter Chair.




To Sign Up for additional activities, click on the Opportunities tab at the top of the page to view the whole list.


Until you have been confirmed for activities you have Signed Up for, you may want to see those activities. Click on the Opportunities tab and under “Include activities for which I am currently”, click Signed Up.                        Then click on the Filter Activities button.






Once you are confirmed as accepted by email of your activities, you will see them on your Schedule tab as well as on your Home page.

MVP TRAINING SESSIONS: There are sessions planned for hands-on training sessions in April and beyond. For dates and details, please check the website and email Cheryl Morris at to indicate which one you’d like to attend.

President’s Corner

This month’s question:


Answer: Membership fees fund the Guild’s operations


We have three sources of revenue:

  • Fees paid by Members.
  • Money received from Members who purchase tickets to sit in on performances when they host or greet.
  • Revenue from our major fundraiser, the Annual Shaw Guild Garden Tour. Fundraising proceeds are donated to the Shaw Festival and will go again this year to support the production of A Christmas Carol.  

Membership fees and sit-in revenue allow us to bring together people who want to volunteer at the Shaw and generate a predictable funding base so we can offer member benefits, deliver patron services, and cover operating costs.

If you attended the recent Scene Shop visit, you experienced one of our membership benefits – an opportunity to look behind the scenes and get up close and personal with the creative teams from The Horse and His Boy and The LadykillersThere is no charge to attend Guild events except where catering costs are involved.  In these cases, catering charges are passed along “at cost” to Members.

Like all organizations, we spend money to service and inform members.  Our operating costs include items such as name badges, service awards, printing, website maintenance, communications and Guild events. Guild Treasurer, Joe Allevato, prepares an annual budget and keeps us focused on managing expenses effectively.

Our bottom line:  we need both your enthusiasm as volunteers and your membership fees to be successful at the Guild.

If you would like to submit a question to be included in future Newsletters, send an email to or drop us a note at The Shaw Guild, P.O. Box 83, NOTL L0S 1J0 and mark “President’s Corner” on the envelope.


Scene Shop Visit a Smash Hit!

On a chilly Monday evening in March, 65+ Guild members gathered in the Scene Shop in Virgil to catch a glimpse into how the sets, that form such an integral part of the Shaw season, are designed and created.

We began the evening with coffee and tea provided by the Shaw and a few yummy snacks as well. It was nice to see old and new friends. We were welcomed by Guild President Laurie Harley and Shaw Artistic Director Tim Carroll, and then the group was treated to a wonderful presentation by Jennifer Goodman (at left) and TC about the concept and process behind the design for Horse and His Boy, which begins at the Festival Theatre in April.

Following Jennifer and TC into the world of Narnia and Calormen, Gwyneth Stark, Head of Scenic Art, told us about the colour palette for the show and showed us what she and her talented team of artists have been working on.  We learned how the beautiful hand-painted cloth backdrops, enhanced with projection techniques, will bring many worlds to life as the travelers’ journey through them in the play. 

Next, Designer Judith Bowden, TC and Lesslie Tunmer, Head of Scenic Construction, gave us a fascinating tour of the incredible set for The Ladykillers. It was amazing to see how this elaborate and astonishing set has been painstakingly designed and built over the course of 5 months. It is still awaiting some finishing touches, including masterful painting from Gwyneth and her creative team! We got to explore the set ourselves and to see what goes into such an amazing piece of art.

Listening to Judith, Lesslie and TC talk about their process, it was evident how much skill and thought go into even the most minute detail of the piece.  What resonated throughout was their passion for excellence and dedication to getting everything exactly right. Guild members had the benefit of experiencing these behind-the-scenes glimpses and knowing the background of the creative process. We can’t wait to see both of these sets as we watch actors move through them in performance!



Many thanks to Janet Hanna for organizing, Lesslie, and Gwyneth for hosting us and to Jennifer, Judith and Tim Carroll for entertaining and informing us!  What a great evening!



Brenda Weafer, Activities Chair




You are invited to register for a Shaw Guild Exclusive event: Spring Preview Luncheon and Show & Tell – Monday, April 15

After a fantastic lunch presented in the Theatre lobby and prepared by the Shaw Festival’s Green Room, you will hear about the season’s highlights from a Shaw senior staff member.

Lunch starts at noon in the Festival Theatre lobby – $25 per person.

When you send your payment please indicate any dietary requirements. Vegetarian and gluten-free choices are available on request. There will be a cash bar.

Show & Tell starts at 1:30 p.m. – at no charge if you are not attending the lunch. (You must register for this part of the event as there is a capacity limit).



The theme of this event is Brigadoon, and you are welcome to come dressed in your kilts and tartans!



Space is limited! Please register as soon as possible.


Choose one of two ways to register for this event:

  1. Via MVP: Click here to get to MVP and log in with your user name and password. Click on the Opportunities tab, go to the category Events. You will see two activities there:
  • Spring Preview – Lunch with Show & Tell
  • Spring Preview – Show & Tell only

Select one and Sign-Up.

NOTE: Each Guild member will need to log into MVP to sign up individually. Your registration will be confirmed by email when payment is received.


  1. Email Brenda Weafer to let her know you will be attending.


Two payment options available for attending the luncheon ($25.00 per Guild member):


Please mail your cheque along with a note with your name and the name(s) of any other Guild member you are including in your registration, any dietary restrictions, along with your cheque, payable to “The Shaw Guild” to:

The Shaw Guild
Attention: Spring Preview Luncheon
P.O. Box 83
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0


  1. Send payment to the Shaw Guild at Include your name in the message. Use the security question: What is the name of the play? and the security answer: Brigadoon.
  2. Email Brenda Weafer to advise that an e-transfer payment has been remitted. Please include in that email the names of any other Guild members you are paying for, and any dietary restrictions.

Your registration will be confirmed by email when payment is received.

Greeter Update

Welcome Back to The Shaw Festival. Are You Ready??…..You Bet We Are!!

Greeters are ready to:

  • Choose Greeting Opportunities in MVP
  • Welcome our Patrons to the Festival Theatre/Maxwell Studio grounds
  • Always wear a Smile
  • Direct our Patrons to the Correct Theatre
  • Answer Questions

If you’d like to join our Merry Group who “work” in all kinds of weather, we’d be happy to have you.  Just ✔️Greeting in your General Interests in MVP.

(HOWEVER, if you ✔️ Greeting in your Interests during your MVP Training and do not wish to Greet, PLEASE “UN✔️” Greeting.  Thank you!)

We have 2 upcoming meetings for Greeters:

  • April 22nd morning or afternoon (it’s Easter Monday, but hopefully won’t interfere with your holiday weekend plans). Information will be sent to Greeters who are signed-up in MVP.
  • In May, a joint Host/Greeter session. More information coming soon.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on the Festival Theatre driveway!

John and Marg Mather




Hosting Update

The 2019 Shaw Festival Theatre opening on Saturday April 6, 2019 will soon be upon us. In preparation for the start of the Season, Hosting has been very busy.

Two Host Kick-Off sessions were held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre to discuss what is new this year in Hosting and how our upcoming season is shaping up.  A special thanks to Tim Carroll and Tim Jennings for taking time out from their busy schedules to talk to Hosts at the Kick-Off sessions and to answer our questions.  A special thanks to Mona Babin (at left) who organized our Kick Off sessions this year and did an outstanding job. 

Additional Kick-Off sessions will be held in May 2019, dates to be determined.  Finally, a special thanks to all Hosts who attended.  I hope you found the sessions as informative and rewarding as I did.


Our Period One Hosting Schedule, running from April 10 to May 24, 2019 is now complete in MVP. Thank you, Hosts, for your enthusiasm in indicating your availability for Host Opportunities. 

Over 300 sign-ups were received from Hosts by the Period One Host Captain Sue Henry, to fill the 85 Host Opportunities available.  A special thanks to Cheryl Morris and team for their considerable efforts in training Guild Members in MVP over the past few months. 

Also, a special thanks to Sue Henry in completing the Host Scheduling for Period One and ensuring an equitable distribution of Host Opportunities, with all Hosts receiving an email response to their MVP Hosting availability sign-ups.   Be assured: Hosts who missed a Host opportunity this period will be at the top of the list next period.

The Host Captain for Period One is Sue Henry who can be reached at 905-468-8964 or

By the way, if you need catch up on Hosting news or MVP tips have a look at the Resource page of the Guild website

Hosting is now ready to start the 2019 Season.  Let’s go! 



Greg Fedoryn, Host Chair





14th Annual Garden Tour: Saturday, June 8, 2019!

Organized by Shaw Guild Volunteers, the 14th Annual Garden Tour features seven beautiful residential gardens in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Enjoy your day strolling through sun and shade settings and discover the story behind each garden while viewing assorted quality perennials, specimen trees and shrubs, ornamental and structural features and much more!

Whether starting from scratch or building on an existing base, behind every garden there is an element of personal style which holds special meaning to each owner.

Tickets are now available at these locations:

  • Shaw Festival Box Office, 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake or online at com/garden tour
  • Mori Gardens Design & Garden Centre, 1709 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • NOTL Chamber of Commerce, 26 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake

The Garden Tour brochure with details of the gardens is available on the Shaw Guild website at


Presenting Sponsor:  Mori Gardens Garden Plants & Assistance, Carpool Location & Outdoor Garden Lunch Area 1709 Niagara Stone Rd.

Community Commitment

An added feature to our tour this year, The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre is pleased to offer Garden Tour ticket holders an opportunity to enjoy a place to sit, relax and enjoy artistic pleasures!

A Welcome Tent staffed with Pumphouse Volunteers will be set up to include a beverage and food station offering non-alcoholic drinks, small bites, wraps, cookies and assorted sweets for purchase. Patio tables and chairs will be set up adjacent to the food and beverage station for you to sit and enjoy your snack while listening to musician Gerry Kowalchuk.

The Pumphouse will be open for Garden Tour guests who wish to view the Main Gallery and use the washrooms. 

Please note that The Pumphouse Walker room is in use that day for a workshop.  We ask visitors to be keep their voices down, be respectful of the ongoing class.  All proceeds from food and beverage sales will support Pumphouse programs and gallery shows.


Preparations for the 2019 Shaw Guild Garden Tour annual fundraiser are under way and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Greeters and cashiers are needed to support our team of garden managers at the seven homes on our tour. 

If you are willing to have fun and are able to help with a shift (9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. or 12:30 – 4:00 p.m.), please contact Penny Curran ( or 905-468-5255) with the following information:

  • your name, phone number, email address
  • your preferred shift (AM or PM or BOTH)
  • if you are a new or a returning volunteer

Also, if you are registered in MVP, check off Garden Tour in your Interests in MVP.

Gardening experience is not required as we will have Master Gardeners on site. We welcome all volunteers, new and returning. Your involvement will ensure success!

NEW THIS YEAR!  Sip, Savour and Stroll 

We’ve added something new to our Garden Tour this year – a VIP Experience!

Friday, June 7, 2019: Join us for an exclusive opportunity to take part i n an intimate evening strolling through enchanting gardens in Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake.

  • Tickets are available on a first-come basis for $75 (US dollars accepted at par) up to a maximum of 75 guests.
  • Includes entrance to all gardens on Garden Tour Day on June 8.
  • Purchase tickets by May 1 online at or at the Shaw Festival Box Office, 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake 1-800-511-7429 or 905-468-2172

The Experience:

  • Stroll through three gardens including Shaw Festival Secret Garden, plus two gardens situated along the river front in Old Town Niagara on the Lake.
  • Complimentary wine service: sparkling, white or red. (Sponsored by Jackson Triggs)
  • Complimentary savoury and sweet hors d’oeuvres (Sponsored by Cheese Secrets and Robin Howe Catering).
  • Live musical ensemble playing in each garden (Members of Shaw Orchestra).

The Timing: 

  • 5:45 p.m. – Arrival and registration at Shaw Festival Theatre
  • 6:30 p.m. – First group of 25 guests will stroll to the first garden with team leaders
  • 7:00 p.m. – Second group will depart with team leaders
  • 7:45 p.m. – Third group will depart with team leaders
  • We estimate a leisurely 15-minute stroll to arrive at each garden. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes!

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