Members » Newsletter

July 2019

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In this edition:

Message from Laurie Harley, President, Shaw Guild

Welcome summer and the second weekend of Opening Celebrations at the Shaw! 

Just three more shows to open – Cyrano de Bergerac, Victory and Man and Superman – and before we know it, we’ll be waiting to see A Christmas Carol and Holiday Inn. 

But between now and then, there’s still a lot happening.  One event you won’t want to miss is the Cricket Match between the Stratford Theatre Company and the Shaw.  The rivalry on the Cricket Field dates back to 1976 and has become an annual tradition.

The match this year will be held in Stratford on Monday, August 26.  You’ll see a notice in this Newsletter asking you to sign up in My Volunteer Page (MVP) to register your interest in attending.  The “Guild Cricket Package” will include bus transportation, a light boxed lunch, and, of course, the traditional Pimms cocktail.  You will also join the teams at break for the iconic Cricket Tea, served at the Stratford Festival.  Pricing will be available once we have an estimate of the numbers for bus rental. 

Whether you’re an expert cricket fan or a novice, the match is a wonderful opportunity to cheer on our Shaw team as they play to win back the title from their Stratford rivals. 

Your comments and questions are welcomed (

Children Auditions for Holiday Inn

The Shaw has just announced Auditions for Children for HOLIDAY INN!

Seeking an unsentimental, straightforward young person (9-12) to play Charlie Winslow – a bank messenger – ten going on forty.

  • Excellent acting skills are essential.
  • Strong singing and movement ability, a plus.
  • Some singing and movement ability, essential.

The Shaw will hire two young people to play Charlie, local children only.

Application details and form are now available at:

Help Wanted: Marketing Convener for the Guild

The Shaw Guild is looking for an enthusiastic Marketing Convener to help us develop an overall marketing strategy for the Guild.  It’s a new role that has been identified as a result of our Strategic Planning process, and one that will be important for all aspects of the Guild’s mandate.   

The Marketing Convener will be an integral part of the Communications Team, working with Executive Committee colleagues to develop and execute campaigns for fundraising projects, recruitment of new members, as well as community outreach.  Key to your success will be building relationships and partnerships with stakeholders including the Shaw Festival, sponsors, donors, community organizations and the Niagara-on-the-Lake community at large.

What skills will you need?  You are able to capture people’s attention with your communication skills, build rapport and create effective networks; you are a creative thinker who likes to explore new ways to reach the goal; and you have some exposure and experience in current marketing tactics, including using social media tools and processes.

If this describes a volunteer role that interests you, we’d love to hear from you.  Please send a brief letter and resume to and we’ll contact you as soon as possible. 

Getting to Know You, Peggy Bell

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a Guild member for 25 years! When my husband Ken and I moved to NOTL in 1994, we were retired and wanted to engage ourselves in the community. We volunteered in many other areas, but the Shaw Guild held our interest in so many ways.

I had enjoyed theatre many, many times in the West End of London, over the years while I was working. Volunteering at the Shaw Festival, through the Guild, felt like a wonderful fit. First, I was involved in gardening, hosting, was a Hosting Captain, and fundraising. Then, with the introduction of the docent program in 2004, Ken and I became docents.  We thoroughly enjoyed this role for 13 years, and loved learning about “behind the scenes”.  We engaged in many workshops, and loved doing backstage tours and conversing with the patrons about their theatre experiences.  Meeting the directors and designers, and seeing the play go from page to stage in rehearsals, was an experience that never got old. I look forward to each new season, and watching the magic of the theatre unfold.

I have been involved in the Shaw Guild Garden Tour committee for 14 years, and work as garden manager in one of the featured gardens each year. I’ve also been the team leader for the group of volunteer gardeners since 1997.  This team meets every week during the theatre season. They get their creative juices going and tackle what needs to be done and we have a wonderful social time as well.

One Tuesday morning ended with Ken reaching for his car keys only to find they had fallen from his pocket. We had spent the morning laying landscape fabric, triple mix and mulch in a large area called South Lawn. Everyone started searching for the keys with no success. We came back in the afternoon and borrowed a metal detector from Maintenance. Over the next few hours we’d hear a ” ping ” only to dig and cut through to the fabric, but still no success. What a mess we made of our latest project! It was on the final sweep that we found the keys. That’s why we now call the area…Lost Keys!!

I hope to be involved in the Guild and its activities for many more years to come. The past 25 years have just flown by, with many fond memories.


Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake Honours Volunteers

On Monday, June 10th, the Town recognized a number of volunteers nominated for their outstanding contributions across seven award categories. 

Cheryl Morris, nominated by the Guild for her work in planning and implementing our new volunteer management system, My Volunteer Page (MVP), was a winner in the Culture category.  

Thanks to her talents and dedication, the Guild was able to successfully launch MVP for the 2019 season. 

Congratulations, Cheryl.




Awards were also presented to three other Guild members nominated in the categories Working with Youth and Community/Civic Engagement.  Linda Murray was recognized for her contributions to Red Roof Retreat.






Marie and Michel Lapointe for their support of many community organizations including Parliament Oak and Crossroads Public Schools, Canadian Cancer Society, Terry Fox Run, and Heart and Stroke Foundation.   Congratulations!




Spotlight on Rene Bertschi: Going Above and Beyond!

René Bertschi has become an invaluable member since he joined the Shaw Guild in 2014.  He gives generously of his time and resources, documenting Shaw Guild activities with photos and videos.  This year began with René attending our Scene Shop event in March, taking pictures which were shared on our website. He also compiles his images recapturing the year’s Guild events and presents them in a video at the AGM in the fall. 

Most recently René took pictures and videos of the Shaw Guild Garden Tour and the Friday VIP event Sip, Savor and Stroll event.  Click on the links to view them on YouTube.

René also donates his time to the Shaw Guild in other ways.  At the Summer Celebration, where the theme is The Glass Menagerie, the many “glass” animals acting as table decorations were created by René. He spent many hours designing and printing these figures on his 3D printer for our Celebration.

Thanks René, for everything you do for the Shaw Guild!

(Note: René is on the left in the photo 😊 )

If you know a remarkable Guild member who has gone above the call of duty, please contact a Guild Chair, Convener or Hosting Captain to submit their names and a few details about their special contributions.

All nominations will be considered by the Chairs, and exceptional volunteers will be showcased in the newsletter.

You can also send nominations by email to 

Save the Date for the Annual Cricket Match: August 26

Details will be announced soon for this much-anticipated annual match between the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Theatre Company. Guild members are encouraged to come and cheer on our wonderful team. In 2019, the match will be held in Stratford.

Sign Up in MVP now to indicate your interest in attending, so we can plan the transportation, provided with your ticket purchase.



News from the Driveway!

Good-bye Horse and His Boy…’s been fun

Hello Man and Superman…..can’t wait!!!

We will be Greeting for all 17 performances of Man and Superman.
Shift time: 10:00am to 11:00am

Shaw has requested 3 Greeters as they anticipate many questions from our Patrons.

We’ll develop an info list with the most likely questions and of course, the answers.

You will WOW the Patrons!

More will be coming as we find out – Oh yes, and more emails!

2 NEW “FYIs”!

  1. The Ladykillers – cc In August, all performances of The Ladykillers will have closed captioning (cc) as a pilot project.  Smartphones and smartphone holders can be reserved ahead of time (limited availability) or Patrons can bring their own to download the app.
  1. Saturday Evenings – what fun! Following Saturday evening performances at the Festival Theatre, Patrons are invited for Cocktails with the Company!  Beginning July 13th through August 31st, Patrons will enjoy cocktails ($) and conversations with company members.

There is always an Exception to the Rule!!! 

MVP Greeting Opportunities Notification and Assigning for AUGUST

In order to have enough time to complete August’s Assignments, we will be sending out the Notification that the August Opportunities are ready, 2 days earlier than usual.

For August ONLY, the Opportunities Notification will go out FRIDAY JULY 19th and Assigning will begin FRIDAY JULY 26th……..

Next month, back to Notification on the 3rd Sunday of the month.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

April/May/June Showers brought July HEAT….thank you for persevering….as we always say, YOU ARE THE BEST!



John and Marg Mather,




Hosting Update

Summer is finally here and the Shaw is now in full production, with up to 7 shows running per day.  Hosting is geared up to meet this challenge.  Host Periods 1 to 3 are now complete, with Period 4 underway (July 9 to July 19) and Period 5 (July 23 to August 2) is fully booked.  Hosts are now signing up for Period 6 (August 6 to August 16). 

In peak Shaw season, the Host Period runs for 10 calendar days, and every week. The Host Captain, Marie Gillespie, is assigning shifts to Hosts – 197 volunteers! – who have signed-up for Period 6 shifts.  

A special thanks to our Host Captains who do an outstanding job in selecting Hosts for Host Opportunities.  Host Captains take into consideration the following: 

  • Assigning New Hosts with experienced Hosts
  • Selecting Hosts who wish to work shifts with partners
  • Hosts who had volunteered last period but did not get their desired assignment
  • Hosts who have had few assignments year-to-date.

Hosts who had signed up for, but were not assigned to, a particular Opportunity remain on the standby list.  If the assigned Host for that shift withdraws for any reason, the Host Captain for that period will look to the standby list to find a replacement.

Bravo to our Volunteer Hosts and Captains for meeting the challenges of the 2019 Hosting Season.  We can all be proud of our service to the Shaw. Let’s Go! 



Greg Fedoryn, Host Chair




14th Annual Garden Tour Recap

We may have experienced a soggy spring but the weather was perfect for the Guild’s 14th Annual Garden Tour on Saturday June 8th.  Guests toured seven magnificent gardens in Old Town each with a Master Gardener on hand to offer information and answer questions. 

An added feature in 2019 was a VIP experience to Sip, Savour and Stroll on a private tour of three gardens on Friday evening, June 7th. Videos of the 2 events are available on YouTube (courtesy of Rene Bertschi):

Thanks to the home owners, patrons, sponsors and supporters, and volunteers, who made the events possible, and will enable the Guild to provide funds again this year to the Shaw’s production of A Christmas Carol at the Royal George Theatre.


  • The Steering Committee: Cheryl Penman (Chair), Tina Morris, Penny Curran, Peggy Bell
  • The Garden Managers: Franca Moss, Maureen Dalgleish, Peggy Bell, Paddy Parr, Christine Lancaster, Linda Baines, and Ann Louise Branscombe
  • Our Presenting Sponsor: Mori Gardens Design & Garden Centre
  • Our Sponsors:
    • Allen’s Landscape Supply Depot & Garden Centre
    • Oban Inn Spa Restaurant
    • Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club
    • Niagara-on-the-Lake Realty
    • Simpson’s Pharmasave
    • Furnace Heating and Air Conditioning
    • Bravo Niagara Festival of the Arts
    • Sweets & Swirls Café
    • Laurie Sobil & John Sobil of Bosley Real Estate
    • Tree Amigos Landscaping Inc.
  • Our Supporters:
    • Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
    • Phil’s Valu-Mart
  • Draw Prize Donors:
    • Shaw Festival
    • Mori Gardens Design & Garden Centre
    • Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre
    • Grape Escape Wine Tours
    • Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
    • Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine
    • 124 Queen Hotel and Spa

Introducing Kim Mustill, MVP Lead Administrator

Kim joined the Shaw Guild in June and immediately started as a Host and Greeter. When she learned of a new opportunity to administer MVP, she said yes to that as well!

She says, “My husband, Don and I moved to the enchanting town of NOTL just before Christmas in 2017. Prior to retiring, my background included working with Banks and client services systems, consulting, implementing mainframe HR & Payroll systems and Project management. 

My passions are anything to do with horses, gardening (hence our move), reading, sailing, music and theatre. I am truly fascinated with the talent, creativity and imagination that creates the magic on stage and I am looking forward to supporting the Shaw any way I can.”

Welcome and thanks, Kim, for taking on this important role.

MVP seems to be humming along smoothly with most Guild Members using the tool to sign up for Hosting, Greeting and Events!  Thanks to everyone for embracing this significantly improved way of participating in Guild activities.

If you have any questions or issues about any aspect of MVP, please contact Kim at

Specific questions about hosting or greeting should be directed to the respective Chairs.

The Ladies in The Ladykillers

A bit of inside info: some of the “actors” are recruited from the audience to play Mrs. Wilberforce’s group of culture-loving friends! The photo shows Guild Members Arlene Carson, actor Jenny L Wright’s mother who is not a Guild Member, Pippa Barwell, and Briar Collins who took part in the dress rehearsal. When you see the play, be on the watch for the scene, and you will spot the “ladies” acting up a storm.  You may have a chance to be one of them!



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