Members » Newsletter

January 2019

In this edition:

Message from Laurie Harley, President, Shaw Guild

By any measure, 2018 was a year of tremendous success! Guild Members contributed over 13,000 volunteer hours and raised $25,000 from the Annual Garden Tour to support The Shaw’s classic holiday production of A Christmas Carol.

What lies ahead for 2019?  The year promises to be exciting and challenging, filled with even more potential to be the best we can be at adding value to The Shaw Festival.  To do that, we have a roadmap to follow (see the article on the Strategic Plan below).  It was developed last year as part of a five-year planning process and will help us decide on priorities and action plans.

Our key goals for 2019 are simple and straightforward:  to make your volunteer experience as meaningful and satisfying as possible; to make your volunteer scheduling process more effective; to enhance patron experience; and to continue strengthening our relationship with Shaw Company and Staff.

And, thanks to those who completed the Member Survey in December, we now have more information to guide our planning.   The process of analyzing survey data along with comments is now underway and we’ll have more details to share with you in the February Newsletter.

For now, I can tell you that communications was a key theme in the survey and it’s already on our radar as a strategic priority.  True communications are conversations; 2-way exchanges of information.  We’ll be exploring how to improve not just our electronic communications through vehicles like the Guild Website and Newsletter, but in other ways that encourage dialogue.  A good place to start is to invite your feedback, not just in surveys, but face to face.   If you have comments or concerns to share, you have an open invitation to contact me any time you want to talk.  I’m as close as an email at

Thanks for an amazing 2018.   Let’s do it again in 2019!   

Shaw Guild Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022

Why develop a strategic plan for the Guild?  That’s a question posed by the Executive Committee in late 2017?  The answer – first and foremost – to set a direction and establish priorities.  The foundation for building a plan was not new.  The vision and values of the Guild have been its strengths for decades.  Yet our environment was changing.  Under new leadership, The Shaw was introducing innovative strategies and initiatives with new opportunities to enhance volunteer participation.  At the same time as opportunities were increasing, trends suggested Guild resources were declining.  How do we continue to attract volunteers?  How do we strengthen volunteer engagement and enrich the volunteer experience?  The Executive Committee looked to the strategic planning process to answer these questions.

The Strategic Plan is now complete and the implementation phase will roll out in 2019.  The task going forward is to detail the plan in operational terms – who needs to do what and by when – and then to monitor, measure and make adjustments along the way.  To make that happen, teams have been formed with Executive Committee leads to focus on priority areas.

We invite you to have a look at the Guild’s roadmap to 2022 and the 7 strategic priorities.  If you would like more information on the Strategic Plan or if one of the strategic priorities captures your interest and you’d like to get involved, we’d love to hear from you.  Please contact Laurie Harley at

Shaw Guild Executive Committee, 2019-2020

Left to right: Joe Allevato, Julian Rance, Laurie Harley, Marg Mather,
Greg Fedoryn, Cheryl Morris, Alan Walker, Brenda Weafer,
Lindsay Thomson, Paddy Parr, Cheryl Penman, Mary Mizen.

Summary of 2018 Shaw Guild AGM

On November 28, 2018, Guild members gathered in Rehearsal Hall 1 for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Shaw Guild.  Details are found in the 2018 Shaw Guild Annual Report.

The agenda also included a presentation by Julian Rance, Guild President, of a cheque for $1,130 to Julian Mainprize from the Shaw Cricket Team.
Tim Carroll (TC), Artistic Director, shared his perspective on 2 plays from the 2019 line-up – Shaw’s Man and Superman with Don Juan in Hell and The Horse and His Boy, from the magical Narnia stories by C.S. Lewis. In the spirit of the season, attendees donated generously to the Shaw Festival Company’s Christmas Giving Charity which provides support to people in need through Community Care St. Catharines.

Some highlights from 2018!

Members’ Day 2018 and a New Member Event!

Read about Members’ Day that took place on October 22, 2018, and the long-service awards which were presented to Shaw Guild volunteers.

The first event of  the 2019 Shaw Guild season, the Newbie Secret Theatre, happens on Saturday, February 2 and is already sold out.  Check out the Events page for 2019 and save the dates in your calendar.

Renewing Your Shaw Guild Membership

Thanks to all members who have renewed their memberships for 2019.  When you renewed last fall, you allowed us to get an early start implementing of our new software tool, My Volunteer Page.  The Guild’s Membership year begins on the first day of January each year and ends the 31st day of December with dues payable by January 31. Yes – that’s right – 2019 memberships are due the end of this month!

And speaking of Shaw Guild Members – Do you have any friends you think might be a good candidate to join us? Now is the time – we are looking for new members so we can get them into an Orientation Session and Trained in time for the season. You know the fun we have and great “perks” of being a member – check out the Events page and encourage your friends to join the Guild.

The cost of the annual fee is $20.00.

Payment options:

Mail a cheque payable  to The Shaw Guild:
Shaw Guild
PO Box 83


Send an etransfer to

Email the answer to your security question to

If you have any comments or concerns regarding membership, please  email Membership Chair, Lindsay Thomson @

My Volunteer Page (MVP)

Are you ready for a new season of volunteering as a member of the Guild? With the great line-up of world-class theatre productions set for 2019, we know this year will be very exciting and busy!

As you probably know, scheduling of assignments for hosts, greeters, and docents will be managed through the tool, My Volunteer Page (also known as Better Impact). More than 100 Shaw Guild members have already gone through training sessions and are delighted that the tool is so easy to use! It will allow you to select shifts that suit your own availability, and also see what other opportunities exist for programs you may not have explored before.

Many training sessions are scheduled for the balance of January and continuing into the spring. You will receive an email from Cheryl Morris with links to sign-up for training and register in MVP. Contact Cheryl at if you have questions.

Interested in Becoming a Docent?

We will be recruiting docents to train for the 2019 season. Interested members should contact Arlene Carson, Docent Convenor, at by January 31 to set up an informal interview that will cover the time commitment for the program.

Formal auditions for the Education Department of the Shaw Festival will take place between February 5 – 8th.

Christopher Newton Recent Promotion as an Officer of the Order of Canada

The Shaw Guild congratulates Christopher Newton on his recent promotion as an Officer of the Order of Canada.  Mr. Newton’s contributions were previously recognized in 1996 when he became a Member of the Order of Canada.

He served as Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival from 1980 until 2002 and is an Honourary Member of the Shaw Guild.

Hosting Update

FedorynWhat a great Season 2018 was, starting way back on April 4. Over the following 7 months of the regular season, we completed 827 Host assignments and logged almost 1,700 hours of volunteer time. This is truly exceptional performance, and this was only achieved because of the tremendous personal dedication of our Host Volunteers and Captains.
Our 2019 Shaw Hosting season will start on Wednesday April 10 and will conclude on Friday December 20, 2019. This season we will Host 416 shows, an increase of 21 shows over this past year; so there will be even more volunteer Host opportunities available. Our season will be broken up into 12 scheduling periods, with each being administered by an experienced Host Captain.  All Host scheduling will be booked through our new MVP platform, allowing Volunteers the opportunity indicate their availability for their preferred show dates and times.
2019 will be a very exciting year in Guild Hosting, and I look forward to opening night.
Greg Fedoryn
Host Chair

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