Members » Newsletter

April 2019

In this edition:

Message from Laurie Harley, President, Shaw Guild

The start of the 2019 season was quite literally “piped” in at the Spring Preview luncheon with traditional Scottish tunes courtesy of our guest Piper, Jim Scollick.  We also had the opportunity to meet Peter Jewett, Chair of the Shaw Festival Board of Directors, who attended and delivered a welcome on behalf of the Board.  You’ll find more details on the luncheon and Show & Tell in the report from Brenda Weafer, Activities Chair.

Last December many of you participated in a Member Survey.  One of your messages was that we could do more to make volunteers feel welcome and valued.  We listened and took advantage of the Spring Preview luncheon to announce two new ways that we plan to show our appreciation.

First, we’re changing the criteria for long-service awards.  Currently we recognize members with 20 years of service or more.  Starting this year at Members Day in the fall, we will expand that recognition to members with 10 years of service.  That will allow us to formally thank more than 100 members for their contributions with a service memento. 

Second, we’re introducing a new Spotlight on Volunteers program.  The objective is to highlight those volunteers who as individuals or in teams go above and beyond their regular volunteer work.  You’ll find a separate write-up with more details below. I encourage you to read it and learn how you can nominate a colleague for this special recognition.

As always, we invite you to tell us how we’re doing.  Your comments and questions are welcomed (

New Feature: Spotlight on Volunteers

Volunteers are the heart of the Shaw Guild! 

We are fortunate to have so many members who donate their time and talent to support the Shaw Festival.  And some of you go above and beyond the call of duty.

Is there an individual, or group of volunteers, who are doing more than their regular volunteer work?  Help us identify outstanding volunteers for a new newsletter feature: Spotlight on Volunteers.

They may be a team of Gardeners who worked to a tight deadline to ready gardens for a Shaw outdoor event.  Or they may be Hosts who helped patrons get the help they needed to solve a problem.  We could showcase a team of Docents who put together a special themed tour for our patrons.  Or they could be Greeters who welcome patrons in all kinds of weather.

Let’s celebrate the amazing work we do on behalf of the Shaw Festival!  Watch for Spotlight on Volunteers coming soon.

If you have candidates you would like to recommend, contact a Guild Chair, Convener or Hosting Captain to submit their names and special contributions. All nominations will be considered, and exceptional volunteers will be showcased in the newsletter.


Shaw Gardens Getting Ready for Visitors!



Paddy Parr, Gardens Chair




The Shaw Festival Celebrates National Volunteer Week, April 7 -13

National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of volunteers and that’s exactly what the Shaw Festival did on Monday, April 8.  Guild Members were invited by Tim Carroll (TC) and Tim Jennings to a Drop-In Reception from 1pm to 3pm in the Green Room where we were treated to light refreshments and had the opportunity to mix and mingle with Shaw Staff, Company and fellow volunteers. Hats off to Shaw Guild volunteers!


Wednesday May 15th is “Company Day” at the Shaw Festival.  Traditionally it’s a time for Shaw staff and Company members to gather and celebrate their achievements.  This year the Guild has been invited to join them.  More details will follow closer to the event.


Getting to Know You, Carol Reid

I joined the Shaw Guild at the urging of a friend when I was still working full-time. For the first few years I didn’t do much but attend the social events & see the plays. When I switched to part-time employment I volunteered for hosting. Those were the days before scanners, so we had to read the tickets carefully to ensure we were directing patrons to the appropriate entrance. On several occasions during that first year I forgot about the balcony and had to apologize for misdirecting people. I was careful not to make a mistake about the date and time, and on two occasions I had to tell ticketholders they were at the wrong theatre and send them hurrying off down the street.

When the docent program was introduced in 2004, I applied and was accepted. We received a lot of training and my greatest concern at the outset was finding my way around backstage. This has proven to be one of the most satisfying things I have done at Shaw. Even though I have been a theatre enthusiast for as long as I can remember, I still had a lot to learn.

Two seasons ago the Continue the Conversation program was started and I agreed to participate. Patrons love to talk about their reaction to the play they have just seen and it is a very positive experience to listen to them and facilitate the discussion.

I’ve done a lot of volunteer jobs at Shaw. A few years ago, we got a request for Guild members with glue guns to show up at the Scene shop to help glue leaves back on branches that formed part of a backdrop for a play at the George. The leaves kept falling off every time the scene changed. We went back a few years later to weave blades of fake grass through matting for another play at the George. I was also part of a large group of Guild volunteers that went to the costume warehouse to help photograph costumes for the large task of developing the costume computer storage system.

I like meeting people and talking to them about theatre. The school kids on the backstage tours are fun. They bring so much enthusiasm with them and they are so excited about the play they are going to see.

I have met many people over the years I have spent at Shaw and I have been rewarded with their friendship and support. I’m so glad I took the advice of my friend and joined the Shaw Guild. I could have taken up gourmet cooking. NOT!



My Volunteer Page Hints & Tips

There is a new feature in MVP which allows you to see Opportunities in a calendar view. The previous view of looking at Opportunities as a list still remains if you prefer to see them that way. You can sign up in either view.



After you log into MVP, click on the Opportunities tab to see the choices. Click on Opportunities Calendar.


Then you will see the page below. Click on the Category window if you want to filter the view to a specific one like Hosting, Greeting, etc. Remember to deselect “Only include activities that I am qualified for”, as that will limit what you see. Check off Make these my default filters, then click Submit.


Next, look through the calendar at what’s available. If you hover your mouse over one of the entries it shows a brief description.

If you click on the entry, the full description appears and you can sign up and also see who else is scheduled.


MVP TRAINING SESSIONS: There are sessions planned for hands-on training sessions once a month until September. For dates and details, please check the website and email Cheryl Morris at


President’s Corner

This month’s question:

What Benefits do I Receive as a Guild Member?

This question relates to the broader question of what drives volunteer engagement.   In the December Member Survey, you told us you volunteer at the Guild because you want to give back to your community, learn new things, and follow your passion for theatre by building a closer connection with the Shaw Festival.  Volunteering brings you personal satisfaction, and opportunities for personal development. 

The Guild’s objective is to support your engagement with tangible benefits.  Each season the Activities Chair plans a Calendar of Events designed to further your knowledge of the Shaw, learn “insider” information about the season’s playbill, and leverage opportunities to engage with Shaw management and Company.   When you visit the Scene Shop, attend Show & Tell, tour the Props and Costume warehouses or observe a Set Changeover you deepen your knowledge and relationship with the Shaw.  Most Guild events are free except where catering is involved.  In these instances, charges are passed on at cost to attendees. 

Your membership fees and charges when you sit-in on a performance go to subsidize the calendar of events.  This year’s calendar includes two “firsts” for the Guild – observing the Wandelprobe for Brigadoon on April 26, and attending the Shaw Festival’s Company Day on May 15.   And we’ll continue to explore new opportunities each year to support volunteer engagement.

In addition to these benefits offered to all members, depending on the volunteer role you play, you may be offered others such as the opportunity hosts and greeters have to sit in on a performance for $20 if seats are available.   Check with your Chair or Convener to find out if other benefits apply to your role.

And finally, there is a hidden benefit.  Research shows that volunteering is good for you!  Doing what we do actually triggers the reward pathway in the brain and releases “feel good” neurotransmsitters.  Maybe that’s why volunteering at the Guild is so much fun!

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.


OCH and a “GREEEEAT” Time was Had by All at the Spring Preview Luncheon and Show & Tell

On April 15th, eighty Guild members gathered in the Festival Theatre Lobby for a delicious Brigadoon-themed lunch, followed by a Show & Tell presentation by Tim Carroll and Sarah Phillips which highlighted many aspects of the upcoming season.  The mood was festive, and decorations reflected the Scottish theme with tartans, thistles and heather. Many people donned their kilts and tartans in the spirit of the Highlands!

Lunch began with a rendition of Scotland the Brave on bagpipes by our guest piper, Jim Scollick.  Guild President, Laurie Harley, then welcomed everyone and introduced Peter Jewett, chair of the Shaw Board of Directors. Peter (photo below) emphasized the very important work that the Guild volunteers do, and offered thanks on behalf of the board.  After his remarks we were treated to a second tune by our piper.


The Green Room catered an excellent lunch of Shepherd’s Pie, salads and scones, followed by dessert and coffee. After lunch, Tim Carroll and Creative Management Associate Sarah Phillips provided an in-depth look at some of the upcoming highlights of the 2019 Shaw Season.  From maquettes to costume sketches (see photo below), TC and Sarah delighted all in attendance with details and anecdotes of all the intricate planning that goes into mounting a season of such magnitude! They also responded to questions from the audience and people greatly appreciated their candor and genuine responses to all questions and comments.   We can hardly wait for what is ahead! 


The afternoon ended with a draw for 5 pairs of tickets (valued at $20.00 each) for the Director/Designer Presentation for The Ladykillers to be held on June 11th.  Tickets were furnished by Suzanne Merriam of the Education Department. Lucky winners were Julian Rance, Keith Mills, Jackie Johnson, Christine Lancaster and Phyllis Schaefer.














Hosts and Greeters on the “Job”

April 6 was the opening day of the Shaw Festival and Greeters were at the door, welcoming the first patrons on 2019!


Hosts were in place on April 10, using the new ticket scanning devices for the many patrons who came to enjoy the show. Below are Terry Tucker, Gail Kendall and Janet Tucker.




Hosting Update

Two joint Host and Greeter Kick-Off sessions will be held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre in May,

  • Wednesday, May 1 from 7 pm to 9 pm in the Simpson Room
  • Monday, May 6 from 2 pm to 4 pm in Auditorium A

Led by Mona Babin, we will be discussing what’s new this year in Hosting and Greeting:  New theatre productions, new MVP processes, new scanning guns, new opportunities – Lots to cover! A special thanks to Mona for organizing our Kick-Off Sessions this year, and for doing an outstanding job for the Guild.

In appreciation for the Guild’s volunteer service, the Shaw Education Department has given us sets of tickets to the Up Close and Personal with Director and Designers sessions for several shows.  There will be a draw for tickets at the Kick-Off meetings. What an opportunity it will be to attend one of these sessions if you win!

The Period One Hosting Schedule running from April 10 to May 24 is now underway. Thank you Hosts for your great enthusiasm in indicating your availability in MVP.  We are all learning as we go how we can best utilize our new booking software.  Hosting Captains have a very steep learning curve in managing the assignments.  Apologies to several volunteers who received an incorrect email on assignments – but we think we’ve worked out a better process to reduce this happening again.  

Just a reminder that all Host Opportunities assigned to you will show up on both your MVP Home and Schedule pages.  If shifts do not appear in these locations, then you have not been assigned to a Host Opportunity.   Of course, if you signed up for notifications as suggested in training, you will receive email reminders of your upcoming assigned shifts.

A special thanks to Sue Henry in completing the Host Scheduling for Period One and ensuring an equitable distributions of Host Opportunities. 

I am greatly looking forward to completing my first Host assignment this season.  Have fun at the Shaw. Hosting is now ready to start the 2019 Season.  Let’s go!

Greg Fedoryn, Hosting ChairFedoryn





News from the Driveway!

Hi Greeters

Thank you for taking the time to learn and work with MVP. We had a great response for the April and May Opportunities.   And now ever onward . . .

From now on, we will be Assigning Opportunities (shifts) on a monthly basis.  Opportunities for the next month will be listed on MVP the third Sunday of the current month.  At that time, Greeters will receive Notification by email and will have one week to select Greeting Opportunities for the next month. 

We welcome you to sign up for as many Opportunities as you wish. Here’s the Greeting Opportunities Notification Schedule for the “Regular” Season:
Once the Assignments for the month have been completed and confirmed, all Greeters will be informed that the month is booked. 

As you can see, our Next Notification will be sent out May 19th…..that’s the Victoria Day Long Week-end.  In between BBQs and fireworks, please don’t forget us!!!


John and Marg Mather,





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

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

If you want to have fun, meet people and are able to help with a shift, 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

You can also sign up for a shift in MVP:

  • Login, go to Opportunities.
  • Under the category Garden Tour, there are three shifts to choose from: Morning: 9:30 am – 1pm, Afternoon: 12:30 pm – 4pm, and All Day: 9:30 am – 4pm

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!


The Guild Invites You to Connect on Facebook

Does the Guild use Social Media?  It hasn’t been a focus in the past, but that’s about to change.  As your new Social Media Convener, I’ll be encouraging you to join us on social media and looking for your feedback.

The plan is to start with Facebook where many of you may already have accounts.  We’re exploring other social media channels like Instagram, but one thing at a time and Facebook is our priority. 

If you have a Facebook account (and how else does one keep track of families and friends that live out of town?), we’d like you to follow and post on the Shaw Guild page.  We hope to provide an opportunity for a two-way discussion on what’s happening at the Shaw and the Guild.  Let’s add a little more colour and fun to conversation.  There’s so much happening at the Shaw – let’s share it.

Tell us about your experiences about volunteering at the Shaw, about the plays you have attended, about attending Guild events and more! 

If you have comments or questions, please contact me, Sue Henry, Social Media Convener for the Guild. See you on-line!


In Memoriam: Guild Member, Lil Aylesworth

With sadness we report the passing of Lil Aylesworth on March 21, 2019.  Lil was a long-serving Guild member who was responsible for expanding the Guild’s activities to include maintaining the Festival Gardens in the early 90s.


In Memoriam: Shaw Actor, Jennifer Phipps

Sadly, we lost our dear friend, Jennifer Phipps on April 18. Jennifer was a magnificent actor who performed locally since 1967.

You will remember Jenny most recently as the wonderful Cheshire Cat in Shaw’s Alice

We will miss her glorious talents and generous ways. Her obituary is available in the Globe and Mail.

Jenny had turned 87 on Tuesday April 16, 2019.  A Memorial Service will be at St. Mark’s Church on Byron St. at 2 pm Monday, April 29. A reception will follow.


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