Thursday, April 29, 2010

just a quick note...


That's when our First Annual Members' Social will take place. It's just one of the ways we are developing to enhance membership in the Stirling Festival Theatre.

So if you're a member or sponsor, mark the date & time on your calendar now, and join us for ice cold lemonade, lots of homemade treats, and the chance to get to know SFT - and your fellow supporters of the the theatre - just a little better.

PLUS the Museum will have volunteers on hand to show you around their amazing facility!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Volunteers & Other Good Sorts

This is National Volunteer Week...


That's a big shout out to our volunteers who help make the Stirling Festival Theatre go 'round. In fact, it's a big shout out to all volunteers everywhere who make the entire world go 'round, especially in the cultural and NFP sector.

The Stirling Festival Theatre is a Not For Profit, registered charitable business, and we rely on our volunteers to do a myriad of small but vital things that help make our business run smoother, faster, more efficiently than if staff did everything. Well, frankly, staff couldn't do everything which is why we need our volunteers so much.

Just this week, under the direction of the tireless & wonderful Kim Whiteman, they took part in a 'sticker party'. This is the process by which our brochures are labeled, sorted (we sort to save money when mailing) and then posted off to far-flung corners of the world. Or, in the case of this batch of brochures, to Madoc & Marmora and environs. Five thousand brochures are even now wending their way through the postal system, with another 15,000 or so to follow next week. And it's done so fast, so well because of our volunteers.

Last week, when Mitch Seekins & the band was here for the
BUBLE to BOCELLI concert (which, if you missed it, too bad! It was fabulous!), we asked a few of our volunteers to do some baking for us - dessert for the lunch & dinner we provided the musicians. Well, you would have thought the guys - and Lori - had died & gone to heaven. They loved the fact that they were getting homemade goodies - not pre-packaged, over-processed, frozen sweets but... reall food! That creates such a great impression of SFT and Stirling, and that kind of positive, happy attitude gets spread around the performing community pretty quickly. All because of our volunteers!

And of course, the biggest single task we get out of volunteers is working front of house as ushers and other services during our performances. They are warm, friendly, helpful... a great welcome to the theatre for long-time patrons and new visitors alike. Again, essential work to be done, and I don't know how we'd do it without them!

One of the things that staff - particularly Kim & I - are working on through this year is creating a volunteer appreciation program. We have - and tsk, tsk on us - not been really good at remembering
show our volunteers how much they mean to us. Yes, we say thank you. And yes, I think they do know how much they bring to our organization. But sometimes... one just has to do something just a little more than say thanks, or assume people understand how valued they are. If you have an idea for a volunteer apprecation token of some kind, please let us know! If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with SFT, please let us know.

613.395.2100 and ask for Kim.


Friday, April 16, 2010

How We Talk About Ourselves... and you get something out of it

It's Friday afternoon, and I'm going to hit the road soon, but I wanted to share a couple of things with you that we think are both fun & important before we all start our weekends of fun & relaxation (and in my case, packing).

First... thanks for reading the blog! Re-vamping the website & creating this blog are part of our efforts to be more responsive to our patrons. There are so many entertainment choices available today that we want to do everything we can to make sure that we're giving our patrons the choices they want. Using this blog to talk about the process, and to provide a forum for feedback, is one of the ways to reach out. If you're not already a follower, do please sign up.

Second... We have a Facebook page! As time goes on, we'll be adding more & more to it, including photos and video links (which will also be available on our website) and it's another way for SFT's friends to communicate with us, and with each other.

Third... we Twitter! I gotta say, this one is a favourite. I love being able to just quickly go on line, type in 140 (or fewer) smart, creative, attention-grabbing characters, and poof! you're done. If you don't Tweet, that's okay. It's easy to get started, and it's fun to do. Just visit, they'll show you how to get going, and then you can start following our messages, and learn more about what's happening every day - occastionally several times a day - here at the Stirling Theatre.

Fourth... here's a little promo deal you might not know about yet. We've got ads in three regional magazines - Watershed, The County & Quinte Living and Country Roads. Find them, and if you follow their THIRST-QUENCHING suggestion for ordering tickets. (Was that a good hint? Too obscure? Let me know..) Oh, and by the way, do read all these terrific magazines for themselves - they are great sources of entertaining, educational & just plain "oooh, doesn't that look amazing!" moments.

Today is Darrell Nelham's birthday. You probably will never meet Darrell when you come to the theatre; he's our Assistant Technical Director. But you will always notice if he's not around to do his job, because the seats won't fold down, the lights won't come up at the right time, and the sets will only be plywood & hardware, no paint. He doesn't receive any applause for his work, but he deserves it. Happy Birthday, Darrell!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Time Flies Like the Wind... Fruit Flies Like a Banana

That little quote in apropos of nothing at all... except I have been feeling a tad like Groucho Marx this week, emphasis on Grouch.

Oh, it's nothing serious, but when you think things are going this way, and then they go that way, and you're left standing ten feet back wondering... wha-at?? That's sort of how this week has felt. I'm at the wha-at? stage this afternoon.

Ah, but this too shall pass. Hopefully just about the time the sun shine comes back, and Mitch Seekins rolls into town.

Have you heard about Mitch? He's the guy who is headlining the BUBLE TO BOCELLI concerts for us on April 14th. I've been spending a lot of time on the phone and on line with him, getting ready for these shows. Mitch is the definition of the entertainer/entrepreneur, the sort of guy who keeps his fingers on every part of the business side of show biz. And on top of it, is a superb singer! If you haven't heard about Mitch, if you haven't heard him, call our box office right now & order tickets for either the matinee or evening concert on April 14th - great singer, great band, and the nicest guy.

I have been dealing with a lot of nice guys lately - Dave Campbell is another one. He's directing the show we're bringing to Stirling Theatre in September called "Suds".

Now, if you haven't seen "Suds" you haven't had a great evening out! The music! The dancing! The washing machines! It's self-described as "the rockin' 60s musical soap opera" and really, that's what it is. If you remember a song from the 60s - rock, pop, Motown - chances are it's in this show. I dare you to sit through the entire production and not sing along at least once!

Anyway, Dave & I have never met, but we have this hot, passionate email relationship going on, all about music rights and dance sequences and housing for actors and who loves scotch more. I'm almost afraid to have him come to Stirling, just in case we decide we aren't friends after all! But then, if he doesn't come, "Suds" doesn't come and, trust me on this one, you want to see this show.

Tickets for "Suds" are on sale now. Go on, call us. 613.395.2100 or toll-free, 1.877.312.1162. I'll wait... go on.

Back? Got them? Excellent! And did our outstanding sales associates also mention that tickets are sailing out the door for our earlier summer shows? I'm excited to see them all - THE JUDY GARLAND SHOW, DRIVING MISS DAISY, SONGS OF THE REEL, and THE LAST RESORT - but I think I'm most pleased that tickets are selling so very well for DRIVING MISS DAISY. Oh, all the shows are going to have great audiences, but I will admit to just the tiniest little twang of concern that people might think "seen the movie, don't need to see the play". But the opposite seems to be true. Patrons are calling & telling us that because they loved the movie so much, they want to see the play.

I have to tell you - quite confidentially - as good as Jessica Tandy & Morgan Freeman & Dan Ackroyd were in the movie (and they were so very good).... Wait until you see this cast! Jillian Cook, Alan Bomar Jones & Mark Terene all knocked my sox off at the auditions,and I suspect we may see a few empty sox in our auditorium this July :-) And it's not just about this stellar cast. It's a great story about friendship and truth, and even a little justice thrown in.

You know, it's one of the things I like most about theatre. The stories we get to tell, and audiences get to watch, are so exciting, entertaining, educating, sometimes exasperating. Sometimes plays are about things or people we don't like or don't believe in. Sometimes plays tell stories that are true to our heart. Sometimes plays just make you laugh, or cry, or both. Sometimes they'll set your teeth on edge and you wonder why you're even at the theatre! But the thing is... you are there. You are getting a moment that is never going to happen again.

Live theatre is a one-of thing. Even if a production runs for three years, each show is completely different, a true one-of. Just thinking about that... big a rush as ski jumping.

Not that I ski jump! But you know what I mean.

Hey, thanks for reading this blog. Please be sure to comment - and please follow Stirling Theatre on both Facebook & Twitter. And don't forget to buy your tickets...