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PAL Stratford's Back Garden

Below are some shots that Lesley Walker-Fitzpatrick took of PAL's back garden after it was loveingly spruced up by Vic and Amanda Ryan with the help of our tenant Grindle. Kudos and thanks for all their hard work and special credit to Vic for the fine benches he made.

Welcome to PAL Stratford

Who Are We?

Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) Stratford is a volunteer-based Canadian charitable organization dedicated to the provision of affordable housing, social assistance and other services to local members and associates of Canada’s professional and performing arts community who are in need of assistance by reason of low income, age or disability.

PAL Stratford was established as a non-profit organization in 2002 and in 2005 was registered as a Charitable Organization (86363 2881 RR0001). PAL Stratford is one of eight Chapters of PAL Canada; others are located in Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Each Chapter is an independent organization.

The "Places, please" capital fundraising campaign is seeking community support to retire the mortgage on the recently opened affordable housing units at 101 Brunswick Street, Stratford.

What Do We Do?

The principal object of all PAL organizations is to provide affordable housing to those fifty-five years and older who are, or were, associated with Canada’s professional and performing arts communities. PAL’s goal is to assist senior members of our community in living independently and securely.

PAL Stratford is already providing services to the community through Supporting Cast, a volunteer outreach group, which offers confidential support to retirement age or ill members. Services include assistance in dealing with local social and community agencies, as well as offering companionship, check-up phone calls, rides to appointments and running errands. organization. Supporting Cast also organizes group activities, including a weekly coffee and conversation hour at a local restaurant.

Supporting Cast has an email for easy contact, If you would like to join this group, please email us at:

A Brief History

In October 1999, Tom Patterson, Stratford Festival Founder and Herbert Whittaker, Critic Emeritus for the Globe and Mail, spearheaded the inception of PAL Stratford, using the PAL Toronto Lodge as a model.

They recognized that the Stratford Festival had a substantial legacy: an aging theatre and arts community whose members wished to continue living in and around Stratford. As well, there are others in the professional and performing arts who have also chosen to make their home in Stratford.

True to Tom’s vision, PAL Stratford’s long-term goal is to provide affordable congenial housing for these valued members of the Stratford community. Our primary need is to find a building or a site that can be used to provide this kind of facility.

Over the years we have been involved in a number of different projects: twice with different owners of 500 Ontario Street, the land immediately west of the Arden Park Hotel as well as with the owner of 210 Water Street. We seriously considered Falstaff School when it was available. In 2005 we made an unsuccessful bid for City-owned property on Queensland Drive.

We recently opened an affordable housing unit PAL Place at 101 Brunswick Street, Stratford.

PAL Stratford is governed by an elected Board of Directors.

PAL Stratford Endorsements

The Stratford & Shaw Coalition of
Theatre Professionals & Friends of Pal

Statement of Support for PAL Stratford

A sanctuary, a safety net, a home, a community, PAL Place Stratford will be there for those of our own who find themselves in times of need during and at the end of careers that can be uncertain and insecure.
We the undersigned extend our enthusiastic endorsement to the Stratford Performing Arts Lodge project at 101 Brunswick Street, Stratford, Ontario.
PAL is a proven success story in several other locales nationwide. We heartily endorse and look forward to the same success story becoming reality here in Stratford.

(I authorize PAL to acknowledge my endorsement in its fundraising materials)

Geraint Wyn Davies Peter Hutt Ian D. Clark
Len and Heather Cariou Terri Dans Roberta Maxwell
Frank Moore Lesley Walker-Fitzpatrick Bruce Dow
Barbara Bryne Denny Spence Martha Henry
E. B. Smith Xuan Fraser Juan Chioran
Ben Carlson Tristan Tidswell Nicola Pantin
Tyrone Savage Luke Humphrey Lucy Peacock
Jeff Hughes Victor Ertmanis David Collins
Steven Gartner Keith Dinicol Margret Palmer
Kelsey Rae Shira Ginsler Don Sweete
Alicia Kuntze Nancy Benjamin Art Fortin
Nick Glenn AnthonyGentile Tim J. Hartman
Alec Cooper Angela Marshall Carl Danielson
Michael Barber Barry Gammon Joyce Lange
Margaret Blowes John Hautin Sandy Dunn
Scott Boyce Nicko Giannakos Jordan Till
Karl Wylie Cindy Tousshan Stephen Cota
Zeph Williams Gail Sorensen Jill Merner
Jay T. Schramek Ben Thomas Judy Smith
Brian Counihan Callan Potter Christine Yundt
Patricia Taylor Margret Lamb Ruby Joy
Caroline Yates Kelly McIntosh Lois Zurell
Karen Mills Deborah Howes Josie Muncaster
Dianne Chisholm Leslie Lee Ingrid Schmekies
William Gosling Jason Collier Leslie Wade
Lally Cadeau David Keeley Amanda Ryan
Margaret Ryerson Tina Watson Vic Ryan
Pam Brierley Brenda Keogh John Banks
Kyle Golemba Dan MacDonald Brenda Martin
Ann Swerdfager Richard Fitzpatrick M. K. Bohdanetzky
Roy F. Brown David Spence Brian Reynolds
Gayle Tribick Paul Shilton Robert King
Marie Fewer Renate Hanson Varrick Grimes
Alon Nashman Paul Thompson Vern Good
Sarah Mansikka Gillian Gallow Brenda Pilatzke
Daniel Mac Ivor Jessica Stinson Janine Pearson
Scott Farley Katherine Laing Nigel Bennett
Skye Brandon Christopher Sibbald John Vickery
Robin McCulloch Kristian Truelsen Maria Vacratsis
Stephen Woodjetts Michael Gyapjas Raemond Fletcher
Steve Bayne Barbara Young Kelley Teahen
Angela Smith Linda Mackay Brian Tree
Nora Polley Paul Elliot Aggie Elliot
Iain Paterson Wayne Mahon Dean Gabourie
Karen McCabe Maxine A. Graham John Pennoyer
Kim Foster Kevin Gormley Stacy Smith
Denise Fergusson Alan Laing Rachel Neville-Fox
Patti Muma-Cook Nancy Ferguson Ian Deakin
Jeff Wincott Jeremy Kushnier Michael Roth
Dave Collier Benedict Campbell Lisa Dent-Couturier
Kennedy C. MacKinnon Mark Beckett Ted Dykstra
Brian Crockatt Barbara Ross Carmen Grant
Carol A. Miller Peggy Mahon Chilina Kennedy
Jacob James Carol Zimmerman Andy Mark
Sherri Neeb Annette av Paul Brian Macdonald
John David Sterne Ian White  

Endorsement List

Note to Stratford & Shaw Theatre
Professionals & Friends of PAL:
You can add your endorsement by clicking the link
below to send us an email. We will add your name
as soon as possible after we receive your email.

 I endorse PAL Stratford 

Margaret Carol Ryerson | 1925 - 2015

After a great long run, in a life filled with loving friendships and the company of the Stratford artists for whom she had such respect and admiration, we sadly bring down the final curtain for Margaret Carol Ryerson (nee Ellicott), our mother, sister and Gran.

Margaret is survived by her beloved son John, his wife Lori and the shining lights of the last 20-some years, grandsons Spencer and Adrian, along with her adored sister Lloy and husband Grant. An extensive cast list of nephews, nieces and cousins also mourn her passing, and toast a life well lived.

Margaret leaves a hard act to follow with her many, many volunteer activities, most notably at St. John’s United Church, PAL (the Performing Arts Lodge) and SAWA, the Stratford and Area World Aid group with whom she spent so much time with for so many years. As the “right hand” to four of the Stratford Festival’s Artistic Directors (and their first archivist), she was a tireless cheerleader for the hundreds of actors, stagehands and technical artists who passed through those doors in her 20-ish years there. When she moved on from the Festival, she became part of the start up team of the original Stratford Music Festival, bringing her experience and wisdom to the administrative team there.

It’s a testament to an actors’ skill to leave the audience wanting just a little more, and Marg’s final act is no different. We expect that Egerton and Ken, her husband and brother who predeceased her, will be waiting at the great cosmic CN station somewhere, with a rye ‘n’ ginger waiting for her, preparing for a train to the next station. In the words of the Robert Munsch book that she loved, which she quoted every time we headed home to Toronto: love you forever.

Thank you to the staff of People Care and Golden Years Nursing Home for their care and love.

A Memorial service for family and friends will be held on Saturday, June 13 at 11:00 a.m. at St. John’s United Church, 175 Waterloo Street, followed by internment (Avondale Cemetery) and a reception.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to PAL Stratford, P.O. Box 21045, Stratford, ON N5A 7V4,, or a charity of your choice, through the James A. Rutherford Funeral Home, 156 Albert St., Stratford at 519-271-5062.

This obituary is protected by copyright by James A. Rutherford Funeral Home Ltd.. Proudly Serving the Communities of Stratford, Perth, Mitchell, Sebringville, and Shakespeare in the province of Ontario, Canada
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Legendary director/choreographer Brian Macdonald celebrated during tribute at the Festival Theatre

As posted on the Stratford Beacon Herald website, May 4, 2015
By Laura Cudworth, The Beacon Herald

Brian Macdonald could fill a theatre.

The musicals he produced at the Stratford Festival are legendary and perhaps that is why fans streamed into the Festival Theatre to pay tribute to his extraordinary talent on Sunday afternoon.

Macdonald died at his Stratford home in December at the age of 86.

During his illustrious career he had an undeniable impact on the arts. He was a prolific director and choreographer and unforgettable teacher. His accomplishments and awards are far too numerous to list.

He created about 100 ballets and directed 24 in operas in Canada and abroad. For Stratford audiences though he will be best remembered for his musicals. His Tony-nominated production of The Mikado (1982) toured Canada and went to the United States and England. He was behind 19 productions at the Stratford Festival, and the Gilbert and Sullivans, among others, are still fondly remembered.

“Brian Mcdonald lived the life he wanted to live. He only ever wanted to be an artist and what an artist he was,” said Peter Herrndorf, CEO of the National Arts Centre.

The celebration of his life was almost as spectacular as the plays he directed and choreographed. The tribute was called Brian's Greatest Hits and included numbers from The Mikado, Madama Butterfly and a bring-the-house-down version of You Gotta Get a Gimmick from Gypsy performed by the original Stratford cast.

His wife and collaborator of 50 years, Annette av Paul, stood up at the end of the celebration and gave her heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated.

“I'm overwhelmed by the incredible outpouring of love and memories and joy,” she said.

Among those who shared their memories was actor/director Martha Henry.

She first met Macdonald when she was a young actor at the National Theatre School. He was tall, glamourous, charismatic and terrifying, she said.

“He had discipline unlike anything we had experienced before. We were scared to death of him,” she said.

But in six weeks he had transformed the class and got the best out of the students including Henry who saw her non-speaking role expand into a lead cameo.

Macdonald was a founding member of the National Ballet of Canada and worked with Karen Kain when she was a young ballerina. She lauded his ability to show a too-serious ballerina how to express her silly side.

For Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino, Macdonald was a kind mentor. Cimolino remembered Macdonald's generosity toward him when he was a young actor.

“I had just been soundly panned by critics and I didn't know how I was going to get through the rest of the run,” he recalled. “Brian gave me a generous compliment. It meant so much to me.”

Macdonald urged him to take the criticism as an opportunity to go further with his work. Cimolino said it changed the way he saw criticism after that.

Had it not been for Macdonald, it's possible a young dancer named Donna Feore would never have found herself at the Festival. He brought her in as a dancer to work under his direction on Guys and Dolls. He promised her great things to do, with great piles of fruit on her head, she said.

She later worked with him in other capacities, including choreography, which she likened to working as an apprentice to a magician.

“An occasion like today is a terrific opportunity to acknowledge a debt, a debt that can't be repaid,” she said.

Macdonald spent many years at the Banff Centre of the Performing Arts with av Paul. During a video presentation, many of the dancers he worked with there spoke of the influence Macdonald had on their lives and careers.

Dancer Johnny Wright said he was a father figure.

“How do you thank someone for that? You just keep dancing.”

The tribute ended with a standing ovation as photos of Macdonald were projected on a screen and a spotlight shone down on an empty stage.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Sunday, April 26, 2015

At this afternoon’s 2015 Annual General Meeting, PAL Stratford’s membership were informed, that as of this morning, having been donated to PAL Stratford by the Stratford Public Library, physical transfer had taken place of the Floyd S. Chalmers Theatre Resource Collection and the Richard J. Monette Archives, and are now domiciled at PAL Place Stratford.

A panel of theatre historians, librarians, authors, publishers and editors are being formed to curate, grow and cull the collections. In the fullness of time, professional practitioners and scholars of dramaturgy will have access to electronic catalogues, and most physical material of this distinguished and important international theatre-study resource.

PAL Stratford Annual General Meeting for 2015




Sunday April 26, 2015 3:00 PM

PAL PLACE, 101 Brunswick Street, Stratford

Download AGM 2015 Agenda | Download AGM Proxy | Download AGM 2014 Minutes

Brian Macdonald Memorial — May 3, 2015 — 1 pm

From Stratford Festival Media Release, April 22, 2015.

A celebration of the life of Brian Macdonald
will be held at the Stratford Festival on May 3

April 22, 2015 … The remarkable life and career of director-choreographer Brian Macdonald will be celebrated at the Stratford Festival on May 3, at 1 p.m., in the Festival Theatre, 55 Queen Street, Stratford. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mr. Macdonald, who died on November 29, 2014, at the age of 86, was one of the most prolific and internationally renowned directors and choreographers Canada has ever produced. He was a member of the Stratford Festival company for 17 seasons, a founding dancer with the National Ballet, and Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Harkness Ballet, Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, as well as a major contributor to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, the National Arts Centre, the Canadian Opera Company, and the CBC.

Remembrances of Mr. Macdonald will be shared by Stratford Festival Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino; actor Richard McMillan; Tamara Ross, the Banff Centre’s director of programming operations; Karen Kain, artistic director of the National Ballet; actor and director Martha Henry; Peter Herrndorf, president and CEO of the National Arts Centre; and principal dancer Annette av Paul, Mr. Macdonald’s widow.

The celebration will feature a number of excerpts from “Brian’s Greatest Hits” performed by past and present members of the Stratford Festival company, including Matt Alfano, Jacqueline Burtney, Karen Edissi, Alana Hibbert, Mary Jay, Anita Kraus, Monique Lund, Mary Pitt, Mari Trainor and guest artist soprano Christiane Riel.

A Guthrie Award will be established in Mr. Macdonald’s name for Musical Theatre, specifically “for someone who wants to study and research the dances and choreography of musicals old and new, with the potential of becoming a musical theatre choreographer/director.”

To raise funds for the award, a limited edition of Mr. Macdonald’s book Dancing in Thin Air, about the dance program at the Banff Centre, will be available for sale, along with a small number of Mr. Macdonald’s treasured artifacts.

Donations to this special award can be made in the lobby at the memorial or sent to:
Cathy Kemp,
Program Administrator
Stratford Festival
P.O. Box 520
Stratford, ON
N5A 6V2

Cheques should be made payable to the Stratford Festival and marked “Brian Macdonald Guthrie Award.”

Stratford Festival Image Gallery

Equity in Theatre partners with theatre groups on International Women's Day

As posted by the Stratford Beacon Herald, March 8, 2015
By Cory Smith, Stratford Beacon Herald

Pam Brighton's name appears as a footnote in Stratford Festival history, and Brigit Wilson intends to change that.

Wilson, a 10-year Stratford Festival veteran and the wife of current artistic director Antoni Cimolino, took part in the Equity in Theatre Hackathon Sunday aimed at raising the profile of female artists in Canada.

It coincided with International Women's Day, and those who took part were invited to create a Wikipedia page or add information to an existing page to better represent the artist of their choice.

Brighton passed away a couple weeks ago.

“It's unfortunate that she has ended up being a footnote, and not even that in the Stratford Festival history,” Wilson said. “Not knowing her personally, I still feel it's just not right. Because I've been fortunate enough to work at the Stratford Festival – I'm now in my 10th season – I feel I owe it to our history, and they're on to something, this group. We need to be better represented online, and I'm not sure it was anyone's intention to exclude information about her. It's not to criticize, just to enlighten.”

Brighton had been battling an illness for several months and died Feb. 22.

She was a theatre giant in Ireland, where she helped create the West Belfast Dubbeljoint Theatre company in 1991.

Theatre director Sam McCready called Brighton “a courageous artist in everything she did.”

“She lived her life according to her personal politic and put integrity before money — to her cost, financially, but not in terms of the friends she ultimately made and who will remember her for her courage and conviction and for putting community, especially the community of west Belfast, before fame and fortune,” McCready told the Belfast Telegraph.

Brighton was a director in Stratford and Toronto, and in 1980 she was named as part of a four-person collective artistic directorate, which also consisted of Martha Henry, Urjo Kareda and Peter Moss, appointed to succeed Robin Phillips.

That group was disbanded before it started.

Wilson invited others from the Festival to drop by the Performing Arts Lodge on Brunswick Street Sunday afternoon and join her in the Hackathon, which included theatre groups and organizations across Canada.

“How (Brighton) served the Stratford Festival and who she was in the Canadian landscape of theatre” were important, Wilson said. “She didn't just work in Stratford, she worked in Toronto as well and was married to a high profile artistic director, Guy Sprung, who is in Montreal now. She's part of our Canadian history, and people may identify her as a Brit, but that's not to say she wasn't here and didn't matter.”

Brian Reynolds | 1935-2015

REYNOLDS, Brian - Brian Victor Reynolds was born Sunday's child full of grace on August 25, 1935 in Birmingham, England, third of John and Vera's ten children.

As a boy family outings to visit stately homes and gardens and days skipped from school spent in the history or science museum, the art gallery or wandering the English countryside gave Brian a deep love of his heritage, fine craftsmanship, invention and above all the natural world. He apprenticed as a production woodturner, served in the Royal Engineers and after university moved to beautiful Tasmania Australia, a land he loved, to work as a field entomologist for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and to raise his family.

As a conservationist he fought to save the Franklin River wilderness and old growth forests. A good athlete he swam, sailed, hiked, played golf, tennis, soccer and especially enjoyed coaching young Tasmanian soccer players. He was a story teller, a world traveller, a collector of British and Australian stamps with faults and variations, an inventor, an entrepreneur, a fan of the violin and a life long lover of cheese.

One hot January eve on a Hobart street corner Brian stopped to give directions to a tourist from Canada. A few days later he saw that tourist again standing under a tree at Salamanca Market and asked her out to dinner. Three years and thousands of telephone dollars and travel miles later, ever patient and persistent, he married that lucky tourist in 1992 and came to live in Stratford.

Brian opened a custom woodturning business and "played" brilliantly at his craft until illness led to retirement. Brian was a strong, determined, soft hearted optimist. He encouraged everyone to follow their own path and not to let anyone steal their dreams.

On February 8, 2015 Brian died.

He is survived by his wife Gayle Tribick, her sister Jane and their mother June of Stratford, his daughters Mandy (Serge) Belpatronne of Noumea, New Caledonia, Carol Reynolds and Tracy Payne and their mother Sheila of Hobart, Tasmania. His girls and grandchildren Oliver, Bianca, Brandon, Jessica, Luke and great grandson Damien were his pride and joy. His parents and siblings Michael, Lynda and Clive Reynolds predeceased Brian. Living in the United Kingdom are his sisters Pauline Catley and Judith French and brothers Peter, Roy, Richard and Christopher Reynolds and their families.

There will be no funeral. Brian's body was bequeathed to The Schulich School of Medicine at Western University, London, Ontario.

Plant a tree for Brian.

"The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness."

-- John Muir