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Stratford Festival Company Drop-in

An invitation from PAL Stratford

Performing Arts Lodge Stratford is an organization whose primary mandate is to care for artists in their retirement years who are in need of assistance. But PAL is also … a Place!

PAL Place is a house located at 101 Brunswick Street. In addition to its five private apartments, the house boasts large and welcoming common areas.

The PAL Place Board of Directors would like to open all of these common areas to any member of the Stratford Festival Company (performers & crafts people) who would like to drop in on Sunday evenings from 7 to 11 PM during the rehearsal period and on Monday evenings from 7 to 11 PM once the Festival is open. This is a private event which is not open to the public.

Please note: We are not hosting a drop-in on Easter Sunday but will resume April 27.

There is no agenda, no planned activities, just space made available for you to use … to read, to meet with friends, to watch a DVD, to run lines or just to hang out … refreshments will be available in the kitchen.

The space available to you includes:

  • the living room, a comfortable sitting area with a library and the ambiance of a lovely Victorian home. You’ll be inspired by the memorabilia from past Stratford seasons.
  • the large open foyer, with television and DVD player available for your use.
  • the dining room with a large table and seating for 10 … a fantastic place to run lines, to chat over a beer or coffee, or to play a board game.
  • in the warmer weather enjoy the spectacular front porch with comfortable seasonal furniture and the back garden.
  • free wifi.

Company Drop-ins are on Sundays in March, April, and May from 7 – 11 PM

Stop by, check out PAL Place … or come and stay for the evening. It’s your PAL Place, too and it’s open to you, offering a cheap (as in free!) place to hang out for an evening!

The PAL Place Board is looking forward to welcoming you at the house!

PAL Annual General Meeting | 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014.


This is notice of our forthcoming Annual General Meeting, to be held Monday, April 28, 2014 at 7 pm at PAL PLACE, 101 Brunswick Street, Stratford.

Along with this Notice are links below to download files. If you have Microsoft Word, download the MS Word Version. All files are also available as a PDF Version which can be read on any Macintosh. On a PC you can download the free Adobe Reader from the Adobe website.

PAL Stratford Donor Recognition

Saturday, May 10, 2014

PAL Stratford is planning a major donor recognition event to thank and further cultivate our most generous individual and corporate donors.

The event, to be held Saturday, May 10 will feature the best of the "Stratford Experience."

We especially want to thank our generous event sponsors; Ideal Supply Ltd., WK Financial Planning Ltd., and Wilkinson Insight Inc.

Highlights include:

  • a tour and gourmet luncheon at "The Bruce," Stratford's newest resort.
  • a matinee performance of "Crazy for You," the wonderful musical offering this season at the Stratford Festival Theatre.
  • a private "Meet the Cast" party in the Eaton Lounge.

Our Special Guest of Honour this year will be beloved Canadian actor, Bill Needles, a member of the original Stratford Festival acting company.

To learn more about how to become a major donor and attend this wonderful event please email our Campaign Co-Chair, ‎John Wilkinson.

Yard Sale at PAL Place, Stratford

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Friends of PAL are working together to host a yard sale at PAL Place Stratford in May. They're starting to collect items for the yard sale right now.

Remember, PAL Place is a residence and will only be open for donation drop-off when there is an event in the common space.

Beginning March 9th drop-offs are two times per week: during the Friends of PAL get-togethers on Wednesday mornings at 10 am and during the Stratford Company Drop-ins on Sunday evenings at 7 pm.

If you wish, you may drop off on the verandah early Wednesday morning before the coffee drinkers gather, but, please do not come by at other times.

We are not looking for any clothing except theatre costumes.

Other drop-off times will be arranged in May closer to the date. Check back here for information.

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

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 

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.

Stratford Festival celebrates surplus at AGM

As published in The Stratford Beacon Herald.

By Laura Cudworth, The Beacon Herald | Monday, March 31, 2014 3:47:24 EDT PM

New Stratford Festival board of directors chair Chip Vallis (left) thanks outgoing board chair David Goldbloom for his two years of service Saturday at the Festival's AGM. LAURA CUDWORTH / BEACON HERALD

The mood at the Stratford Festival's annual general meeting was jubilant as administrators announced a $1.4 million surplus.

It's a remarkable turn around considering, at this time last year, the Festival was announcing a $3.4 million deficit.

This was a big year. Perhaps artistic director Antoni Cimolino and executive director Anita Gaffney felt they had something to prove as they made their debuts in the top spots in the organization. Or, maybe, the Festival veterans are simply invested in the place.

“Antoni and Anita have earned the acclaim and respect of the board of governors, and indeed of many people who know and love the Festival, for their intelligence, passion, artistry, vigilance to detail, and ultimately their success,” said David Goldbloom, during his final address as chair of the board.

Cimolino and Gaffney have shown themselves to be a formidable team. They approached the 2013 season with a unique combination of calculated risk and restraint. The risks came in the form of a $20 return bus service from Toronto and The Forum—events to compliment the plays and theme of “communities divided.”

The risk paid off. The bus service isn't a money maker, it wasn't expected to be, but it brought in 15,000 patrons, half of them new.

The 150 Forum events which included high profile speakers like humanitarian and former diplomat Stephen Lewis, National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, and a mock appeal for Shylock with Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin presiding attracted 30,000 patrons. It was budgeted to break even but generated $340,000 in revenue.

The restraint came in the form of spending cuts of about 3.5%.

“It was across every part of the organization. Many people took a wage freeze, we reduced the number of pages in our house program... we looked at everything we could do,” Gaffney said.

The Festival will take more calculated risks this season and take on some aggressive marketing.

“Given the shortfall of the previous year we're not out of the woods. We still have work to do,” Gaffney said.

“I think we're heading in the right direction, evidence shows we have the right initiatives in place.”

The $20 return bus service from Toronto will continue and it will be expanded to Detroit for $40.

The Festival's education department will be partnering with the Stratford YMCA to offer daycare during matinees. There will be a cost but it will be affordable much like the buses.

The Festival will also market the theatre, heavily, in Chicago where potential patrons will be encouraged to take advantage of the Waterloo Region Airport.

The Festival expects to welcome its 26-millionth patron sometime in May. That person will receive a lifetime pass to the Festival.

Two for one Tuesdays will continue and the Festival is looking at ways to market mid-week packages to increase attendance.

An ambitious project called Stratford@Play will turn stage performances into movies. The Festival has filmed some of its productions in the past but the goal now is to film as many as three a season until Shakespeare's canon is complete. The films will be used to market the Festival around the globe and as an educational tool.

“Students need to see that Shakespeare doesn't live in the daunting pages of a great thick book but in the very same media they use to navigate and explore the world around them,” Cimolino said.

Seven of 12 shows are in rehearsal now and the 2014 season is closing in quickly. Optimism is running high.

Ticket sales are on par with last season and additional shows have already been added to A Midsummer Night's Dream, a chamber play and Antony and Cleopatra due to demand.

These could be the golden years for the Festival.

By the numbers:
  • Five productions extended in 2013—Fiddler on the Roof, Measure for Measure, Waiting for Godot, Taking Shakespeare and Mary Stuart—which generated an additional $1 million.
  • Biggest increase in attendance since 1999.
  • Attendance was up 11% over 2012 with 480,232 patrons in 2013 compared to 432,240 in 2012.
  • Twenty per cent of visitors were from the U.S.
  • The under-18 demographic increased by 20% to 70,000 visitors.
  • The Festival sold 200,000 tickets online.
  • Stratford residents bought about 34,000 tickets.
  • Fundraising accounted for 22% of revenue at $12.4 million.
  • The Forum generated $340,000 in revenue.
  • All three levels of government contributed $5 million combined.

PAL Canada Soiree | Monday, April 7

Stratford Festival attendance and revenue up in 2013

As published in The Toronto Star

Mary Stuart, with Lucy Peacock and Seana McKenna, was part of the Stratford Festival's successful 2013 season, which saw attendance and revenues up.

By: Richard Ouzounian Theatre Critic, Published on Sat Mar 29 2014

Antoni Cimolino and Anita Gaffney’s first season as artistic director and general manager of the Stratford Festival, respectively, has certainly paid off.
In the 2013 season, attendance was up 11 per cent, revenue increased 5 per cent, expenses were down 3.5 per cent and the bottom line was an operating surplus of $1.4 million.

The attendance increase is the highest since 1999, reversing the downward trend of recent years.

David Goldbloom, chair of the board of governors, praised Cimolino and Gaffney “for their intelligence, passion, artistry, vigilance to detail and ultimately their success. The festival is in good and wonderful hands.”

Many things combined to make the season a success, but foremost among them was the playbill that Cimolino assembled, which received widespread critical acclaim and led to five of the productions being held over; one of them (Mary Stuart) an unprecedented four times.

Cimolino’s introduction of The Forum also proved to be a winner. This series of 150 events, which included concerts, speeches, debates, workshops and varied theatrical events, brought out 30,000 people to hear the likes of Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada; former Canadian UN ambassador Stephen Lewis; former Chief of Defence Staff John de Chastelain; author Adam Gopnik and human rights activist Sally Armstrong.

Besides keeping a firm hand on the financial tiller, Gaffney also contributed to the black ink by instituting the Stratford Direct, a $20 return bus service from downtown Toronto that 15,000 people took advantage of, 53 per cent of whom had never been to the festival before.

And Gaffney’s “2-for-1 Tuesdays” added 12,000 additional patrons.

Plans for the 2015 season include the debut of Stratford@Play, a program to film three different productions each season for viewing around the world.

The Actors' Fund of Canada