May 9, 2019: Ron Dodson and Chris Leberg Stratford Arts Community Council), Charlene Gordon  will introduce, and Doug Thompson will give thanks. 

Head Table:  Our President Paul Roulston, invites, Charlene Gordon , Sarah Hamza, Jim Hayes, Ollie Henry, Jo-Anne Hood Tidman, John Hood Tidman and Dave Hunt, to join him at the head table.

Today at Rotary:  The 2019 Stratford Festival promises to be another season of outstanding theatre according to our own Sarah Hamza, Director of Audience Development, who entertained us with a fresh perspective of the upcoming season and some of the work that goes on behind the scenes.
 
Speaker Rotarian Sarah Hamza on Overview of Festival 2019
Sarah’s responsibilities include supervision of five sectors essential to the smooth running of the theatre:
 
Mailroom & reception with a staff of 5 people is a busy hub of activity;
Café’s & Catering includes a staff cafeteria and employs about 50 people;
Retail, there are two retail areas in the theatres, and 40 people are employed in these venues;
Ticketing & Membership has a staff of 60, they handle the phones and the box office;
Ushers & Parking hires approximately 100 people.
 
Sarah, therefore, oversees roughly 250 employees during the season, not to mention another 200 `Friends of the Festival` who are all volunteers and perform critical customer service work.
 
2018 was a tremendous year for the Stratford Festival.  It was the longest season on record; reached $65.8M in revenue with a surplus of $1.9M; enjoyed a 10% increase in attendance - over 500,000 people which included 105,000 new patrons; and the Shakespeare productions accounted for 25% of the sales.
 
How to do better in 2019?   One way is to “Dare to be Bolder.”  Last year we saw Rocky Horror generate a tremendous buzz with audiences of all ages.  This year’s performances include Billy Elliott and Little Shop of Horrors both directed and choreographed by Donna Feore. For the youngsters is The Neverending Story directed by Jillian Kelley.  Not only will the productions themselves be outstanding but the Festival plans to generate shareable moments that will create memorable experiences to last a lifetime.
 
Travel to Stratford can be a bit of a challenge.  Anyone who has driven the 401 knows just how unpredictable the drive can be. The Stratford Festival provides bus service to and from Toronto at no small expense to themselves.  Rather than shy away from the challenge, this year the theatre is adding another bus route. A bold gesture indeed!
 
Environmental responsibility is a hot topic these days and the Festival is doing its part not only to be conscious of that need but to be an actively engaged participant. A Greening Footprint includes: On-line house programs; organic containers that are also re-useable; and the Chef has made it his focus to source locally wherever possible.
 
The Forum has been a success at Stratford.  Research has revealed that theatre-goers who come to Stratford for one play and then return home, often do not come back.  However, engaged attendees who participate in Forum offerings are more likely to return. Not being complacent, the Forum continues to evolve and be re-imagined. Performances, lectures and panels, culinary experiences, workshops and tours are the four pillars of the Forum and they continue to be improved and expanded.
 
Finally, Sarah reviewed the playbill for the season.  She also reminded us of Antoni Cimolino’s theme for the season – Breaking Boundaries.  As Antoni himself says in the introduction to the 2019 Season brochure – “we need to push beyond the limits of our past lives.”
 
Festival Theatre
Othello
Billy Elliot the Musical
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Front Page
 
Avon Theatre
Private Lives
Little Shop of Horrors
The Neverending Story
The Crucible
 
Studio Theatre
Henry VIII
Mother’s Daughter
Nathan the Wise
Birds of a Kind
 
Scribe: John D. Wright
 
 
 
 
New members: 
 
Newest member Dr.  David Daglish, Classification Business and Strategic Planning, David was introduced by Doug Thompson 
 
 
Also, newest member Ms. Amy Mullock Classification Banking, Amy was introduced by Gary Wreford
 
 
Guests: Today we Welcomed: Don McNeil - Stratford Homeshow Committee, David Knoppert - Rotary London, Hyde Park, Laura Roulston - Rotaract Ottawa, Laura Carter – Stratford, Ramona Gornik-Lee – Stratford, Monica Strauss – Stratford, Don Ewert - Future guest speaker.
 
Rotarian David Knoppert from London High Park explaining fundraiser for COMMIT Golf marathon at West haven on July 24
 
 
Foundation draw: The prize today was donated by Kevin Nonomura (GC's - Wine and cheese themed package) and Doug Brown was the winner.
 
 
Rotary Announcements
 
Rotarian Dan Scarborough presenting club with old banner of Clubs 25th Anniversary.
 
Rotarian Pat Fern who won the Rural Urban 50:50 draw AND last Catch the Ace jackpot presenting club with $144 from the last Jackpot.
 
Laura Roulston daughter of President Paul who visited the club this week.
 
 
“Dinner, Ponies and Slots” On Friday May 31st the Social Committee has arranged a bus trip for our members to enjoy the excitement of playing the casino, harness racing and savouring the award-winning buffet dinner at the Top of the Fair Restaurant at Western Fair District in London. The cost of $65 per person is a great deal as it includes dinner, gratuity and motor coach transportation. This is an opportunity for your friends and family to join you and your fellow Rotarians to not work on a project but to just have some fun together. To reserve your seat contact Roger Black at 519-625-8588 or meblack46@gmail.com. Thanks!
 
The Stratford Festival would like to extend a special spring savings opportunity for the Rotary Club. See Little Shop of Horrors, an engaging musical comedy with a twist, and save!
 
TICKETS ONLY $16 – INCLUDING ALL FEES!
 
Enjoy matinee performances of the Little Shop of Horrors on the following dates:
 
  • Monday, April 29
  • Friday, May 3
  • Tuesday, May 7
  • Monday, May 27
B-seating zone only. Use promotion code 86228 to access this special offer.
 
I hope you can take advantage of this special offer. Directed by Donna Feore, Little Shop of Horrors is brought to vivid life from the creative team that brought you The Rocky Horror Show! Experience how love can grow, with this unique musical comedy.
 
Visit our website or contact our box office, at 1.800.567.1600 to take advantage of this offer, with our thanks.
 
Make-ups: No report. 
 
May’s Attendance Committee:  Gord Steed (I/C), Ed Dujlovic, Kevin Nonomura, Mimi Price, Katherine Hahn, Colleen Brown, Wendy Wilkinson, Steve Weed.