Special Appeal - Shaw Festival Theatre

Special Appeal

Student Engagement
in the Arts

The spark of inspiration that can send a young artist on a journey can come from almost anywhere. At The Shaw, we believe that bringing young people to the theatre and sending actors into classrooms are two of the best ways to foster tomorrow’s artists and ensure that theatre and the arts will thrive for future generations. We are so proud to offer programs that actively support these endeavours.

We often hear stories from young artists about the transformative power of arts education and how it has helped them succeed in their personal and professional lives. Here is one story from our own Travis Seetoo:

When I was 14, I had the opportunity to leave my hometown of Kingston, Ontario to become a student at the National Ballet School of Canada – a program that’s not only extremely difficult to get into, but can be a financial challenge for many families, including my own. My mother was a high school art teacher and my father owned a one-hour photo development store; a modest family. Enter Wally Vinyr.

Wally, a lawyer, was a regular at my late father’s photography store. On many of these occasions, my father talked about his two sons who played hockey, the younger of whom wanted to dance and had successfully auditioned at the National Ballet School. Hearing my father was not in a financial position to fulfill his son’s dreams of getting the best classical ballet training in North America, Wally wrote to me years later: “Because I luckily had a financial angel who paid for me to attend law school, something clicked. I confirmed your talent with the school registrar and made the funds available.”

Wally changed my whole life. Everything I’ve accomplished in my career is because of Wally’s generosity: I was able to attend the National Ballet School, get a first-class education, and discover my passion for singing and acting. This opened the doors for me to go on to perform at both the Stratford and Shaw Festivals. When Wally first discovered my name in a Shaw programme in 2013, we finally met. Now, he makes annual trips to The Shaw to watch my development and keep in touch. Wally wrote to me, “Without a doubt, this was the best investment I have made and the world is a better place due to your talent and artistry.” He has already booked his ticket to see me play the title role in the 2018 production of The Magician’s Nephew in my fifth season at The Shaw. In all of my work, both on and off the stage, I aspire to be a good return on his investment.

– Travis Seetoo, Shaw Festival Ensemble Member

Travis is first-hand evidence of the life-changing power of education in the arts and how a donor can make a difference in someone’s life.

In 2017, nearly 17,000 young people witnessed theatre and participated in associated educational experiences at The Shaw. Donations to The Shaw enable us to offer more affordable ticket prices for students and enhanced experiences like workshops and post-show chats with the actors. When you support Student Engagement in the Arts, you help plant a seed of arts and culture in someone’s life:

  • $50 will introduce one young person to the theatre by paying for their show ticket and bus transportation
  • $100 will introduce an entire class to the many elements of theatre that happen behind the scenes by paying for an informative backstage tour
  • $150 will give students a chance to practice their craft onsite by providing two actor-facilitated workshops

Our 2018 Season is especially exciting for students, teachers, and families: In addition to regular backstage tours, workshops and artist chats, history is at the forefront as we remember WWI, and the magic of Narnia comes alive in The Magician’s Nephew.

Please consider a gift to make educational opportunities more accessible to future generations of theatre patrons and professionals. With your help, educational programming at The Shaw will continue to expand, making it even more accessible to youth, students and teachers.


We accept Visa, Master Card and American Express; and cheques from both Canadian and American donors. Canadian cheques, payable to The Shaw Festival, can be mailed to: Shaw Festival Theatre, P.O. Box 774, Niagara on the Lake, ON, L0S 1J0. US cheques, payable to The Shaw Festival Foundation, can be mailed to P.O. Box 628, Lewiston, NY 14092-9819.

Click here to learn more about gifts of securities, matching gifts, and gift memberships.

The Shaw Festival is recognized as a charitable organization by the Canada Revenue Agency and the IRS in the United States and provides tax receipts for all charitable donations over $20. For further information on any of these opportunities, call Development at 1.800.657.1106 ext 2208.

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1.800.657.1106 ext 2556

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