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Donor Profile: Richard Newland

RichardNewland

Donor history:
I’ve been a member of the Curtain Club for three years now, but a subscriber for much longer, as well as making regular donations to support the ongoing work of Soulpepper.

How did you first learn about Soulpepper/What is you first memory of Soulpepper?
Having friends in the theatre industry, I knew of Soulpepper for a long time, almost from its inception.   I heard stories about their work from these friends and was intrigued by Albert’s vision for the company.   My first memory of their work was a drama (the show’s name escapes my memory, must be my age!) and being impressed with the quality of the acting and the use of stage space. The small theatre space creates an intimacy that you cannot have in the large theatres.

What inspired you to support us?
It actually started from a negative experience with another company.  I was distressed at how the company was treating their Canadian staff (remember my friends?) and thought that I was missing out on good Canadian talent.   I “risked” a season with Soulpepper, and haven’t looked back.   I wanted to support the talent of fine Canadian actors, so I became a donor.  My participation was confirmed when I learned of Albert’s vision to treat actors fairly, and his willingness to step outside the traditional theatre mode, and improve the employment picture for his company members.  Now, Soulpepper launches into its work to become a National Civic Theatre, an idea I’m happy to support in the little ways that I can.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about giving to Soulpepper? And, why do you think the arts should be a priority for philanthropy?
I would say to people that theatre is much more than Broadway musicals and big name performers.   That we have living in our midst highly talented people that can compete with the best that Broadway can offer.  I’ve just seen Billy Bishop Goes to War, and said that was better than most offerings coming to us from south of the border.

The arts, in all its various forms, convey culture.  Without the arts our Canadian culture is diminished.  Supporting the artist communities, will enrich the lives of generations to come.

How do you imagine Soulpepper in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to be sitting in the theatre continuing to be impressed by the fine work Soulpepper does.   At the same time, I hope that others, across Canada (and indeed maybe even Broadway) will be seeing the same thing.   Keep up the good work!

To learn more about supporting Soulpepper, visit soulpepper.ca

Donor Profile: Matthew and Mondy Stevenson and family

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Donor history:  I donated to Soulpepper at the end of 2016, and it was my first donation to the company. However, I have been donating to various charities since I was a child. Philanthropy, although it was never referred to as such, was encouraged and supported by my parents for as long as I can remember.

How did you first learn about Soulpepper/What is you first memory of Soulpepper?

I have a memory of an acting company formed by Canadian actors in Toronto; I had never seen a production by Soulpepper until we went with our nephew from France to see The Sunshine Boys in 2012.

My sister who lives in the Maritimes was actually a catalyst to sparking my interest in Soulpepper. She mentioned to me that there are so many opportunities in Toronto to see live theatre and other cultural events. She used to travel here once or twice a year to see a play.

What inspired you to support Soulpepper?

My wife and I became season subscribers last year and enjoyed the plays very much. I have a true sense of an acting company at Soulpepper with actors appearing in different productions. I am also impressed by the encouragement offered by Soulpepper to other companies such as the Storefront Theatre’s production of Chasse Galerie and Why Not Theatre’s A Brimful of Asha.  Above all else, we have seen some amazing productions: Jitters, Happy Place, The 39 Steps, Spoon River, and Of Human Bondage just to name a few.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about giving to Soulpepper? And, why do you think the arts should be a priority for philanthropy?

Please donate now, don’t wait. The arts in Canada are underfunded so every little bit helps. Artists need a space and a place to express their creativity. Soulpepper nourishes that creativity through their many youth programs, the Soulpepper Academy, and their artist residencies. Plus Soulpepper is a not-for-profit theatre company.

How do you imagine Soulpepper in 10 years?

Extended footprint but still in the Distillery District.

More Canada-wide touring initiatives.

Well received in-house developed productions.

Albert continuing to sing and tour Frankly, Sinatra (as  he does without the use of Old Blue Eyes’ teleprompter).

Donor Profile: Martha and George Butterfield

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Since the early work of Albert Schultz we have been drawn to his creative, entrepreneurial and energetic leadership. He is an inspiring and effective leader.

We have been donors since the beginning of Soulpepper, [which we kept hearing about] because of the excellence of their productions and the excitement of having year-round classical productions in Toronto.  As well, two of the Founding Members Diego Matamoros and Robyn Stevan were guides for our travel company Butterfield & Robinson, giving us another wonderful connection [with the company].

Soulpepper has not stood still. We support its important new initiatives and directions:  cultural diversity in productions and commissions, gender equality, mentorship, empowering at-risk youth, promoting a love of language everywhere.

A great vision for the future of theatre and community.

Donor Profile: Ed Ho & Daniella Dimitrov

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How long have you been Soulpepper donors?

We became Curtain Club members in 2014 and this past year we became Heart & Soul supporters. We have been attending shows since their inception almost 20 years ago.

What inspired you to support us? What has inspired you to continue your support? 

It’s distressing that there is not enough organic support from ticket sales to support the annual budget of most theatre companies in Canada.  That said, Soulpepper has brought together a phenomenal team led by Albert to inspire and create a culture like none other. Once you get to meet anyone from the Academy to the Executive, it is obvious how passionate and committed the team really is to every facet of their engagement with community, teaching and the productions. We want more and somebody has to bear the cost.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about giving to Soulpepper? And, why do you think the arts should be a priority for philanthropy?

Sit down and chat with anyone from Soulpepper and you will feel the infectious passion.  Come out and see a couple of productions and you will see a cutting edge vision for both modern and contemporary shows.  We now feel like we are a part of a collective of really great people with a common goal.  You feel it from the moment that you walk in the building. Our lives are much richer because of it.

How do you imagine Soulpepper in 10 years?

It’s hard to imagine how much more could be achieved.  Even if they were to stop today, Soulpepper has clearly been a tremendous success.  It would be great to create similar programs in communities across Canada, but we’re happy to be part of this Toronto gem.

Donor Profle: Elizabeth Dalzell

Elizabeth_Dalzell_DonorProf

Donor history:  Since 2013

How did you first learn about Soulpepper?

I remember when Soulpepper launched in the late 90’s.  My husband and I went to see Soulpepper’s production of Our Town at the Royal Alex way back in 1999.  I remember being so touched by the story and by the actors’ performances.  Although we moved out of town soon after, I watched with interest as Soulpepper grew in influence and size.

What inspired you to support us? What has inspired you to continue your support?

My cousin invited my partner and I to Soulpepper at Play in the fall of 2013. It was so much fun and the performances were so incredible we were hooked!  We have been enthusiastic supporters ever since.  I joined Top Women in early 2014 – it’s proven to be a great way to entertain business associates and introduce Soulpepper to others who love live theatre as much as I do.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about giving to Soulpepper? And, why do you think the arts should be a priority for philanthropy?

The arts are a critical part of any society’s culture.  It’s entertaining but done well it’s also thought-provoking, challenging and, often, transformative.   No theatre company in Canada does this better than Soulpepper!

How do you imagine Soulpepper in 10 years?

I imagine Soulpepper with more than one location in Canada or, at a minimum, collaborating with other Canadian theatre companies on a regular basis.  Soulpepper’s Academy produces amazing talent – I would love to see even more artists provided with the opportunity to train and hone their craft.

Donor Profile – Kathleen and Bill Troost

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The 2005 production of The Wild Duck was our introduction to Soulpepper. It left an indelible impression so when we moved into Toronto we were excited to become season subscribers. With increased exposure to Soulpepper, it became clear that this theatre company and its vision deserved support. Few philanthropic gifts to the arts give such immediate and tangible results. One example is the Academy which attracts talent from across Canada. How lucky we are to be here on the sidelines seeing the future of theatre blossom.

As astonishing as Soulpepper’s growth has been over the last 18 years, the next 10 will be transformative. It is a pleasure to be able to support that growth. It has also been downright fun!

 

Academy graduate Hailey Gillis,  Kathleen Troost and Bill Troost, photo: Paige Phillips.

Donor Profile: Shira Hart

shira2Donor history: I have been a supporter of Soulpepper for the last three years.

How did you first learn about Soulpepper

I first heard about Soulpepper a number of years ago, and attended a few shows here and there.  I always enjoyed them very much.  Then, four years ago, I retired and began to attend theatre more regularly.  I have a strong memory of feeling a sense of belonging to a wonderful community very quickly.  I fell in love with the shows, pre-show chats, talk backs, and then with the musical evenings I attended.

What inspired you to support us? What has inspired you to continue your support?

On top of feeling like I was at home whenever I was at Soulpepper, I was very impressed with the Academy, Soulpepper’s long term vision, and the community outreach. I keep learning about more initiatives that I am very happy to know my gift supports.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about giving to Soulpepper? And, why do you think the arts should be a priority for philanthropy?

I would encourage anyone to give to Soulpepper.  I strongly believe that the Arts add to our understanding of our world and that we should do everything we can to ensure that Soulpepper can continue to reach out to youth, new immigrants and the wider community, and to make sure it can continue to support new, talented young artists.

How do you imagine Soulpepper in 10 years?

I see Soulpepper continuing to grow and expand while maintaining its high quality.  I imagine more communities across Canada having the opportunity to see a Soulpepper production and I see myself continuing to love every show in each season!