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Donor Profile: Lesley Wiesenfeld

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

I’ve been going to shows at Soulpepper for such a long time that I actually can’t remember how I first learned about the company, but the sustained memory and feeling I have about Soulpepper is the pleasure of being able to go to see inspiring performances in my very own neighbourhood.  My husband and I are lucky to be able to literally grab a quick mid-week dinner after work, then walk over to see a great show. That feels pretty special to be able to do.

What inspires you to support Soulpepper?

I was really lucky to have an exceptional English and theatre teacher in high school – the kind of teacher who not only taught drama but who mentored anyone lucky enough to be in her class. She also directed the school plays where we learned teamwork, empathy and dedication.  So I have a very strong fondness and affinity for the energy and work it takes to put on a show.

How and why did you get involved with Top Women?

Top Women reflected another chance to support creativity, with the added lens of women supporting other women. This seems like an easy thing to say yes to in life, work and giving.

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 story of Soulpepper and its success as a ‘little new theatre company that could’ has always been very impressive. Giving to Soulpepper offers a chance to be part of something that is both intimate and growing at the same time.  It is also a chance to do something that enables opportunities for creative work for a whole host of people and that feels good. I also think that the recent challenges and the consequent shifts in leadership reflect an opportunity to recommit to a company aspiring to be even better and that is an important commitment to support.”

Where do you see Soulpepper in 10 years?

I see Soulpepper hopefully doing what it has become good at doing over the years: presenting classics that we kind of remember from Grade 10 drama class but didn’t realize could be as exciting to see performed and developing new and creative performances that you feel lucky to have seen.

Top Women is a community of exceptional women collectively underwriting a female-directed, female-written or female-centred Soulpepper production each year.

This year, Top Women is underwriting a deeply moving production written by award-winning Canadian playwright Beverley Cooper and directed by renowned theatre artist, Jackie Maxwell. Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott is a provocative and poignant re-examination of the Steven Truscott criminal case. Themes of truth, community, and coming of age are explored in this powerful piece.

To find out more about Top Women, click here.

The views and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.  

Donor Profile: Ann and Saar Pikar

How did you first learn about Soulpepper/What is your first memory of Soulpepper?
We first learned of Soulpepper when T.J. Tasker (Ann’s brother) was working in the box office in 2006.  The Young Centre was just opening and he told us that the space was incredible and that we should see the production Our Town.  We went to see it, absolutely loved it and have been hooked on Soulpepper ever since!

What inspires you to support Soulpepper?
The quality of the product is inspiring – every show, every concert, every person associated with the company, all are top notch and makes us want to get involved and proud to be associated.

Soulpepper has grown tremendously in both scope and number of productions, events and community outreach and this, combined with the growth of the Academy, gives us a sense that any financial support is well spent and is impactful.

The arts in general can use more support in Canada and Toronto – Soulpepper is a not-for-profit organization that does a lot with, relatively, very little compared to more purely commercial enterprises and in our opinion is an essential and inspiring part of what the Canadian experience can and should be when it comes to the art scene in Toronto, Canada and beyond.

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?
Giving to Soulpepper means supporting a vibrant and innovative Canadian theatre company; a company that not only inspires its talent but also its audiences, and is committed to bringing theatre and culture to the greater community.

We need the arts in our lives for culture, history, joy and wonder.  We feel that everyone wins if you give to the arts.

Where do you see Soulpepper in 10 years?
We see Soulpepper continuing to produce excellent theatre for Canadians to enjoy in the coming years.  We also know that the talent within Soulpepper ‘can travel’ so there is no doubt in our minds that we will see Soulpepper on international stages.  What we have learned about Soulpepper is that anything is possible!

The views and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.  

Soulpepper at Play 2017

Soulpepper at Play 2017 was a tremendous success!

$RLTTVPDClick the image above for highlights from Soulpepper at Play 2017

On October 24, 2017, Soulpepper welcomed a crowd of 300 guests at its annual gala, this year chaired by Raj Kothari and J-F Courville. Soulpepper at Play celebrated the company, and included wonderful performances and a lively auction led by Albert Schultz, Artistic Director.

We raised over $600,000 in support of Soulpepper’s work, both on and off the stage. $185,000 was raised during the auction alone! Proceeds collected from Soulpepper at Play directly benefit Soulpepper Theatre Company and the continuation of our important programs and initiatives, including:

  • Developing new and original works
  • Being the city’s leading provider of creative engagement for theatre artists
  • Training future artistic leaders through the Soulpepper Academy
  • Working with youth in the community
  • Welcoming new Canadians to be part of the creative community

Thank you to our committed event sponsors, table hosts, donors, guests, staff and artists who made it all possible!

For information about Soulpepper at Play 2018, contact us at 416.203.6264 x 138 or

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Donor Profile: Richard Newland


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

Donor Profile: Matthew and Mondy Stevenson and family

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


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


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.