Actors' Fund of Canada: January 2015 Newsletter View this email in your browser.

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In This Issue:

January 2015

Letter from the Executive Director
Testimonial - J. Karène Rietschin
How People Were Helped
2nd annual Double Down and Tee Up with the cast of REMEDY
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS contributes almost 200K to the Fund
Stratford Festival raises a record-breaking $66,686 for the Actors’ Fund
Event - 19th annual Big Swing Golf Tournament tickets on sale now!
Share your story and help make a difference
Les Belle Soeurs chantent
Supporter Spotlight - Theatre Cares Vancouver 
Video of the month - Thank you for your support!
Some Assembly Required assembles donations
"The Fund is a fantastic support system" - Lucy MacLeod, PM
Theatres across Canada come together to support the Actors’ Fund
Fiona Reid's holiday message
Event - Join us at CMPA Prime Time!

Letter from the Executive Director

Thank YOU for all you have done to assist the Fund in its work during 2014.

As I sat at my desk wondering what to write for this space in this, the first newsletter of 2015, I thought about how much I love writing thank you letters. Thankfully(!) I have a job that allows me to write a lot of them.

In fact, the expression of gratitude is a current that runs through everything we do here at the Actors’ Fund of Canada. When you give us the gift of your support by making a donation to the Fund, we say “thank you.” When a client receives assistance from the Fund (made possible by you) that helps them keep a roof over their head and food on the table, he or she says “thank you” as well. It is truly wonderful experience to receive and to give in turn.

As much as the beginning of a new year is a good time to make resolutions, it is also an excellent time to count one’s blessings. What am I thankful for as Executive Director of the Actors’ Fund? Here are just a few of the many things on my list:

  • your donations, that help to build a community that cares for our industry’s most vulnerable members
  • the sincere effort of industry members who go very far out of their way to raise money for the Fund through organizing many grassroots fundraising events through the year
  • the cooperation of our industry partners – the unions, guilds, associations, theatre companies, film & TV production companies and sponsors whose annual support we count on 
  • the abundance of talent in our industry and the outstanding work produced in theatre, film & TV, music and dance right here in Canada
  • a smart and hard-working team of staff
  • a wise and wonderfully supportive Board of Directors
  • the opportunity to do meaningful work that helps people in real ways

So as a new year begins, thank YOU for all you have done to assist the Fund in its work during 2014. With your help the Fund was able to provide over $460,000 in aid to entertainment industry members in crisis during the last 12 months. Let’s all continue to work together to make 2015 a better and more thankful year for everyone in our industry by making sure that any of our friends or colleagues in the business who are in trouble know that the Actors’ Fund is a source of help. Likewise let’s do all we can to encourage those we know who are in a position to support the Fund to give as much as they are able to.

With gratitude and very best wishes for 2015,

David Hope
Executive Director

Testimonial

“The Actors' Fund of Canada gave me a sense of hope in my weakest moment” 

J. Karène Rietschin - Entertainment industry publicist 

"When a friend persuaded me to go to the hospital, I thought I just had a flu bug. I had been feeling very tired, and my breathing was raspy, but I wasn’t at all prepared for what they told me: I was in kidney failure. In the span of one week, I went from acute, to chronic, to final-stage failure. It felt like my whole world was falling apart. 

I came to the Actors’ Fund of Canada for assistance in my weakest moment. The emergency financial support they provided helped me buy medications and nutritious foods to help me get stronger. I was finally diagnosed with a little-known auto immune disease called Scleroderma which affects the tissues and, in my case, most of the damage is going on in the inside of my body. I’m still battling the disease, but I’m finally starting to get back to some kind of normalcy. 

The Actors’ Fund of Canada was there for me when my life became chaotic and hopeless. Thank you for offering me financial aid to stabilize my situation and a helping hand on my journey towards future health." 

J. Karène Rietschin
Entertainment industry publicist 

How people were helped

In December 2014 we distributed $54,225.66 to people facing illness, injury and other personal hardships.

- $24,664.86 for shelter to help keep a roof over people’s heads

- $10,730 for groceries and other necessities

- $7,381.53 to cover bills, keep the power on and the phone connected

$845 in dues, so that people can get back to work

- $2,839 in medical and dental expenses to help people recover from illness/injury

- $6,307.27 to cover transportation costs so that people can get to work

- $1,458 in child care and support

Check out photos from the 2nd annual Double Down and Tee Up event!

Visit our Facebook Page for great photos from the 2nd annual Double Down and Tee Up event, featuring the cast of the TV show REMEDY with Enrico Colantoni!

Sponsored by Willson Entertainment Productions and SIM Digital. Proudly sponsored in part by Steam Whistle Brewing, Lakeshore Links Indoor Golf and American Jalopy. Event Produced by Premier Events by P&D

Photo credit Russ Martin, compliments of IATSE Local 667.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS contributes almost 200K to the Actors’ Fund of Canada  

Fundraising thanks to touring companies of WICKED and THE BOOK OF MORMON

  
Cast members of THE BOOK OF MORMON and WICKED join David Hope, Executive Director for the Actors' Fund of Canada and Tom Viola, Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS at DON'T STOP BELIEVIN' in Toronto. 

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the U.S.- based national touring companies of WICKED and THE BOOK OF MORMON, a total of $193,857 has been raised this fall for the Actors’ Fund of Canada, the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry.

The money, raised by WICKED and THE BOOK OF MORMON company members as part of U.S.-based Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fall 2014 fundraising campaign, will help support vulnerable members of the Canadian entertainment industry who are facing injury, illness or other crisis situations. Funds were raised through audience collections in Toronto and Montreal and the sold-out benefit DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ at Mirvish’s Panasonic Theatre on Oct. 27. Read the full release here. 

Stratford Festival raises a record-breaking $66,686 for the Actors’ Fund of Canada 

Stratford Festival gives back to help entertainment industry members in crisis

Seana McKenna as Constance from "King John." Photo by David Hou.

William Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice: “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.” In 2014, the Stratford Festival shone by raising a record-breaking $66,686 for the Actors’ Fund of Canada, the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry. Company member giving to the Fund through payroll donations, proceeds from Madness Mug sales, audience collections and a benefit performance of Hay Fever, helped to provide much-needed financial aid to entertainment industry members who are facing times of crisis.

In the month of September, Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and Executive Director Anita Gaffney provided precious stage time, to hold audience collections for nine shows at all four Stratford Festival theatres, an initiative led by Actors’ Fund Board Member, and veteran Stratford Festival performer, Seana McKenna. “My gratitude to all the individuals, from the casts, crews and various departments at Stratford, who were involved in the audience collections and all those who gave through payroll donations,” McKenna said. “Special thanks as well to our Stratford patrons who gave so generously!”

The Stratford Festival has a long history of supporting the work of the Actors’ Fund of Canada, and Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino is proud that the Stratford Festival can continue supporting cultural workers in need, including those working in theatre. “Part of the mandate of the Stratford Festival has always been to foster and support the development of Canadian theatre professionals. One of the many ways we do that, along with our many wonderful educational and training programs at the Stratford Festival, is to help those who work in the theatre to recover from what otherwise might be a career-ending injury or illness and return to the development of their craft,” said Cimolino.

The Actors’ Fund of Canada thanks the Stratford Festival, Seana McKenna, company members, Stratford Festival patrons and everyone involved for their continued support. 

Tickets for the 19th annual Big Swing Golf Tournament on sale now!


The 19th annual Big Swing Charity Golf Tournament, in support of the Actors’ Fund of Canada, is happening Monday, June 15th, 2015 at the Royal Ontario Golf Club in Milton, ON. Get your tickets early for this popular event! 

Click here for more information and to register. For sponsorship opportunities please contact the AFC by email or phone 1.877.399.8392.

Have you been helped by the Actors’ Fund? 

Share your story and help make a difference

To accurately tell the story of the Actors’ Fund of Canada, it’s essential to talk about the situations that real people in our industry face every day. That’s where you come in. By sharing your story you can make an impact on how people view the Actors’ Fund of Canada, help create awareness about how the Fund assists industry members in times of crisis and encourage others to get involved! 

Click here to download a questionnaire which can help you structure your testimonial. Please email Rebecca@actorsfund.ca for more information or call toll free 1-877-399-8392. You can also visit our website to see examples of others who have shared their story. Thank you for your support. 

Les Belles Soeurs chantent

Paula Wolfson performs in a the cabaret, in support of the Actors' Fund of Canada, organized by the company of "Belles Soeurs -The Musical" at the Segal Centre. 

Big thanks to the company of Belles Soeurs - The Musical, who raised $1,515 for the Actors’ Fund of Canada with an audience collection and cabaret at the Segal Centre in Montreal on Nov. 13, 2014 .  

Marcia Tratt was the "instigator" of the cabaret and Paula Wolfson, her able assistant. Patrons gave generously in response to the curtain speech by Astrid van Wieren and donated to watch the fabulous cabaret performances by: Marcia Tratt, Paula Wolfson Geneviève Leclerc, Anik Matern, Jocelyne Zucco, Lisa Horner, Lili Connor and Val Boyle as well as Lisa Rubin (Artistic Director of the Segal Centre), Stephen MacLean Rogers (Company Manager of the Segal Centre), and Chris Barillaro (Musical Director). 

Special thanks to the company of Belles Soeurs - The Musical including Stage Manager Elaine Normandeau, the staff of the Segal Centre for their support and donations, everyone involved in the curtain speech and all box office staff and ushers for their contributions.

Learn more about audience collections and fundraisers here. 

Supporter Spotlight - Theatre Cares Vancouver 

Theatre Cares Vancouver is a volunteer-based organization that unites the generous spirit of Vancouver’s performing arts community with its supporters to raise funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS relief. Throughout each year, since 1991, Theatre Cares raises money and awareness at different events, notably Theatre Cares Week, which takes place in February of every year.

In 2014, Theatre Cares Vancouver raised $35,000 in support of AIDS Vancouver, Positive Living in BC, the Actors’ Fund of Canada and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Each of these charities will receive $8,500 in support from Theatre Cares Vancouver. This is thanks to The Arts Club Theatre, Bard on the Beach, and Studio 58, whose patrons gave generously.

“We’ve lost many of our best people to AIDS,” says Diane Brown Co-Chair of Theatre Cares Vancouver. “There is so much that still needs to be done. That’s why we are so passionate about raising money for these important causes.” 

To learn more about Theatre Cares Vancouver visit their website.  

Video of the month - Thank you for your support!

Christina Lee, dancer. Video by Russ Martin, compliments of IATSE Local 667.Celine Stubel (Vanda) and Vincent Gale (Thomas) in Venus in Fur by David Ives / Photos by David Cooper / Courtesy of the Belfry Theatre, Victoria, BC

Some Assembly Required assembles donations

Over the month of December Lucy MacLeod, Production Manager for Some Assembly Required, organized a donation drive on set and raised $3,500 for the work of the Actors' Fund of Canada! 

The crew of the B.C. shot YTV show contributed $1,750 to help their colleagues who are facing crisis situations like injury, illness and other personal hardships and Production matched the donations for a total of $3,500. 

Lucy MacLeod led the donation drive by setting up donation boxes at the production office, at "crafty" and in her office featuring her picture and story. Lucy says "During Season One of Some Assembly Required I had a really tough year full of medical problems. The Actors' Fund stepped in and helped my family and I get through it when our options were running out. The Fund is an incredible resource for everyone in the film & TV community and I want to pay it forward for others!" Big thanks to everyone working on Some Assembly Required who contributed.  

 Theatres across Canada come together to support the Actors’ Fund

Celine Stubel (Vanda) and Vincent Gale (Thomas) in "Venus in Fur" by David Ives / Photos by David Cooper / Courtesy of the Belfry Theatre, Victoria, BC

Let’s have a big round of applause for the theatres all across Canada who supported the Actors’ Fund over the holiday season! From coast to coast, performers and theatre companies came together to raise $25,000 for the Actors’ Fund and give back to their colleagues who are facing times of crisis. 

Neptune Theatre (Halifax, NS), Segal Centre (Montreal, QC), Great Canadian Theatre Company/A Company of Fools (Ottawa, ON), Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille and Act Your Age Follies (Toronto, ON), Theatre Orangeville (Orangeville, ON), Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton, ON), Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Firehall Theatre Society (Vancouver, BC) and Belfry Theatre (Victoria, BC). 

Our sincere thanks to everyone involved as well as all the theatre patrons who supported at audience collections. 

PS See the article above for Stratford Festival's fundraising efforts and stay tuned for the Shaw Festival's fundraising efforts to be announced in February! 

Fiona Reid's holiday message

Miss out on reading the Actors' Fund of Canada's holiday message from President Fiona Reid?

Click here to read the heartfelt greeting and thank you for your support. 

Join us at CMPA Prime Time!

Will you be at CMPA's Prime Time in Ottawa March 4-6, 2015? Visit Executive Director David Hope at the Actors' Fund of Canada booth and connect with the Fund! 

The Canadian Media Production Association's (CMPA) Prime Time in Ottawa conference is a national networking event for some 600 of Canada’s most prominent business leaders from the feature film, television, interactive media, broadcasting and telecommunications industries.


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