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Theatre Orangeville looking ahead to ‘Twas the Night… Gala’ fundraiser

September 8, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Get your tickets and save the date Nov. 12, for Theatre Orangeville’s annual gala, its largest fundraiser of the year and after three years, is back with a new look and a new name: “Twas the Night…Gala.”

“We’re pressing ‘refresh’,” Laura Austin, committee chair told the Citizen. “Eliminating the word Victorian to something our patrons all can fly with. We will still have the same flavour as the past 22 years.”

Austin is referring to the charming tradition of the welcome champagne, people coming in festive apparel, and Gourmandissimo catering. There will be the hors d’oeuvres passed around as attendees review silent auction items and the raffles. 

Anne Marie Warburton, founder and owner of Gallery Gemma Jewellery is once again donating a custom piece she has made especially for the gala.

Artist Mary Scattergood has created a painting of Orangeville’s Opera House that she is donating both as a raffle item and as the theme setter of a new look.

“And for the first time, we’re doing an early bird pricing of $185 until Sept. 30, then $200,” said Ms. Austin.

David Nairn added, “There are about 200 tickets but we always accommodate last minute stragglers; the meal comes with wine on the table, of course.”

The re-naming of the Gala, Ms. Austin claimed, was an organic process, expressing the magic idea of ‘Twas the Night at Christmas, with the tree lighting, family, all those things the gala stands for. This is a new story, starting after Covid, after the 22 years the name Victorian has been used, “perfect timing,” Ms. Austin commented. “A beginning of a new era post Covid.”

Still, tradition is maintained with a view of not changing what has worked so well, with the live auction and as David Nairn promises, “There will be entertainment.”

The three of us were engaged in a FaceTime interview to begin the excitement of the first party of the holiday season, Theatre Orangeville’s premier social event and the notion of being together again since the last gala in 2019. 

“We’ve refreshed the meaning of the event,” Laura Austin remarked. “The joy of it is the first event of the season. There’s a lot of comfort and joy to be taken in the tradition of it. To dress up for the season and still count on Theatre Orangeville to come through with a wonderful evening and entertainment.”

Mr. Nairn added, “The fact that we’re back at all is a testament to the community. This gala is going to be the greatest one we’ve ever had. By supporting it, people are supporting the theatre and the work that it also does in the community. Suffice it to say, it is all determined to be guided by public health. We’re looking forward to joy in our hearts, a renewed sense of faith and confidence by the generosity [of] not just their wallets but in their hearts is the idea that the theatre is important to them.”

He went on to say, “It is not just Theatre Orangeville, it’s the people involved; not just about the bottom line, it’s more important than just about the money. It’s about the sharing, the volunteers, being together in the same room when we haven’t been able to in a long time.” 

As for public health, his comment was, “If the wheels fall off, so be it but the state of that will be about the state of the world.”

The gala is a fundraiser that’s driven by Theatre Orangeville’s board and board members are supporting it by finding items for donations and attending the gala. Ms. Austin told the Citizen that they all feel this is a time to rejoice and celebrate too, “being back together.”

Theatre Orangeville is a charity and the gala is its biggest fundraiser of the year.

Said Mr. Nairn, “I need to remind myself that Theatre Orangeville holds charity status. When people donate to the theatre organization and other things that touch your heart, they give you something back that’s intangible but you can feel it in your heart. So, it is not just buying tickets but for advocating for young artists. We are finding ourselves steering away from a not-for-profit label. We’re a charity and that speaks about the value that Theatre Orangeville brings to the community. Just by coming out and having a good time people are showing they believe that.”

It is an increase in mutual support reflected by very different times and very different positions. Some sponsors have given over 20 times in 20 years and this year some are struggling.

So, Mr. Nairn said, “We have said how much we appreciate their support over so many years and we list them anyway on our sponsor list to show that.”

Other theatres who have given tickets to shows for the silent auction have said those have led people to become patrons and support other organizations. Yet, ‘Twas is unique because Theatre Orangeville can provide experiences most other organizations cannot, like trips to Mirvish shows with visits backstage.

We ruminated that the arts does bring many people together, the celebration of art, how the artistic experience is truly worthy of support. Even patrons who can’t attend still make a donation.

This year’s Twas the Night …Gala will have tables for eight and ten so that groups can come together, as well as couples and individuals, for a very special evening.

For all the information and to purchase tickets, go to or call the Box Office at 519-942-3423, also located at 87 Broadway.

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