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Theatre Orangeville to host ‘Twas the Night Gala fundraiser

October 27, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

“Things are going exceptionally well. Businesses are giving vigorous donations; a lot of support from Best Western [Orangeville Inn and Suites] and Gourmandissimo Catering [the venue for the event and the company catering it],” says Laura Austin, chairperson of Theatre Orangeville’s ‘Twas the Night Gala. 

The gala is the theatre’s largest fundraiser of the year, set to take place on Nov. 12.

Three years ago, around this time of year was the last time guests, crew, and artists assembled at the Best Western to celebrate Theatre Orangeville for its tremendous stage productions of plays, musical events and other entertainments. Not only is the entertainment lauded but perhaps, even more, are the many other contributions to the community for which Theatre Orangeville is so well-known. Last time, the party had been called the Victorian Christmas Gala for 20 years.

This year, on Nov. 12, we are invited to return to the Best Western to the newly re-named ‘Twas the Night Gala dinner in the hotel’s ballroom, with entertainment between dinner courses and a live auction constituting part of the evening. A vast silent auction will be festooned along the tables in the hallways and the small dining area. Browsing, bidding, munching on hors d’oeuvres, enjoying the jazz from the Nicolas Mustapha Trio – all are encouraged before the call to dine.

“Our relationship with Gourmandissimo is very special,” said David Nairn, Theatre Orangeville’s artistic director. “In the summer of 2000, there was a fundraiser being held on a private property in Caledon. Giles and Adriana were actually living in the basement of a couple of theatre patrons. A couple offered to do a fundraiser and we introduced Giles to these people in Caledon. Giles is very much the caterer in Caledon. We like to think that we were the introduction for them.”

There is excitement about the draw to fly anywhere in the world that WestJet flies to this year. The WestJet connection is great. Since some people have been more hesitant to fly for the last couple of years, the airline is happy to see customers returning. There is no time limit to the WestJet tickets so the winners could wait and still travel at any time.

“We are really thrilled to get that back,” Mr. Nairn commented.

There are other very special draws on offer at ‘Twas the Night as playing cards: great hockey tickets, custom-made jewellery by Anne-Marie Warburton from Gallery Gemma and Mary Scattergood’s painting of the Opera House. All the theatre’s social media will be trumpeting these treasures up for grabs with the draws.

“Art,” Mr. Nairn pointed out, “is such a personal taste thing by the nature of the work.”

Additionally, speaking of art, artist Tina Clare is offering for the live auction a commission, tailored to your taste.

“She is a phenomenal artist and our audience certainly knows her and her work is a great favourite with the audience.”

Ms. Clare is content to produce a landscape or portraiture for the successful bidder.

TOV has many patrons and there is grand mutual support between the theatre and them.

Withal, the object is to buy locally. There are a few great golf packages on the live auction, packages with The Pulpit Club, which is the new name for The Pulpit and the Paintbrush Golf Courses, new names by the new owners, Longridge Partners [formerly Devil’s Pulpit]. ‘Twas the Night Gala is the largest fundraiser of the year that supports Theatre Orangeville’s youth projects and Creative Partners On Stage, as well as the theatre’s summer camp to which, “no young person will ever be denied coming to our camp because of money problems.”

David Nairn made it clear, “That’s what our theatre is about.”

Mr. Nairn is himself very excited about finally being able to attend the ‘Twas the Night Gala, as he has not been to the Gala since 2018. In 2019, he was so sick as not to be able to go – three years ago. 

As to entertainment, we are assured that the cast from Theatre Orangeville’s production of the season, The Last Christmas Turkey, will come along to sing, as will the cast from Young Company.

“Father Christmas will be attending,” the Citizen was promised.

Also, Mr. Nairn told us, “Plus a couple of entertainment surprises.”

Ticket sales are going well and are tracking ahead of 2019, with three weeks to go. Orangeville patrons love the last-minute buy; so, there are still tickets available.

A mask mandate continues at Theatre Orangeville performances for audiences. At the last matinee, Mr. Nairn related, “…maybe a dozen people thanked me for maintaining the mask mandate. So, we think we’ll keep that in place at the theatre until we see how things are going.”

Another person was sitting with him in his office during this three/four-way interview on Face time. This was Amanda Doerrie, Theatre Orangeville’s new media person. As an introduction to us all, I wanted to ask her briefly what made her want this very demanding job.

Ms. Doerrie replied, “I’m very excited about this. I live locally, raising my kids here in town and marketing is a passion of mine. I was at [Anne-Marie Scheffler’s] Suddenly Single show, looking at advertising opportunities for another business and saw the theatre’s job description, I might have written myself. I am most excited to be in time for the Gala, just to be part of that and see the theatre grow and grow will be fantastic.”

Laura Austin contributed her own reasons why she and other volunteers love being involved.

“I am passionate about the arts,” she said. “It’s almost 20 years ago I started volunteering with T.O.Y.S. The gala supports all of our youth programming. Volunteers donate thousands of hours. 

“I love how everything in our community connects, like this great big family, this huge volunteer base for this not-for-profit charity.”

They agreed that when it comes to supporting a charity, it is because of the value that charity contributes to the community. The Theatre Company has to provide so much more than the entertainment because the Company has become so much of the fabric of the community.

“I think that’s what really inspires,” said David Nairn, “It’s quite rare for theatre companies to be that embedded in the social fabric of the community – we do world-class shows and add to that by the other opportunities.” 

He affirmed, “That makes us unique.”

For tickets and information about the ‘Twas the Night Gala, plus the 50/50 draw and subscriptions, go to or call the Box Office, which is located at 87 Broadway, on 519-942-3423.


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