Arts and Entertainment

Tickets still available for Theatre Orangeville’s ‘Twas the Night gala

November 16, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

“This is the 24th year for this event,” said David Nairn, artistic director of Theatre Orangeville.

He was, of course, talking about the upcoming Theatre Orangeville Gala, titled ‘Twas the Night, slated for Nov. 25. The Gala is staged at the Best Western Plus Orangeville Inn and Suites. ‘Twas the Night takes over the entire ground floor of the hotel with a silent auction display that runs up and down the hall and breakfast room. Many delights and deals are tempting bids, and every time a person bids, that is a gesture of support for Orangeville’s professional theatre. Not just in Orangeville, but the town’s theatre can boast of being the only professional producing theatre across the three counties of Dufferin, York and Durham.

‘Twas the Night is Theatre Orangeville’s biggest and most important annual fundraiser.

In brief, here is how the Gala plays out. A grand occasion to which a tuxedo or suit for the gents and all elegance and charm for the ladies presents a rare chance to have fun dressing up sets the tone of the evening.

Onward to the Gala, where the browsers and bidders of the silent auction are treated to a jazz combo and the hors d’oeuvres being passed around by staff. A glass of champagne adds shimmer to the moment.

Yet, even before the dinner bell rings, Theatre Orangeville’s Youth Singers (TOYS) take their positions on the staircase to sing songs of the season. Under the direction now of Elisabeth DuBois, the TOYS choir was a standard and much loved beginning to the ‘Twas evening in the past. Like so much else, Covid shut them down, and it has taken a few years to bring them back – with all new voices.

Dinner is announced, and taking their set places, the patrons are treated to a very fine roast of beef, with all the trimmings or an equally delicious vegetarian meal, something to satisfy all comers.

Just as we are tucking in, making the choice of red or white wine [Adamo Winery] at the table, David Nairn takes the stage as M.C. for the next few hours.

He has two jobs: to entice big bids for his live auction and the prizes, all of which would be well worth whatever a person paid.

Next, it is his pleasure to host the entertainment of the evening.

Some singers are alumni of Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company programs. They fell in love with theatre and its music. Some have left Orangeville for university degrees in music and to perform on other stages in Toronto, New York – well, he will tell you. But they love to come back here to where it all began for them and to express their love and appreciation for all they learned here.

For Mr. Nairn’s list of amazing live auction prizes, the patrons’ passion creates fiery bidding: for a night or matinee performance at a show in Stratford, Shaw or Toronto for a Mirvish show. What sets this experience apart is the invitation to go backstage and meet the actors and find out about the ins and outs of how such a production happens. Theatre magic, of course. So many more to follow…

There are many intriguing chances to bid, but you can come to the Ball, my dears and see it all for yourselves, for surprisingly, there are still some tickets to attend, even at this last minute.

In an interview earlier this week, Mr. Nairn told us two very important facts: that theatres across the country are suffering a cut in audiences by 35% and that the cost of building sets and other management has increased by 35%.

He has set himself to bring people back to the theatre, to come to an event like ‘Twas, to give them every reason to support the theatre. This is not just about entertainment; Norm Foster plays, and the Pantomime is coming this holiday season. There is so much more to consider.

With not-for-profit registered charity status, Theatre Orangeville is involved in almost every big event that takes place in town. The theatre reaches out to all aspects of Orangeville’s various communities. It also stands as unique across Canada in its partnership with Community Living Dufferin. The program that came of that is Creative Partners on Stage (CPOS)

“People have to understand that we can’t survive without their support. Katie is 24 years now with a Masters in music and a blooming career but she got there because you were there for her and the many others who have gone on. People need to buy tickets to keep us in business with programs like Young Company. Those not wanting a career will still support the arts.”

Elisabeth DuBois was eight years old when she first performed on the main stage. Although she does not pursue a career singing live on stage, she has come back to run TOYS as she was herself a member. Here she is now the Music Director for the choir and that enthusiasm was supported by the theatre.

He promised us that everyone who supports the gala by attending it will have a wonderful time. Furthermore, he added that, ultimately, they are supporting their theatre.

What’s not to like about- our providing an opportunity to develop an ability, and something like CPOS gives the opportunity to provide unique theatrical programming that celebrates the ability of participants.

“It means,” he said. “People have to think, ‘I think that’s important.’ These are life-changing, life-affirming experiences.”

His contention is that theatre, this theatre is an essential service and says people have to realize every arts community in this country is in this situation, explaining their industry association tells them that theatre audiences are not returning in the numbers we are used to.

Mr. Nairn’s comment was, “We need to remind people that opera, ballet and the story telling in a simple play matter. People need to support, nay: to invest in this theatre because they we nourish their spirits in these interesting times.”

‘Twas the Night Gala is set for Nov. 25 starting at 5:00 pm. Everything you could wish for from a grand evening while doing your bit to support our wonderful Theatre Orangeville.

For tickets, go to or call the charming people in the box Office on 519-942-3423

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