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Stratford Festival Raises $92,000 in Support of The AFC

North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company, the Stratford Festival attracts audiences from across the continent. Each year, the Festival presents a dozen or more productions of classics, contemporary dramas and musicals over a seven-month season.

The Stratford Festival is a long-standing supporter of The AFC. This year, the Festival re-affirms its commitment to supporting Canadian artists and entertainment professionals by raising a remarkable $92,000 through audience collections, ticket sales from a designated performance and individual gifts from company and crew members through payroll donations.

Stratford leadership – artistic director Antoni Cimolino and executive director Anita Gaffney – recognize the importance of supporting the work The AFC does. “The AFC is part of the Stratford Festival DNA, with many of our pioneers helping to form the organization 60 years ago. Support of The AFC is a tradition we have proudly continued over the past six decades – since our very first benefit performance in 1958,” said Cimoilino. “We are eager to do our part in raising funds to help people working in the theatre and entertainment industry when they are at their most vulnerable, facing illness, injury and other potentially career-ending situations. It’s the right thing to do.”

This year, our Board Director and Stratford company member Steve Ross has spearheaded the initiative to raise awareness and encourage audience donations to benefit The AFC. All the shows featured in the 2018 Festival season have come on board to hold audience collections to support The AFC. “It was a real group effort,” Ross says.

We are so grateful for the hard work of all the Festival company members, crew, staff and volunteers who contributed to this tremendous initiative – they made passionate appeals, told their personal stories, collected funds, stayed late after the shows, and much more. We applaud the fantastic Stratford audiences who responded to the call to give so enthusiastically and compassionately.

Steve Ross was blown away by the positive reaction from Stratford audiences: “We want to raise awareness about the unique challenges the entertainment professionals face. By appealing directly to our audience members, right after the performance, we want to help our patrons see the people behind the work – on and off stage – and emphasize the importance of The AFC, the organization that exists to help all entertainment professionals when they are at their most vulnerable. I am truly grateful and humbled by the overwhelming response we receive back.”

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