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Stratford Festival’s Guthrie Committee Donates $25,000 to The AFC

Stratford Festival has been a steadfast supporter of The AFC through audience collections, benefit performances, and company fundraising for decades. We are very grateful to the Guthrie Committee of the Stratford Festival for upholding this long-standing tradition and making a generous $25,000 donation to support the work The AFC is doing to help people in our industry through the pandemic.

Sean Arbuckle, one of Guthrie Committee’s Past Chairs, has talked to us about the committee’s decision to make a contribution to The AFC: “The Festival’s 2020 season was cruelly cut short in March due to the pandemic, before this year’s Guthrie Committee could even be elected. But the Committee’s “rainy day” fund still existed, and the Festival very much wanted to put that money to its best possible use. They asked a number of us who had formerly served as Chairs of the Committee to help them decide what to do with it.

“Despite our usual mission, we knew that it was not a year for whimsical awards; people were struggling with the sudden loss of basically an entire year’s income. Everyone was in need. What became obvious is that The AFC already had the structure and the capability to offer assistance to those in our profession most in need of help. Given that the Festival would be unable to do its usual benefit performances and fundraising for The AFC, it seemed that the best use of the funds would be to make a donation to The AFC to help its work.

“We at the Festival have traditionally been very lucky members of our profession (and we know it!) in terms of the length and relative security of our contract, which is why we are honoured every year to be able to use our platform to raise money for The AFC. Even in non-pandemic times, we know friends or family (or even past company members) who have relied on aid from The AFC, but this year has been hard on ALL of us. In the spirit of company and, in the larger sense, of “community,” we could not have been happier to make a donation that will hopefully help all of us in need. And we were really proud to be able to tell our extended Festival family that the way we found to celebrate “company” in 2020 was to make this donation, because we are so grateful for the work that The AFC does for all of us.”

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