Theatre fundraising: Audience collections

What is an audience collection?

An audience collection is a fundraising appeal designed to ask audience members for individual donations for The AFC. Performers, FOH staff and volunteers can assist with the collection. Audience collections have proven to be a very successful way of raising money for entertainment professionals in need in our community!

Important information for companies operating under PACT agreements

The CTA and ITA both contain provisions requiring either an annual benefit performance or curtain speeches designed to solicit individual donations from the audience. With appropriate notice, Equity members may rehearse and appear in benefit performances without remuneration for The AFC. Provided that a benefit performance has been scheduled for that season, the Theatre may schedule other benefit performances with the prior written approval of Equity.

You can read the CTA’s provision for benefit performances here.

You can read the ITA’s provision for benefit performances here.

By contributing to The AFC through benefit performances or curtain speeches and audience collections, your company is making a contribution to Canada’s theatre community and everyone in it. It’s not only mandated in the CTA and ITA, it’s also the right thing to do. 

How to make your audience collection a success

Step 1: Contact The AFC in advance

We’ll mail you program inserts that thank your theatre personally. The program inserts also give your patrons some background information on The AFC and the opportunity to receive a tax receipt for their donation. If you need program inserts right away, you can download a generic version here.  After the event, we let other theatres know about your commitment to Canada’s artistic community via social media/e-blast. Please call us 416.975.0304 or 1.877.399.8392 toll free or email Sharon Tindyebwa at Sharon@AFChelps.ca 

Step 2: Involve the cast

The most effective curtain speeches are the ones that are delivered by one or two of the performers. Click here for a sample curtain speech or create your own curtain speech from The AFC’s talking points. Experience has also taught us that audience collections increase dramatically if the actors themselves can be the ones at the doors collecting donations. The audience loves the opportunity to personally interact with the actors and give back to the artistic community at the same time. It’s also a truly positive experience for everyone! If possible, while one or two performers make the speech, have the other performers move to the doors to hold buckets.

Step 3: Prime the pump

Individual donations at audience collection vary widely, ranging from $2 to $100. A great way to encourage larger gifts is to put a $20 and a $5 in each bucket before you begin. You can take them out again after the collection.

Have a great speech!


In this video President of The AFC Fiona Reid and Member at Large Seana McKenna give us their amusing and informative take on how to give a great curtain speech to raise funds for The AFC, the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry, at an audience collection. Special thanks to ACTRA Toronto and IATSE Local 667 for helping to make this video possible.

Why else should we hold an audience collection?

For companies operating under PACT agreements: The CTA and ITA both contain provisions requiring either an annual benefit performance or annual curtain speeches designed to solicit individual donations from the audience for The AFC.

It’s good to know that a caring community has your back.

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