March: Theatre Aquarius, Beaches Jazz Theatre, Theatre Centre and more!

To our OCAF friends,

OCAF is celebrating its 25th anniversary all year long! We are proud to have supported more than 900 events in over 150 Ontario communities. We will use this space in upcoming newsletters to highlight some of the amazing success stories of Ontario cultural organizations we’ve worked with closely. For example, in 1999-2000, we provided our first investment to Science North in Sudbury for a major Dinosaur exhibition. Our support helped them market the exhibition far more broadly than originally planned with the happy result of increased attendance over the important visitor periods of March break and the summer months. Science North has replicated that success several times over with OCAF.

In 2000, Stratford Summer Music was just an idea in John Miller’s head. He presented the idea to us and the OCAF board was enthusiastic about the concept, particularly providing visitors to Stratford with a broader menu when visiting. The ten-day festival took off and never looked back. It now runs for six weeks from July into August and is an important festival on the Stratford and southern Ontario calendar. 

More memories to come in future issues! If any of you have a story to share about OCAF support please email us and we’ll try include it over the next several months.

And thank you all for your ongoing interest and support of not only OCAF but all the incredible organizations providing the magic of the arts to Ontarians!

Kathleen Sharpe
Executive Director

OCAF Goes to Queen’s Park

We were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Laura Smith, Parliamentary Assistant to the Honourable Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, last week. The discussion about OCAF and cultural tourism in Ontario in general was energizing and fruitful! Above is Thomas Vaughan, Laura Smith, PA, and Kathleen Sharpe.

While we were there we saw the new bust of the Honourable Lincoln Alexander (sculpted by award-winning Toronto artist, Quentin VerCetty), who, during his storied career, also served on the OCAF board for several years. He always spoke so highly of heritage organizations and their important work. It was such a pleasure to have him with us!

Events On Now: Opening

The Beaches Jazz Theatre Series is a 11-city theatre series featuring tribute performances that showcase some of music’s royalty, such as ABBA, Carol King, Frankie Valli, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Motown Ensembles (Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles).

Enjoy the series running this month until end of spring throughout Ontario including the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre, Centennial Hall in London, the Meridian Theatre in Ottawa, Meaford Hall, the Grand Theatre in Kingston, the Academy Theatre in Lindsay, the Burlington Performing Arts, the Sanderson Centre in Brantford, the Regent Theatre in Picton, and the River Run Centre in Guelph.
Learn more.

Programming for the 10th anniversary of the Theater Centre opens with their birthday party on March 21st! Come celebrate 10 years since the Theater Center moved into its home at 1115 Queen Street West!

This event marks the launch of their 10 for 10 program (ten unique offerings over ten months)! On March 21 – for one night only – they will open the entire building and with activations including music, games, a MAC glam station, photo spots, pop-up performances and much more.

The anniversary season runs throughout the year and is packed with shows, festivals, community events, activations and more.

Learn more.

As part of its 50th anniversary season, Theatre Aquarius presents Shirley Valentine, a story about a Liverpool housewife – lost in marriage and motherhood and spending far too much time talking to the kitchen wall while making her husband’s evening meal of “chips and egg”. When she gets the chance of a lifetime to fly to Greece, is she ready to step outside of her comfort zone and take a chance?

Shirley Valentine is a beloved, joyous and life-affirming reminder that it’s never too late to rediscover your purpose and passion.

Check out this work and more from their anniversary season!

Learn more.

Ashkenaz Foundation and Warsaw’s POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews are pleased to present the Ger Mandolin Orchestra for the first time in Toronto since 2013. The international string supergroup will be joined by Polish pianist/composer Marcin Masecki for the live premiere of his “Ger Suite,” co-commissioned by Ashkenaz and POLIN.

Conceived by Israeli-American Avner Yonai and directed by renowned multi-instrumentalist Mike Marshall, the Ger Mandolin Orchestra resurrects a little-known musical form that was once-widely popular across eastern Europe and in North American immigrant communities.

The group brings to life a unique repertoire of Jewish, East European folk and light classical music, using the complete range of mandolin family instruments. Their rare and moving concert appearances over the last dozen years have been met with overwhelming audience and critical acclaim. Learn more.

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