Foster Festival Local Heroes Initiative

Foster Festival Local Heroes Initiative

Posted Jun 8th, 2017 in News & Updates, Housing Heroes

On June 6, Bethlehem Housing joined the Foster Festival and Wise Guys Charity Fund at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre to commemorate the Festival’s Local Heroes Initiative.

Wise Guys Charity Fund

Working in partnership with Bethlehem Housing and Support Services, The Foster Festival will offer 100 free tickets to this summer’s productions for Bethlehem Housing and Support Services to distribute to their clients, under the banner of their LOCAL HEROES initiative.

And Wise Guys has generously donated $5000 to the Foster Festival towards covering the costs.

“The Wise Guys aims to reflect compassion and kindness to the Niagara Community. The collaboration of the Foster Festival Local Heroes program with Bethlehem Housing fully demonstrates the kindness and compassion, the Wise Guys are proud to provide a grant to enable this program to flourish,” said Brian Hutchings who sits on the board of the Wise Guys Charity Fund.

Mahtay Cafe & Loung, St. CatharinesMahtay Café & Lounge – downtown St. Catharines purveyor of great coffee, great food and a great vibe – is also contributing to the LOCAL HEROES campaign, offering a $10 gift card per ticket for a post-show treat. 

“At the Foster Festival we feel that by offering a free afternoon or evening in the theatre, people who might never feel that this kind of experience is within reach financially will have a great and enjoyable cultural experience and the chance to feel part of the wider community”, explained Emily Oriold, Executive Director of the Foster Festival.

“We are pleased to partner with the Foster Festival to provide this opportunity for our residents to experience the heart and humour of a Norm Foster show” says Lori Beech, Executive Director, Bethlehem Housing and Support Services.  “Many of our residents have experienced some form of trauma in their lives and laughter can be the best medicine for the soul.”

Foster Festival Local Heroes Wise Guys Cheque Presentation

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik has made a major commitment to address poverty in the city – CompassionateSTC is the result of that commitment.

“My vision for our city is a community where everyone can live, work and enjoy life. Sadly, this isn’t the case for everyone,” said Mayor Sendzik in a written statement. “Tonight, I am heartened to express my sincere appreciation to the Wise Guys as the lead donor and Mahtay Café as the hospitality donor, to the Foster Festival’s Local Heroes program. The opportunity to be exposed to the arts builds an appreciation for culture and provides a valuable social experience to those who wouldn’t be able to access such a luxury. Thank you to all partners for taking the initiative to build an inclusive, compassionate community.”

The Foster Festival fully supports CompassionateSTC.  With our Local Heroes program we are opening our doors to citizens who struggle to meet basic needs.

“We believe that everyone should have access to the arts.” says Artistic Director Patricia Vanstone. “We know that shared experience of heartfelt laughter at a Norm Foster play can lift the soul and lighten the burden of everyday worries”.

The first production of 2017 will be the World Premiere of Screwball Comedy playing from June 21 until July 7, followed by Foster’s Old Love playing from July 12 to 28. The final production will be the World Premiere of Lunenburg, which will run from August 2 to 18.

About The Foster Festival

The Foster Festival, established in October 2015, is the only Canadian theatre festival to celebrate the work of a living playwright. Norm Foster is the most produced playwright in Canadian history, with his nearly 60 plays receiving an average of 150 productions each year across Canada and internationally. The fully professional Foster Festival has attracted some of the best artists in Canada including star of stage and screen Sheila McCarthy and the multi-talented Lisa Horner. In addition to working closely with the City of St. Catharines, The Festival also partners with The Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre of Niagara, The Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, The Niagara Children’s Centre and Rodman Hall to provide theatre arts to the Niagara region. To learn more, please visit

About Wise Guys

We are caring, dedicated volunteers and business partners who help raise and disburse funds to assist local projects and programs for the care and comfort of our community and especially its children. Over the past decades, the Wise Guys Charity Fund has worked with dozens of deserving organizations in the Niagara Region. By fundraising for Niagara, we’re able to keep improving our local community. We do this by relying on the region’s citizens, rather than the government. It allows us to independently allocate the funds, and distribute them as quickly as possible without any red tape. We’ve found it to be the best system, because it creates change at a grassroots level. By being active, responsible participants in our community’s day-to-day development, we are able to create real-world change. It’s just that simple.

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