Foster Festival in the Community
While our primary function is to deliver top-notch theatre to audiences in Niagara and beyond, we are deeply invested in our community here in St Catharines. Find out more about the Foster Festival community outreach program "The Drama Club" below.
Why Outreach is Important to The Foster Festival Family
Emily and Trish grew up in small towns where opportunities to experience the arts and arts enrichment were sparse. We were lucky to have parents who could offer us each opportunities to attend live theatre. We were lucky to have had teachers who dedicated untold extracurricular hours to music and drama clubs.
These were lifelines in the development of our artistic lives.
PHOTO GALLERY | Click on an image to view larger format
Local Hero Program
Through the support of our Lead Local Hero Sponsor, the Wise Guys Charity Fund, The Foster Festival is able to provide complimentary tickets to any 2017 Foster Festival performance and a post-performance coffee & dessert at Mahtay Café & Lounge for members of our community who may not be able to attend otherwise due to social or economic disadvantage. The Foster Festival has partnered with Bethlehem Housing and Support Services to provide this opportunity to families in the Niagara Region that have experienced some form of trauma in their lives and are and are now supported through Bethlehem’s permanent affordable housing. Since 1988, Bethlehem has helped more than 2,000 families and individuals stabilize their lives.
The Evolution of The Drama Club
We decided our outreach program would be called The Drama Club. We would focus on extracurricular arts enrichment in partnership with other Not-for-Profits working with children and youth in transition.
Generously funded by a Seed Grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation and dedicated sponsorship from Meridian Credit Union, Our Drama Club initiatives reached a wide assortment of children and youth in St Catharines and Niagara region.
In 2016, The Foster Festival Drama Club provided over 50 hours of free arts enrichment throughout the year and contracted more than 20 regional artists in the delivery of top-notch drama enrichment programming.
It is deeply gratifying to have made an impact on young lives through this initiative and we will continue to seek out partnerships that will allow The Foster Festival to develop programming and activities for other youth organizations, for families in transition across the region, and for veterans and first responders who are experiencing PTSD.
What the creative group has done for me was provide me with a night every week to look forward to. I met a new (good) friend, and heard the voices of many other people that have experienced similar things as me. I’ve discovered how to cope with my feelings through creative outlets that have helped me as well.
DRAMA CLUB FOR KIDS
In 2016, we partnered with 3 organizations to deliver free arts enrichment programs to their young clients using highly qualified instructors from Niagara region: Boys & Girls Club of Niagara, The Niagara Children’s Centre, and The Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre.
Through the Boys & Girls Club of Niagara, we delivered three 8-10 week after school arts enrichment camps across the region in St. Catharines, Niagara-On-The-Lake and Niagara Falls. We designed a 6 – week workshop in partnership with the Niagara Children’s Centre that delighted the families of the young participants with a final presentation in June last year.
DRAMA CLUB FOR ADULTS
For interested adults in the region we are partnering with Rodman Hall Art Centre to deliver a monthly evening series aimed at exploring theatre “From Page to Stage.”
Looking Forward to the 2017 Season
We are currently planning a 2017 workshop with the Niagara Children's Centre. With the Family Advocate at the Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre and volunteers from various partner agencies, Patricia Vanstone co-authored a 12-week workshop that explored healthy living and healing through self-expression in the arts.
This pilot project for young clients who have experienced violence in their lives was so successful that we will be developing further opportunities in other centres in the region.