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 programs 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.
The Foster Festival is also deeply committed to the City of St. Catharines' CompassionateSTC initiative. We believe that everyone deserves to have access to the arts. Our programming, with its focus on "Humour with Heart in the heart of Niagara" can help lighten the load of Niagara's most vulnerable citizens.
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Local Hero Program
Originally funded by a seed grant from the Wise Guys Charity Fund in 2017, The Foster Festival was able to provide complimentary tickets to any Foster Festival performance to members of our community who may not be able to attend otherwise due to social or economic disadvantage. They also enjoyed a post-performance treat at Mahtay Café & Lounge. The Foster Festival is happy to announce we will be able to continue this initiative throughout our 2018 Season. The Foster Festival has partnered with Bethlehem Housing and Support Services and its partner organizations to provide this opportunity to families and individuals in the Niagara Region that have experienced some form of trauma in their lives. Since 1988, Bethlehem has helped more than 2,000 families and individuals stabilize their lives. We're proud to provide an opportunity to experience entertaining and professional theatre in this wonderful partnership.
The Drama Club for all ages
Our outreach program is called The Drama Club and serves the wide Niagara community. We have designed and offer tailor-made extracurricular arts enrichment in partnership with other Not-for-Profits working with children and youth in transition. We also offer free monthly sessions for adults who have a life long interest in the performing arts.
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
Originally 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. With the Family Advocate at the The Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre and volunteers from various partner agencies, Artistic Director 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 through our partnerships with The Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre and the Niagara Chapter Native Women's Centre.
This year we've also been able to double programming to meet the demands for arts enrichment at The Niagara Children’s Centre through the generosity of The Rotary Club of St. Catharines. The Foster Festival Drama Club now provides almost 100 hours of free arts enrichment throughout the year to Niagara's most vulnerable children and youth and contracts 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 these initiatives and we will continue to seek out partnerships that will allow The Foster Festival to develop programming and activities for other youth organizations.
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.” This season, we're exploring scene study in clinics designed to find the commonality between professional and avocational actors. Using scenes from Norm Foster's work, we have a lot of fun while learning how to deliver text, character and story most effectively.