The house lights dim, the curtain rises, the orchestra swells from the mysterious pit below the stage. The magic of live theatre weaves its way from the footlights to the vast, majestic ceiling, past the plush crimson seats of the audience to the wide eyed faces of the many, many theatre goers who have been experiencing the wonder of live theatre for decades. There is simply nothing that compares to that experience. The Grand Theatre has been making magic in London for over one hundred years. Yet, as Julie Bell, Public Relations Coordinator says, “We feel it is important that every child should have the opportunity to experience this.”
For that reason, The Grand Theatre proudly supports many student initiatives at the theatre including Holiday Wish for Kids. Each year, over 250 children and their caregivers have the opportunity to attend The Grand Theatre’s Main Stage holiday show. They are treated to an intermission holiday party complete with treats and a visit with Santa. At the end of the performance, all the children receive a treat bag, compliments of local merchants.
Because of the generous support of our community, this program gives the live theatre experience to struggling families who would not otherwise have that opportunity. “We appreciate what Rotholme Women’s & Family Centre is doing for families and children,” says Bell. “This is our way of honouring them.”
Thanks to the Holiday Wish for Kids program, on November 21, The Grand Theatre provided tickets for each and every family at Rotholme to visit The Grand for a performance of the beloved holiday classic: Miracle on 34th Street. Julie Bell describes the show as a family friendly musical: “It’s about having faith and believing in the spirit of Christmas,” she explains. The children and their caregivers made their way down to the theatre at 471 Richmond Street full of excitement and anticipation. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our clients,” says Kristy Squire, resident care worker at Rotholme. “Going to The Grand is exciting enough,” says Squire. “Throw into the mix a holiday show with a visit from Santa and that’s way over the top.”
As the children made their way back into shelter after the event, their smiles lit the place like a Christmas Tree. “The feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” says Squire. “One little girl raced into her father’s arms saying: ‘Daddy! I saw Santa Claus!’,” she recalls. “We’re so thankful to The Grand Theatre for this opportunity.”
In addition to the Holiday Wish For Kids, The Grand Theatre runs many other youth programs which rely on community donations to operate. For more information about any programs, please contact the Grand Theatre at 519 672 8800
To visit The Grand Theatre website click HERE
For more information on Rotholme Women’s & Family Shelter and to donate, click HERE