“Friend-raising” is what a friend who worked with university Advancement used to call the university’s efforts to make and maintain positive connections with community members, recognizing that building connections and building community pays off in the long run in lots more ways than immediate financial donations.
So even though it sometimes seems odd to me to get people to come to a special event where they do something fun together, as a way of raising money for a cause they can agree on, I know that it works. It works especially well when the fun can be had without a lot of extra paid work or paid-for refreshments and entertainment. And it works by generating enthusiasm and connections, rekindling friendships, and reminding people of what the organization does and how to be more involved. This worked well for Northern Light Theatre’s event last weekend, and I bet it’s also going to work for Opera Nuova’s event later this month.
I went to a fun fundraising event last weekend, Northern Light Theatre’s Battle for the Limelight. In this event, teams from local theatre companies and organizations had the chance to raise money for their own organization through pledges, and also earned money for Northern Light Theatre through entry fees and other ways of generating cash. And it was also a great opportunity for people involved in theatre to have a fun day together in one of the rare times of year when not much is happening on stage. Teams from Northern Light, Rapid Fire, Nextfest, Promise Productions, Teatro Quindicina, Grindstone, Theatre Alberta, Theatre Network, Freewill Shakespeare, FAVA, and Workshop West competed in an Amazing-Race-style sequence of stunts and searches all over Old Strathcona on a beautiful early-September day. Local businesses and artists helped by posing, hosting, and judging various challenges, from reproducing an original painting and decorating cupcakes to eating thousand-year-old eggs. I was volunteering at the “Busking” challenge. At this station, two talented drummers from taiko group “The Booming Tree” taught a drumming song to one of the participants, and then he or she would have to perform while the teammates attempted to drum up (see what I did there) spare change from passers-by.
After the groups completed their challenges, everyone gathered back at the Queen Alexandra Community League to tell stories, eat delicious refreshments, and compare notes on their summers. I had to leave for another event before the winners were announced, but blogger Finster Finds reported that the first place (Golden Handjob) went to Team AIEEEEE! (Teatro la Quindicina) , with the Silver and Bronze going to teams from Nextfest and Theatre Alberta.
I also want to mention another fun event coming up on September 27th, Opera Nuova’s Singalong Phantom of the Opera. For $44 ($40 student/senior), you can have the fun of singing along with the hits of the Broadway show, led by experienced soloists and helped out by lyrics projected above the stage. The event takes place at River Community Church, 11520 Ellerslie Road SW, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at Tix on the Square. It sounds like a lot of fun!
Also on the playbill for this week (have I mentioned yet how handy it is to have my own copy of the Theatre Alberta playbill stuck to my refrigerator where I can look at it every morning?) are previews/openings for The Violet Hour (U of A Studio Theatre), Fatboy (Roxy Theatre), and Kim’s Convenience (Citadel), as well as more Rapid Fire shows Friday and Saturday and a clown showcase by the final-year BFA students.