Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Interview with Sandra Lawn (Part Three)

Sandra S. Lawn
Festival Chair
St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival

One of my passions, as you may know by now, is to have the ability, through THE INSIDE SCOOP, to inform festival and event planners/organizers about the issues and the importance of VOLUNTEERS! For most festivals and events, it is critical to have volunteers! I have been surprised from my previous interviews in THE INSIDE SCOOP, with the attention and insight, to this issue, that organizers have shared with me. I was not surprised, then, when Ms. Lawn told me that … “We started with just a handful of volunteers – perhaps 30 and are now up to over 300. Recruiting, training and appreciating are key. We have volunteer appreciation nights; offer free tickets on certain nights and at every opportunity value these key people. It is really important to have the right volunteer in the right position – and very, very occasionally we err”. With this in mind, I wanted to find out how the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival kept things fresh for the patrons and actors alike. Sandra says that … “Our artistic director and directors are always surprising us – the level of excellence is always high of course, but there is that special something that comes when you bring favourites back and add new bright stars every season. Our artistic director, directors and actors are all professional – they love the venue and the community and this lively happy spirit keeps things fresh for them and for us”. I’m sure Sandra is correct that “things are fresh” as it is reflected in the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival’s increase in their attendance during the 2010 season. During these difficult economic times, I wondered what Ms. Lawn attributed this increase too. “Having a new play based on an old play, captured people’s imagination - so I think that brought more local people – however the Ottawa audience might have wondered at first what this was all about. Word of mouth is the key factor although I believe our marketing just gets better every year as well as our internet presence. The programs throughout the year like Jake’s Gift coming again on D-Day, June 6th some claim was a life changing experience and we are getting the reputation of doing wonderful unique things”. This information, that I am sharing with you, will hopefully help other festival and event planners/organizers with their efforts to increase attendance!
(To be continued)

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