9 C
Niagara Falls
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Arts: Raise your gimlet for the Shaw at Shivaree on April 13
Chris Semple is the chair of the Shivaree, the Shaw Festival's annual fundraising extravaganza. It will be held April 13 at the Jackie Maxwell Theatre. SUPPLIED

Arlyn Levy
Special to The Lake Report

 When guests arrive at the Shivaree, the annual fundraiser for the Shaw Festival, they’re traditionally greeted with a gimlet.

This classic cocktail is a lot like the event itself — refreshing and eminently enjoyable. As an apéritif, it whets the appetite for both culinary and artistic pleasures.

“We want attendees to feel part of something special,” says Chris Semple, chair of the Shivaree committee.

“It starts with a unique drink because they’re in for a unique evening. It’s carefully planned to entertain, lift the spirits and support the world-class theatre we’re lucky enough to have in our own backyard.”

The Shivaree takes place on April 13 at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre at the Shaw.

According to Semple, ticket sales are brisk — not only because the event sold out in 2023, but also because guests get quite the bang for their charitable buck. 

In the elegant theatre-turned-gala space, there are culinary stations provided by familiar local favourites: Cake Café, Chz Plz, Garrison House, Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, Ruffino’s Pasta Bar & Grill, Treadwell Cuisine, Wellington Court, Yorkshire Pudding Catering, and even the Shaw Festival’s own Green Room.

At the bars, Peller Estates, Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, the Exchange Brewery and Oast House Brewers are all represented.

Fun Fact: The gimlet was either named for Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Gimlette of the British Navy, or for a hand tool used to bore holes. Hence: gimlet-eyed stare.

“Our motto has always been ‘Eat, drink, dance and bid merry,’ ” Semple added.

“So, besides the amazing food, wine and beer, we’re bringing back the wildly popular George St. Kitts Band to heat up the dance floor. And, of course, for many people, the silent auction is a real highlight.” 

Throughout the night, revellers can turn their own gimlet-eyed stare to their mobile devices and place bids. There’s something for everyone — from winery, dining and hotel experiences to collectible art to event tickets to exotic car racing. 

“What we’ve found is the ‘money-can’t-buy’ items are the most sought-after,” she said.

The silent auction pieces, specifically created for the Shivaree, include private catered parties, a week’s stay in an idyllic oceanfront cottage in Bermuda, or a walk-on part in a Shaw Festival performance.

“We’re fortunate to live in such a philanthropic community,” Semple said.

“We have a volunteer committee for the event, individuals and local businesses who donate to the auction and enthusiastic residents who believe in the arts and come out to celebrate.”

“We’ve also got incredibly generous sponsors, including Niagara-on-the-Lake Realty, Niagara-on-the-Lake Local, Bar Ruffino and Niagara Trailers (St. Davids).”

Tickets for the 2024 Shaw Shivaree are $195 per person and available at shawfest.com or by calling the box office at 1-800-511-7429. Funds raised support the theatre company.

The 2024 season features 10 productions on three stages, countless Beyond the Stage activities, four specially created and distinctive shows in the Spiegeltent — the enthralling cabaret and music space — and much more.

Subscribe to our mailing list