In this issue of CS Grid, Topdog/Underdog Dramaturge Jordan Laffrenier touches on the relationship between brothers Booth and Lincoln and how their stories echo the realities of many. Jordan also offers insight on acclaimed playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and what she has said about plays’ ability to rewrite history while navigating between theatre and real life.
Join us in welcoming Heather McMartin (she/her) to the Canadian Stage team as our new Director of Development and Campaigns! It's always fascinating to hear about our staff's first encounter with us at Canadian Stage and hear from Heather herself on what makes supporting the arts in Toronto so special to her.
We can't wait to get to know her better, and we look forward to seeing her shine in her new role.
What does Canadian Stage mean to you? Any special memories you want to share?
The first time I attended Canadian Stage was in 1996. It was a McMaster University drama class field trip to see Angels in America. It blew my mind. Canadian Stage was also the company that converted my husband into a theatre lover. And Canadian Stage was my older son Hugh’s (who is now a Drama major at Etobicoke School of the Arts) first intro to theatre. I took him to a Shakespeare in the park. I think it was Romeo and Juliet.
What excites you about your role?
So many things! We are a fairly new development team and I’m excited to work with this talented, kind and passionate group. We may not build the sets, or play the parts, but we connect donors and sponsors to the cause. And the work wouldn’t happen without their support.
What do you wish to achieve for Canadian Stage in sponsorship, fundraising and development?
So much! We’re in a period of regrowth, of recovering from the past two years and of emerging stronger than ever under Brendan and Monica’s leadership. We have a brilliant 22.23 season about to launch, and so there is huge potential for us in terms of bringing more donors, sponsors and supporters closer to Canadian Stage, to experience the joy and reward of being a part of this place, of rebuilding it, and watching it soar.
What led you to venture into a career of philanthropic work in Toronto’s contemporary performing arts scene?
I’ve been in fundraising for over 20 years and theatre has been a part of my life since I was a kid. This role is a marriage of my passion and experience. I also spent the last eight years working far from my home – off in Stratford – so it’s really nice to be back working in my home town.
What are your core values when engaging in philanthropic work?
Stay focused on the mission of the company, and build strong, authentic relationships.
What does supporting the arts mean to you?
Supporting the arts is the reason I go to work every day. It has been my career objective since I was an intern at the Canadian Opera Company in 1999. I veered off to the university sector for a decade or so (and learned a ton that I now apply to my work), but I’ve been back in the arts since 2014 when I joined the Stratford Festival and I’m thrilled to continue this journey at Canadian Stage.
HEATHER MCMARTIN BIO
Heather McMartin (she/her) has over 20 years of experience in fundraising across arts, higher education, and health sectors, working for organizations such as the Canadian Opera Company, Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, and the Stratford Festival.
Heather was most recently Director, Major Gifts and Campaign Manager for the Stratford Festival and was responsible for a portfolio of major gift prospects and for managing the $100 million campaign to build the new Tom Patterson Theatre. As an active volunteer, she is chair of the board of Nightswimming and is past chair of the Alameda Theatre Company. Heather is a graduate of McMaster University (B.A. Honours in Drama and English) and York University (Masters in Public Policy, Administration and Law). She lives in High Park with her husband and their two sons.