STRATFORD – At its January 13 members’ meeting I.A.T.S.E. Local 357, representing technicians and craft departments at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and throughout Cambridge, Guelph and KitchenerWaterloo presented a $1,000 donation to the Actors’ Fund of Canada.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2008, the Actors’ Fund is Canada’s entertainment industry emergency fund and provides over $400,000 a year in vital financial aid to performers and other entertainment workers in film & TV, theatre, music and dance. Over the last four years, the Fund has provided over $460,000 in assistance to I.A.T.S.E. members to help them maintain their health, housing and ability to work during a financial crisis.
Says Local 357 Business Agent Larry Miller, “We are proud to contribute to this fund that has made such a difference in the lives of so many members of the I.A.T.S.E. Along with our financial support, we’re also going to do all we can to help the Actors’ Fund communicate the fact that it’s for more than just actors. The Actors’ Fund has helped a lot of I.A. members, but many of our members are still pleasantly surprised to hear that the Actors’ Fund could be helpful to them if they’re ever sick, injured or suddenly unable to work.”
Actors’ Fund Executive Director David Hope addresses the confusion over the organization’s name and its relevance to non-actors, “It’s true we’re called the Actors’ Fund of Canada, but in recent years we have more than proved that the Fund is something that all categories of entertainment workers could potentially benefit from and should support on a personal level and through their unions and guilds. We are tremendously grateful for the support of Local 357 and the many other I.A. Locals that have joined our effort to provide a lifeline to the most vulnerable members of the entertainment community.”
To underline his point, Hope cites the many testimonials the Fund has collected from grateful clients who are members of the I.A.T.S.E., DGC and other technical unions as well as performers working in music and dance. Sample testimonials are available on the Fund’s web site at www.actorsfund.ca.
The Actors’ Fund of Canada is a registered charity. Performers, creators, technical staff and other production team members have received over $3 million rent payments, grocery money, utility payments and other basic living expenses from the Fund in the last 10 years. The Actors’ Fund receives no government funding and is wholly sustained by support from individuals and entertainment industry organizations.