Black Box Backdrop

Our lit but empty stage

2022-2023 Vision

It’s no secret that this past year has been tough on the board. In May, as I started reaching out to current board members about whether or not they planned to continue on the board, I had a minor panic attack as I realized that, as of the AGM, it was just going to be me.

Literally. Everyone else was either resigning, had already resigned, or had their terms expiring.

What happened?! As most social dynamics go, it’s both complicated and not. From my perspective, and the perspective of remaining board members when we did a retrospective, it boiled down to 3 things:

  1. COVID
  2. Lack of team cohesion
  3. Volunteer burnout (both on & off the board)

This led to fewer people taking on more responsibility in an uncertain global context that was constantly in flux. Honestly, I nearly quit as well.

But here’s what I’m thinking for next year. My vision for next year’s board/operations boils down to these 3 principles:

  1. Projects EVEN OVER roles
  2. Teamwork EVEN OVER efficiency
  3. Community EVEN OVER events

Projects over roles is about reducing siloing of work at the board level. People on the board tend to take on these personal portfolios of projects that don’t tend to be shared with other board members, except when a decision needs to be made or a status report is requested. Next year, I would like the board to do away with titles as much as possible and legal, and focus TOGETHER instead on the projects that are really going to move the business forward. No more pet projects, just team projects.

Teamwork over efficiency is about spreading institutional knowledge and creating documentation so that new people can onboard into our community more easily. The learning curve to join us today is exceptionally steep, and we lose a lot of great potential volunteers because we don’t have a good way to introduce people to the theatre gradually. Before doing anything, I want us to slow down, write a document, and try to get someone new to do a task instead of relying on the same people to do things every time. (With some exceptions – things like the financials should be handled by the experts.)

Community over events is about building our community OUTSIDE OF our productions and events (which obviously will still happen!). I’m looking into creating a Slack or Discord instance in order to facilitate communication among our members outside of specific events, so that hopefully people who join in between events can get a nice warm KWLT hug without the expectation of immediately doing work in order to make friends. I’d also like us to start doing in-person social events again.

The way I plan to make this happen is 3-fold:

  1. Board orientation, onboarding, team building, and co-creation of goals
  2. New tool to facilitate community-building & collaboration
  3. Find ways to delegate more board responsibilities

By spending time building a team of people who know how to work together and are ready to lead a focused portfolio of projects intended to increase our capacity as an organization, I believe that we can weather the storm of COVID and learn how to operate as a theatre company again. It will be hard, and it will be different than what we’re used to doing, but I hope it will get us through and back to a place where we are brimming with volunteer energy. Next year, I hope to report successful shows and a larger volunteer pool to our AGM, and I hope to not have to report resignations.

I’m delighted and surprised by the response of our community to our desperate plea for board members. Let’s make some change!

Our lit but empty stage

February Board Meeting Recap

We decided that our AGM will be on Tuesday, June 28th – save the date!

We had a lengthy discussion on how to handle memberships extended through the pandemic now that we are about to enter our first season back. We will have an official announcement of the decision and what it means for your membership expiry next month!

We discussed a draft of our budget for the next financial year, which will be approved in our March meeting.

We approved our next season! Stay tuned for our official announcement within the next few months 🙂

In light of the government lifting vaccination and capacity restrictions, we discussed whether we wanted to continue enforcing these restrictions for ourselves. We are in a good position at the moment where we don’t have much upcoming of our own events, so we have opted to revisit the question at a later date. For now, to participate in KWLT events, you will still need to be fully vaccinated, and we will continue to discuss and revise as appropriate.

  • What this means for Falling: A Wake auditions – you will need to be fully vaccinated to be cast.
  • We opted to lift the restrictions for people renting our space, as we cannot feasibly enforce the restrictions on our renters.

Similar to the above, we discussed whether or not we might want to specify a subset of show nights to have higher restrictions (e.g. require vaccinations & masks on certain nights but allow other nights to be more open), to accommodate those in our membership who might feel more comfortable. We didn’t make a decision on this, since our next shows aren’t until June, but it is something we’re considering. If this is something you’d be interested in, please either email me or let us know anonymously via this form.

We discussed support for FASS, an organization we’ve historically had close ties with who is going through some challenging times. We didn’t make any decisions, but are open to talking to FASS about what their needs are and how we might support them.

We looked at a few quotes for upgrading our internet service at the theatre, and expect to make a decision on this at the March board meeting.

We discussed our struggles with the front walkway being icy as well as some struggles with a crack in our foundation, and directed the Building Manager to address them.

Our lit but empty stage

January Board Meeting Recap

We approved a revised version of our Privacy Policy, which is more up-to-date with current practices and technology

We decided we would possibly defer Ali & Ali to the start of next season (pending the Artistic Director and Artistic Steering Committee’s approval) instead of trying to find a time for it before September. A possible alternative that we considered was at the end of July, but would interfere with a rental opportunity representing a significant portion of our rentals revenue for the year. We resolved to pick new dates ASAP before the next board meeting.

We talked through some questions we had received from WODL regarding a 2023 festival. We decided we would not be interested in adjudication or a festival in that year, so that we can focus entirely on ourselves for our first season since COVID.

We discussed options for internet service at the theatre, which has been problematic for a while. We decided we’d like to investigate finding a new ISP and improving our speeds and stability to support streaming use cases.

We discussed how much we’d like to spend on fixing our shed. While we didn’t land on a specific number, we gave additional guidance to our Carpentry Manager to help produce a budget.

There were a number of shout-outs, mostly to Matt Walsh. We were also thankful to whomever passed by our sidewalk with a snowblower following the big storm January 17; Nadia’s mom for helping with the booth work; Monica for being quick with emails; and, Nadia for answering questions from Davenport.

The booth reconstruction is nearly complete! There are a few finishing touches but both the sound and lighting booth could be technically usable any time (…given a little notice). We expect first use to be by a renter on February 25.

Our Carpentry Manager, Ahrar, has patched holes in the shed and is planning more thorough repairs in the next few months.

Our Librarians have been hard at work cataloguing and organizing our stock of plays and books. Look out for more about this soon!

Our Workshops Coordinator is exploring doing a lighting workshop and sound workshop, but scheduling for these will be dependent on the state of COVID.

We have a crack in our foundation that needs to be fixed. We’re trying to find a contractor who can fix it – if you have any leads, please send them to me at

Our lit but empty stage

COVID Impacts to Performance Dates

Are you potentially interested in directing a show with us but are unsure about how COVID may affect the season and proposal? In this post, I’m going to aim to clarify how the board is currently making decisions so that you can understand how you may be impacted as a director.

As always, we have the dates for our productions chosen far in advance. Even in the uncertain world of COVID, we need to do this so that we can manage our rental calendar, which can be busy even in COVID-times. Our shows require about a month total (plus or minus a week) in the space: 1-2 weeks for build and tech, then 3 weeks of performances, followed by a day for strike. If we do not book the dates in advance, rentals can whittle away at the available time even a year in advance. 

Currently, our production dates for the 2022-2023 season are:

ShowAudition DatesPerformance Dates
Always Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Season OpenerSeptember 6 – 8, 2022November 10 – 26, 2022
Winter ShowNovember 7 – 9, 2022January 26 – February 11, 2023
Spring ShowFebruary 6 – 8, 2023April 27 – May 13, 2023
Summer ShowMarch 27 – 29, 2023June 8 – 24, 2023

We do recognize, though, that timelines often shift these days due to provincial regulations and COVID waves. We’re not going to pretend like this isn’t a possibility – we have already moved our dates for Ali & Ali twice. We’re also not going to pretend that we can be certain that COVID is “almost over” and that our next season will be totally normal (though, obviously we are hopeful that this will be the case).

The decision to change dates has been prompted by either provincial regulations preventing in-person auditions, or uncertainty about comfort levels with regard to gathering for auditions or rehearsals. We have relied very heavily on the production team to communicate their comfort levels and needs to us, via our Artistic Director and/or Executive Producer. Different shows require different levels of physicality and interaction; the Ali & Ali team, for example, are planning a very physical show and online video conference rehearsals are not a possibility. If they could have rehearsed remotely, we may have made a different decision about deferring dates. These decisions, so far, have been fairly last-minute (2ish weeks before auditions) because things tend to change so quickly with COVID.

When it becomes clear that we need to change the dates, we start by announcing publicly that the dates are changing before picking new dates. Picking new dates can take some time, and it’s important to communicate ASAP to people wanting to audition that the plan is changing. Then, we take a look at what’s possible in our calendar and what’s possible with the production team’s schedules. Our Artistic Director or Executive Producer works with the production team to come up with potential new dates, which are then brought to the Board for approval. Once the new dates are selected, confirmed by the Board, and our rights updated, we can publicize the new dates.

We are continuing to iterate on this process. Like other theatre companies, we are trying to balance needing to be nimble in responding to COVID with needing lead time to plan and schedule our productions. There is a lot of room for improvement in how we’re handling these situations now. Here is what you should consider if you are thinking about submitting an application:

  1. If we have to shut down in the middle of your rehearsal cycle, would Zoom rehearsals be adequate, or would we need to consider changing your performance dates?
  2. How flexible can you & your team be with changing dates?
  3. Would you be able to do your production entirely remotely or via livestream? (This may also be impacted by limitations in rights agreements, which wouldn’t be obvious until we apply for the rights.)

Hopefully, none of this will be relevant and we won’t have to change dates for productions going forward, but I wanted to provide this glimpse into our process in case people were wondering.

Our lit but empty stage

Communications Challenges

I’m sorry to announce the resignation of our newest board member, Rachel. Rachel did some great work in getting our Communications Team up to speed and operating well, so the absence of a Communications Director for now is more easily mitigated. Rachel brought us some great ideas and great expertise; unfortunately, the demands of the role were too much, and she realized that she did not have the time required to dedicate to it. The Communications email will still be monitored and the Communications Team is ready to fill the gaps in the interim.

For me, this again highlights the difficulties that we experience retaining Communications Directors. For those of you at our AGM this summer, you know that this was a hot topic, and one that the board was discussing at length before Rachel joined. It was our hope that Rachel would be able to help shape the role to make it more manageable and sustainable. The Communications Team is a great step in that direction since there is more than one volunteer’s worth of work involved in ensuring that our messages are going out on all the platforms with reasonable frequency. Spreading the load among several people makes that slightly easier. However, the number of platforms has grown, people’s attention has fragmented, and the “all-powerful” algorithms punish posts that are arbitrarily deemed “not engaging enough.” It’s become harder and harder to effectively spread our message and harder and harder to serve in this role. This is all coupled with our typical tension of power between productions and the Communications Director, making the role a trial by fire.

A little more context on this tension…when I was Executive Producer for several years, and indeed when I served as producer for individual productions, this is something that I came to understand very well. In my experience with our theatre (going on 7+ years now), the power of productions versus the power of the board has been in an uneasy flux. On the one hand, productions are the lifeblood of the theatre – no productions, no theatre. Directors of productions especially have held a lot of power over every aspect of their production even down to promotions. One of the great things about KWLT is the artistic freedom afforded directors, which isn’t the case at a lot of theatres. On the other hand, the business of the theatre has an interest in ensuring that its funds are spent appropriately, productions are making money, and the public image of the theatre is retained. The theatre needs to make sure that we’re getting the word out, but the director wants to have control over how that happens. In an ideal world, the director and their team collaborates with Communications and their team to create promotions and put them out. In volunteer management, however, we rarely encounter an ideal world. There’s a lot of work here and a lot of unclear ownership over that work that changes person-to-person, production-to-production. 

It’s no wonder that Communications Director & Producers are our hardest roles to recruit for and retain. Several years ago, I tried to solve the Producer problem via a Producer Committee. The committee worked for a while, but with the lack of new people coming onto the committee, it just turned into the group being Producers 100% of the time and led to the same burnout we were trying to avoid. 

All that said, I have been puzzling over this problem for many years with no solution in sight. If anybody has any ideas, please (please) send them my way. Similarly, if anyone would like to volunteer to help our Communications Team, please let us know!

Our lit but empty stage

October Board Meeting Summary

At our board meeting this month, we made a number of key decisions that will shape our policies and approach as we (hopefully) begin to transition into a post-pandemic world.

  • We appointed Rachel Bolton to the Board into the role of Communications Director, replacing Matt Walsh (who will still serve as Rentals Manager and Past President, and remains on the board ex-officio). I wrote an introduction to Rachel in a September edition of the Black Box Backdrop; you can read it here.
  • The board entertained the motion from the September board meeting to require vaccinations for our volunteers. 
    • Opinions of the board were unchanged from the previous month, and most of the discussion was around specificity in the language of the motion so that we could be as clear as possible. 
    • We discussed the DEI lens of this policy: specifically, the fact that certain populations (e.g. Black & Indigenous) may have more vaccine hesitancy than others due to historical abuses. 
    • I shared the results of the anonymous survey we had posted with the previous edition of the Black Box Backdrop – participation was low, however, so we knew that the responses were not necessarily representative of the opinions of our entire membership. A majority of the responses to the survey were in favour of the vaccine requirements, though there were comments that were against these requirements. 
    • After considering all these viewpoints, we did ultimately decide to require full vaccination of volunteers in order to access our spaces at 9 Princess St E and 44 Gaukel. This means that, in order to attend a rehearsal, perform in one of our shows, or attend an in-person meeting in either of these spaces in your capacity as a volunteer for us, you will need to show your Ontario vaccine certificate OR proof of exemption.
    • This requirement does NOT preclude unvaccinated people from participating in a purely virtual offering, like Telephone Madness, or virtual meetings.
    • In writing this summary, I realized that this requirement also does not preclude unvaccinated people from participating in in-person meetings that do not happen at either of our spaces (e.g. in a volunteer’s home or public space). Rules here would depend on the rules at a particular location. I would suggest that any volunteer hosting a meeting in their home be clear with the other participants with regards to expectations of vaccination status.
    • From the lens of privacy, it should be noted that we will not be keeping copies of your vaccine certificate or proof of exemption on file. For recurring things like rehearsals, we determined that our understanding of the laws indicates that we can keep a record that you “checked the box” so that these documents do not need to be checked every time, but that we will not keep a record of how you checked the box (i.e. we will record the fact that you satisfied the requirements after the first check, but we will not record whether that was by full vaccination or medical exemption). If you understand the laws differently and think that this is not compliant, please get in touch so that we can learn more and adjust our practices accordingly.
    • This motion notably does not extend to our renters. We tasked our Rentals Manager, Matt, with crafting a proposal with regard to vaccine status of renters for next meeting. This change would require alteration of the contracts that we sign with renters, so will require more time to consider.
  • Next, the board approved dates for a 2022/2023 season. The Artistic Director and her Artistic Steering Committee opted for a shorter season than we would do pre-COVID, with 4 main stage productions instead of 5. Specifically, the season opener show slot that used to audition in ~June and perform in ~September has been removed. The show slots are now:
    • Season Opener: auditions in September 2022 and shows in November 2022
    • Winter show: auditions in November 2022 and performances in January/February 2023
    • Spring show: auditions in February 2023 and performances in April/May 2023
    • Summer show: auditions in March 2023 and performances in June 2023
    • Calls for proposals for next season will occur a little later than usual due to our attempts to fill our 2021/2022 abbreviated season. You can expect the call for proposals to go out in December 2021 with a due date early 2022.
    • We are urgently in need of a production to audition in November 2021 and perform in Febraury 2022. If you have an idea for a mainstage show with fewer than 5 cast members and are able to make these dates work, please reach out to us!
  • Next, upon recommendation of the board DEI committee, the board approved a job description for a yet-to-be-recruited DEI Officer and member DEI committee. The next steps for the board DEI committee are to define and implement the recruiting process for the DEI Officer role.
  • Todd Vercoe stepped down from his role as Safety Officer. He still serves as the Building Manager and remains on the Board of Directors.
  • With all the decision points wrapped up, the board went into the discussion phase of the meeting. Here, we discussed a re-opening communications plan that was put forward by the Communications Committee, and whether or not to postpone our strategic planning meetings to accommodate more of the board members’ schedules.
  • In our standing space for discussing complaints and concerns, 3 topics were discussed:
    • Some cinderblock at 9 Princess St E is deteriorating and causing flooding/leaking problems. Todd, as building manager, committed to looking for a professional to take a look, and will report back to the board in 2 weeks. We would like advice from a professional with regards to this problem before winter sets in.
    • The Artistic Director and her Artistic Steering Committee made the hard decision to not hold space in future seasons for the productions that had been approved but unable to go on due to COVID, and this was naturally upsetting to those directors and production teams who had been hoping and preparing to bring their visions to life on stage. We welcome their re-submissions for a later season, however. For anyone wondering, here are the shows and directors that were impacted by COVID:
      • Cock, written by Mike Bartlett and directed by me, was mid-rehearsals when COVID struck
      • The Last Resort, <writer details>, and directed by Elizabeth Munz, was about to launch auditions
      • The God of Hell, written by Sam Shepard and directed by Peter Aitchison was to be the opening production in the fall of 2020 for the 2020/2021 season
      • Wyrd Sisters, written by Terry Pratchet and Stephen Briggs and directed by Liz Delahunty was to be the November production in 2020 for the 2020/2021 season
      • Falling: A Wake, written by local playwright Gary Kirkham and directed by Dani Rosenbaum, was to be the winter production in 2021 for the 2020/2021 season
      • Zastrozzi, Master of Discipline, written by George F. Walker and directed by Matt Walsh, was to be the spring show in 2021
      • Finally, Pippin, written by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson and directed by Shannon Broekhoven was to be the closing musical in 2021
      • These directors and production teams are all core members of our community and we are all very excited to see what they choose to do next with us!
    • There was some concern with regard to Todd’s resignation of Safety Officer and whether this is a role we are required to fill. However, this role is a subset of the Technical Manager’s responsibilities and not defined in our bylaws as a required officer, so when it is not filled, the responsibilities are taken care of by the Technical Manager himself.
  • The board recognized and thanked the following people for their help in getting 9 Princess St E ready for renters over the past few weeks: Nadia Ursacki, Amelia Ursacki, Wes Campaigne, and Michael L. Davenport. The Board also thanked Matt Walsh for stepping in to help with some organizational tasks for The Devil’s Disciple while the stage manager was busy.
  • The board discussed the poor quality of internet at 9 Princess St E. A couple board members volunteered to look into the problems.
  • The board reviewed the results of a survey put out by our Workshop Officer. There were few responses to the survey, but the board anecdotally agreed with the results. Overall, it seemed that people preferred workshops about acting first and technical topics second, and Tim is planning to put together a schedule to reflect this. Any requests can be submitted to him at

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at, or submit your feedback anonymously here. If you would like to attend a future board meeting (our next one is on November 22 at 7:30pm), please contact

volunteers stand in the theatre

Re-Opening Considerations

Get excited: we’re starting to think about re-opening. In this brief update, I discuss a re-opening event, cleaning up the theatre to be presentable to the public, and vaccine requirements. We want our re-opening to be exciting and safe for both our volunteers and our audiences.

One thing I’ve started working on is putting together a committee to plan some sort of event to celebrate our “re-opening” out of COVID. At the last board meeting, we approved a season schedule that has a production (yet to be selected) having auditions near the end of November, so our event would likely happen sometime around there. My ideas around this so far have it as a primarily-virtual event streamed from the theatre with presentations from the Board regarding what we have in the works and what we think the year will look like. If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see, shoot me an email!

The Board has been working to prepare our space for the first shows in our space by a rental since the start of the pandemic! Between rebuilding our booth and being mostly unused for over a year, there was a lot to put back together and make presentable to audiences. Typically, the theatre goes through a big clean when each mainstage production does a strike, and we’ve definitely been missing that. Thanks to our volunteers who came out to lend a hand!

One hot ticket item that we haven’t yet resolved from the last meeting (as I mentioned in my last post) is the question of requiring vaccines for our volunteers. The board is going to be resolving this motion at our meeting on October 25th, and input from the membership would be welcome and helpful for us in making this decision. Please feel free to email me at, or, if you prefer, submit your feedback anonymously here.

September Board Meeting Summary

Our September board meeting was pretty average. We were happy to welcome a few guests to join our discussions; if you are interested in joining us for a future meeting, please reach out to our secretary, Monica! We meet on the 4th Monday of every month.

  • Our Webmaster, Chris, discussed introducing mandatory 2-factor authentication for KWLT email accounts who are superadmins of the Google Workspace, and tightening password requirements for all KWLT accounts. This will increase our security.
  • The Board ratified a change made to the COVID-19 Safety Plan, which added the requirement for patrons to be fully vaccinated, as per new provincial requirements
  • The Board appointed Ahrar Monsur to the role of Carpentry Manager, and plans to ask him to evaluate our shed as his first task, since it is starting to show wear.
  • The Board appointed Emily Crawford, Rachel Hammermueller, and Natasha Jackson as Communications Officers. This new Communications team will be working on reimagining the strategy of the Communications office going forward and splitting the various communications tasks among themselves.
  • The Board approved the plan for the Garage Sale happening on October 3, and recommended to the team running it that they do a simple screening of people coming by to purchase items rather than requiring full vaccinations (full vaccinations are only required for patrons who come to see shows in our space, not for walking through for a few minutes to buy something).
  • The Board approved dates for a 2021/2022 season. In addition to our shows already planned (The Devil’s Disciple; Telephone Madness; March Madness; and Our Home, Our Stories), there will be 2 mainstage productions. The particular shows will be selected by a combination of the Board Re-Opening Committee and the Artistic Steering Committee. Barring COVID shutdowns & restrictions, here are the dates:
    • The Devil’s Disciple Audio Play (online only): November 11 – 28
    • Telephone Madness (online only): October 15 – December 4
    • KWLT Main Stage #1: February 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 (auditions November 22-26)
    • March Madness: February 25 – March 5
    • Our Home, Our Stories: 3 weekends in April 7 – May 22, TBD
    • KWLT Main Stage #2: June 9-11, 16-18, 23-25 (auditions March 28 – April 1)
  • The Board had a lengthy discussion regarding whether to make vaccinations mandatory for volunteers participating in in-person events at either of our spaces. The board is in favour of vaccine requirements, but would prefer to wait to make a mandate until the provincial vaccine passport app is available. The Board resolved not to introduce the mandate now, but will decide the motion at the October board meeting.
  • After the Finance Director presented a question regarding our contract with our Bookkeeper, the question was raised as to whether the Finance Director has the power to enact contracts by herself as per our bylaws. To cover our bases, we quickly passed a motion to empower the Finance Director to execute contracts with bookkeepers. This question came up because Board members individually don’t have much power except what is spelled out specifically in the bylaws. Most power is reserved for the Board as a whole, which takes action and makes decisions via motions at official meetings of the Board. Especially when it comes to taking care of day-to-day business needs, it is more convenient for the board to simply empower a role to take action by themself.
  • The Board met our potential future Communications Director, Rachel, whom I introduced in the last instalment of the Black Box Backdrop. The next step is for President (me) and the current Communications Director (Matt) to meet with Rachel to discuss expectations and onboarding, and if that goes well, we will aim to appoint Rachel in October.
  • A high school student looking for a co-op position reached out to the theatre, but after a brief discussion the Board decided that KWLT is not prepared to manage a co-op student.
  • An idea was shared to increase our reach to non-English communities by asking our membership to translate messages of welcome to share. This idea will be considered by the Board DEI committee.
  • We learned that the new Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act is finally coming into effect this year, with a 3-year grace period for organizations to make any required changes. I will be looking more closely at this Act and determine what changes we will need to make.
  • The Board discussed how many of our officers would like to survey our membership to learn more about their desires (e.g. in terms of what workshops to put on, what actions to take to improve diversity, etc.). I’ll be working to consolidate these and find ways to get answers to questions that are not constant Google forms for you all to fill out!

Active Committees

Show Control Committee

  • The new booth is nearly complete, they are just waiting for the new equipment to be delivered (it has been delayed significantly due to the usual COVID supply chain problems)
  • They are ready for the October 3rd garage sale

Lobby Renewal Committee

  • No update

COVID Safety Documentation/Policy Committee

  • Updated the covid policy to include information about vaccinations.

Communications Committee

  • The Board-level committee is being disbanded in favour of the new Communications team which will report to the board through the Communications Director.

Artistic Steering Committee

  • Applications are being taken until September 30th so an update will be sent by email once members have been selected.
  • A place will be held for KWLT DEI representation.
  • A 3 part workshop will be held over the course of October to help create an internal Vision Statement that the committee will use to shape activities moving forward.

Re-Opening Plan Committee

  • First meeting will be scheduled in October.

DEI Committee

  • No progress has been made at this time.
Our lit but empty stage

New Communications Director

I have some very exciting news to share with you all today – at our September 27th board meeting, we have a motion on the agenda to appoint a new board member into our Communications role! Rachel Bolton is new to our community, so I wanted to give everybody a brief introduction and give you a chance to send along any questions you have for her. Here is a brief write-up she shared with me:

“Volunteering to make a difference in my local community is important to me. Most of my volunteer time pre-covid was education-related – as the Chair of the King Edward parent council and with the WRDSB on their roundtable on equity and inclusion centred around poverty. Prior to that, I served on the Board for the Brant Historical Society. I’m looking forward to putting my skills to use at Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre to connect with our local community as we re-emerge in this (almost) post-Covid time to rediscover live theatre and the joy of being together to share in the arts.

“My primary skill set is in organizational development, meeting facilitation, and strategic planning with a holistic and inclusive approach. I also have a diploma in Writing and Producing for Television through SAIT’s Cinema, Television, Stage, and Radio program and 5 years of experience in the industry. Through this experience, my work as a consultant in other organizations, and being successfully self-employed since 2005, I have a strong background and experience in meeting the priorities of the Communications portfolio.”

Rachel has already begun heading up our new Communications committee, and I’m really excited for the vision and expertise she brings to rallying teams to get work done. She also has experience in driving diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, which is something that will be invaluable for us this year as we undertake our own work in that area.

For anyone wondering how Director appointments work when someone is not elected at our AGM, our bylaws allow for the Board to fill vacancies by majority vote as long as we still have a quorum (50%+1) of member-elected directors. Directors appointed by the board only serve until the next AGM, at which point they must be re-elected by the membership should they want to continue. There is some precedent for this – this was actually how I first joined the board of directors way back in 2015!

I encourage you to send along any questions you have for our (potential) new board member to me ( All members are also welcome to attend board meetings – if you would like to meet Rachel (digitally, as we are still not meeting in-person), please email, and Monica will send you an invite. Our board meeting is on Monday, September 27th, beginning at 7:30pm.

Exterior of KWLT Theatre

Black Box Backdrop: Double the Meetings, Double the Fun

Well, we had our August board meeting and boy was it a doozy! We ended up splitting the meeting into two parts over two days so that we had time to discuss everything. Here’s what happened:

  • We appointed a slate of non-board officers! You can see the full list on the Board & Officers page on the website.
  • We decided to buy ad space in the Rainbow Spaces Directory, a new quarterly publication by Spectrum.
  • We decided to allow our upcoming radio play, The Devil’s Disciple, to rehearse in-person in our theatre space or Gaukel rehearsal space, providing COVID restrictions are followed.
  • We had a lengthy discussion about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the actions we would like to take as a board. 
    • Several board members presented ideas on different initiatives we could undertake (e.g. workshops, creating a DEI committee or officer role), though the board did not decide to undertake any specific activities yet. We decided to task a sub-committee of the board to create more specific plans and bring them back for approval.
    • The board made a commitment to taking action to foster greater diversity (including, but not limited to, race, age, gender identity/expression, ability, and social identity) in our volunteer base, membership, and audiences. 
  • A motion was presented: “The Board of Directors at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre and KWLT as a whole, affirms that we value: Freedom of thought; freedom of conscience; freedom of expression; and the rights of the minority view”
    • The board discussed this motion in closed session (i.e. the minutes are not available for non-board members).
    • The board decided to postpone this motion indefinitely (i.e. the board did not vote for or against the motion).
  • We approved a COVID safety plan and several screening forms for our spaces. We’re working on cleaning up the document and it will be available to read soon. Our plan was based on templates provided by the Region of Waterloo. Some key points in the safety plan:
    • The Box Office Manager (currently Nadia Ursacki) has been charged with most of the administration duties (e.g. keeping track of the screening forms).
    • Volunteers  working in our space must fill out the screening form on each visit. Renters must screen and provide visitor logs to the KWLT Rentals Manager. Guests/audience members will be prompted with the screening questions by an usher and will be required to provide information for contact tracing.
    • Any productions, KWLT or renter, must attempt to limit congregation at all times. For this purpose, our concessions booth will remain closed. (Shows are still allowed to have intermissions, but they must manage intermission so as to limit congregation of guests.)
    • Performers must be 2m from audience members at all times.
    • Masks will be required for audience members and volunteers during productions, except for on-stage performers, who may be maskless while they perform.
    • Everyone in the building must wear a mask/face covering at all times on the premises, except for break times while eating or drinking or when physically distanced from others (on consent of all present).
  • We also empowered the COVID committee to make adjustments to the plan as warranted, with changes to be ratified at the next board meeting. This will allow us to be flexible as regulations change.
  • We discussed an action arising from a Risk Assessment Survey that our insurance providers conducted – our electrical panel had some open slots that were not properly covered with filler plates. This was completed by Matt Walsh and our insurance provider was satisfied.
  • We discussed a grant available from the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation. We decided to apply for it to cover costs for marketing for our (eventual) re-opening extravaganza.
  • A community member reached out to suggest that the theatre was ideally located to participate in the 519 Community Collective Pantry project. Nobody had reached out to the project yet, but our understanding was that we would basically allow the project to build and maintain a community pantry on our property. We decided that we’d like to participate, and Matt Walsh volunteered to reach out to the project and manage that.
    • Additionally, we had the idea of putting up a “Free Little Library” with some of our plays that live on shelves in the lobby. We decided to bring this idea to our 2 new Librarian officers to discuss.
  • Capacity Canada, a local charity focused on supporting non-profit organizations and boards, is currently offering online courses in board governance. A number of board members were potentially interested in the training, and our Vice President (Lenore Brooks) agreed to look around to see if any grants would be available that could cover the costs of this training.
  • There were a number of shout-outs:
    • To Matt from Nicole for handling the Risk Assessment Survey and the resulting action
    • To Carolyn from Nicole for handling some paperwork from our bank while Nicole was away
    • To the board from Carolyn for taking the time to meet with her 1:1
    • To the Show Control Committee from Matt for their hard work on the booth
    • To Katrina Howald from Matt for helping with some clean-up efforts in the theatre
  • We booked our next meeting for September 27th, and picked the 4th Mondays of months as a recurring date.
  • Our Artistic Director, Colleen Daley, is starting to put together plans for our next season. 
    • She’s roughly planning to start staging productions in early 2022. She intends to bring a planned schedule to the September board meeting. 
    • She is also planning to form an Artistic Steering committee with volunteers from the membership to share the job of soliciting and choosing applications for the future. Her intention here is to make the AD role less work for a single person, and also give people an idea of what the role is like without having to commit fully to it. Members will work with the Artistic Director to define and identify opportunities that align with the theater’s artistic vision, as well as soliciting and selecting productions for the upcoming and future seasons. If you are interested in joining this committee, please email Colleen at
    • A small board committee was formed to start re-opening plans.

Active Committees

Here’s the status of our currently active committees. If you are interested in joining/starting a committee or would like to provide input, please email

Show Control Committee

Most of the construction is complete; they are just waiting for some orders to arrive so tech can be installed. WIth these changes, our storage space is reduced, so they’re considering doing a yard sale of some sort to help get rid of some of our extra stuff.

Lobby Renewal Committee

No new updates from the Lobby Renewal Committee.

Communications Role Committee

A handful of volunteers reached out to express interest in helping with some of Communications. These people plus the board members who formed the original committee will be meeting on August 31st to meet each other and start talking about how the workload can be shared.

COVID Safety Policy Committee

The committee presented the COVID safety plan to the board, which was approved. Their next task is to ensure that we are in compliance with what we said we’d do (e.g. adding screening signage). We also asked that they create some FAQ or similarly easy-to-ready documents for volunteers, since the plan itself is fairly dense.

Board DEI Committee (short-term)

This is a brand new committee. The intention of this committee is to be short-term and simply create a plan to be approved by the board. In particular, this committee was tasked with forming goals around diversity and starting to survey our membership to understand what our demographics actually are right now, since we do not have this information easily accessible. This committee is also tasked with defining how the membership will be involved in the plan and conversations.

Board Re-Opening Committee

This is a brand new committee. The intention of this committee is to start creating plans for re-opening. This committee is a little nebulous in mandate at the moment, but once there is a clearer picture of the goals of the committee, I’ll share that.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at If you are interested in attending a board meeting (next one is September 27th), you can always reach out to to get an invite!