Do you know how many volunteers it takes to help run Bard? Guess? Last season alone, 235 theatre-loving people shared their summer with us to help check tickets, serve coffee, usher, and jump in to help with any number of other tasks. These generous and talented people help create and sustain a community environment at our site that is welcoming to every single person walking through our gates. We simply could and would not exist without them.

Meanwhile, back at the office, five lovely ladies give us their time and energy, guarding our reception desk in the afternoons, fielding the numerous calls and questions we get every day and keeping us in line! This is who they are, and here is why they are awesome…Arlene

How long have you volunteered for Bard?

Arlene Jackson: 4 years
Audrey Zaharichuk: 24 years
Gillian Walker: 11 years
Joan Ouellette: 10 years
Marg Acton: 19 years

What is your first and/or favourite memory of Bard?

Arlene: My favourite memory is of Bob Frazer in Richard III in 2011; in particular – his spider walk across the stage. Also, waaaay back in 2000, when I saw The Tempest here at Bard and then travelled to London where I saw Vanessa Redgrave as Prospero at The Globe Theatre. The Bard production was every bit as good – (well, other than Vanessa).

AudreyAudrey: In my first year at Bard they needed help in the boutique. There were a couple of tables, with just t-shirts and sweatshirts for sale, and on another table we had the concession with some coffee and tea – that was it! The next year I worked in the Box Office – I think tickets were about $8 then. We had ‘day of’ tickets and ‘advance tickets’ all in slots ready to hand out and it was cash only.

Gillian: My first memory was being very impressed by Dean Paul Gibson’s production of Pericles in 2003 and realizing that quality Shakespeare was being offered at Bard (I was working in Ottawa at the time and only back in Vancouver occasionally). My favourite memory was again with a Dean Paul Gibson production – A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2006. A fairy would bolt out from the stage-left doorway, followed a moment later by a bare-chested Oberon hitching his satin robe over his shoulder. The ushers were all weak at the knees every performance – it was quite the summer!

Joan: I have many favourite memories, and one was the pleasure of taking my 11 year old granddaughter to see The Tempest, starring Jennifer Lines. She sat there watching, completely enthralled.Gillian

Marg: The congeniality of everyone from day one!

25 years ago Christopher embarked on his dream of starting a Shakespeare festival. What were your dreams 25 years ago and what are they now?

Arlene: I was just returning to university and loving it – it was my challenge and my hobby as I worked. I wanted a degree and to walk with cap and gown. It took me 12 years (while employed) but I did it!

Audrey: To travel and to continue to travel!

Gillian: I was starting a major administrative job that really challenged me. Now I am glad to dream of writing and also working with Bard and other theatre groups.

Joan: My dreams were to travel, be healthy, and success for our children. These dreams are unchanged.

Marg: To widen my horizons with travel, which I’ve done and hope to continue.

JoanIf you could be a Shakespearean character who would you be and why?

Arlene: Lady Macbeth. Well, either her or one of the weird sisters because I can picture myself wringing my hands, being really evil and prophesising doom and destruction. I like all the rather emotive roles – calling down the spirits.

Audrey: I would be Kate (The Taming of the Shrew) but only if Bob Frazer was playing Petruchio!

Gillian: Too many to choose from – perhaps the chorus in Henry V. Such beautiful lines to speak but not too much action!

Joan: I think Portia (The Merchant of Venice) is an interesting character as she was strong and ahead of her time!


Our volunteers are an amazing group of unique individuals. If you’re interested in joining them as a volunteer this season – or know someone else who is – click here to find out how. And thanks for keeping us in line ladies!