Fund Raising


Opportunities for Supporting the Chester Playhouse

As with most not-for-profit-organizations, fund-raising is an important part of that organization’s existence. So it is with the Chester Playhouse. The Board of the Chester Theatre Council has spent considerable time and thought trying to make gifts to the theatre donor friendly and better suited to the on-going needs of the Playhouse. The following is a brief outline of various ways gifts can be made.

Spring Membership

$25 single, $35 family. The membership year is April 1 – March 31. This membership is a means of keeping you apprised of events and special functions through mailed out newsletters, e-mails and phone calls. Special discount ticket offers are available to members only. One of the more popular perks of membership has become the member’s only nights during the “dark season”.


Donations of $150 or more grant automatic membership as well as a donation to the operations of the Playhouse. This fund-raising is concentrated at the beginning of our season in the early spring. The timing was chosen as cash flow is always tight at this time of year and the Membership/Donor has helped with a very real problem in a seasonal venue.

The Gala

An annual event looked forward to by many as a celebration of summer in Chester, the time to renew old friendships and forge new ones, and to discuss the Summer Festival at the Playhouse. We have been very fortunate in the donation of private homes for the venues of the Gala. This adds to the intimacy and sense of occasion for these events. We are very grateful to these home-owners.

Fall Campaign

This is our major fund-raiser for the year and is held in the Fall for two reasons. At that time of year we have a solid understanding of the successes and failures in our Spring presentations and our Summer Festival and the Fall season can sometimes be tailored differently. As all our patrons know ticket sales never carry the costs of operation and it is at this time of year we ask our friends and donors to consider, and give, additional support to the Playhouse.

Poinsettia Sale

This is carried out at the end of November and is often the event which pushes our operations over the line from red to black at the end of our fiscal year.

Gifts in Kind

Are a means of giving to the Playhouse objects of an artistic, operational or capital nature, that can be used by the Playhouse, and have a recognized value attached. A charitable donation receipt is issued for the appraised value of the gift.

Planned Giving

At present we receive In Memorial gifts as well as bequests from wills and estates. We will be more actively involved in various types of planned giving in the near future.

The Sir Christopher Ondaatje Theatre Endowment Fund

The Sir Christopher Ondaatje Theatre Foundation was registered in 2009 for the purpose of establishing a permanent endowment for the Chester Playhouse. Charitable Tax Receipts are issued for all Canadian donations; residents of the United States contributing $1000 or more are also issued a tax receipt.

While the Chester Playhouse conducts an annual giving campaign each Fall to support current expenses, the Foundation accepts contributions at any time which will be invested in perpetuity, the proceeds of which are given annually to the Playhouse. Contributions to the Foundation may be in cash, wills, life insurance policies , stocks and bonds, and any other long term financial arrangement; we also welcome suggestions in obituary notices that ‘in lieu of flowers’ gifts be directed to the Ondaatje Theatre Foundation.

With current assets of $282,000, the Ondaatje Theatre Foundation hopes to realize assets in excess of one million dollars in the next five years.

Contributions can be directed to The Sir Christopher Ondaatje Theatre Foundation, c/o Ross Norman, Treasurer, 22 Pleasant Street, Chester, N.S., Canada, B0J1J0. Questions can be directed to John Cowans, 902-273-2217, email:

Thank you for your on-going support of the Chester Playhouse.

Seat Sales

2012-Seat-Sale-RecognitionAn ongoing means of raising funds. Gifts of $250, $500 and $1000 are recognized with brass plaques that are attached to the arm-rests in the Playhouse auditorium. Each plaque has a small inscription of the donor’s choice. We hope you read these if you’re sitting in a funded seat as many have fun and endearing comments and messages. We also have a site map in the Lobby of seat plaques that have been purchased.