Volunteers Contribute Time, Talent, and Energy to the Fredericton Playhouse
As a non-profit organization, the Fredericton Playhouse relies on a group of dedicated volunteers who make it possible for us to deliver performing arts programs to our community.
Anyone who has attended a Playhouse performance has interacted with our volunteers. They are the people who greet you when you enter, check your coat, take your ticket and guide you to your seat. With more than 4,500 hours contributed each year, volunteers play a huge role in enhancing our patrons’ experience throughout their visit to the Playhouse.
Our volunteers are trained regularly on our emergency procedures, and play an integral part in the event of a power outage or evacuation. They also sometimes help out in different capacities, pouring wine, stuffing envelopes and assisting staff at off-site events.
We currently have a team of more than 70 volunteers and we’re always working to develop and expand this program by engaging in active recruitment throughout the year. We place a very high value on these community-minded individuals, who are committed to our mission of providing enriching live performance experiences.
We place an emphasis on diversity in our volunteer recruitment, and have added a number of younger volunteers and people of varied cultural backgrounds to our team over the years. We’re proud that 27 per cent of our volunteers are bilingual, allowing us to provide an even higher level of service to our patrons.
In addition to our core group of volunteers, we rely on volunteers to support our organization in other ways – for example, our volunteer board of directors. Our 16 board members play a crucial role in directing the development of Fredericton Playhouse, and in helping us to define and carry out our strategic goals through policy development, governance, and oversight.
We certainly benefit from the efforts of our volunteers, but we like to think our volunteers are positively affected as well. Numerous studies and reports show the benefits of volunteering, both for individuals and for the community.
A 2010 Statistics Canada study titled Volunteering in Canada found that the vast majority of Canadians who volunteer do so because they want to support their community. The study also found that about two-thirds of volunteers benefit from improved interpersonal skills.
Other studies have shown volunteering may have health benefits – a 2007 study by the US-based Corporation for National and Community Service titled The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, found a strong connection between volunteering and health. The study showed that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.
Volunteering encourages a sense of investment in the community and is a great way for individuals to contribute and make a difference by getting involved in a cause they care about. It’s also a way to meet new people, and acts as a social outlet – those who volunteer regularly form friendships and develop a sense of teamwork with their fellow volunteers. And at the Playhouse, there’s the added bonus of greater access to incredible live performances for our volunteers!
We’re lucky to live in such a generous community, with no shortage of people willing to give their time for a cause they believe in. Many of our local performing arts organizations here in Fredericton are volunteer-based, from the Charlotte Street Arts Centre to the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, just to name a couple. Like the Playhouse, these groups are able to continue to thrive thanks to dedicated volunteers.
Volunteers are an essential component of our operations at the Playhouse, and their time and dedication plays a huge role in creating a vibrant arts scene here in Fredericton.
Tim Yerxa is the Executive Director of the Fredericton Playhouse.