It is without a doubt that The Burlington Performing Arts Centre would not be the success it is today without our outstanding volunteers. These individuals not only provide us with their time, but also with their wonderful personalities and passion for the arts. We are incredibly grateful and proud to have over 130 active volunteers. That being said, we thought it would be a great idea to ask one of our volunteers to write a post for Brenda’s Blog and share their experience. Penny Heneke has been volunteering with us since the building was constructed; and lucky for us she continues to volunteer to this day. I am happy to introduce Penny as our Guest Blogger for November and hope you will enjoy her writing as much as we do.
The Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Enthusiastic about Burlington acquiring its own Performing Arts Centre from the start, I eagerly watched the construction of the building. I answered the call and joined the first group of volunteers. I could not imagine a more pleasant environment within which to volunteer.
Our orientation and training was conducted while the building was going through the final stages of construction. We toured the premises, exploring backstage, stepping on stage and checking out the main theatre and the community theatre familiarizing ourselves with the many features of The Centre.
Dressed in our smart new uniforms those of us present for the season launch featuring Royal Wood waited anxiously at our posts as greeters, coat check attendants, ticket collectors and ushers for the doors to open on the first official show.
Being a part of all the early teething problems the volunteers felt part of the team. We were full of suggestions such as an improvement to the washroom signage after redirecting numerous misguided gentlemen from the ladies’ to the gents’ washrooms.
I was ecstatic to be present at the Red Carpet Evening marking the official opening of The Burlington Performing Arts Centre on December 3, 2011 with special guest Sarah McLachlan. From my position as greeter on the bridge I had a bird’s eye view of the glitz and glamour below where patrons bedecked in evening wear gathered in the lobby waiting for the doors to the theatre to open.
Witnessing samples of the creativity of such a variety of performers over the first season was an enriching and magical experience. As an usher in the theatre, I am constantly moved when the audience reacts to outstanding performances with resounding applause and a standing ovation. It brings a lump to my throat each time. As a volunteer, I also take great pride when patrons praise The Burlington Performing Arts facility.
Another aspect that enhances my volunteer experience is the camaraderie among my fellow volunteers. In addition we are all treated with respect, consideration and appreciation by the amazing staff and theatregoers alike.
When we returned after the summer hiatus for the beginning of the 2012/2013 season, I heard my own feelings echoing around me as everyone professed the same sentiment: how good it was to be back and how much we had all missed volunteering at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre.
By: Penny Heneke