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The Stratford Arts and Culture Collective has been hard at work over the past several months, working toward the goal of a well-equipped, affordable performing arts facility in the heart of Stratford to serve the local population. This long-overdue newsletter will help get you back up to speed on the project.

Introducing the New SACC Board of Directors

Since October 2016, the SACC has functioned as a loosely structured group of volunteers across arts disciplines, headed by a Steering Committee. Now that Copperlight has been launched, the time has come for SACC to strengthen its governance and decision-making. The organization will soon have charitable status as well. In October, the Steering Committee, stepped aside to welcome a new board of Directors, with a wealth of experience and enthusiasm.

On October 22, the new Board of Directors met for a full day or orientation and development under the leadership of Lori Thomas and Paul Eck, of Mississauga, who were selected because of the depth and breadth of their arts leadership. The Board covered many topics, spending substantial time matching the project’s goals to the expertise on the board. Lori and Paul will continue to provide ongoing consultation and advice to the SACC board in the coming months.

Project Update

The BMI Group, SACC and the Knox congregation are now physically present in the building. BMI is focused on many of the upgrades required to secure the building’s long-term health. Infrastructure fixes (eg plumbing, electricity, internet, security) are underway and the church has had a deep cleaning. Knox congregation members have worked hard to sort through their many belongings so that important artifacts are preserved. Both Knox and SACC are currently negotiating the details of lease agreements with BMI that spell out their access to and use of specific parts of the building. (Spoiler Alert – new seating for the Auditorium (formerly the Sanctuary) has been ordered. Pews are still in place for now.) The SACC also has an office space at Copperlight for its board meetings, and other purposes. Do you or your organization need a space for a meeting, reading, workshop, class or other community or arts-related purpose? Our office is available to rent to SACC support organizations and individuals at reasonable rates. Contact

Grateful! Grateful!

Over the last six months, and in anticipation of the Copperlight agreement, the SACC Steering Committee has been busy applying for government funding of various sorts, with success. success.

Recently, SACC announced receipt of a non-repayable contribution of $90,000 from RTO4 (the regional tourism authority of the Province of Ontario) to further its vision for a flexible, accessible, affordable performing arts space in the city core. This is part of an overall Government of Canada investment of over $78 million, which includes an almost $10-million top up to FedDev Ontario’s original $68.5-million contribution for 11 Regional Tourism Offices and Indigenous Tourism Ontario. Specifically, these funds will be used to technical equipment, auditorium seating and a variety of consulting and design services.

The SACC is also grateful for the funding support received from the City of Stratford, the Stratford Perth Community Foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and a donation from the Retired Teachers of Ontario. This support will give the SACC the resources necessary to consult, plan, design and build the performance space within Knox Presbyterian Church.

Fundraising Events

As the project has unfolded, financial support through fundraising has helped the SACC move the project forward in many ways. On one level, money is needed to organize and stay organized, including website, insurance, office expenses and other items. On a higher level, funds are needed to give the SACC “skin in the game”, as we forecast long-term needs, work with all three levels of government, vendors and others who can help us. Lastly, fundraising events help generate public profile, which generates enthusiasm and support. Successful fundraisers enable the SACC to purchase consultant time, equipment and furnishings. It’s a long and slow process, with the surplus from every fundraiser returned to the project for further development.

HYPROV- January 19, 2023


Hypnosis and Improvisation: two art forms that have mystified and entertained fans, skeptics and everyone in between for decades worldwide, come together as two masters of their crafts unite for a totally unique comedy experience, HYPROV: Improv Under Hypnosis.

How it works: twenty random volunteers from the audience will be put under hypnosis by Hypnotist Legend Asad Mecci (the process of which is a show in its own right), their inhibitions evaporated and their minds no longer their own. The contestants are methodically and hysterically whittled down until the five best are left on stage. Enter Colin Mochrie, one of the world’s leading improvisers and comedy icon! Colin takes the stage to improvise with the top five while they are still under hypnosis, turning the show into an improv extravaganza.

2022 Matters: Stratford Mayoral Debate

On October 12th, the three mayoral candidates met at Copperlight to debate each other and share their vision for the future of Stratford. The event was co-hosted by the SACC and the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) which questioned the candidates on support for arts and culture, the municipal arts and culture plan, climate change and housing. All of these issues require significant leadership as Stratford grows and evolves.

A Sign of Progress The scaffolding in front of Copperlight was the first and most significant sign that things are changing. At present, the double layer of plexiglass and storm glass have been removed. Repairing and replacing portions of the cement frame are proceeding. For information please click HERE.


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