Spotlight on Supporters: Lynne Bain & Robert Moyes

Photo – Belfry Supporters Lynne Bain & Robert Moyes at Il Terrazzo Restaurant

This Victoria-born and -raised cultural power couple has been there from day one, attending our first production, Puttin’ on the Ritz, in 1976. Lynne and Robert met through Monday Magazine, where Lynne was an advertising representative and Robert a writer, both on the arts beat. As Monday became a very early and longtime sponsor of the theatre, Lynne and Robert quickly found themselves enjoying opening night outings. Over the years, they have delighted in seeing the theatre dramatically evolve, from its extensive lobby and building renovations, to adding a trap door beneath the stage and, later, introducing a revolving stage. They have also followed the tenure of all the Belfry’s talented artistic directors.

Given this impressive history, when asked about some of their favourite Belfry memories, it’s not surprising they produce a list of past productions longer than anyone else I’ve interviewed yet. The Harold Arlen musical revue Come Rain or Come Shine that was conceived by Don Shipley and starred Louis Rose is on the list, as well as the popular Wingfield series with Rod Beatty, and the spirited Two Pianos Four Hands.

They recall sitting at home one November evening wondering if they were really in the mood for going out to see yet another production of A Christmas Carol. But they were sure glad they roused themselves when Michael Shamata’s inspired, and lavish adaptation turned out to be “astonishingly brilliant” (and have since returned to enjoy all the subsequent Christmas Carol productions). God of Carnage and the infamous vomit machine that former Belfry Technical Director Greg Smith pioneered, also stands out as a memorable experience.

In about 2010 Robert received a phone call from former (now Honorary) Board member Sherri Bird, encouraging him to become the wine writer for what was to become the Belfry’s annual Crush fine wine auction fundraiser. For well over a decade now, Robert has good-naturedly toiled as a highly-skilled volunteer for the theatre. He loves learning new things about wine and finds a creative outlet in playfully writing about suave Bordeaux and broad-shouldered California Cabernets to help raise those much-needed funds each season. (Watch for a variation on the auction available for online bidding November 13-19: Crush ‘n Stuff)

They have also enjoyed socializing at our special events and fundraisers. Sherri Bird’s name comes up again as Robert recalls watching Nicola Cavendish perform Shirley Valentine in Sherri’s kitchen as well as on a large rock on property grounds, which stood in for Greece. Without any rehearsal time, Nicola not surprisingly “went dry” and had to call for one of her lines mid-soliloquy; the forgotten line was then heard emanating from behind a closet door in Sherri’s kitchen, where a hidden volunteer had been seated with the script, flashlight in hand. This story is actually almost a good metaphor for what Robert was cast to do for the theatre: although not in the limelight, he is a silent partner who certainly helps make our fundraising work both possible and professional.

Lynne’s parents Jean and Archie Bain were huge contributors to the arts in Victoria, and her father was very active performing in community theatre. Lynne, who started out in a business sponsor relationship with the Belfry, let us know a few years ago that she was a Belfry Legacy member, as she had already made arrangements to include the Belfry in her estate plans. “The Belfry has been very good to me and is a great cultural institution,” she says. “This theatre has been a huge part of my life for 40-plus years, and I have always believed that giving back is very important.” Lynne was obviously influenced by her late parents. Even though Jean was a full-time social worker and Archie pioneered the cultivation of exotic plants in Victoria, they both made time to centre the arts very much in the lives of their family.

Robert and Lynne remind us that the arts are what civilized society offers to make life meaningful. They speak for all of us when they point out that in the big picture, “Life without the arts is unimaginable.”

When the Belfry turns 50 years old (!) in the 2025/26 season, it’s supporters like Lynne and Robert who are ideally positioned to really celebrate the fullness of experiencing a half-century of theatre in Victoria with us! Wait a minute, does this mean they too have a personal 50th anniversary to look forward to soon? Something else to ask them at the theatre…

Susan Stevenson, Director of Development. To find out about legacy giving or other ways to support the Belfry, contact 250-385-6835 ext. 229.


WILL POWER – Joan Peggs


Belfry Board member Joan Peggs has enjoyed a long relationship with the Belfry Theatre, stretching back to 1976 when the theatre was founded, and she first started as a volunteer.

Joan started in the concession booth, which at the time was in the actual theatre space, at the back of the seating area, where she could watch the performance from right behind the counter. Joan loved the theatre and the social aspects of volunteering and has been a mainstay of the Belfry community ever since.

“It’s brought me a lot of enjoyment and pleasure,” says Joan. “The Belfry has a great presence in Victoria. It started locally and has worked really hard to establish a place for itself in the community and a great reputation across the country.”

As someone who has been coming to the theatre for nearly five decades, Joan is an eager champion for the cause. Along with her volunteer and Board duties, Joan believes in encouraging people to support the Belfry in whatever way they can, including volunteering and financial support.

“I think it’s important to support organizations like this, especially in the arts community, because they’re vital to our community,” says Joan. “Life is all about trying to help people and make the world better for people, that’s how I see it

In addition to her volunteer work, Joan makes a substantial annual donation and made a major multi-year pledge to the Belfry’s capital campaign to renovate the lobby in 2017. In honour of this generosity, the Front of House area is named for Joan.

Joan has also taken the step to include the Belfry in her Will, along with other charitable organizations, a decision she is grateful to be in the position to make. The gift in her Will isn’t huge, says Joan, but builds on what she’s currently donating while she’s still able to see it put to good use. She knows that it all counts and that each gift makes a difference.

“You have to decide for yourself what values you have in life, what is of importance to you, what brings you joy,” says Joan. “You hope those things will bring joy to other people and you can help that happen by leaving a gift in your Will. You can enable that organization to carry on.”

More and more Canadians like Joan are making the decision to leave gifts for their favourite charities in their Will. The Belfry is proud to be part of a national campaign called Will Power. The campaign is inspiring Canadians to think differently about giving and consider a gift to charity in their will, along with making provisions for loved ones left behind.

To learn more about Will Power and how you can leave a gift in your Will, visit the Belfry’s Will Power webpage at:


Belfry Librarian – Vigil

The wonderful librarians at the Greater Victoria Public Library have compiled a list of books and videos to help you get even more out of our production of Vigil.

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good
by Helene Tursten (2018)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman (2017)

Friendship in the Age of Loneliness: An Optimist’s Guide to Connection by Adam Smiley Poswolsky (2021)

In Absentia by Morris Panych (2012)

Loneliness as a Way of Life by Thomas Dumm (2008)

The Accidental Caregiver: The Challenges and Triumphs of Family Caregiving by Kimberly Fraser (2022)

The Dishwashers by Morris Panych (2005)

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old by Hendrik Groen (2017)

Lawrence & Holloman [DVD video] (2013)

Our thanks to


Why I Chose This Play – Vigil

I love Morris Panych’s writing. He has what is probably the most idiosyncratic voice in Canadian theatre. Morris writes plays that put his unique view of the world on stage. To know Morris—a misanthrope with a heart of gold—is to know and appreciate the source of his theatrical creations.

Vigil—the most widely produced of Morris’s plays—began life here at the Belfry, and I felt it was time to revive and celebrate it. It’s 27 years later, and Vigil has new reverberations. Though there’s not a cell phone or computer in this world that Morris has drawn, one could easily believe that he’s examining the isolation they have created, and the lack of—and need for—genuine human contact.

And, frankly, it was simply time to invite Morris back—the most produced playwright on our stage—together with Ken MacDonald, recreating his iconic set from that very first production. They are both superstars of Canadian theatre and, in many ways, they—like this play—got their start at the Belfry—!

Michael Shamata


Introducing our new Executive Director – Isaac Thomas


I am thrilled to introduce you to Isaac Thomas, the Belfry’s new Executive Director—and I hope you will get a chance to meet him in person over the course of this season. Isaac moved into his office off the lobby a mere two months ago, but already he’s part of the Belfry family and is making his presence felt. Personally, I am feeling invigorated by the numerous conversations he and I have had about life and art, and the purpose behind why we do what we do—!

Isaac is an arts executive who is passionate about the arts—! He has a deep commitment to new play development, arts education, and training. He is a core member of Rising Tides, a national initiative for the advancement of IBPOC arts managers, and is a vocal proponent for equity and inclusion in the arts. Isaac currently sits on the board of Cahoots Theatre—a company for equity-deserving artists.

Isaac came to the Belfry from Toronto, where, for the past 10 years, he was the Managing Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre company. Prior to that appointment, he held the position of Director of the extensive Drama School at Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre, and before that was General Manager of Theatre Kingston, in Ontario. He has served on the Advisory Committee of New Harlem Productions and as Chair of the Toronto Association of Acting Studios and Theatre Ontario’s Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP).

Originally from Delhi, Isaac came to Canada after completing an MA in English Literature at Delhi University, and an MFA in Acting at Ohio University. He also holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto’s OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), having focused on inner-city education.

Prior to his administrative career, Isaac was a member of the resident acting company at the Cleveland Playhouse and toured schools with Karamu House, an African American theatre company in Cleveland. After moving to Toronto, he worked as a stage manager for 10 years, with such companies as Canadian Stage, Young People’s Theatre, fu-GEN, Cahoots Theatre, Modern Times, and Theatre Direct.

When his appointment to the Belfry was announced, Isaac said: “I am thrilled to be joining the Belfry and working with the exceptional team of the Board, Michael, and the dedicated staff. The Belfry is a great institution, deeply respected for its work and culture, both in the community of Victoria and nationally. I am fortunate to have the support and guidance of Ivan Habel, who in partnership with Michael, has accomplished so much at the Belfry. I look forward to building on that legacy. I am profoundly honoured by the faith placed in me and look forward to engaging with the broader community in this beautiful city.”

Isaac’s arrival marks a new chapter in the Belfry’s history, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be embarking on this journey alongside such an intelligent, dedicated, and passionate partner.

Michael Shamata


Belfry Librarian – Intimate Apparel

The wonderful librarians at the Greater Victoria Public Library have compiled a list of books and videos to help you get even more out of our production of Intimate Apparel.

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali N. Gross (2020)

Dressed in Dreams by Tanisha C. Ford (2019)

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali N. Gross (2020)

How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan,Teddy Roosevelt and the Panama Canal by Ovido Diaz Espino (2001)

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (2016)

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali N. Gross (2020)

Libertie: A Novel by Kaitlyn Greenidge (2021)

Panama Canal by Stephen Ives [DVD] (2011)

Radical Intimacy: Cultivate the Deeply Connected Relationships You Desire and Deserve by Zoë Kors (2022)

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (2021)

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval by Saidiya V. Hartman (2019)

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves: An Anthology by Glory Edim, editor (2018) – includes “Putting women center stage: a conversation with Lynn Nottage”


Why I Chose This Play – Intimate Apparel

“People need human contact, Maxine, honey.” So wrote Tennessee Williams in one of his greatest plays, The Night of the Iguana. Playwright Lynn Nottage presents us with five souls in search of human contact, yearning for intimacy. These are people unlikely to draw anyone’s attention on the street. With the exception of Mrs. Van Buren, none of them have any “standing” in the world. And yet, the emotion that simmers inside each of them could fuel a jet plane—!

After seeing a vintage photograph entitled “Unidentified Negro Seamstress, 1905.” Lynn Nottage wanted to know more about this woman—who was she and what was her story? That photograph inspired this play—making it a celebration of the human heart and its resiliency.

It’s a great story, with an enormous heart. And that’s why I chose this play. – Michael Shamata, Artistic Director


Why I Chose This Play – Kindred

I have never seen this play before; the first draft that Rosa sent me surprised and intrigued me. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me worry about the characters. It is one-of-a-kind—and I love it. It really is like a fairy tale—these adults make choices that change their lives. They really do venture into the woods, and risk emerging as different people—for better or for worse! We invested in this play’s development, and I am thrilled to see it realized on our stage.

Michael Shamata


Belfry Librarian – Kindred

For each Belfry production, the librarians at the Greater Victoria Public Library tuck into the script and then dive into the Dewey Decimal System to come up with books, films and recordings that could help enrich your experience.

Here’s what they came up with for Kindred.

Blend: The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family

Mashonda Tifrere (2018)

Blended [DVD]

Frank Coraci (2014)

Cars From a Marriage

Debra Galant (2010)

Collateral Damage: Guiding and Protecting Your Child Through the Minefield of Divorce

Dr. John T. Chirban (2017)

The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Coparenting: A Mindful Approach to Creating a Collaborative, Positive Parenting Plan

Jenna Flowers (2016)

Everybody Fights: So Why Not Get Better At It?

Kim and Penn Holderness (2021)

Growing Yourself Up: How to Bring Your Best to All of Life’s Relationships

Jenny Brown (2017)

Lessons of Lifelong Intimacy: Building a Stronger Marriage Without Losing Yourself – The 9 Principles of a Balanced and Happy Relationship

Michael Gurian (2015)

Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World

 Joanna Coles (2018)

 Mila Has Two Beds

Judith Koppens (2020)

The Ethical Leader: Why Doing the Right Thing Can Be the Key to Competitive Advantage

Morgen Witzel (2018)

The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias: How to Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection, and Create High-Performing Team

Pamela Fuller, et. al (2020)

The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship

Pamela Fuller, et. al (2020)

Our thanks to


Spotlight on Supporters: Diane Scott

The Show Must Go On. Diane Scott chose to include that line under her name on a Belfry theatre seat plate recently, alongside another seat dedicated to the memory of her late partner Shelley Deglan. Shelley was a fearless and passionate jeweller, craftsperson and gardener (to name a few of her talents) but it was Diane who first introduced her to the theatre.

Frequent business trips from the Lower Mainland when Diane was Island District Manager for London Drugs led to the couple settling here in 2015. Naturally, with their preference for intimate theatre spaces, visits to Belfry shows soon followed. Having attended shows in Vancouver, New York, Chicago, and Sydney, they noticed right away how unique, professional and very Canadian the Belfry programming was, rather than simply “catering to popular demand.” The Mom’s the Word series (“I loved how engaged the audience was”) and Bears are some of the memorable productions Diane recalls attending. She also fondly recalls the experience of attending a matinee together several years ago when former Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon made one of her exciting entrances to a Belfry show with her bagpiper procession.

With a love of old buildings and a keen awareness of the need for arts funding, they first started their charitable giving to the theatre motivated by the Belfry Capital Campaign. They soon after joined the Director’s Circle, the Belfry’s major donor group.

The Show Must Go On sentiment is both a nod to the pandemic reality for theatre creators, as well as Diane’s journey of living after the loss of a partner of four decades. The Belfry seat dedication, as well as naming a bench on the Songhees walkway, is Diane’s way of continuing to honour Shelley’s legacy in the places she most loved. Diane has also created a fund in Shelley’s name at the BC Cancer Foundation.

Diane is now planning to update her will to add the Belfry to the charities that had been chosen before their move to Victoria: “Shelley first taught me to start supporting the arts by always making sure to buy something at an art show to support the artist, even if it’s just a $10 card. I want to continue to support the Belfry as it is just a gem in this community, the calibre of the theatre first class, and I’m very conscious of the fact that throughout the ages we have always needed patrons of the arts on every level.”

For more information on ways to support the Belfry including naming a seat or including the Belfry in your will, contact:

Susan Stevenson, Director of Development  250-385-6835 ext. 229

Kate Barry, Development Coordinator 250-385-6835 ext. 240