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 Susan.firstname.lastname@example.org 250-385-6835 ext. 229.