On Saturday, May 25, 2013, a crowd gathered at 101 Brunswick Street to mark the opening of PAL Place Stratford.
According to their website, Performing Arts Lodge is a volunteer-based Canadian charitable organization dedicated to the provision of affordable housing, social assistance and other services to local members and associates of Canada’s professional and performing arts community who are in need of assistance by reason of low income, age or disability. It provides a sanctuary, a home, and a community for professionals of the theatre who find themselves in times of need during and at the end of their careers, times that can be uncertain and insecure. “PAL is a proven success story in several other locales nationwide. We heartily endorse and look forward to the same success story becoming reality here in Stratford.”
During the opening ceremonies one of the speakers read a note written by the beloved Canadian actor, Cedric Smith. He wrote of visiting an old friend from his days on stage who was living in a nursing home. Cedric was able to understand and communicate with this aging actor in a language that they both understood – the language of the theatre – which the caregivers at the home did not comprehend. How wonderful that the citizens of Stratford have had the foresight to want to “care for our own”, those members of the theatre who have contributed to the life of Stratford in so many ways. PAL will provide care not only in practical terms but also by creating an environment where they can continue to enjoy the ambiance and language of theatre.
Christopher Plummer, honorary patron of PAL Stratford, made the trip to town in order to cut the ribbon during the official opening
Glen Dias, who already lives at the lodge, sang a moving a cappella rendition of 'Bring Him Home' from Les Miserables. How appropriate!