Centaur Theatre’s 13th Annual Fundraising Gala


G A L A   P A R T N E R


Photo: Pierre Roussel – Agence Québec Presse

Centaur Theatre, home of Canada’s first Stock Exchange building, decorated for the TOUR DE FORCE Gala

On September 26, Honourary Chair Rodrigue Lussier of Fiera Capital and Centaur Theatre’s new Artistic and Executive Director Eda Holmes hosted TOUR DE FORCE, Centaur’s 2017 Gala. Guests were treated to an exceptional night of fantastic and witty live auction by CJAD’s Aaron Rand, a popping game of chance of Treasure Chest prizes hosted by Lori Graham of CTV, an incredible array of silent auction items that wrapped around the room, a delectable cocktail dînatoire; luxurious take-home gifts, and a golden performance from The Dust Palace, New Zealand’s prestigious aerial circus/theatre company. Those in attendance were also the first to see the future of Centaur Theatre as Holmes presented the exciting theatrical opportunities made possible by upcoming renovation plans. The evening successfully raised $160,000, with million-dollar smiles all around!

Photo: Philippe Manh Nguyen, Agence Québec Presse

Eda Holmes, Centaur’s Artistic & Executive Director and Rodrigue Lussier, Honourary Chair of the TOUR DE FORCE Gala,
with performers of the evening : Rochelle Mangan, Edward Clendon River, and Eve Gordon of The Dust Palace

Aside from the crucial significance of the Gala proceeds, it was a gorgeous night to remember! Upon arrival, guests walked up the red-carpet steps of Montreal’s first Stock Exchange building and posed for photos. Throughout the lobby and into the Ted T. Katz Gallery, flowing wine beckoned as guests took in the stunning ceiling entirely covered by illuminated silver balloons with stunning lilies. Once again, master decorator and caterer Roberto Menegati enchanted all those present. In the mezzanine, guests were eager to get their measurements taken by LGFG Fashion House’s tailors for their bespoke shirt, with personalised fabrics and fit.

Photo: Pierre Roussel – Agence Québec Presse Photo : Pierre Roussel – Agence Québec Presse

Mayor Denis Coderre with Aaron Rand of CJAD Gala Chair,
Howard Golberg, with Mark Oxner, Sr. Director of Revenue Management at Air Canada


The Gala had many respected guests in attendance, including Mayor Denis Coderre. Also relishing the atmosphere were Patrons representing Air Canada, Fednav Limited, Reitmans Canada, and The Rossy Family Foundation.


Guests feasted from start to finish on rack of lamb, mini burgers on a brioche bun, curried chicken on skewers, chilled shrimp in phyllo cups, and marinated salmon sashimi, all paired with hand-picked wine from the SAQ. As they enjoyed the cocktail dînatoire, guests decided which of the fifty packages of outstanding silent auction items to bid on first. Items ranged in value from $138 to $5,000 and included creative names such as: Get This Shaw on the Road, Nice to Meat You, and Baby Got Bach. The staggering list included weekend getaways, luxury cruises, top-notch restaurant packages, tickets for local attractions and cultural events, and an original painting by Jean-Claude Poitras.

Photo: Pierre Roussel – Agence Québec Presse

Lori Graham of CTV and Johanna Nutter, curator of the Wildside Festival

Treasure Chest Ambassadors, CTV favorite Lori Graham and Centaur’s Wildside Curator Johanna Nutter, had people popping balloons to see if their 1-in-7 chance reaped something special from the long list of fabulous gift certificates including spas, local favourite restaurants, and hotels. Pops and squeals were heard throughout the gallery before winners headed to Lori Graham to claim their prize.

Photo: Pierre Roussel – Agence Québec Presse

Tom Velan, the evening’s honouree, with Eda Holmes, Centaur’s Artistic & Executive Director

Before the highly-anticipated circus performance of the evening, Holmes welcomed this year’s Gala Honourary Chair, Rodrigue Lussier of Fiera Capital Investment, whose commitment and support was key to the evening’s success, along with the literally tour de force Chair of the Gala Committee, Howard Golberg, who received Centaur’s coveted Golden Ticket. Tom Velan was honoured as a stalwart Centaur Theatre patron “from the last century.” Velan originally caught the theatre bug in London and New York and praised Montreal artists and plays as consistently outstanding.

Photo: Pierre Roussel – Agence Québec Presse

The Dust Palace’s performance

Who wouldn’t want a bit of a makeover heading into their bi-centennial of being front and centre of Montreal’s English-language theatre scene? Holmes was delighted to reveal plans for the renovation of the beloved former Montreal Stock Exchange building. “The [renovation] work will bring Centaur into the 21st century, preparing us for the next 50 years of even greater theatre.” Compelled by the word ‘Exchange’ emblazoned on the cornice of the building, she said, “I believe that Centaur Theatre Company should be a place where all are welcome to come and exchange stories and ideas, making us all richer and forging a stronger democratic bond in society.” Key to the renovations, a fly tower will be built making the Centaur 2 Theatre an even larger and more creative space. A model showing the changes will be displayed in the lobby throughout the season.

Centaur Theatre Renovation plans

Attendees were then treated to CJAD’s quick-witted political whip Aaron Rand as the evening’s live auctioneer. Notable big-ticket items included prestige hockey tickets behind the Canadiens bench, a cruise through Bordeaux with CroisiEurope and Air Transat, an unforgettable cross-Canada train ride on VIA Rail, Barbados beach relaxation at The Crane Resort, a Viking River Cruise on the Rhine or Danube with airfare from Air Canada, Saroche Luxury Barge Cruises through Champagne, and an exotic, small-group journey with Explore India. Winning bidders walked away with some amazing deals that night.


This year’s Gala was entitled TOUR DE FORCE because it perfectly describes the kind of daredevil energy and fearless commitment that it takes to put together an evening like this. The in-the-flesh daredevils from The Dust Palace next took the stage and had the audience collectively holding their breath as they performed intimate, captivating, and beautiful circus and dance aerial feats in sparkling gold outfits. The audience gasped when the performers climbed sky high on precariously balanced chairs, keeping everyone on the edge of their seats. People got to witness up close the nerve, daring, and dedication of true artists—a perfect example of what Centaur Theatre is all about. After being wowed by the magical performance, guests capped the evening enjoying red velvet cupcakes, truffles, and port. Guests left the Gala full of inspiration, high energy, and excitement for the future of English Theatre in Montreal.


Ticket revenues cover less than half of the theatre’s annual expenses. Money raised not only allows Centaur Theatre to produce high-quality professional theatre in the heart of the city, but also covers initiatives such as Theatre of Tomorrow and Saturday Morning Children’s Series. Contributions tangibly spring to life by enabling Centaur to employ over 200 local, national and international theatre artists each year and maintain a valuable heritage building. This annual Gala is an occasion to celebrate the theatre’s rich legacy and guarantee its essential future.



Air Canada

Fednav Limited

Reitmans (Canada) Limited

The Rossy Family Foundation

TNG Corporation

Tom Velan



Air Canada

Air Transat

Celebrations – Party & Special Event Rentals

The Crane Resort


Cruise & Maritime Voyages USA Inc.

Explore India

KIND Snacks Canada

LGFG Fashion House

Menegati Design l Catering

Pinkerton Flowers

Jean-Claude Poitras


Saroche Luxury Barge Cruises

VIA Rail Canada

Viking River Cruises


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