Blyth Festival Marks 50thAnniversary with $500K Matching-gift Campaign

Supporters can now double donation power thanks to lead gift from The Margaret and Andrew Stephens Family Foundation of Canmore, AB.

 Stephens Family support has already inspired two subsequent gifts from local families, each valued at $50,000.


Fans and supporters of the Blyth Festival can now double the power of any gift they make to the Festival’s $500K For Another 50 Years campaign, established to mark the theatre’s 50th anniversary and lay the foundation for another half century.

This landmark campaign is anchored by a $250,000 pledge from the Margaret and Andrew Stephens Family Foundation, headquartered in Canmore, AB. The pledge represents one of the largest gifts the Festival has ever received from a private donor, and is meant to inspire others to give generously to prepare the Festival for its next 50 years.

Both Andrew and Margaret Stephens grew up in southwestern Ontario, and the family has long made the Huron shores and Blyth part of their summer vacations. Says Andrew, “When Margaret passed away in 2014, the kids and I started thinking about using our family foundation to make the kinds of investment that could drive real change. We believe strongly that Canada needs a venue to create and tell Canadian stories, and the Blyth Festival is the leader in doing this. It was a natural fit.”

Two families have already come forward to support this campaign in response to the Stephens Family gift. David Southen and Susan Carlyle of London, ON, and another family who wishes to remain anonymous have each pledged $50,000. This puts the Festival well on its way towards its goal of raising $500K, providing the $150K balance of the Stephens’ pledge is matched by other Blyth donors.

Southen and Carlyle are also long-time Blyth Festival supporters. An earlier gift, also of $50,000, launched the Festival’s first-ever matching-gift campaign in 2020.

Says Blyth Artistic Director Gil Garratt,

“Andrew and his family have blown us away with their passion for the future of the Blyth Festival. This gift comes at a pivotal time. There is no question, the arts in Canada are in trouble, coast to coast to coast. This gift from Andrew and his family is not only going to help us emerge from the pandemic, but it will allow us to confidently plan, build, and dream for the future. We cannot thank Andrew, Eric, Emily, Patricia, and Trevor enough for this astonishing gift.”

The Blyth Festival is a registered charity. Like all Canadian arts organizations, it relies on donations from corporations, foundations and individual donors to make up the difference between what can be raised through government support and reasonably priced ticket sales.

Theatre fans who wish to take advantage of this opportunity should contact Jen Lamb ( or by calling 1-877-862-5984 ext. 208. Donations of $20 ore more are tax deductible.

For Media Inquiries:

Jen Lamb

1-877-862-5984 x 208

The Blyth Festival is a professional theatre located in Blyth, Ontario. It was established in 1975 with a mandate to produce professional repertory theatre that reflects the culture and concerns of the people of southwestern Ontario and beyond.

In its 50-year history, Blyth has premiered 156 new Canadian plays, entertained more than one million people from every province and territory in Canada, across the United States, and every corner of the globe. Plays from the Blyth Festival have won Governor General’s Awards, been produced in 29 countries, and been translated into dozens of languages, including American Sign Language.

The Andrew and Margaret Stephens Family Foundation

“The Margaret and Andrew Stephens Family Foundation, established by Andrew and Margaret in the early 2000s, is dedicated to enhancing communities through strategic investments, creating opportunities for cultural change, inspiring individuals to achieve greatness, and recognizing and appreciating those who make a difference. Investing in a number of carefully chosen community organizations, the foundation focuses on building capacity in the arts, education, health, and in under-represented and challenged communities.

To date, the foundation has made significant investments in university infrastructure and scholarships, health research and hospital fellowships, social enterprise development, women in leadership, and palliative care.”

Matching-gift Campaigns begin with a pledge from a lead donor or donors. For every dollar raised, the lead donor then matches that donation up to a pre – determined amount. Once the charity’s other supporters contribute enough to match the lead gift, the full pledged amount is released.