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Volunteer Spotlight: Ron Ellis

April 18, 2024

It’s impossible to talk about volunteerism at Drayton Entertainment without mentioning former municipal councillor Ron Ellis. He was Volunteer #1 at the place where it all started in 1991, Drayton Festival Theatre.

Drayton Entertainment volunteers Susan Paisley and Fran Miller smiling at the camera

Matthew Rae MPP, Artistic Director Alex Mustakas, Drayton Festival Theatre volunteer Ron Ellis, and John Nater MP.

How did you begin volunteering with Drayton Entertainment?

Well, I was one of the members of the Drayton Council back in 1991. Myself and the other councillors decided that we needed to do something with theatre, and that’s when Alex Mustakas (Artistic Director) became part of it. We met and we hired him, and I’ve been around ever since then.

Can you remember what the first task was that you had to do as a volunteer?

Oh, yeah, definitely. We had a number of volunteers, and we removed all the seats, put new seats in, sanded the floors, painted all the walls. Then, in 2004, we formed a committee called Friends of Drayton Festival Theatre, and there were about 25 people at the time. We took turns ushering, greeting at the front door, and general maintenance around the building itself to bring it up to date.

Do you have any idea how many hours you’ve completed as a Drayton Entertainment volunteer over the years?

I’ve been here since 1991. We have three or four shows each year, and I’m probably there for three hours a day, for five days, so put that all together! I look after the flowerbeds around the building. In the winter, I clean the snow off the front entrance. You could call me the main greeter for Drayton Festival Theatre!

Why do you find volunteering so fulfilling?

It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. Back in the day, we were all Kinsmen members, and now I just enjoy making the community a better place. Right now, I’m working with the local hospital raising money for an MRI machine. I just enjoy doing it, especially at the theatre. You see so many people that you haven’t seen for ages, or new people in town. It’s just an exciting thing to do. After 33 years, it’s just part of my life, to be there and help out whenever I can. Years ago, we used to billet actors when they needed someplace to stay, so I’ve met people that way, and we still help out with billets.

What’s your favourite type of Drayton Entertainment show?

Oh, it’s the musicals, really. That’s my cup of tea.

Any standout memories?

The way it’s grown from one theatre to seven different venues. It all started here, so we’re pretty proud of that.

To learn more about our volunteers, visit: