Winding vines, fresh flowers, lifelike parrots, flamingoes, and blue velvet completed the look throughout the main floor, as white papery butterflies led the way up the stairs, ending in a divine passage to the main theatre party space. Guests eagerly signed up for ‘Temptation’, a semi-private sitting with the Prince of Darkness, brilliantly performed by Nadia Verruci
, and were led down to the bowels of the theatre to Satan’s Speakeasy,
where soulful singing and Red Devil cocktails were flowing.
In the beautifully decorated gallery, guests bid on 50 outstanding silent auctions packages. Items ranged in value from $85-$4,400 and included imaginative names like: Wine Me Up & Watch Me Go; The Shaw Must Go On; Saveur the Moment; and You’ll Be Shoe-ing Them Away. Special lots included piano lessons from Gregory Charles, party catering from Schwartz’ Deli, and a whisky tasting in Burgundy Lion’s Scotch room.
True to its name, Party in Paradise
, featured themed areas Heaven, the Garden of Eden, and the Underworld; tying in to Centaur’s anticipated show of the season—an edgy and modern retelling of Paradise Lost
. Gala attendees came together having taken a bite of the apple that is Montreal’s award-winning English-language theatre, opening their hearts and wallets to show their support.
The large stage was beautifully set with delicious fare on offer from the chefs of LìOLà, including tender Quebec lamb chops, lobster ravioli with cream and saffron sauce, quinoa gnocchi with pesto sauce, and huge enticing meatballs, all paired with hand-picked wine from the SAQ. After dinner, Gala attendees were jovially cajoled by CJAD’s quick-witted Aaron Rand as the evening’s engaging live auctioneer. Notable big-ticket items were a 10-night British Isles Cruise for two with Cruise & Maritime Voyages; a 5-nights ocean-view stay at The Crane Resort, Barbados, with a flight voucher to anywhere in the world courtesy of Air Canada; a 30-minute flight simulation alongside a pilot from CAE; a Montreal-to-Vancouver luxury train ride from VIA Rail; and dinner and opera entertainment in your home with the swoon-worthy chef-tenor Davide Bazzali, who shared a sneak-peek of his vocal skills.
Over the course of the night, guests explored the beautiful, Old Montreal heritage building, capping off the evening with last-minute silent auction bids and decadent desserts from Brasserie 701. Every lucky devil went home with a bounty of offerings including two Centaur Theatre tickets, gift cards for Burgundy Lion’s new hip venture Wolf & Workman, gourmet Italian restaurant LìOLà, and Vieux-Port Steakhouse’s famously decadent buffet brunch; KIND snack bars; and rides on La Grande Roue de Montréal, Old Port’s observation wheel.
Centaur’s Party in Paradise
counted many esteemed guests in attendance, including Anne-Marie Jean
, CEO, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec; and the two honourees of the evening, both long-serving former Chairman of the Board of Centaur Theatre, Hartland J. A. Paterson
and Fergus V. Keyes
. Also taking in the garden of delights were patrons and partners representing Air Canada, the Rossy Foundation, Groupe Canvar
, and TD Securities
.The indefatigable Anna Giampà
was the Chair of the Gala Committee. People left Centaur’s inspired utopia-for-a-night eager for the rest of the theatrical season.
Ticket revenues cover less than half of the theatre’s annual expenses. Funds raised not only allow 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 allow Centaur to employ over 200 local, national and international theatre artists each year and maintain a valuable heritage building.
Since 1969, Centaur Theatre has been telling great stories, well told. This annual gala fundraiser is an occasion to celebrate the theatre’s rich legacy and guarantee its vital future.