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Christmas Fund help means more tickets for kids to see Nutcracker

With record community support, Dance Victoria is offering needy kids and their families tickets to The Nutcracker and another dance production

Record support for Dance Victoria’s Nutcracker Kids program has meant more kids and their families can attend performances of The Nutcracker ballet, held around Christmas each year at the Royal Theatre.

Funding from the Times Colonist Christmas Fund made it possible for Dance Victoria to allocate more than 100 of the 250 tickets purchased for Nutcracker Kids to staff and clients who receive services from Victoria Women’s Transition House.

Extra funding from community partners and individuals also allowed Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, Family Services of Greater Victoria, the Esquimalt Military Resource Centre, and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre to receive tickets through Nutcracker Kids, which is chaired by real-estate agent Julie Rust of Engel & Völkers.

“This is the most community partners we’ve ever had,” said Gillian Jones, executive director of Dance Victoria.

“Everyone has their memories of the first time they saw The Nutcracker, and being able to make that possible for a child or family that might have some financial barriers to come see it, and have that be their first performance, really touches people.”

In fact, there was so much response that Dance Victoria was able to expand its holiday fundraising so people could donate tickets to either The Nutcracker or another program called Dance Is For Everyone, offering tickets to another production.

“We typically do an individual donor campaign to raise money for Nutcracker Kids, but because of the support from the Times Colonist, we felt this year was a great opportunity to expand the reach of our donor campaign,” Jones said.

This year’s Times Colonist Christmas Fund campaign has received $392,914 in donations from 1,483 donors as of Dec. 7. The fundraising goal is $1 million.

Susan Howard, communications director at Victoria Women’s Transition House, said seeing The Nutcracker is a real treat for its families.

“There is a lot going on in their lives, so to have a night out at the ballet with a beautiful production, costumes and live orchestra — this is something that these women and families don’t often have a chance to see,” Howard said.

The pandemic has been “very challenging” for the staff who assist the families dealing with violence and abuse, Howard said, and The Nutcracker gives them a chance “to go out, sit back, and enjoy a beautiful performance.”

Victoria Women’s Transition House provides shelter, housing, counselling and other community-based services for women and children, a demographic that ranges “from little ones right through to grandmothers,” Howard said. “It’s inter-generational joy.”

Those who receive tickets through the Dance Is For Everyone program will be able to see the Dance Theater of Harlem in March as part of Dance Victoria’s 2022-23 season.

“There really is a need for this access and for people to have this live-performance experience in the theatre. Anything we can do to help facilitate that is definitely worthwhile for us,” Jones said.

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How to donate to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund

Donate online. Go to ­, which will take you to our CanadaHelps page. The site is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.

Donate by mail. Send a cheque to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 201-655 Tyee Road, ­Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5.

Donate by phone. Use your credit card by phoning ­250-995-4438 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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