The Donor: Peter Higgins
The Gift: Creating Queen’s Players Toronto
The Reason: To raise money for several charities
When Peter Higgins graduated in 2003 from Queen’s University, in Kingston, one of the things he missed was performing with the Queen’s Players, a comedy troupe that has been part of the university for more than a century.
Rather than give it up, he and a couple of friends decided to start a Toronto branch of the group called Queen’s Players Toronto. “We didn’t feel like we had exhausted that part of our lives,” Mr. Higgins recalled from Toronto, where he works as a business manager for his father’s architecture firm.
The trio put on their first performance in 2004, taking over a Toronto club called Tranzac. It was successful enough that they kept going, coming up with annual productions involving about six performances and a host of volunteers.
They also turned the event into a fundraiser, first donating proceeds to the Stephen Lewis Foundation and later to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and Community Living Toronto.
So far, the group has raised about $105,000 in total.
This year’s production, Thrones and Recreation, starts May 30 and is best described as “part keg party, part rock concert, part sketch comedy,” according to Mr. Higgins, who studied film at Queen’s.
His co-founders, Tim Evans and Michael Payne, who are both teachers, have retired from the troupe but Mr. Higgins plans to keep going.
“I love what I do at the office but I’ve always said to my wife, ‘I wouldn’t be complete if I couldn’t have these goofy shows and friends.’”