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Improv troupe helps with friend's fundraising efforts for Hospice P.E.I.'s 'Dancing with the Stars'

Loretta Coady MacAulay, top row centre, meets with members of Side Hustle, who are helping her raise money for Hospice P.E.I.’s “Dancing with the Stars”. With her in the back row are Sarah Brown, left, and Kirstin Lund. Joining in on the fun are, middle row, from left, Monica Rafuse, Caron Prins and Nancy McLure and seated, Patti Larsen. Missing from the photo is member Doris MacPhee.
Loretta Coady MacAulay, top row centre, meets with members of Side Hustle, who are helping her raise money for Hospice P.E.I.’s “Dancing with the Stars”. With her in the back row are Sarah Brown, left, and Kirstin Lund. Joining in on the fun are, middle row, from left, Monica Rafuse, Caron Prins and Nancy McLure and seated, Patti Larsen. Missing from the photo is member Doris MacPhee. - Sally Cole

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - When Loretta Coady MacAulay announced that, instead of gifts for her birthday, she wanted to fundraise for the Hospice Palliative Care Association of P.E.I., one of her best friends stepped up to help.

And she brought some of her friends along.

Kirstin Lund’s seven-member improv group, Side Hustle, was having a show on Friday, Jan. 18, at The Guild in Charlottetown.

Perhaps the troupe could help MacAulay (who was invited to be in the 2019 edition of P.E.I.'s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on Oct. 19) raise some dollars for the charity, which provides care and support to persons living with or dying with a life-threatening illness and those who are bereaved.

Coincidently, that date just happened to be MacAulay’s birthday. So, the troupe decided to give her a special gift.

“When Loretta decided to be in ‘Dancing with the Stars’, we thought it would be a nice tie-in,” says Lund, who made the suggestion to her Side Hustle colleagues.

The idea was met with enthusiasm.

“I love giving back, especially to P.E.I. Hospice. So many Islanders have benefited from this amazing program,” says Patti Larsen, a member of the group that also includes Nancy McLure, Caron Prins, Monica Rafuse, Sarah Brown and Doris MacPhee and Lund.

Prins agrees.

“Every family is touched by hospice and raising money is so important,” the Charlottetown resident says.

After getting the green light from the group, Lund asked her friend what she thought about having an improv celebration and fundraising event on her birthday.

“It’s fantastic. I really appreciate it,” says MacAulay, adding the troupe “graciously offered” to donate a portion of ticket sales from the show to her fundraising efforts, as well as a silent auction and a 50/50.

Loretta Coady MacAulay, left, is shown with her mother, the late Florence Coady, approximately five years ago. Coady and her family received care and support from Hospice P.E.I.
Loretta Coady MacAulay, left, is shown with her mother, the late Florence Coady, approximately five years ago. Coady and her family received care and support from Hospice P.E.I.

Now, with the event a week away, things are quickly rolling in, says MacAulay, who is doing the birthday fundraiser in honour of her mother, Florence Coady, who died on Oct. 31, 2016, after a battle with cancer.

“So, we have first-hand knowledge about the importance of the service that Hospice P.E.I. provides the patients and their families,” she says.

For Lund, it’s an opportunity to return a favour. “When I was in ‘Dancing with the Stars’ last year, Side Hustle did a show and raised some money for Hospice P.E.I.”

As for what audience members can expect from the improv group on Jan. 18, the show consists of two acts, with an intermission.

“We’ll probably play some short-form games in the first half; saving the long-form games for the second half,” says Lund, adding there are many reasons to attend.

“We’re very funny. We have no shame. And it’s an opportunity to support Loretta’s fundraising efforts for Hospice P.E.I., a very important service provided by a voluntary organization that relies on donations and fundraising.”

Laughter is an important part of the show, Prins adds.

“Side Hustle is all about support, fun and play. We love playing together while helping entertain. So, come get your giggles on.”


If you go

What: Side Hustle performance

When and where: Friday, Jan. 18, at The Guild, Charlottetown.

Tickets are available at The Guild, 111 Queen St., Charlottetown, by calling 902-620-3333 or 1-866-774-0717 or online.


Side Hustle fast facts

The group has its beginnings in Witty Mama, an all-women’s organization created by Patti Larsen, Kirstin Lund and Nancy McLure to teach women how to perform improv.

After working together for two years, members decided to develop a professional troupe in the fall of 2017.

Side Hustle’s first show was in January 2018, a fundraiser for Hospice P.E.I. The troupe also performed a show at the Charlottetown Firehall, this past summer.

For information, go to the Facebook group.


Twitter.com/SallyForth57

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