The cast (in costume), creative team and crew of Elf, along with Grand Theatre staff pose on the set of Elf on the Spriet Stage.

Grand Theatre Audiences Raise $65,523 for the London Food Bank

"Sparklejollytwinklejingley" donations bring six-year cumulative donation to $406,333.

January 5, 2023 – London ON – The Grand Theatre is pleased to announce that its sixth annual holiday fundraising campaign in support of the London Food Bank has raised $65,523. Billed this year as the “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” program, the annual initiative partners the Grand Theatre with the Food Banks’ Business Cares program to help support those facing food insecurity in the city. Since launching in 2017, the campaign has raised a six-year cumulative total of $406,333 through donations made by Grand Theatre audiences, artists, volunteers, and staff.

“For the Grand, the holiday season is about bringing people together, spreading joy, and reminding us all of the goodness in humanity,” remarks Grand Theatre Executive Director, Evan Klassen. “Clearly these themes have also been wholly embraced by our Grand community, who – for the sixth consecutive year – have come together to produce an incredible gift for the London Food Bank and for those most in-need in our community.”

The “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” fundraising drive took place during the run of Elf – The Musical – running on the Spriet Stage from November 22nd – December 31st, 2022.  Following each performance, Izad Etemadi, who played the title role of Buddy the Elf, appealed to audience members, asking them to consider making a monetary donation in drop boxes within the lobby, with 100% of all proceeds directed to the London Food Bank. Emulating Buddy’s altruistic spirit, audiences responded generously to the call to action at each performance.

In 2022, the London Food Bank has helped more than 4,000 families or over 11,000 individuals on average each month - an increase of 32 per cent compared with the year prior.  These staggering numbers present a record never encountered before in the Food Drive’s history, due to factors like inflation and high food prices affecting clients and donors alike.

“The London Food Bank plays an integral part in ensuring London remains a functioning and compassionate city.  We are proud to partner with them for this important cause, and grateful for their dedication to a city we are all proud to call home,” remarks Klassen.

London Food Bank Co-Executive Director Glen Pearson is thrilled with the results of the “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” campaign, noting: “After two years of being confined by the pandemic, the Grand Theatre’s holiday performances roared back into the centre of community life, fascinating London with the adventures of Elf and elating the London Food Bank with $65,523 raised to feed hungry families and agencies.  The Grand’s stepping up coincided with a record number of Londoners requiring the food bank’s help, making this year’s donation the most important yet.  Once again, the talented folks at the Grand brought community compassion to life in ways that only it could.  We couldn’t be more thankful for them."


The Grand Theatre wishes to acknowledge and honour the original stewards of the land on which our Theatre stands. Gratitude and recognition are extended to the Attawandaron (also known as Neutral), Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Lunaapewak peoples for preserving this land where we gather and create art.


About the Grand Theatre – World Curious. London Proud.

In the heart of downtown London, Ontario lies one of Canada’s oldest regional theatres and a leading cultural hub of today: the Grand Theatre. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Evan Klassen, the Grand proudly presents diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe – and around the corner – on its two stages. The not-for-profit theatre is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through its COMPASS New Play Development program. Further, it is an ardent supporter of educational programming, as demonstrated through initiatives like the High School Project and Subsidized Student Matinees. For more information, visit:

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About Business Cares

The Business Cares Food Drive is a volunteer-driven initiative that believes in the credo that ‘taking care of business means taking care of people.’ This initiative brings together London’s corporate community in a coordinated effort to raise donations for the London Food Bank and the organizations it supports.


For more information please contact:
Caitlin Core, Communications Manager

ccore [at] (ccore[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)

519-672-9030 ext. 266