Is it Dreadfully fun being a Volunteer?

You betcha! When you volunteer for Night of Dread you are creating a moving, shared experience that brings people together and impacts community well-being through art, activism and solidarity.

And you have to admit, it’s incredibly fun to wear a big puppet like the Fear of Death Itself or dress up like the Bride and Groom of Death and parade around the neighbourhood to the raucous sounds and rhythms of the Kensington Horns and Maracatu Mar Aberto. What’s not to like?

“Night of Dread sustains me each year… It’s become one of our family’s most cherished rituals.” 

Maggie Hutcheson, Block by Block Program Director at Toronto Ward Museum, Co-founder Department of Public Memory

From left to right: 1) The Oligarchs Who Gobble Up the World 2) The Fear of Death Itself and beside it parades the Fear of Authoritarianism 3) The Bride and Groom of Death

What are the different ways that I can Volunteer?

Parade Marshals

Parade Marshals are absolutely essential to the smooth and safe procession of the Night of Dread Parade, both for the paraders participating and audience members watching.

They keep the pacing of the parade running well and in good time (not too fast, not too slow) and they also communicate to the Lead Parade Marshal of any issues along the route.

They make sure paraders keep to one traffic lane only on main roads.

They also guide people safely through traffic stops.

Parade Marshall vests are provided.

Parade Marshals will also need to attend one orientation session.

Event Assistants

Leading up to the event, Event Assistants can help setup the puppet pickup area and set out signs in the street staging area to help organize the Parade order.

Event Assistants can also help the Puppet Masters (experienced Clay and Paper Theatre puppeteers/performers) retrieve puppets, masks and costumes for Volunteer Puppeteers/Performers.

They help the Volunteer Puppeteers get in and out of puppets.

During the Parade, Event Assistants can also be puppet spotters, accompanying puppeteers and making sure they steer clear of tree limbs and any other obstacles.

They will also play a part during the end of the event when everything needs to be collected and put away and the staging area needs to be tidied.

Puppeteers/Character Performers

The Big Fears are backpack puppets and they require some strength and dexterity because you will be wearing the puppet for over an hour (before and during the parade). These puppets are appropriate for adults.

The Small Fears are rod puppets which means they are fairly light and the rod fits into a pouch you tie around your waist. Most of these puppets are great for kids 10 and up.

We also have some of our traditional Night of Dread characters available for people to dress up as. They include: the Bride and Groom of Death (great for a couple!); Fear Catchers who help collect fears from the community during the parade; the Doom Cheerleading Squad (good for 4 friends together); and a Flag Bearer to carry the Night of Dread standard at the front of the Parade.

IMPORTANT: There will be no parade puppet sign-out the day of the event due to it being a non-park and performer-only parade this year. You MUST book your puppet ahead of time. You will be able to pick up your puppet at Christie Pits between 4:00 and 5:00pm, where a C&P Puppet Master will help you get into your puppet and give you some parading tips.

From left to right: 1) Event Assistants 2) Flag bearer 3) An array of Small Fear rod puppets

How do I sign up for this Dreadful opportunity?

First of all, read through our Volunteer Handbook. You’ll find more details about the Volunteer role you’re interested in, plus extremely important information about the time commitment required for each Volunteer position. This means you’ll find the time you need to show up and how long your commitment will be for the event. Plus the Handbook has some helpful tips on how to prepare for the weather for Night of Dread. This is an outdoor event after all and we parade rain or shine.

If you have any questions or if you’re ready to sign up, please email us at volunteer.clayandpaper@gmail.com or call us at 416-708-3332.

Please click here for the Volunteer Handbook