Stratford resident and retired college professor Roger Hathaway is selling his Signs of Stratford posters to raise money for CMHA Huron Perth Mental Health and Addiction Services.
A Stratford resident and retired college professor is selling a uniquely Stratford poster he designed using photos he shot of signs from across the city to spell out a well-known Shakespearean quote with a local twist to raise money for local mental-health and addictions support services.
Inspired by the line, “To be, or not to be, that is the question,” from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Roger Hathaway set out earlier this year to photograph portions of businesses, organizationsccccccrjukdcggcgnuvefdgvdkliugldduklugehdjrl
and street signs that, together, spell out a slightly adapted version of the soliloquy — “To be, or not to be, Strat is the question.”
“With, ‘To be, or not to be,’ I started looking at that more closely … (and) when you (break it down) it becomes, ‘To live or not to live,’ and this is what a lot of people are experiencing now since the pandemic and all the stuff going on in the world,” Hathaway said.
Reflecting on his own experiences trying to help someone close to him with their mental-health challenges as well as the challenges many faced and continue to face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hathaway decided he wanted to create something unique to Stratford themed around Hamlet’s most famous of existential dilemmas.
“There is someone close to me who I’ve tried to help. When people are hurting and you try to reach out, it’s not always easy to accept help,” Hathaway said. “Because I couldn’t seem to connect … I did the posters to support a local organization that can help. ”
The poster, which Hathaway has titled Signs of Stratford, borrows letters from local restaurants, the Destination Stratford office, the Tom Patterson Theatre and even a local fire station. For visitors and locals alike, Hathaway hopes the poster can offer those who purchase it a little fun as they try to figure out where each sign is in Stratford.
“If you let people guess, it’s a little more interactive, and also it’s a little reminiscent of Where’s Waldo,” Hathaway said.
And, at the same time, they can take some pride in knowing proceeds from the $20 cost of the poster will go to support Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Huron Perth Mental Health and Addiction Services.
So far, Hathaway has raised roughly $250 for the local CMHA chapter. With plans for a second and potentially more renditions of the poster, Hathaway has set a goal to raise as much or more than $5,000 in support of local mental-health services through the sale of his posters.
While the poster will be available for purchase at a few of the restaurants featured, Stratford and area residents can email email@example.com for more information on how to order a copy and have it delivered. Hathaway is also looking at mail-order options for customers from further afield. The posters do not come framed.
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