Vi Armstrong Play Creation Fund

Date posted: September 5, 2019

Vi’s trying on hats at the Stratford Festival gift shop several years ago, photographed by her daughter Deanne Taylor.

Last October long-time Belfry supporter Vi (Violet) Armstrong passed away just weeks before her 100th birthday. As part of her legacy to the Victoria creative community, Vi has left a gift for the Belfry, to support new play development.

For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Vi, you can read a bit about her life (read on).

For the past 30 years new play development has been one of the Belfry’s hallmarks and some of the country’s most successful plays have premiered on our stages.

Behind the scenes we are actively involved in the development of new plays. Our role takes many forms, dramaturgy, workshops and readings, and each aspect requires some financial investment. 

Always ones to pay it forward, Vi’s family have asked us to honour her gift with a request to you. They would like to treble the gift so that new play development is sustained at the Belfry in perpetuity.

If you support new play development at the Belfry or if you had the pleasure of knowing Vi Armstrong, we ask you to please make a donation to the Vi Armstrong Play Creation Fund (Every dollar you give goes straight toward new play development). 

Thank you!

Violet (Vi) Armstrong (1918 – 2018)

Violet Armstrong served on the Belfry Board of Directors in the 1980s, and remained a dear part of the Belfry family until she passed away in her 100th year in 2018.

Originally from Taber, Alberta, Violet taught youth leadership and recreation classes in the southern regions. When she moved to Berkeley, California with her husband, Malcolm Taylor, she worked in Richmond, California’s Recreation Department as a youth programmer and counsellor, creating some of the city’s first integrated sport and social programs.

In 1968, Violet turned her eye for design and entrepreneurial skills to creating Boutique de Laine, Victoria’s first source for the world’s fine wools and Violet’s knitting instruction. The concept and execution were so successful that though she later sold the business to enjoy retirement with her second husband, William Armstrong, the boutique continues to flourish today in Estevan Village.

Vi’s obvious passion for literature, art, theatre and music, along with her support for local artists, inspired the high-profile careers of her two children, Deanne and Burke Taylor.

In the words of her family members:

Vi cared. She cared about people – close up and far away. She cared about fairness, equality, and justice, and she cared about everyone’s safety, health and education. If Violet cared especially about you, you knew it, whether you were 3 years old or 103. She invested in her relationships. She invested in you. If you connected, she offered unconditional love and support – not uncritical, but unconditional – to friends and family through the many changes she shared with us all over the past 100 years.

Vi’s warm presence is certainly missed at the theatre, but her spirit lives on here, as does her name plate on her favourite seat in the centre of the balcony. She planned a gift from her estate, which will nurture new works by playwrights to be seen on our stage in years to come. We invite you to help support the creation of more new plays, with a donation of any size to the Vi Armstrong Play Creation Fund. We also invite you to make your own plans to ensure the future of theatre in Victoria, and speak with us about joining the Belfry Legacy Circle.

For information on the variety of ways to contribute to the Belfry, please contact Susan Stevenson, Director of Development at 250-385-6835 ext. 229 or