This morning, at the Stratford Festival annual general meeting, the Festival announced a surplus of $795,000 for the season that ended in October 2014.
Stratford Festival 2014 attendance was 462,000, down from from 480,000 in 2013.
That is in part due to 2013’s spectacular rise in attendance. The 2013 season saw the biggest increase in attendance since 1999, rising 11%.
Why the Increase in 2013?
In March 2012 theatre critic Lynn Slotkin wrote that incoming Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino’s biggest challenge for the 2013 season “will not be filling the slippers of Des McAnuff.
“It will be to work to repair the damage done during McAnuff’s tenure. He will have to work to return the Festival to its reputation as a solid, respected classical theatre company.”
Cimolino’s 2014 King Lear, became one of the top-selling Shakespeares in the Festival’s history.
In 2014, overall sales to the works of William Shakespeare were up 24% over 2013, and 43 per cent over 2012.
There’s no doubt that Cimilino met the challenge and succeeded.
2013 marked the first year of The Forum and several marketing initiatives, including a 2-for-1 Tuesday ticket deal and the “Pre-Season Promise,” which guaranteed early ticket buyers the option to exchange their tickets at any point.
2013 also marked the launch of a private bus service from Toronto to Stratford.
Executive Director Anita Gaffney and Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino’s excellent work resulted in a 2013 season noted for its critically acclaimed playbill, a substantial increase in ticket sales, and a surplus of $1.4 million.
2014 Breadth of Shakespearean Exploration
The 2014 season will be remembered for its breadth of Shakespearean exploration, its bold leap into the digital world with Stratford Festival HD and achieving a sizable surplus.
Looking forward to 2015 one can’t help but hope the declining Canadian dollar will boost U.S. ticket sales.
3 Quick Facts
– The Festival raised $12.9 million towards its annual operating activities, as well as $1.2 million for Stratford Festival HD, for a total of $14.1 million, a 13.5% increase over the previous year.
– Contributions from government totalled $3.9 million, compared to $5 million the previous year.
– Forum attendance topped 30,000 for the 2014 season.
– Plans are in place for a Stratford cast recording of 2015’s Carousel.