Shaw Festival’s fundraising efforts take center stage
After years of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, it seems theater fans’ hunger for live performance is back as the Shaw Festival organizers announced their best fundraising year yet.
Treasurer Greg Prince noted that it was the first time spectators have physically gathered in the lobby of the Festival Theater to hear the previous season’s financial results since March 2020. a record for the festival.
They also saw a $7,000 operating surplus for 2022, even though the season was “the most versatile and comprehensive” production to date.
“This year continued to be unpredictable and saw a dramatic increase in absenteeism and related staff coverage, so it’s encouraging to see any sort of excess,” said Prince.
The encouraging numbers were achieved through a combination of $13.54 million in ticket sales and earned income, a record-breaking $11.8 million in donations, $8.1 million in COVID-19 support and $2.2 million in grants from the provincial and federal arts council.
Despite the increase in absenteeism, Executive Director Tim Jennings expressed “deep satisfaction” with their ability to maintain employment and contracts for all 600 of their employees and performers during the pandemic.
But it wasn’t all good news. Prince also pointed to an accounting deficiency of $1.1 million, which he attributed to increasing depreciation charges, reducing the total accumulated surplus to $258,000.
He still called it “a really good result for an exceptional programmatic year”.
Artistic director Tim Carroll characterized the season as “incredibly ambitious” and said outdoor events were a big hit. He added that there is nothing like expressing their creativity and imagination in the physical presence of other people.
“Last year proved beyond any doubt that it makes our souls feel better. And it gave a tantalizing hint of what we could achieve if our vision for the next generation at The Shaw can be realized,” he said.
The festival presented 783 of the 811 scheduled performances in 2022, along with 17 separate productions and a concert series on five stages. They counted 170,803 audience members, 3,943 events and 60,903 participants in classes, workshops and activities.
Also on Friday, the festival announced the nominations of Mary Mizen, an active member of the Shaw Guild since 2014, and Gary Zalepa, a former City Councilman and lifelong resident of Niagara, to various positions. Mizen will serve on the Board of Directors and the Board of Directors as an ex officio member and Zalepa will join the latter Board.
Major presentations from last season were Gaslight and Damn Yankees. The 2023 season of the Shaw Festival will run until December 23 and will include productions such as Mahabharata, ‘Gypsy’ and Noël Coward’s ‘Blithe Spirit’.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION