|Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (February 5, 2016) — Earlier today, the Shaw Festival presented the artistic and financial results of the 2015 season before an audience of patrons, staff, board members and the public. While celebrating an artistically exemplary season, The Shaw’s new Executive Director Tim Jennings explained the financial challenges faced in 2015 and announced a 1.76 million dollar deficit.
Of the 2015 season, Mr. Jennings said, “While fundraising numbers, ancillary sales and attendance in our smaller three venues were all up, the 2015 season did result in a deficit due to lower than expected ticket sales on the Festival Theatre stage. The 2015 budget was aspirational, pushing forward a strategic agenda to increase numbers of patrons served – a worthy goal – however the summer was congested with other activities that distracted Toronto audiences and made for very difficult travel.”
While acknowledging the operating deficit, Kristian Knibutat, Treasurer of the Board of Governors, observed that “the Festival’s total assets have increased by 4.2 million dollars due to the purchase of the Anchorage property. This provides overall increased financial stability to the organization even in the wake of an operating deficit. While the Shaw Festival did not achieve the operating results we were targeting, we have finished the year with a strong balance sheet that positions us well for the future. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the outgoing Executive Director Elaine Calder for her leadership at The Shaw over the past four seasons and wish her well in her retirement.”
Chairman of the Board Andrew M. Pringle stated that “we believe attending The Shaw is a unique, powerful and highly enjoyable experience. This Festival is one of North America’s great cultural treasures – a treasure to be shared broadly. We want people to come to The Shaw and be provoked, excited and engaged. And the 2015 season did that – artistically it was a real triumph.”
“2015 was an extremely rich year as initiatives that we have been developing over time came to fruition in vital and creatively rewarding ways,” said Jackie Maxwell, Artistic Director. “The idea of setting aside a show specifically for family programming was put to the test with Peter and The Starcatcher, and the result was an unconditional success. We also saw two new pieces that had been in development make their world premieres: Erin Shields’ lean and forceful adaptation of Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea and Michel Marc Bouchard’s The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. These productions, plus Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures and Peter Hinton’s contemporary take on Pygmalion, were celebrated and praised by audiences and critics alike.”
The Shaw Festival’s 2016 season is on stage April 9 through October 16. The playbill features Alice in Wonderland, A Woman of No Importance, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Uncle Vanya, “Master Harold” …and the Boys, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, Our Town, Mrs Warren’s Profession, Engaged, and The Dance of Death. Tickets for the Shaw Festival’s 2016 Season are available through the Box Office at 1-800-511-7429 or online at www.shawfest.com.