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The Shaw Festival receives $2.1 million in funding support from the Government of Canada

Media Release #8

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, April 27, 2009…Colleen Blake, Executive Director of the Shaw Festival, announced today that the theatre festival is receiving $2,131,860 million in funding through the Marquee Tourism Events Program (MTEP).

“The Shaw Festival is thrilled to receive this significant grant from the Government of Canada during this challenging economic time,” said Blake. “Not only will this funding assist the Shaw Festival in extending our marketing efforts to increase the visibility of our events both nationally and internationally by investing in building visitors now and in the future, but we are confident this injection of support will also have a positive economic impact for our community partners and the entire Niagara Region.”

The announcement was made on behalf of the Government of Canada by the Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and MP for Niagara Falls at The Shaw’s Royal George Theatre. Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and Board Chair Janet McKelvey spoke on behalf of the Festival and a performance by Shaw Festival Ensemble member Jay Turvey from The Shaw’s production of Sunday in the Park with George concluded the celebration. Funding from the Marquee Tourism Events Program (MTEP) must be used to support costs associated with new activities, programs or experiences that enhance a tourism event. In The Shaw’s case, this funding will be used primarily to support marketing initiatives that will increase ticket sales.

The Shaw will launch an immediate and aggressive strategic marketing plan to turn the current sales trend around early. One of the marketing initiatives is “Great Theatre in the Heart of Niagara Wine Country”, a fully integrated marketing project that leverages many partners in the Niagara Region (wineries, accommodation and fine dining) creating “Staycation” value-added packages to promote the experience of great theatre in a region rich in fine wine, fabulous dining experiences and award-winning accommodation. These and other funded activities will support and promote great theatre in the heart of Niagara wine country. The project deals not only with this year’s needs, but also focuses strongly on initiatives to grow future audiences to levels that ensures sustainability.

A powerful economic force in the Niagara (and Ontario) economy, The Shaw’s season lasts from April to the end of October, and critically affects the health of many industries that rely on Shaw visitors for this period. The Shaw believes it is vital to be in the market place more aggressively, for a longer period of time, and in more markets and this incremental marketing funding makes that possible.

In thanking the Government for its investment in The Shaw, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell spoke about the important role of theatre in times such as these: “We become more, not less necessary. We are here to explain, to distract, to clarify, to comfort, and to give the reasons why. We have been heartened by the incredible support of our donors who are coming to the fore to ensure we can continue to create work that is both challenging and entertaining. The Government of Canada’s support of the Shaw Festival with this Marquee Tourism Events grant makes a critical contribution towards ensuring financial stability for both the Shaw Festival and tourism in the Niagara Region. Thank you for creating this innovative funding initiative.”

The Shaw Festival is an internationally renowned theatre company, one of the pre-eminent theatre companies in North America, and one of the major performing arts organizations in Canada. Its Academy plays an important role in training future actors, directors, and designers – a major contribution to the health of theatre in Ontario and Canada. As well, The Shaw plays a vital part in the important tourism business of the Niagara Region, with an annual direct economic impact of over $80 million.

The Shaw Festival is just one of several of Canada’s annual, world-class marquee tourism events that have been granted funding under the MTEP Summer 2009 funding stream.


Please visit our website at news.shawfest.com for other Shaw Festival media releases.

For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:
Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 222

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