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Ontario Government Invests in the Shaw Theatre Festival

Funding to benefit entire Niagara Region and its tourist industry

Media Release #11

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, May 20, 2009…The Shaw Festival’s marketing initiatives received a boost today with an $800,000 investment from the Ontario Government.  Not only will the funding enhance The Shaw’s marketing strategies, it will also support the creation of new tourism experiences that will benefit the entire Niagara region.

Responding to the funding news, Colleen Blake, Executive Director of the Shaw Festival, said, “Ontario’s investment helps the Shaw Festival reach new audiences seeking outstanding cultural tourism experiences.  This support helps the Shaw Festival – one of North America’s most celebrated theatre companies – widen its awareness and that of the Niagara Region as a definite must-see destination.”

A portion of this welcomed investment in The Shaw, approximately $500,000, will be earmarked to support a marketing campaign aimed at key Canadian and U.S. markets, thereby attracting new audiences and increasing the number of visitors to The Shaw and the Niagara region.  The remaining $300,000, from the Ministry’s Celebrate Ontario Program, will be used to support a live concert headlined by Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman.  Entitled An Enchanted Evening, the concert will feature a selection of songs from The Shaw’s mandate and will be taped for broadcast on the Bravo! network.

The Ontario Government’s investment will have a ripple effect on the entire regional tourism economy by drawing new visitors, encouraging more overnight stays, and increasing tourism spending.  A recent survey indicates that every dollar spent at The Shaw translates into over $5 of spending within the Niagara Region.

The 2008 survey shows approximately 42,000 visitors or 24,000 out-of-town tourists are estimated to have attended one or more plays during the Shaw Festival’s season, spending approximately $37.7 million on tourism activities and services in Ontario, of which more than eighty percent or about $30.7 million was spent in the Regional Municipality of Niagara (Census Division 3526).  

The Shaw Theatre Festival’s attendance reached 281,000 in 2008; an increase of 6% over the previous year.  Visitors from Canada made up 59.3%, while 40.3% came from the U.S. and 0.4% from overseas.

 The Shaw Festival’s 24,000 out-of-town visitors spent approximately $32.2 million. This spending generated about $29.6 million in total economic activity (GDP) across the province. 

All jobs generated by visitors to the Shaw Festival yielded $19.1 million in wages and salaries province-wide in 2008.  At the height of the season, the Shaw Theatre Festival employs approximately 600 employees.


Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news 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. 2222

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224

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