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Shaw Festival Eliminates Accumulated Deficit

Media Release #2 

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, January 29, 2010… Members of the Shaw Festival Theatre Foundation, Canada, gathered at the Festival Theatre today to celebrate the 2009 season and to receive the annual reports of the officers. 

Keith Mosley, Treasurer of the Board of Governors, reviewed the Shaw Festival’s financial position and officially declared that The Shaw has eliminated their accumulated deficit, thanks in large part to a remarkable bequest from long-time Shaw Festival patron Mona Campbell. The Shaw Festival has been in a deficit situation for the past five years. 

In accepting Mr. Mosley’s report, Executive Director Colleen Blake stated: “Prudent budgeting and cost-savings during the 2009 season, buoyed by significant bequests and gifts, helped us to weather these turbulent economic times. We look forward to 2010 and to our 50th Season in 2011 from a positive financial position and with a strong new Strategic Plan.” 

Mr. Mosley’s report also included details pertaining to the 2009 audited statements.  He noted the unfortunate timing of a global economic meltdown which coincided with the early ordering period for Shaw Members in the fall of 2008. Despite this relatively slow start, sales began to climb once productions began previewing. Significant marketing grants from both the Federal and Provincial governments to the Ontario theatre also aided in a major increase in sales. Annual revenues from all sources were $25.86 million, with expenses of $24.10 million, resulting in a surplus of $1.76 million. The 2009 revenue came from box office (57%) fundraising (31%), government grants (7%) and other revenues (5%).  Mr. Mosley also noted that the Shaw Festival Endowment Foundation now manages investments of almost $18 million. 

In remarking on her first season as Board Chair, Janet McKelvey praised The Shaw Company for their unparalleled quality of productions and applauded Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell’s leadership and programming.  She went on to thank the late Mona Campbell for her philanthropic leadership and to acknowledge the generosity of the Slaight Family for their commitment to expanding the activities of the Academy – the largest gift in The Shaw’s history. 

Reflecting on the 2009 season, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell remarked on the Festival’s glorious Nöel Coward celebration and went on to note:  “2009 saw us matching external challenges with bravery, artistry and vision. With an expanded Slaight Family Academy and another rich, provocative playbill, we look forward to a 2010 season that will clarify and contextualize the madness with as much wit and verve as Shaw would have himself.”

Highlights of a recent Economic Impact Study conducted by Enigma Research were also revealed at this meeting.  Among the many points, it was noted that: 

  • Total economic impact of the Shaw Festival is estimated at $76.6 million annually
  • The Shaw Festival attracts an estimated 78,300 tourists throughout the season, nearly half travelling from outside Canada
  • The Shaw Festival supports hundreds of jobs –  an equivalent of 1150 year-round  jobs in the Niagara Region – and also supports $20.9 million in tax revenue at all levels of government
  • Of the Festival attendees surveyed, 100% of respondents rated their experience as excellent or good.

These important findings, combined with a three-year Strategic Plan developed by the Shaw Festival Board and Senior Management, put The Shaw in a positive position as we approach our 50th Anniversary season in 2011.

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In the spirit of George Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. Financial statements and further information may be obtained by contacting:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222
odette@shawfest.com

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Co-ordinator
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224
janand@shawfest.com

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