TORONTO – The Stratford Festival says it achieved a “moderate surplus” in its 2022 finances after hosting its first fully indoor season since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The southwestern Ontario theatre company held its annual meeting on Saturday and reported total revenues of $66.2 million for the year, with a surplus of $638,711 after expenses.
The results, credited to strong ticket sales, donors and government support, improved on a 2021 surplus of $553,058 during a smaller, mostly outdoor season.
Stratford Festival organizers say the 2022 lineup — which included performances of “Hamlet,” “Chicago” and “The Miser” — attracted nearly 326,000 theatregoers, which was slightly above its target of 320,000.
About 25 per cent of those ticketholders were newcomers to its theatres, an increase from 18 per cent in the pre-pandemic 2019 season.
Spokeswoman Ann Swerdfager told The Canadian Press that leaders at the festival hope to build on that momentum with more inclusive productions that appeal to Black and Indigenous audiences.
She says as the government’s COVID-19 support wraps up, the festival also intends to focus on marketing Stratford, Ont. as a tourist destination. Some of those efforts will go towards drawing former patrons back, particularly U.S. theatregoers who’ve proven less likely to travel north of the border in recent years.
Stratford’s 2023 season kicks off mid-April with “King Lear,’’ followed by 12 other plays running through October, including the rock opera ”Rent’’ and the Arthurian comedy “Monty Python’s Spamalot.’’
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2023.
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