Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Canada's Stratford Festival Posts 2.6m Deficit

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is appealing to government for financial support to help it through the recession. The Stratford, Ont., festival revealed that it had suffered a $2.6-million deficit in 2008 despite a program featuring Christopher Plummer in George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra. The loss last year was the company’s first since a three-year streak from 1991 to ’93. Attendance dropped by 4% to 534,000 in 2008. Though sales to Canadians were up by 2%, many Americans skipped Stratford, tipping the company into the red and forcing it to reach into its $5.6-million stability fund, which was set up for weathering recessions. Though some will remember a Stratford season that included Caesar and Cleopatra, a Hughie / Krapp’s Last Tape double bill and The Music Man, others will recall the collapse of a triumvirate of co-artistic directors last March. Marti Maraden and Don Shipley resigned before the season had even started, leaving Des McAnuff standing alone.

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