A healthier economy, quality productions and continuity at the helm of both festivals have contributed to record-breaking seasons for the Stratford and Shaw Festival.
Richard Monette is moving into his fifth season as Stratford's artistic director, while Christopher Newton has now been at the Shaw for 18 seasons, half the festival's lifetime.
In an end-of-season statement, Stratford's general manager Mary Hofstetter, praised Richard Monette's flair for choosing artists and repertoire, as well as his direction of this year of this year's musical, Camelot. Hofstetter also noted that for the first time ever, all four productions at the Tom Patterson Theatre were extended by two weeks and that Camelot drew larger audiences than any other musical in the festival's history.
The Shaw's general manager Colleen Blake, attributes the results to the Shaw's continuing high artistic standards, a season of plays that delighted both audiences and critics alike, as well as economic confidence on the part of festival patrons. She adds that the 1997 season puts the festival into a financially stable position.
The final box office figure for Stratford's 45th season, which closed November 9th, was $21,889,836, the highest in the festival's history. Total attendance, the highest since 1988, was 504,707, representing 70.9% of capacity. The Shaw Festival claims a paid attendance of 308,000, which represents 78.7% of capacity for the 575 performances. Ticket revenue topped the $11 million mark for the first time in the Shaw's history.
For information on the Shaw Festival's season call: 1-800-511-7429.
For information on the Stratford Festival's season call: 1-800-567-1600.
--By Mira Friedlander