A funny thing happened on the way to going broke

It’s a notoriously long-running play about the theatre group that never makes money. But not for the Avon, at least, not this time around.

Bruce Dow as Pseudolus

STRATFORD, Ont. — It’s a notoriously long-running play about the theatre group that never makes money.

But not for the Avon, at least, not this time around.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival says it has seen a “dramatic turnaround” at the box office and is poised to end the year in the black.

The renowned theatre festival in southwestern Ontario closed its 2009 season last weekend with sold-out performances of West Side Story and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Those were two of the 30 performances the festival had initially put hold in April due to the slumping economy but later reinstated.

Festival officials says ticket sales “rebounded dramatically” since the spring due to positive reviews, word of mouth and a boost in marketing funds from the federal and provincial governments.

The festival says it sold more than 509,000 tickets this year, which is still lower than the attendance of 534,000 it reported last year.

Still, general director Antoni Cimolino says they “are on target to end the year in the black.”

“It is important to note that November and December are crucial months in our fundraising campaign,” he said in a release.

“A significant amount of money is still to come in and, frankly, we are reliant on these donors to ensure a balanced financial position.”

In March, the festival announced it had declared a $2.6 million deficit for the fiscal period ending Dec. 31, 2008, and a four per cent decline in attendance over the year before.

But executives said the entire deficit amount was offset by a stability fund.

And after a slump in advance ticket sales for this season, the federal and provincial governments provided the festival with funding for marketing totaling more than $3.5 million.

The 2010 season begins April 10 and includes The Tempest, starring Christopher Plummer, and Peter Pan and King of Thieves, starring Sean Cullen.

Just Posted

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect in indecent acts

Red Deer RCMP are looking for a man believed to be responsible… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

New vacuum needed: Calgary family adopts three bonded St. Bernard buddies

EDMONTON — Three adult St. Bernards who couldn’t be separated because they’re… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Most Read