Shaw Fest celebrates successful season

Nov 8, 2013

The Shaw Festival is celebrating a great season. It sold 271,000 tickets for the Niagara-on-the-Lake cultural attraction, the highest sales in its history.

Inside Shaw
Credit Photo from Shaw Festival Website

Ticket sales for the season, which ended on Sunday, were up ten percent for the year from 2012 to $16 million. Exactly what that does to Shaw finances isn't clear yet, with the books still being added up toward the festival's annual general meeting January 31.

Executive Director Elaine Calder tells WBFO News more and more Canadians are buying tickets with that increase pushing down the ratio of Americans in the seats.

Calder said exactly why people buy tickets is never really clear.

"You don't really know why. A couple of shows took off. Three shows took off right from the beginning...'Arcadia,' of course, but that's a really tiny theater...'Our Betters,' 'The Somerset Maugham' came right out of the gate and 'Lady Windermere,' especially. Once people started seeing it, they just loved it," said Calder.

Calder noted those shows benefited from the word-of-mouth that was so favorable.

For the 2014 season, Calder said there are a couple of advantages from a good year. They include a larger marketing base from which to pitch the shows and a larger group of people willing to go to Shaw productions.

The festival also benefits from years of persuading young people to attend shows who grow up to come back at full ticket price.