The Shaw Festival Theatre receives $2.1 million in funding support from the Government of Canada
Marquee Tourism Events Program funding will assist Shaw Festival in creating greater visibility for Niagara tourism and Niagara-on-the-Lake packages
The announcement was made on behalf of the Government of Canada by the Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and MP for Niagara Falls at The Shaw's Royal George Theatre. Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and Board Chair Janet McKelvey spoke on behalf of the Festival and a performance by Shaw Festival Ensemble member Jay Turvey from The Shaw's production of Sunday in the Park with George concluded the celebration.
Funding from the Marquee Tourism Events Program (MTEP) must be used to support costs associated with new activities, programs or experiences that enhance a tourism event. In The Shaw's case, this funding will be used primarily to support marketing initiatives that will increase ticket sales.
The Shaw will launch an immediate and aggressive strategic marketing plan to turn the current sales trend around early. One of the marketing initiatives is "Great Theatre in the Heart of Niagara Wine Country", a fully integrated marketing project that leverages many partners in the Niagara Region (wineries, accommodation and fine dining) creating "Staycation" value-added Niagara-on-the-Lake packages to promote the experience of great theatre in a region rich in fine wine, fabulous dining experiences and award-winning accommodation. These and other funded activities will support and promote great theatre in the heart of Niagara wine country. The project deals not only with this year's needs, but also focuses strongly on initiatives to grow future audiences to levels that ensure sustainability.
A powerful economic force in the Niagara (and Ontario) economy, The Shaw's season lasts from April to the end of October, and critically affects the health of many industries that rely on Shaw visitors for this period. The Shaw believes it is vital to be in the market place more aggressively, for a longer period of time, and in more markets and this incremental marketing funding makes that possible.
In thanking the Government for its investment in The Shaw, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell spoke about the important role of theatre in times such as these: "We become more, not less necessary. We are here to explain, to distract, to clarify, to comfort, and to give the reasons why. We have been heartened by the incredible support of our donors who are coming to the fore to ensure we can continue to create work that is both challenging and entertaining. The Government of Canada's support of the Shaw Festival with this Marquee Tourism Events grant makes a critical contribution towards ensuring financial stability for both the Shaw Festival and tourism in the Niagara Region. Thank you for creating this innovative funding initiative."
The Shaw Festival is an internationally renowned theatre company, one of the pre-eminent theatre companies in North America, and one of the major performing arts organizations in Canada. Its Academy plays an important role in training future actors, directors, and designers – a major contribution to the health of theatre in Ontario and Canada. As well, The Shaw plays a vital part in the important tourism business of the Niagara Region as one of the most well known Niagara-on-the-Lake attractions, with an annual direct economic impact of over $80 million.
The Shaw Festival is just one of several of Canada's annual, world-class marquee tourism events that have been granted funding under the MTEP Summer 2009 funding stream. To find out more about 2009 Shaw Festival schedule, call locally 905-468-2172 or toll free 1-800-511-SHAW (7429) or visit www.shawfest.com.
About the Shaw Festival
Inspired by the brilliance, bravery, humanity and humour of George Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival is a crucible of progressive and provocative ideas, which illuminate our understanding of today's world. The Shaw's playbill, centred on the era of Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), covers a diversity of views that shine light on different worlds during a period of extraordinary shift. Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com for other Shaw Festival media releases.
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