Stage Door News

Stratford: FedDev invests $10 million in the Stratford Festival

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada (Stratford Festival) is an annual, multi-stage festival that runs from April to November. As Canada’s largest theatre festival, it welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists to Stratford each year. Showcasing everything from classical to contemporary plays, with an emphasis on Shakespeare, this festival is an important economic driver for the region. Its cancellation in 2020 and shortened season in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant loss of revenue for the local Stratford economy. The Government of Canada is committed to revitalizing major events and festivals and the hard-hit tourism industry, while strengthening communities and local economies.

Today, the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a non-repayable investment of more than $11.3 million to support the recovery and future growth of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada, and seven tourism and community infrastructure projects in the region.

An investment of $10 million for the Stratford Festival, provided through the Major Events and Festivals Support Initiative (MFESI), is enabling the Festival to recover from the impacts of the past two years and return to its pre-pandemic scale, positioning it for strong and resilient growth. As a result of this investment, the Stratford Festival will operate at four indoor venues, extend its season and produce a total of 10 plays, five of which are funded through this investment. This support will result in positive economic impacts for the Stratford-area tourism and hospitality sectors.

In addition, over $1.3 million, through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) and the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) was announced for seven projects that will enhance community infrastructure or help tourism entities and communities safely welcome back visitors in the Stratford area, including The Little Prince Cinema, who received nearly $100,000 to expand operations to establish a new microcinema facility, which will include two screening rooms.

Quick facts

• Founded in 1953, the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada generates over $140 million in economic activity each year for Stratford and the surrounding areas.

• The Little Prince Cinema was designed and built in 2019 by Leigh Cooney, alongside several friends, family members, filmmakers, artists, and the local community. The cinema holds the world record as the smallest cinema and operates as a social enterprise, with a community-before-profits model.

• With a national budget of $200 million over two years, the Major Events and Festivals Support Initiative (MFESI) supports major Canadian festivals and events that have been hit hard by the economic impacts of COVID-19 to adapt and enhance their activities as the economy recovers. The program is delivered in southern Ontario by FedDev Ontario.

• The Government of Canada’s $500-million Tourism Relief Fund is helping tourism-oriented businesses and organizations recover from the pandemic and prepare for future growth, with a minimum of $50 million of the Fund allocated to supporting Indigenous-led projects or Indigenous focussed projects. FedDev Ontario is delivering nearly $120 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario.

• With a national investment of $500 million over two years, the Canada Community Revitalization Fund supports projects that build new community infrastructure and revitalize existing assets, bring people back to public spaces safely and stimulate local economies. This includes $139 million for projects in southern Ontario, delivered by FedDev Ontario.

• Since 2015, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has invested almost $19 million in 20 projects in Stratford, that are estimated to create and maintain over 2,500 jobs. This builds on previous $370,000 in FedDev Ontario support for the Stratford Festival.

Photo: Dr. Helena Jaczek. © 2022.