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Fredericton Playhouse Reports Record Year: Facility Use, Numbers of Performance and Attendance Reach All-Time High

by on October 5, 2010

In its annual report to Fredericton City Council, the Fredericton Playhouse reported one of its best years since the facility came under its current management 10 years ago. Tim Yerxa, Executive Director of the city’s major performing arts venue, outlined the 2009-10 season results to councilors last night, reporting that 110 different productions were offered; totaling 148 performances over the period. Total attendance increased by 7% to 71,723, smashing previous box office records.

“It was no doubt, one of our best years ever,” said Yerxa. “In times when many organizations are struggling with economic downturns and increasing competition for peoples’ entertainment time and dollars, we have succeeded in engaging the public in a diverse offering of performances.”

In addition to posting good numbers, Yerxa reported a number of new initiatives the non-profit organization undertook last year. Most notably, the introduction of summer programming by partnering with Theatre New Brunswick to present the world premiere production of The Bricklin to sold-out houses. The musical was commissioned by the Playhouse as a 2009 Cultural Capitals of Canada project.

Yerxa also outlined the growth of the Playhouse’s education and outreach programs, which are supported largely by private donation through its Friends of the Fredericton Playhouse program. Through its school programs and community outreach work, the Playhouse offered subsidized and complimentary tickets to individuals and families who have economic or social barrier to participation.

“We are here for everyone,” says Yerxa, “and sometimes we need to give people a hand so that they can experience the magic of live performance.”

Looking ahead, the Playhouse outlined its current season’s plans including its flagship Spotlight Series, which brings in national and international productions in music, dance, and theatre; as well as its intention to remount The Bricklin next summer.

Yerxa said that, although the construction of the new Fredericton Convention Centre has been challenging for the Playhouse (citing traffic, loss of parking, and general disruptions to its business), the venue is likely to benefit greatly by the project once it opens in early 2011.

Looking to the future, City Council was asked to consider a long-term plan for the Playhouse in the context of municipal cultural infrastructure. Considering the high levels of activity the facility has achieved, the Playhouse expects that future growth may be difficult to achieve with its current physical limitations.

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