Fredericton continues to enjoy a busy Playhouse
The Fredericton Playhouse continues to enjoy a high activity level and broad participation by the community despite operating in what it calls a “challenging consumer environment”.
In its annual report to Fredericton City Council last night, Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa outlined the results of the City’s premiere performance venue’s 2011-12 season. The 709-seat Playhouse hosted 153 performances on its main stage and averaged 58% audience capacity. A total of 62,665 people attended ticketed performances in addition to school matinees, free events and corporate and institutional events such as college graduations.
City Council was advised that more than one in four Fredericton households held tickets to at least one Playhouse event last year. City residents account for 46% of the patrons The Playhouse is serving, with outlying areas accounting for the lion’s share of the remaining 54%.
“That’s an astonishing number,” says Yerxa. “I think you would be hard pressed to find another Canadian city that embraces its main live performance venue as much as Fredericton does. We continue to punch well above our weight when it comes to the arts and cultural participation.”
The Playhouse was in use 221 days last season – a number that reflects a facility near or at its capacity.
Playhouse Board President Kim Hill took time in the presentation to outline how the non-profit organization provides essential facilities and services for local, regional, and national producers and promoters. In addition to hosting performances for others, The Playhouse also delivers a number of its own programs including its flagship Spotlight Series as well as a number of special programs aimed at providing community accessibility to the performing arts and educational programs for the public. Funding for these programs comes in large part from local sponsors and donors.
Looking to the future, Hill highlighted the organization’s long-term priorities including the need to deal with the fact that a 2007 study indicated that the aging venue has reached the end of its useful life and will require a major refurbishment or be replaced.
Hill reinforced the Playhouse’s board’s commitment: “We remain committed to working toward a solution and we are prepared to continue to partner with the City to follow the best course of action so that we can continue to provide Fredericton residents with the world-class facilities, service, and programs they have come to expect from us.”