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Fredericton Playhouse reports busy year

by on October 7, 2014

Fredericton’s premiere live venue, the Fredericton Playhouse, recorded another successful season in 2013-14, with high activity levels, an increase in fundraising and robust community outreach programs.

Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa delivered the non-profit organization’s results in its annual report to Fredericton City Council on Monday. In the report, the Playhouse reported a busy year with a total 201 days in use – including 145 public performances of 95 different offerings. A total of 65,348 tickets were issued.

The 2013-14 season included a successful Friends of the Fredericton Playhouse fundraising campaign, which raised $43,000 to support community programs – a 20 per cent increase over the previous season. The Playhouse introduced its new 150-seat backstage studio configuration and successfully hosted a number of shows in the intimate venue. The organization was also proud to report a successful year for the Arts are for Everyone program, which seeks to reduce barriers in participating in the performing arts by working in partnership with local agencies, including the Fredericton Food Centre and the Multicultural Association of Fredericton. In total, 378 individuals attended shows through the program.

“We had another very successful year,” explained Yerxa. “We are basically operating at capacity and our local market penetration is astonishing.” Yerxa revealed that 21 per cent of city households held a ticket to a Playhouse event last year. “And that doesn’t include the various free events, graduations or corporate activities we hosted,” he added.

Although the Fredericton Playhouse operates independently from the City of Fredericton, its mandate to manage and develop the City’s live performance venue is achieved through an operating partnership with the municipality. In his presentation, Yerxa explained that the City’s contribution towards the 50-year-old facility accounts for only 30 per cent of the organization’s budget. “The remainder of our funding comes directly through earned revenues and contributions from individuals and grants,” he said.

Patrick Flanagan, President of the Playhouse board, emphasized that infrastructure renewal remains the top priority for the organization. While the facility is being properly maintained and operating safely, the building is at the end of its useful life and needs to be refurbished or replaced. Currently, the Playhouse and the City are working on a study to find a solution that is attainable, sustainable and can meet community and regional goals. A needs assessment has been completed; the next stages will include the refinement of available development options, consultations with regional local governments, City and Playhouse leadership and the public, and an assessment of funding potential from various public and private sources.

“We remain committed to finding the right way forward in addressing our long-term infrastructure issue,” Flanagan said. “And we are very happy that the City of Fredericton shares this commitment with us.”

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