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Fredericton Playhouse reports busy year with increases in fundraising and community outreach

by on October 21, 2015

Fredericton’s premier live venue, the Fredericton Playhouse, recorded another successful season in 2014-15, with high activity levels, an increase in fundraising and greater participation in community outreach programs.

Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa delivered the non-profit organization’s results in its annual report to Fredericton City Council on Tuesday. In the report, the Playhouse reported a busy year with a total 161 days in use – including 123 performances of 83 different offerings. A total of 59,037 tickets were issued.

The 2014-15 season included a successful Friends of the Fredericton Playhouse fundraising campaign, which raised $50,000 to support community programs – a 16 per cent increase over the previous season. The Backstage Bash, the Playhouse’s signature fundraising event, raised an additional $18,000, an impressive 50 per cent increase over the 2014 event.

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, 439 individuals attended shows through the program, a 14 per cent increase over the previous season.

“We had another very successful year,” Yerxa said. “We are basically operating at capacity and the number of local households attending performances at the Playhouse is impressive.” Yerxa revealed that 21 per cent of city households held a ticket to a Playhouse event last year. “And that doesn’t take into account the various free events, graduations and 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 51-year-old facility accounts for only 36 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.

Wayne Burley, President of the Playhouse board, noted 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. In the 2014-15 season, the Playhouse and the City completed a feasibility study, which showed that a new downtown facility built to replace the existing Playhouse is the preferred way to move forward. The project has been declared a priority by the Regional Service Commission.

“We are continuing to make strides toward developing a new performing arts centre in Fredericton,” Burley said. “And we are very happy that the City of Fredericton shares this commitment with us.”

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