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Fredericton’s interest in the performing arts continues to grow

by on October 26, 2016
Photo by Stephen MacGillivray Photography & Video www.atwphoto.com

Photo by Stephen MacGillivray 

Earlier this month we delivered the Fredericton Playhouse’s annual report to Fredericton City Council. I’m pleased to say that, based on the statistics we tracked during our 2015-2016 season, Fredericton’s interest in the performing arts is continuing to grow.

Last season was a busy one, with the Playhouse in use 176 days, a nine per cent increase from the previous year. Attendance for ticketed events increased as well, rising 11 per cent over the previous season to 52,433.

Nearly a quarter of Fredericton residents attended the Playhouse in the past year – to be exact, 23 per cent of city households attended, up from 21 per cent in the year before. Of the 11,000 households that came to Playhouse events, 50 per cent of them reside in the City of Fredericton, while the remainder hails largely from surrounding communities.

We are thrilled to see these figures continue to rise – and these numbers don’t take into account the various free events, graduations and corporate activities held at the Playhouse, all of which bring even more people into the building.

Aside from strong attendance, the 2015-2016 season was a good year for our fundraising efforts. As a non-profit organization, the Playhouse runs a fundraising campaign called Friends of the Fredericton Playhouse each year, which successfully raised $52,000 last year. These funds are used to support community programs, including our Arts are for Everyone outreach efforts, Experience More! enrichment activities and our School Field Trips series. The Backstage Bash, our signature fundraising event, was also a success, raising $16,000.

I was pleased to report high levels of participation in our Arts are for Everyone program throughout the season. This program 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. A total of 439 individuals attended shows or activities through this program over the past year, thanks to the generosity of our donors.

While the Playhouse operates independently from the City of Fredericton, we do have an operating partnership with the municipality. This past season, the City’s contribution accounted for only 33 per cent of the Playhouse’s budget; the rest of our funding comes from earned revenues and contributions from individuals and grants.

Of course, the project to develop a new regional performing arts centre to replace the existing Playhouse remains a top priority. As Wayne Burley, president of the Playhouse board explained to council, last year Fredericton Playhouse Inc. completed an economic impact study that demonstrated the positive effect of a new performing arts centre on Fredericton’s economy. The organization also took steps toward procuring funding from all levels of government for the major infrastructure project, which has been identified as a regional priority by Regional Service Commission 11.

Mr. Burley noted that, in the year ahead, Fredericton Playhouse Inc. plans to move forward with site acquisition, funding confirmation and more engagement with the public on design and fundraising for the new building.

We also shared the results of a recent patron survey with council. The survey found that many respondents are looking forward to a new performing arts centre, and are anticipating the new facility will be larger, more comfortable and accessible, with expanded programming. Some patrons also expressed concerns about the building’s location, and said they want to ensure it will be built with a high quality of design to meet the community’s needs and aspirations for years to come. These concerns will certainly be addressed head-on as the project unfolds.

A separate survey commissioned by the Playhouse found that 81 per cent of Fredericton residents believe the Playhouse is important to the city’s quality of life, and 80 per cent believe the Playhouse is important to Fredericton’s health and economic vitality.

I believe that the Playhouse, and the performing arts as a whole, adds value to life in Fredericton, and I’m delighted to see other Fredericton residents agree with me – both through their survey responses, and by their continued and increased patronage and support of the Fredericton Playhouse.

Tim Yerxa is the Executive Director of the Fredericton Playhouse.

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3 Comments
  1. Joe Hoyt permalink

    I would like to see a financial report for the current fiscal year with a breakdown of all revenues, total expenses and showing a profit or surplus of funds at year end. The info. in the report obviously avoids this information.

    • Tim Yerxa permalink

      Joe,

      Thanks for the comment.

      We publish our annual reports, which include audited financial statements, here: http://www.theplayhouse.ca/annual-reports/

      Our 2015-16 report will be posted shortly after it is adopted at our annual general meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 24, 2016.

  2. Joe Hoyt permalink

    Thanks.

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