A New Vision for the Stratford Festival
In January 2016, the executive director of Canada's Stratford Festival, one of North America's largest repertory theatre companies, was considering the festival's long-term outlook and the role the organization played in the community. The 2015 season had been successful, and she would be able to report a small surplus to the board at the upcoming annual general meeting. But the long-term outlook wasn't as secure. Annual attendance had dropped below previous levels of more than 500,000, which was the attendance needed to ensure long-term operational sustainability. The festival had returned to its creative roots during a period when the Canadian dollar had been in decline, but it had not been enough to ensure that the organization would survive its next economic tempest. The festival needed a long-term, innovative strategy to generate sustainable growth and strengthen it sufficiently to weather future economic downturns and exchange rate fluctuations.