After 60 performances under the stars in High Park, Canadian Stage's 30th-anniversary production of A Midsummer Night's Dream set an all-time high attendance record with close to 30,000 audience members visiting the High Park Amphitheatre to see the show. The 2012 production also holds the highest-ever single night attendance for the venue, with 1,268 audience members on the hill for the closing night performance on September 2.
"Shakespeare in High Park is an incredible, long-standing summer tradition in the city," said Matthew Jocelyn, Canadian Stage Artistic & General Director. "Richard Rose's delightful Toronto-inspired production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was the perfect way to celebrate 30 years of outdoor summer theatre with a creative, local touch. We are so fortunate to have worked with an exceedingly talented cast, crew and company to keep the magic alive on the Amphitheatre hill night after night."
The annual pay-what-you-can presentation exceeded box office revenue targets by 10 per cent. With six rain cancellations over the course of the summer and a smaller totAl Hill capacity than in previous years (due to the addition of a centre aisle and other staging requirements), this year's total attendance figure of 29,839 tops the previous record high of 29,582 attendees, set in 2007, when A Midsummer Night's Dream was also presented. During the summer of 2007, there were four cancellations due to rain and the highest single night attendance was 1,251.
For the first time, Canadian Stage opened a satellite box office on site, offering a special High Park subscription package featuring four productions from the 2012.13 theatre season. This initiative generated more than $15,000 in subscription revenue and will introduce new audience members to the company's year-round theatre.
With rave reviews from media and word-of-mouth buzz from audiences driving Canadian Stage's marketing initiatives, this summer's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream engaged audiences in a new way, with special VIP guests on stage each evening and a walk-on role for an unsuspecting audience member. Notable on-stage guests this summer included director Richard Rose; Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall) as Queen Elizabeth; Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport; Councillor Mike Layton; Councillor Gary Craword; dancer Peggy Baker; and many more.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's mischievous and playful comedy, has been the most popular and most produced of Shakespeare's plays for Canadian Stage in High Park, with seven previous productions (including a 25th-anniversary production). The 30th-anniversary production marks the eighth time this audience favourite has been presented by Canadian Stage. One of Toronto's favourite summer traditions for 30 years, Shakespeare in High Park is the oldest annual outdoor theatre event in the country with an estimated total attendance of more than 1.3 million people.
Subscription packages and single tickets are now on sale for Canadian Stage's 2012.13 25th-anniversary season, with a buy-one, get-one ticket offer for single tickets available with the code BOGO until Saturday, September 15. For details, visitwww.canadianstage.com or call 416.368.3110.
Shakespeare in High Park Volunteer Program Sponsor: Manulife Financial
About Canadian Stage:
Founded in 1987 with the merger of CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre, Canadian Stage is one of Canada's leading not-for-profit Contemporary Theatre companies. Under the direction of Artistic & General Director, Matthew Jocelyn, the company presents multidisciplinary theatre with a focus on emerging performance styles that integrate theatre with other artistic mediums such as dance, film, visual arts and more. Sharing innovative and vibrant theatre from Canada and around the world, the company stages an annual season of work at three major venues (the Bluma Appel Theatre, the Berkeley Street Theatre and the High Park Amphitheatre) and runs a series of artist development and education initiatives, as well as youth and community outreach programs.