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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/ 1/2009

Shakespeare Records a Surplus

By Jacqueline Trescott

Even with most arts groups still struggling to recover from the financial downturn, the Shakespeare Theatre Company reported Thursday that its financial status is turning around.

The theater received its audit this week for the fiscal year of August 2009 to July 2010 and ended up with a $400,000 surplus. "We came out of a difficult period. For the first two years that we operated the Harmon Center, we had planned deficits and in this third year we have a surplus," said Chris Jennings, the company's managing director.

Jennings said the current 2010/2011 season was starting off with additional good news.

"Candide," the current production, had broken a company record by bringing in the highest advanced sale of any show in Shakespeare's history. Previously "King Lear' in the 2008/2009 season held that record. "The show is 35 percent head of 'Lear' and is tracking 111 percent ahead of "Twelfth Night' from the 2008/2009 season," Jennings said.

The deficit gap was closed, said Jennings, with a strong box office, donors who maintained their level of giving and management steps to curtail spending. At the height of the recession the company trimmed the budget and laid off several employees. The current annual budget is $17.5 million.

Other shows sold well, said Jennings, including the performances of Henry V and Richard II under the Leadership Repertory program and the world premiere of David Ives' "The Liar."

The ticket sales offset the loss of $200,000 when 5 shows were cancelled because of the snowstorms. "Despite that we have been successful, even as the economy has not fully recovered," Jennings said.

By Jacqueline Trescott  | December 1, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Theater  | Tags:  Shakespeare Theatre Company  
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