Shaw Festival Theatre

10 Queen's Parade, Box 774
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
Executive Director: Tim Jennings
Board Chair: Peter E.S. Jewett

Charitable Reg. #:11914 7882 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 3/5]


Most recent Audited financial statements available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 64 cents are available for programs.

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About Shaw Festival Theatre:

Shaw Festival Theatre is a 3-star charity. It has a C+ results reporting grade. For every dollar donated to the charity, 64 cents go to the cause, which is outside of CI's reasonable range. 

Founded in 1962, Shaw Festival Theatre, named after Bernard Shaw, produces and performs plays in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Its performance season runs from February to December. Shaw’s main productions are located at four different venues: the Festival Theatre, Royal George Theatre, the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre, and outdoor/community stages.

In F2022, Shaw ran 17 unique plays, completing a total of 783 live performances. The Festival Theatre hosted the most events (237), followed by Royal George Theatre (268), Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre (169), and outdoor/community stages (109). Shaw reports that 170,803 people attended its performances in F2022. The Festival Theatre received over half the total attendance, reaching 100,766 attendees in F2022.

Outside of live performances, Shaw Festival Theatre engages in education and outreach activities. The Slaight Family Academy trains and develops aspiring actors. The Neil Munro Intern Directors Program grants internships to two aspiring directors each year. Shaw also hosts events to connect the public, teachers, and youth with the arts. In F2022, 3,943 events and classes were given. These events reached a total of 60,903 people.

Shaw Festival Theatre has two associated foundations. The Shaw Festival Theatre Endowment Foundation receives Canadian donations, while Shaw Festival Foundation is located in Buffalo (New York) and receives American donations. Both foundations grant money to the Shaw Festival Theatre.

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Results and Impact

Shaw Festival Theatre ran a community economic impact analysis. The charity reports that customers who visit the area for a show stay for a few days to tour the town. Its audience also spends on accommodations, dining, and retail within the local community. Shaw states that each year, it impacts Ontario’s tourism economy by over $220m. From a different perspective, an average of over $7 is spent locally for each dollar spent with the theatre, Shaw reports. 

On its annual report, Shaw Festival Theatre highlighted 13 positive reviews for its performances from credible news sources. Four of these reviews were from The Globe and Mail and the New York Times. 

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Shaw Festival Theatre’s results and impact.

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Ci consolidated Shaw Festival Theatre with its associated Endowment Foundation in the financial analysis. Transfers from the Endowment Foundation to the theatre are not included.

Shaw Festival Theatre is a large charity with donations of $8.7m in F2022. Administrative costs are 9% of revenues and fundraising costs are 27% of donations. For every dollar donated to the charity, 64 cents go to the cause, which is outside Ci's reasonable range for overhead spend. In F2022, the charity received $1.5m from Shaw Festival Foundation (US), which is included in international donations.

Shaw Festival Theatre and its associated Endowment Foundation have reserve funds of $32.2m, of which $31.9m is donor endowed. The charity’s reserve funds can cover 108%, or 13 months of its annual program costs. The charity's reserve funds excluding donor-endowed funds can cover only 1% of its annual program costs. 

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Shaw Festival Theatre. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on May 29, 2023 by Liam Chapleau.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.4%11.2%14.9%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 26.9%18.7%20.1%
Total overhead spending 36.3%29.9%35.0%
Program cost coverage (%) 1.2%16.1%(3.2%)

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 8,7007,8026,491
Government funding 10,28710,17016,399
Fees for service 15,9946,6893,113
Investment income (1,533)4,4482,260
Other income 8394,708229
Total revenues 34,28633,81728,492
Program costs 29,64319,71016,916
Administrative costs 3,4963,3794,053
Fundraising costs 2,3391,4611,306
Other costs 233222209
Total spending 35,71024,77322,485
Cash flow from operations (1,424)9,0446,008
Capital spending 2,972779711
Funding reserves 32,21133,63028,050

Note: Shaw Festival Theatre had $2.5m in deferred revenue in F2022, $2.8m in F2021. The entirety of deferred revenues came from business activities, either ticket sales or ancillary, this was adjusted in the financials. Shaw had $494k in deferred contributions in F2022 and $229k in F2021. It was unclear if this was donor or government funded revenue, as such this was included in other income. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 135

Avg. compensation: $54,795

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2021

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

No comments have been added by the charity.

Charity Contact

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Tel: 905-468-2172


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001