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:

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Audited financial statements for current and previous years 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:

Founded in 1962, Shaw Festival Theatre (SF) operates in Niagara-on-the-Lake and produces plays written during or about the period of Bernard Shaw’s lifetime (1856-1950). Shaw was a famed playwright who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926. Shaw Festival Theatre's annual performance season runs from April to October. Besides its theatre productions, SF runs programs through The Slaight Family Academy. Such programs include professional training, play development, publishing and public education. In 2017, Shaw Festival Theatre introduced Secret Theatre, a program where people pay to watch surprise performances at unique places.

Production and artistic costs made up 68% of program costs in F2016. Shaw Festival Theatre has four stages in Niagara-on-the-Lake for its productions: Festival Theatre has 856 seats, Court House Theatre has 327 seats, Royal George Theatre has 313 seats, and Studio Theatre has 250 seats. SF ran 11 productions in F2016 and total attendance was 237,471 – 68% of attendees were from Canada, 32% were from the USA, and 1% were from overseas. The charity ran 209 performances at Festival Theatre, 143 at Court House Theatre, 262 at Royal George Theatre, 35 at Studio Theatre, and 26 at tours and outside venues during the year.

Of the remaining 32% of program costs in F2016, marketing and sales costs made up 19%, facilities costs made up 8%, and ancillary activities made up 5%.  

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

Shaw Festival Theatre is a big-cap charity with donations of $7.9m in F2016. Administrative costs are 14% of revenues and fundraising costs are 22% of donations. Per dollar donated to the charity, $0.64 goes towards its productions, which falls outside Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Total donations included a $1.0m grant SFT received from Shaw Festival Foundation, which is an American charity. When this grant is excluded from donations, SF’s fundraising cost ratio rises to 25%.

Shaw Festival Theatre and its associated Endowment Foundation hold net funding reserves of $19.0m, consisting of cash and investments less interest-bearing debts held by SF. The Endowment Foundation’s endowment fund is $24.4m, which exceeds net funding reserves. Between the two entities, there are insufficient non-endowment funding reserves to cover annual program costs, indicating a significant funding need.

This charity report is an update that is currently being reviewed by Shaw Festival Theatre. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 25, 2017 by Katie Khodawandi.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending November
Administrative costs as % of revenues 14.0%13.3%11.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 22.1%26.5%28.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 84.8%85.1%115.7%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 7,8696,9876,750
Goods in kind 256044
Government funding 2,7612,6192,403
Fees for service 17,15316,85519,074
Investment income 2,2547151,864
Other income 00575
Total revenues 30,06227,23730,709
Program costs 22,41122,76722,371
Administrative costs 3,8813,5313,246
Fundraising costs 1,7391,8501,896
Other costs 1337412
Cash flow from operations 1,898(985)3,184
Funding reserves 18,99419,37625,885

Note: Ci did not report transfers of $1.0m in F2016, $1.0m in F2015 and $882k in F2014 between the theatre and the endowment foundation. Ci adjusted for changes in deferred capital contributions, decreasing revenues by $505k in F2016, $458k in F2015 and $383k in F2014. Ci reported contributions received for capital asset purchases in donations, increasing revenues by $29k in F2016 and $116k in F2015. Ci reported contributions received for land purchases in donations, increasing revenue by $500k in F2016 (Ci did not report the amount received in F2014 because it came from the endowment foundation). Other revenue of $575k in F2014 represents an unusual gain following the write-off of an interest expense.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 106

Avg. Compensation $49,629

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 F2016

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