Stratford Festival

55 Queen Street
Stratford, ON N5A 4M9
Executive Director: Anita Gaffney
Board Member: Carol Stephenson

Charitable Reg. #:11920 0103 RR0002


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) 89 cents are available for programs.

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About Stratford Festival:

Established in 1953, Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada (Stratford Festival) began with just two productions staged in a tent. In 2019 it featured 12 productions, including three William Shakespeare plays. The festival operates four venues in Stratford, Ontario, ranging in size from the 1,826-seat Festival Theatre down to the 72-seat Studio Theatre Annex. Stratford Festival’s vision is to foster active exploration of big ideas by engaging with the classics, reimagined for contemporary audiences.

Stratford Festival's 2019 Shakespeare productions include Othello, the Merry Wives of Windsor, and Henry VIII. Other productions include Billy Elliot, Little Shop of Horrors, the Crucible, and Nathan the Wise. Many famous actors have appeared at the Stratford Festival, including Julie Harris, William Petersen, Christopher Plummer, Sarah Polley, William Shatner, Peter Ustinov and Christopher Walken.

Stratford Festival offers numerous educational activities, including acting apprenticeships, assistant designer programs, and director programs. These activities allow artists to work with and learn from seasoned professionals. For a fee, youth in grades 1-12 can take place in the year-round Stratford Festival Theatre Arts Camp where they can develop theatrical skills collaboratively and experientially. Stratford Festival also offers Adult and Family camps. Public activities (some at no cost to participants) include post-show chats with actors and workshops lead by Festival teaching artists.

In January 2018, Stratford Festival launched a $100 million campaign to rebuild the Tom Patterson Theatre, which was originally built in 1906. This upgraded facility will allow the charity to expand its current educational programs and musical productions by increasing the theatre's seating capacity. Stratford Festival has currently reached 90% of it’s campaign goal of $100 million.

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Results and Impact

Ci could not find any publicly-available quantifiable results for Stratford Festival. 


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For the following financial analysis, Charity Intelligence has consolidated the financial statements for Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada and Stratford Shakespearean Festival Endowment Foundation.

Stratford Festival is one of Canada’s largest charities in donations, a Major 100, receiving donations of $27.5m in F2019. This is a 57% decrease from $43.1m in F2018. Stratford Festival’s performances generated $29.3m in F2019, representing 37% of total revenues. Administrative costs are 8% of total revenues and fundraising costs are 7% of donations. For every dollar donated to Stratford Festival, 86 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

The charity has funding reserves of $118.2m, which has been steadily increasing since F2013. Stratford Festival’s funding reserves can cover 24 months of annual program and granting costs. The endowment foundation holds $103.2m of the charity's funding reserves, but it is unclear how much of this is donor-endowed. 

This charity report is an update that has been sent to the Stratford Festival for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 23, 2020 by Eric Jose.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 6.6%5.6%7.5%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 4.8%4.4%8.1%
Total overhead spending 11.4%10.0%15.6%
Program cost coverage (%) 194.9%151.7%171.8%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 37,55443,11920,560
Government funding 4,4154,2433,203
Fees for service 39,15443,60138,451
Investment income 8,5082066,137
Total revenues 89,63191,16968,351
Program costs 54,26854,63351,720
Grants 6,38513,0842,663
Administrative costs 5,3635,0914,634
Fundraising costs 1,8091,9151,668
Total spending 67,82574,72360,685
Cash flow from operations 21,80716,4467,666
Capital spending 36,14620,2196,628
Funding reserves 118,199102,73993,432

Note: Ci had adjusted for non-governmental deferred contributions, increasing revenues by $10.0m in F2019, $5.6m in F2018, and $3.2m in F2017. Ci has adjusted for grants from the foundation to the festival, decreasing total revenues and expenses by $4.0m in F2019, $2.3m in F2018, and $3.7m in F2017. Ci included unrealized gains on investment in investment income, affecting total revenues by ($100k) in F2019, $13k in F2018, and $38k in F2017.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 136

Avg. Compensation: $78,699

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 F2018

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Charity Contact

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