Friday, May 24, 2024

How will the American Globe Center Make Money for Stratford?


By Tom Evans, AGC Executive Director

How will the American Globe Center Supplement Education in Stratford?

By Jim Warren, AGC Artistic Director

How will the American Globe Center Make Money for Stratford?

By Tom Evans, AGC Executive Director

Let me start by saying that I’m a finance guy. I’ve managed hundreds of millions of dollars in budgets for some of the largest finance brands in the industry. I would not even consider building this opportunity in our town if the numbers didn’t line up. The good news? They absolutely do.

In our progressively more post-Covid world, the arts are roaring back – 325,524 people visited the Stratford Festival in Ontario in 2022, and they are on pace to exceed that in 2023. The estimated economic impact to the town of Stratford, Ontario in 2022 – $87.9 MILLION.

How is that possible? Easy – the American Tourism Board states that for every $1 in ticket sales at a destination theatre, $5 -7 are spent on town businesses – restaurants, shops, lodging, and more. With an average ticket price of $45, Stratford Festival patrons spent between $250 – $300 at local businesses. Research shows that cultural and heritage tourists:

Spend more than other travelers ($623 vs. $457)

Are more likely to spend $1,000 (19% vs. 12%)

Are more likely to stay in a hotel, motel, or B&B (62% vs. 55%)

Take longer trips (5.2 nights vs. 3.4 nights)

The American Globe Center is built on a very similar model to the Stratford Festival, BUT also has the draw of seeing Shakespeare in its “natural” setting – on the stage of the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare’s Globe in London welcomes 1.25 million visitors per year. Our Globe will be built by the same craftsmen who built the London re-creation. Our Globe theatrical experience will be unparalleled and even bring the Shakespeare haters into the fold.

We will build it, and they will come.

And we’re not looking at this as a pie in the sky situation – we know we will need to build our audience, but we are confident that by our third year, we’ll be selling over 200,000 tickets annually and driving $40-50 Million into the Stratford and Fairfield County economies.

New businesses will flock to town – quaint, “New Englandy” shops and cafes. We’ll stop having empty storefronts and get out of the storage and auto-parts game. Stratford could become the type of town that WE leave Stratford to go vacation in. The success of the theatre will prompt new restaurants, boutique hotels, and B&B’s. Instead of a drive-by on the way to other places, we could become the preeminent destination on the CT coast. Accessible by plane, train, and automobile.

The opportunity is here, my friends – yes, there are concerns – how will we manage, traffic, parking, etc. If the town is thriving, and we’re all seeing increased income and property values as a result, then surely we can band together to find ways to solve those small problems.

Reaching into the past, and marrying it with the best of the present, will provide us with a new and prosperous future.



How will the American Globe Center Supplement Education in Stratford?

By Jim Warren, AGC Artistic Director


Like most communities, Stratford cares about its kids and their education, yet funding for schools everywhere continues to dwindle due to budget cuts. The American Globe Center (AGC) will be part of the solution by helping Stratford schools find new ways to engage and educate our students while pouring artistic tourism dollars back into the Stratford town budget.

The AGC will start its profound community engagement in the local schools where our impact will be felt immediately. Even before the AGC theatres open, AGC Education will send teaching artists into the local schools: first with performance-based, interactive workshops that include demonstrations with scenes.

The AGC performance style grounds itself on actor/audience connection, on demystifying the language that seems difficult in a book in a classroom; teaching artists will show students how much fun Shakespeare can be when they, the audience, get to be part of the world of the play.

Because we know that audience investment soars based on relatability to who they see onstage, IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access) will inform everything the AGC does. The teaching artist teams will include BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) actors so that EVERY student can see themselves reflected in the stories of Shakespeare and in the AGC artistic ensemble.

AGC Education will build such strong partnerships with schools and relationships with students that some adults in the Stratford community will first hear about the American Globe Center from their kids coming home from school talking about how cool Shakespeare is.

This first foray into the schools is part of the larger plan for the AGC to embrace the needs of our community so that locals feel like the Globe belongs to them; Shakespeare belongs to them; the Stratford Performing Arts & Education Center belongs to them. The Stratford community is the home team and the AGC Campus is home court. The grounds of the AGC include public park space for families to enjoy every day, even when they are not coming to a show. This portion of radical community engagement launches the goal of a whole generation of Stratfordians saying: I grew up on Shakespeare, and the 1614 Globe is one of my favorite places to hang out.

Our next story will be from Tom and focuses more on economic development – as Othello says, “Give me proof I can see with my own eyes…”. Tom will share the facts on how destination theater has impacted other towns and share the thoughts of the economic leaders in those communities. You can also learn more about those other successful towns at:

-proposal (Pages 9-14)




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