By Tom Evans, American Globe Center Executive Director
Best-selling author and renowned business speaker, Andy Andrews, shares that people need a two-step process to make a decision. Show them 1.) What’s In it For Me? And 2.) Show Irrefutable Proof.
In my first article, I shared what could be “in it” for Stratford. High yield economic development, more jobs, an improved tax roll, increased revenue for local businesses, and higher home values. Plus, education gains and a cultural renaissance for the town. So now, I’ll prove it.
Let me share the words of some the economic leaders of other towns that have a destination theatre:
Bill Hamilton, Director, Staunton, VA Economic Development Authority – “The jewel in the downtown crown is the American Shakespeare Center. Its 300-seat Blackfriars Playhouse is the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s original indoor theatre and features professional actors performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries 52 weeks a year. The ASC was a unique opportunity, and our city was willing to invest in it. And it has paid some very handsome dividends.(1)
Sheryl Wagner, Director of Tourism for the City of Staunton – “When communities invest in the arts, as Staunton has done, they are supporting jobs, generating government revenue, and promoting a healthy tourism economy. In 2000, before the Blackfriars Playhouse opened, the Economic Impact of Tourism in Staunton was $27 million. In 2017, the Economic Impact of Tourism was $56 million. That’s over a 100% increase in 17 years. You start to see more restaurants, shops, breweries, wine bars, and hotels. This is what the arts have built in our community. (2)
Ashland, Oregon – “The Oregon Shakespeare Festival began in 1893…the festival now brings in an audience of 100,000 annually and has a budget of $32 million; its economic impact on the area is over $85,000,000. The Festival is one of the key elements in the city’s success in tourism and recreation. (3)
Stratford, Ontario – Kate Taylor, writer, The Globe and Mail “From the first, the Stratford Festival was conceived as an economic development project. As such, it has been a giant success.(4)
“It’s easy to forget what an incredible leap forward we took in 2022,” said [Stratford Artistic Director Antoni] Cimolino. The entire 2022 season is estimated to have generated an economic impact of $87.9 million. (5)
My friends, this is a small sampling of the proof. We have an opportunity in front of us, and thinking small could be the difference between “more of the same” or something truly beneficial to the growth of Stratford.
We understand that our growth relies on drawing our culture tourists in with amazing content. Jim was the man behind the American Globe Center referenced above. He has already put the small town of Staunton, VA (half the size of Stratford) on the map. In next week’s piece, Jim will discuss why people will choose the AGC as their destination. For a preview, check out https://americanglobecenter.org/agc-shakespeare-style
1 – http://www.virginialiving.com/culture/shining-city-on-a-hill/
2 – https://americanshakespearecenter.com/2018/11/the-asc-welcomes-the-governors-summit-on-rural-prosperity-to-blackfriars-playhouse/
3 – Peter Karl Kresl, Danielle Ietri, Smaller Cities in a World of Competitiveness, 2016
4 – https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/stage-struck/article18424617/
5 – https://www.stage-door.com/3/news/2023-News/Entries/2023/4/stratford-stratford-festival-posts-a-modest-surplus-for-2022.html