The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 23

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How do you deal with it?
We've tried to diversify, to bring in some revenue by renting
space in the off-season; the newer part of our building has the
potential for weddings and parties. The theatre itself we rent
to musical producers. That all helps.
There's also a significant piece of fundraising that has to
happen. We do 50/50 draws, bingo, and we try to team up with
local corporate and merchant sponsors as much as possible.
We have a membership campaign. People contribute because
they want to support the theatre; they feel it's good for the village.
What about raising ticket prices?
We do that periodically, but we are pretty careful, and we
do a lot of research before we do it. We want to make sure
we are in the middle of the pack in that regard, and we are
middle-to-low-end in ticket prices.
This year we increased our prices by just $1 a ticket.
What kind of marketing do you do?
Joining OMCA is the major change we've made; this is the
first season we've been members. We attended Marketplace in
Toronto last fall, and it will be interesting to see at the end of
the season if it's had any impact.
Do you use social media in your marketing?
We do use social media, particularly of late, as Denise Lunn,
our marketing person, is keen on it. At this point, we
primarily use Facebook with boosts.
We do our best to drive patrons to the website, since online
purchasing eases the traffic at the box office and helps to
improve our customer service in that area.
■

65

this year will be a musical revue, Across the Pond, which
focuses on the music of the British invasion in the late
1960s. Other shows include Halfway There by Norm Foster;
Buying the Farm by Stephen Sparks and Shelley Hoffman;
Book Club by Kristen da Silva; and Sunshine Express
by Sarah Quick.
"Because this is summer fare, it's primarily comedic. The
challenge is finding four shows within that programming
niche that are different enough to provide four unique
experiences for our audiences," Joynes added.
The Port Stanley Festival Theatre draws most of its visitors
from Canada, but it does have a few patrons from the United
States who sail across Lake Erie every year to see the plays.
The theatre welcomes motor coach tours and offers ticket
discounts for groups of more than 10 people.
Whether they come by personal vehicle, boat or motor
coach, visitors will enjoy exploring the village of Port Stanley,
which is just 35 minutes away from the south part of the city
of London, Joynes said.
"This is still a working fishing village, so it has a different
feel than some other places along the lake, which are much
more French fries, hamburgers and fast food," he explained.
The town is easier to navigate than busier cities and has some
outstanding upscale restaurants and galleries.
"This is also a very interesting area in terms of
agriculture and food. It's one of the largest areas for many
fruits and vegetables, and there's a big development in
craft breweries, vineyards and wineries along the north
shore," Joynes added.
People who have avoided visiting Lake Erie because they
remember the pollution from decades ago should come and
see how the area has changed. "The turnaround in the last
20 years has been amazing. It's a very clean lake now and
there are many things happening along the northern shore,"
said Joynes.
The Port Stanley Festival Theatre, with its intimate,
remodeled theatre and its focus on Canadian productions, is a
key component of this hidden gem of a destination. "We're not
huge, and that is the attraction," Joynes said.

SHOP OUR BRANDS

Simon Joynes, Artistic Director
Port Stanley Festival Theatre

The Road Explorer: What's the biggest challenge for
your theatre?
Simon Joynes: The problem is diversifying our revenue
streams sufficiently. We live or die by the box office. We get
some operating money from the Ontario Arts Council, but
it's not significant compared to what some companies get or
to our budget.
The problem with relying on the box office is that there is a
lot that's out of our control. A bad spring will have a negative
effect. We were affected dramatically by the 2008-2009
economic downturn; many of our patrons are on fixed
incomes and the entertainment dollar is one of the first places
people start to save.
It's a big but comparatively straightforward job to produce
five shows per summer season. It's the rest that's difficult.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Road Explorer - Summer 2018

Industry Voice
Issues Update
Regulatory Update
Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
The Road Less Taken
Southern Exposure
2018 OMCA Marketplace
UC Coach Lines
Port Stanley Festival Theatre
Travel Highlights Marketplace
Classifieds
Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Intro
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - ebelly1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - ebelly2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 3
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 4
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 5
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 6
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Industry Voice
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 8
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Issues Update
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Regulatory Update
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 11
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 13
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - The Road Less Taken
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 15
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 16
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - insert1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - insert2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Southern Exposure
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 18
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 2018 OMCA Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - UC Coach Lines
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 21
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Port Stanley Festival Theatre
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 23
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Travel Highlights Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Classifieds
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover3
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover4
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