With the tourism industry still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Theatre is receiving a helping hand from the government. MPP Steve Clark has announced that, as part of a $46-million investment into tourism and recreational non-profit organizations by the Ontario government, $42,000 is being put towards Prescott’s St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in 2022.
The money comes from Ontario’s Community Building Fund, and will be put towards covering the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Theatre’s essential costs, purchasing personal protective equipment to combat COVID-19, and increasing the organization’s online presence. Gananoque’s Thousand Island Playhouse is also receiving money as part of the investment.
MPP Clark says that, given how hard the tourism industry was hit by the pandemic in its early stages, he’s proud of the government for what it’s doing to help struggling organizations. “Organizations like the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival and the Thousand Islands Playhouse are so important for community engagement,” says Clark, “and they allow citizens to experience all that their area has to offer.”
The Board Chair for the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Theatre, Jo-Anne Beckstead, is thankful for the money. “Like all theatre companies, we have struggled in this pandemic, and we were forced to cancel our last two seasons,” says Becksetead. “This grant will provide a vital boost to our organization, enabling us to continue to achieve the highest possible standards of artistic excellence as we work toward our 20th anniversary in 2022.”