STRATFORD, ON, Oct. 29, 2018 /CNW/ - The Stratford Festival is pleased to announce its first corporate donor for the Spirit of the Tent Campaign for a new Tom Patterson Theatre Centre. BMO Financial Group, one of the Festival's founding partners, has committed $1.5 million to this monumental project.
"Back in 1952, when the Stratford Festival was just a gleam in Tom Patterson's eye, BMO stepped up to show its support with a foundational donation," says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. "Since that crucial first financial contribution, BMO's commitment to the Stratford Festival has not flagged. How very fitting that once again it is BMO coming forward as the first corporate supporter of this exciting project."
The $100-million Spirit of the Tent Campaign was launched in January 2018. It will provide the capital for a stunning new facility, designed by acclaimed architect Siamak Hariri of Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini, along with a fund to support the long-term viability of the centre and the programs it will house, including the Stratford Festival Forum and Laboratory, as well as new play development, education and digital initiatives.
"We have been a proud supporter of the Stratford Festival for over six decades," said Julie Barker-Merz, Senior Vice-President, South Western Ontario, BMO Bank of Montreal. "We are excited to be part of the campaign for the new theatre, which will enhance the audience experience, and enable the Festival to explore new creative avenues and continue to maintain its reputation as a leading global cultural institution."
The donation will be earmarked for the naming of the BMO Box Office at the new Tom Patterson Theatre Centre.
"We gratefully acknowledge BMO's steadfast support of the Stratford Festival," says Campaign Co-Chair Dr. M. Lee Myers, speaking on behalf of Co-Chair Ophelia Lazaridis and Honorary Chair Hon. Michael Meighen. "BMO has been there for us at our most critical junctions – from foundational funding of the Festival itself, to the Act III campaign to renew the Festival Theatre, to today's most generous gift to build the new Tom Patterson Theatre Centre. We are thrilled to announce that this first corporate commitment takes support for this project to more than $80 million. With construction well underway we are now past 'dream' territory and into the reality of this spectacular project thanks to BMO and all of our wonderful donors."
The Tom Patterson Theatre Centre, currently under construction on Lakeside Drive in Stratford, is scheduled to open for the 2020 season.
"BMO is the bank of record for the Stratford Festival," says Executive Director Anita Gaffney, "and also our most faithful corporate partner, with a relationship stretching back 66 years. BMO supported not only Tom Patterson's dream, but also many of our staged productions and some of our most important audience-building initiatives over the years, including our Play On program to encourage the attendance of people under 26 and our Family Experience program, which offers reduced-price tickets for children. We are extremely grateful to BMO for this most recent gift and delighted to have them with us for this thrilling new project."
About the Stratford Festival
The Stratford Festival, in picturesque Stratford, Ontario, has been setting the standard for classical theatre in North America for more than 65 years. It presents a seven-month season of a dozen or more plays, together with a Forum of about 150 other events, all designed to enrich, engage and entertain. The Festival presents an eclectic variety of Shakespeare, large-scale musicals, classic comedy and drama, as well as newly commissioned works. Since its first season in 1953, it has welcomed more than 28 million theatregoers from around the world, people who flock to this small Canadian town for one reason: an unparalleled quality of performance.
About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $765 billion as of July 31, 2018, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.
SOURCE The Stratford Festival
For further information: Ann Swerdfager, Publicity Director, 519.271.4040 x2297