Blyth Festival fundraiser raises over $220,000 for new play development
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
After enacting an ambitious fundraising campaign in the wake of cancelling its 2020 season, the Blyth Festival has exceeded its goal, raising over $220,000 for new play development.
After the Festival was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two couples came forward and contributed $50,000 each to the Festival in the hopes of attracting matching funds from others willing to give. The Festival reached that goal, raising $200,000 just before the holidays. However, at that time, another donor came forward with $10,000 and challenged supporters to match it, resulting in the $220,000 figure, which is still growing.
Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt said he has been blown away by the support from the community, not just through this campaign, but through the recent art auction that raised thousands for the Festival. He said the amount raised is “game-changing” for the Festival.
The support from the community, he said in an interview with The Citizen, also comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility, which he said he doesn’t take lightly.
When the Festival launched the campaign in hopes of raising just $100,000, Garratt and Festival staff were dubious as to whether they could raise that much. However, with the generosity of the community and some large donations, used creatively to leverage further funding, that goal was “blown out of the water” in just a few months.
As far as how the money will be spent, Garratt says that new play development essentially covers everything the Festival does, from commissions to holding actors’ workshops. Right now, however, he’s working on getting creative in terms of outdoor shows for 2021 before it’s again safe to hold shows at Memorial Hall.
For more information, visit the Festival’s website at blythfestival.com