BLYTH, ONT. — It’s been a year to forget for the Blyth Festival.
“Last year we had about $800,000 in ticket sales. This year, we will have $0 in ticket sales, so that’s a significant change to the bottom line,” says Gil Garratt, the Blyth Festival’s Artistic Director.
For the first time in it’s 46 year history, Blyth had pull the plug on its 2020 season, due to the pandemic. The good news for theatre fans is, there will definitely be a 2021 season.
“We are going to take the Blyth Festival and put it, outdoors,” says Garratt.
At least two plays will be staged at the Blyth Fairgrounds next summer. Instead of 400 patrons in the theatre, 100 people will be allowed to watch outdoors, it’s believed. It’s the first time, Blyth has taken their plays outside. In 2001 and 2002, “The Outdoor Donnelly’s” wowed audiences.
Garratt says next season wouldn’t be a possibility without the community’s support. An art auction currently underway, plus donations totalling as much as $100,000 from two local theatre goers, are helping to keep the Blyth Festival going.
“As long as we can get the rest of the community to meet them, we’ll have a $200,000 pot to be able to develop new plays from, to put that work outside, and online, and reinvent the Blyth Festival,” says Garratt.
The 2021 season is happening regardless of how the auction and matching donation’s go, says Garratt, who expects next year’s plays to be announced early next year.
“It’s truly been a devastating year. But, at the same time, the rallying support has it all the more clear, the Blyth Festival really belongs to everyone in this region, and nobody wants to see it go,” he says.
To learn more about the 10×10 art auction, the matching donation fundraiser, or the 2021 season, you can click here.