Credit Hariri Pontarini Architects
The Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, announced Wednesday that it has received its largest single donation, a pledge of 10 million Canadian dollars, or about $7.8 million, from its board chairman, Dan Bernstein, and his wife, Claire Foerster. The donation is intended to help pay for a new theater space to replace the 46-year-old Tom Patterson Theater Center.
“Dan and Claire’s remarkable gift is an incredible endorsement of the vision we have for the future of the Stratford Festival,” said the festival’s artistic director, Antoni Cimolino.
Credit Stratford Festival
Mr. Bernstein and Ms. Foerster are residents of Connecticut, where Mr. Bernstein is senior strategist and director of Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund.
The Stratford Festival — the largest nonprofit classical repertory theater in North America — is an annual theater festival running from April to October and primarily dedicated to the work of William Shakespeare. In 2016 it attracted over 500,000 visitors.
In addition to the pledge by Mr. Bernstein and Ms. Foerster, the government of Ontario has promised 20 million Canadian dollars for the project. The Canadian federal government is reviewing a request from the festival for a similar amount.
The plans for the new theater, unveiled in August with a design by the Canadian architect Siamak Hariri, await approval from the city of Stratford; a City Council vote is expected by the end of November. The festival estimates that the new theater will cost 60 million Canadian dollars, and a fund-raising campaign to meet that total and establish a fund for future operating costs is set to begin if the plans are approved.