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Ballet Kelowna back in the black

Ballet Kelowna executive director David LaHay will retire this year and a new E.D./C.E.O. will be brought in.
March 18, 2014 - 11:23 AM

KELOWNA – Thanks to a new board of directors, a balanced budget and significant financial contributions from the public, Ballet Kelowna looks set to dance again.

Last year, the company announced it would be shutting down permanently due to lack of interest and financial unsustainability.

Citing a reliance on what Ballet Kelowna President Deborah Ward calls an “expansive, event-based fundraising at the expense of developing a more cost effective, proven fundraising model,” the company has taken steps to ensure it will be viable for years to come.

“We believe Ballet Kelowna lacked a long-term plan, coupled with (a lack of a) sustainable business model,” Ward says.

Among the changes to be made this upcoming year, the season has been shortened and a new business model has been implemented. The operating budget has also been reduced from $635,000 to $265,000.

“It has been a dramatic comeback for Ballet Kelowna,” she says. “We’ve expanded our Kelowna audience, both adults and children, we’ve gained control of our budget, and we’ve created a new strategic plan, a new brand and a new business model.”

Ward says that since the announcement to close was made last year, membership among adults and children has tripled and the company has a surplus of roughly $30,000 to apply towards the upcoming season.

The company is also in the midst of a continent-wide search for a replacement of founding artistic director David LaHay, who was set to retire but agreed to stay on and assist with the transition.

“(The search) is underway,” Ward says. “We’ve had a search committee working very hard on this. We’ve actually now sent out job applications across North America.”

“Moving forward requires leadership from an exciting, new executive director who will credibly and ably succeed David LaHay.”

Ward also hinted at the launch of an “exciting” marketing campaign promoting their final show of the season.

“I’m not telling you what we are doing,” she told Council Monday, “but keep your eyes open around town.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca, call (250) 718-0428.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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