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Miracle Theatre breaks fundraising record with Halfway There

Miracle Theatre's Ted Price and Anne Laughlin (left) present a 'money tree' of $84,039 to Mindy Stroet and Al LeFebvre of the Community Foundation. The funds are proceeds from the production of Halfway There. Bill Phillips photo
Miracle Theatre’s Ted Price and Anne Laughlin (left) present a ‘money tree’ of $84,039 to Mindy Stroet and Al LeFebvre of the Community Foundation. The funds are proceeds from the production of Halfway There. Bill Phillips photo

They set a lofty goal last fall and this spring blasted right past it.

Anne Laughlin and Ted Price wanted to raise $55,335.58 with this spring’s Miracle Theatre production of Halfway There. That amount would bring Miracle Theatre’s charitable fundraising total to $200,000.

Their production of Halfway There raised a total of $84,039.45.

“Previously Miracle Theatre’s highest donation was $52,144 for local cancer clinic equipment,” said Producer Anne Laughlin. “We were pleased with that total, but for us $84,000 is just jaw dropping.  That’s growth of 61 per cent.”

Proceeds from the play will launch the new Children of Prince George Fund under the trusteeship of the Prince George Community Foundation. The Foundation will establish an endowment to provide ongoing grants to local non-profits addressing the needs of children.

Having donated the proceeds from four plays to local charities in just over three years Miracle Theatre has become an established player in the Prince George arts scene.  Each season theatre professionals Price and Laughlin donate their services to contract actors from across Canada, bring them to Prince George, and lead them through six weeks of rehearsals and performances.  All proceeds from the productions are then given to local non-profits.

Melissa Oei (left), who plays Janine in Miracle Theatre's production of Halfway There, and Linda Carlson, who plays Mary Ellen, rehearse a scene. The play runs until March 24 at Artspace, above Books and Co. Bill Phillips photo
Melissa Oei (left), who played Janine in Miracle Theatre’s production of Halfway There, and Linda Carlson, who played Mary Ellen.

Price said that Miracle Theatre’s financial goal with Halfway There was to raise just over $55,000.

“We liked that number because it would mean that Miracle Theatre would have contributed $200,000 to local charities over the previous 38 months,” said Director Price. “We never imagined topping that goal with an additional $29,000.”

A year ago a spokesperson for the Community Foundation contacted Laughlin and Price to ask about donating their next production to start an endowment. Laughlin explains they were very receptive.

“Ted and I are keen on endowments because they never stop giving,” said Laughlin. “The money raised will be kept safe in perpetuity, and every year the annual interest and investment earnings will be awarded to those helping our local children.”

Price adds: “For us an endowment is a money tree.  Every year it grows money to help others.  And year, after year,  the tree and its money crop just keep growing more and giving more as others contribute to it.”

Last week Miracle Theatre submitted a detailed financial statement to the Community Foundation.  It provided President Al Lefebvre and Development Officer Mindy Stroet with the information that revenues from Halfway There were:

  • $90,142.04 from box office and Corporate Ticket Boosters,
  • $26,052.31 from donations,
  • $17,500 from sponsorships, and
  • $8,551.66 from intermission raffle and concession sales.

With gross revenues of $142,246.01 and $58,206.56 in costs, final proceeds came to $84,039.45.

“On behalf of the Prince George Community Foundation we want to thank Miracle Theatre for this incredible contribution for the Children of Prince George Fund,” said Lefebvre. “Thank you to all of the donors, supporters, patrons and sponsors for supporting Halfway There, Miracle Theatre and the Foundation.  We are absolutely humbled by this outpouring of support for Prince George children.”

Regarding the production, Laughlin and Price feel of the many factors that aligned to make the project a success, three stand out.

“On stage, we had five especially talented and seasoned actors working with the right script,” said Price. “Secondly, tickets sales spiked while the Community Foundation was very enthusiastic about promoting the project to sponsors.”

Laughlin added the third point that: “This year the name and reputation of Miracle Theatre reached a tipping point.  The first year fewer people knew who or what Miracle Theatre was.  But the penny has dropped that we’re the folks who started and ran Theatre North West for all those years and with our big team of exceptionally capable volunteers, people now know to expect good, solid, professional theatre while contributing to a great cause.”

Advance sales for the production were so high that a hold-over was announced a week before the show opened, extending the run to 25 performances.

Many people have been asking Price and Laughlin what play they’ll do next.  Price says: “We like to kid them by saying, ‘The one on Prince Edward Island. Hope you’ll come see it as well.’ ”

Every summer the pair work for a theatre on PEI.

“As for Prince George, Ted has an enormous list of plays he’d love to do for the community,” said Laughlin. “Deciding which one is next will be one of his first chores when we get back home.”

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