Hopes are high for the Stratford Festival season as sales are up by 17,000 tickets this year over the same time in 2012, says the festival's artistic director.

Though 2012 marked the festival's 60th anniversary, it ended the season with a $3.4-million deficit.

"There's a staunch group of believers in the festival that come from all over the place. Every country in Europe, they come from Japan, they come from every state in the United States," Stratford Festival artistic director Antonio Cimolino told The Morning Edition on Monday, the morning of the festival's official 2013 launch.

"In this past year, you know, the economy was softer, we found that people who were still coming, they were just buying a little bit less."

Cimolino says this year, the festival tried to emphasize a variety of different types of shows, from classical Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to The Who's rock opera Tommy.

"And so what we've tried to do this year is make the play bill very very diverse, very very irresistible so that we're going to make sure that everybody comes back more than once and takes in many different plays," he said.

Hear more about what lies ahead for the festival in Cimolino's interview with The Morning Edition's Craig Norris.