Take a bow: Confed Centre enjoys one of 'best ever' theatre seasons

The Charlottetown Festival at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown saw ticket sales increase this summer.

Tickets to Anne of Green Gables were up 44% over last year

Anne of Green Gables — The Musical was more popular than ever this summer, selling 44% more tickets than last year. (Louise Vessey)

The Charlottetown Festival at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown has tallied its summer ticket sales, and centre officials couldn't be more pleased. 

Both Anne of Green Gables —The Musical on the centre's mainstage and the smaller 200-seat theatre The Mack, which featured a return of the popular musical Bittergirl, sold 44 per cent more tickets than the year before.

Million Dollar Quartet was popular — just not the 'blockbuster' that Mamma Mia! was in 2016. (Berni Wood)

"The 2017 Charlottetown Festival was one of our best ever," said Confederation Centre CEO Jessie Inman. 

"Ticket sales were very strong, we attracted many tourists to the site with our many Canada 150 activities, and we delivered some creative new programming with our Dream Catchers daily performance here in Charlottetown and in almost 40 locations across Canada," Inman said.

'A real blockbuster'

Anne had a terrific year, according to centre staff, with more than 32,000 tickets sold for 50 performances. That's an average of 640 people per show in the 1,100-seat Homburg Theatre — up almost 100 per show from 2015.

Million Dollar Quartet sold more than 37,000 tickets for 55 performances for an average of 673 people per show. But it wasn't as successful as Mamma Mia last year.

Bittergirl at The Mack had the theatre more than three-quarters full all summer, on average. (Louise Vessey)

"As everyone knows, Mamma Mia! was a real blockbuster in 2016 — ticket sales to 2017's popular Million Dollar Quartet were 27 per cent less than for Mamma Mia," a spokesperson said via email.

Bittergirl "had a great run," officials said, with 7,100 tickets sold for 46 performances or 154 patrons per show — still 25 fewer per show than Bittergirl brought in back in 2015, when it sold out almost every performance.

Next year, the centre will stage Anne and Jesus Christ Superstar on the mainstage and will premiere Dutch Mason and Stories From the Red Dirt Road at The Mack.

$27M economic impact

The centre also commissioned an economic impact research study from the consulting firm Nordicity, which estimated the centre's annual GDP impact at $27 million.

The study also found the centre creates an average 403 fulltime equivalent jobs with a labour income of $16.9 million.


  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that 2016's Spoon River was forced to close early after poor ticket sales.
    Nov 02, 2017 9:00 AM AT


Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email