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Stratford Police sit outside the Stratford Festival's Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ont., on Monday, May 28, 2018.

Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press

The Stratford Festival says despite efforts to rescue its finances from the impact of COVID-19 the organization still has a $20-million hole in its budget.

Carol Stephenson, chairwoman of the board at the festival, has asked the House of Commons standing committee on finance for $8 million to help get the arts organization back on its feet.

She says the rest of the shortfall can be raised through donations from the private sector.

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Stephenson outlined measures the festival – a huge economic driver for the Stratford, Ont., area – has taken in recent weeks to recover from a steeper $40-million deficit projected about a month ago.

She says cuts to overhead expenses, drawing from the festival’s endowment, a $6-million line of credit and a 50 per cent salary cut for its executive director and artistic director have helped.

Stratford was to roll out 15 productions in four theatres, including Colm Feore’s “Richard III” as the inaugural show at the new $70-million Tom Patterson Theatre, before the closure of its theatres in March.

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