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Marla McLean as Lady Windermere in Lady Windermere’s Fan.David Cooper

How well did the Shaw Festival do in its 2013 season, financially speaking? So well that the not-for-profit theatre paid out bonuses to 461 artists and employees.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., repertory theatre announced a $1.2-million surplus at its annual general meeting on Friday evening. It had already revealed a record box-office haul of $16-million in November, along with healthy attendance of 270,570 for its 10-show season.

That's quite a shift in the storyline for an arts organization that just two years ago replaced long-time executive director Colleen Blake with noted turnaround artist Elaine Calder after running two successive deficits over $1-million.

Calder has done her work, reining in costs, while artistic director Jackie Maxwell has made programming choices that proved to be lucrative.

Revenues from all sources at the festival were $29-million last season, up 8 per cent from the year before. Popular productions of Guys and Dolls, always a sure bet with audiences, and Lady Windermere's Fan, which hit many Canadian theatre end-of-year lists, helped increase ticket sales by $2-million from 2012.

Overall, Maxwell has had a very happy January. Her production of the "verbatim musical" London Road is currently earning her some of the best reviews of her career at Canadian Stage in Toronto.

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