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Front view of Stratford Festival theatre and gardens in Stratford Ontario April 22, 2011. At its annual general meeting in Stratford, Ont., on Saturday, the board of governors of Canada’s biggest not-for-profit theatre company will announce a surplus of $795,000 for the season that ended in October.Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

The Stratford Festival ended its 2014 season in the black – but the latest news on the Ontario theatre festival's attendance is less black and white.

At its annual general meeting in Stratford, Ont., on Saturday, the board of governors of Canada's biggest not-for-profit theatre company will announce a surplus of $795,000 for the season that ended in October.

The festival managed to come in within its $57.4-million budget despite the added cost of filming three of its productions for the new internationally distributed Stratford Festival HD series.

"At our annual general meeting two years ago, we announced an operating deficit of $3.4-million, and I shared with you plans to address that issue," executive director Anita Gaffney said, in planned remarks shared with The Globe and Mail ahead of the AGM. "We may not be completely out of the woods yet, but we are moving steadily and surely in the right direction."

Nevertheless, overall attendance at the Stratford Festival was down to 462,000 from 480,000 in 2013. The theatre company wants to get attendance figures back up over the half-million mark, where they sat comfortably for more than a decade until 2011.

Stratford's leaders were celebrating a rise in ticket sales for the works of William Shakespeare. With five productions by the Bard on the boards in 2014 – including Colm Feore's smash King Lear and two widely different productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream helmed by visionary directors Chris Abraham and Peter Sellars – Shakespeare sales were up 24 per cent over 2013 and 43 per cent over 2012.

The Stratford Festival is gearing up for its 2015 season, which starts previews on April 21, and sales for several productions, including the world premiere of Kate Hennig's The Last Wife, are encouraging.