Graduation Year


Publication Date


Embargo Period



This paper was selected for inclusion in CrissCross: Journal of Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Work.

An early version of this paper was published in volume 24 of the Park Place Economist.


Since 1978, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, or ISF, has been an important cultural attraction for the Bloomington-Normal community. What once started as small scale performances of classic theatre on the tennis courts of Ewing Manor has grown into a full sized venue with a full sized audience. The festival hosts over 10,000 guests and a large number of seasonal staff over the summer months: 125 were listed in their most recently available annual report (Season Report 2012). The festival also has an extensive summer camp program, community outreach, and a touring company. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival's cultural impact has been documented in media all over the world, from Chicago to England (Illinois Shakespeare Festival). However, despite their long standing reputation and significant employment, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival only covers around 25% of its million dollar budget through ticket sales (Seasonal Report 2012). The rest of the income largely comes from donations, fundraising, and university support (Seasonal Report 2012). This study contains two parts. The first, an economic impact study, will largely focus on the festival's overall impact on the surrounding community, which will be useful information to attract the donations and support which make up 75% of the budget. The second part will be a study of patronage, used to help better understand the audience and how the ISF makes that other 25% of their budget.


Economics | Theatre and Performance Studies