• 21May

    Three Kinds of Risk - Bob Steane and his Incredible Legacy

    By: Alan Long
    Category: In the News

    Spoiler alert.  We are poised to mount a production of Macbeth this summer if safety allows, as I am sure many of you are aware.  It will be a smaller and shorter festival for SOTS and may have very limited audience capacity depending on the SHA restrictions at that time.  Whatever we do we are fully committed to keeping everyone involved, from our artists to volunteers to summer crew to the audience, as safe as possible.  We are certainly risk adverse when it comes to peoples’ safety.

    We do take calculated risks when it comes to theatre and work with our artists to move our artform forward, but this summer’s production presents another interesting risk – producing a Shakespeare play with only five actors who may have to be masked – see Artistic Producer Will Brooks’ last blogs on adapting Shakespeare.

    Bob Steane, Photo Courtesy of the
    Saskatoon Community Foundation

    From a financial point of view moving forward with these plans this summer is a huge risk.  If restrictions are similar to what they are now, then we will only be able to accommodate 30 audience members or less per performance.  As ticket revenue is always the largest income line in our summer budget, we could be looking at a huge loss of revenue for the organization.  It is a big risk and to be honest we should not be taking it and indeed we would not be taking it if not for one key reason.  Bob. 

    Robert or as most people knew him Bob Steane was a huge fan of the arts and an extremely kind and generous person.  Bob was very lucky to have a long and successful career in mining and he wanted to share that success with his community, and he did so in a huge way.  In terms of Saskatoon theatre, Bob did not just support SOTS, but 6 other Saskatoon theatre companies.  His phenomenal gift represents a sea change for theatre in Saskatoon – so many more things are possible now that were not just a few months ago.  The other incredible aspect of this gift is timing, something none of us or Bob could have ever imagined.  Theatre across this country and indeed around the world has been devastated by COVID 19.  We were the first industry cancelled and will be the last industry to fully return to normal.  Bob’s gift will not only make our return possible, but that return comes much sooner that we could have imagined.

    Robert Steane Courtyard Plaque

    What did Bob do for SOTS?  We now have a great $100,000 start to an endowment at the Saskatoon Community Foundation that we can build on for the future.  This is an incredible investment in our long term stability.  In addition to Bob’s earlier incredible Capital Campaign gift of $300,000, we were able to use an additional $100,000 in a matching campaign last fall.  Wally and Colleen Mah and several other generous donors came through and we achieved our goal of an additional $200,000 for the capital campaign.  We now have a beautiful festival site to share with the entire community that is 100% paid for!  We were very pleased to acknowledge this incredible legacy with the Robert Steane Courtyard on the Festival site, a gathering place for theatre goers for many years to come.  Finally, we were given an additional $200,000 that has allowed us to take our risk this summer, and to further plan for the future health of the organization.  As we emerge from the pandemic, we will engage in a strategic planning to ensure we have an organization that is in tune with the community and its stakeholders and is ready to take on the next challenges, whatever those may be.  

    From the bottom of all our hearts, thanks Bob, ever so much!

    Alan Long

    Director of Marketing and Development

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