The Freeman Stage just keeps chugging.
In a relatively-short 11 years, the Stage has grown to not only be an integral part of our community, but even more so, emerge as a leader of all things cultural and artistic. According to Patti Grimes, the executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, the Stage had 13,500 people visit in 2008, and 58,000 visit this past season.
“Over 11 years, we have served over half a million people in this county,” said Grimes. Those numbers include 406,000 people at the Stage itself, and 101,000 children in county schools.
Grimes also estimated that the Stage has brought more than $30 million into Sussex County — largely due to visitors from 36 states — and they employ 12 full-time employees and a seasonal staff of 32 people.
That is an impact.
But their greatest impact is certainly providing a cultural boon to the area. Forty percent of the programming at Freeman Stage is free, allowing more people exposure to more kinds of entertainment and art than they would have been afforded at a strictly-for-pay facility.
We are fortunate to have the Stage as part of our community, and are excited about its future.