|Location||Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada|
|Founded by||Brian Doherty & Calvin Rand|
|Directed by||Tim Carroll, Tim Jennings|
|Type of play(s)||plays by or in the spirit of George Bernard Shaw|
|Festival date||April–December each year|
The Shaw Festival is a major not-for-profit theatre festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is the second largest repertory theatre company in North America. Founded in 1962, its original mandate was to stimulate interest in George Bernard Shaw and his period, and to advance the development of theatre arts in Canada.
The Festival's roots can be traced to 1962 when Ontario lawyer and playwright Brian Doherty, supported by Buffalo businessman Calvin Rand, staged a summertime "Salute to Shaw" in the town's courthouse, a venue later known as the Court House Theatre. For eight weekends, Doherty and his crew produced Shaw's Don Juan in Hell and Candida. The "Salute", with its mandate to promote the works of Shaw and his contemporaries, was an immediate success.
With the addition of actor and director Barry Morse as Artistic Director in 1966, the Festival gained huge international publicity and its productions garnered sold-out performances. Morse also joined the company as actor during this season. Paxton Whitehead took over management of the company with the 1967 season and under his leadership the Festival gained new heights. He served for twelve seasons as Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival; during his tenure, he was able to push through a plan of building the purpose-built 869-seat state-of-the-art Festival Theatre to expand considerably the capacity for audiences at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Queen Elizabeth II, Indira Gandhi, and Pierre Elliot Trudeau were among those who attended performances at the Shaw Festival Theatre during its inaugural season in 1973. Tony Van Bridge was interim artistic director for the 1974–75 season.
In 1980, Christopher Newton joined the company as Artistic Director and continued to foster its development with the addition of a third theatre, the Royal George. Outstanding directors such as Derek Goldby, Denise Coffey, and Neil Munro (who became Resident Director in the early 1990s) were hired, and the acting ensemble was carefully developed until it was widely recognized to be one of the best in the world.
Under Christopher Newton, the Festival's mandate became more narrowly defined: to produce plays written during the lifetime of Shaw (1856–1950), "plays about the beginning of the modern world," as Newton was quoted. In Newton's last years as Artistic Director, the mandate was widened to also include contemporary plays which are set within Shaw's lifetime (1856—1950). His successor, Jackie Maxwell, was appointed in 2003 and expanded the mandate further to include works by "contemporary Shavians" such as Tony Kushner and Caryl Churchill. She produced many plays written and directed by women.
In the summer of 2015, it was announced that Tim Carroll would take over as artistic director and Tim Jennings as executive director. They announced Carroll’s inaugural 2017 season in August 2016. Under its current mandate, the Shaw Festival celebrates the life and spirit of Bernard Shaw by creating theatre that is as entertaining and provocative as Shaw himself.
Dates listed are when the theatre's association with the Shaw Festival began; The Court House and Royal George theatres predate the festival.
Former venue: Court House Theatre (1962–2017, 327 seats)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced on August 26, 2020, that the entirety of the 2020 season was cancelled, with the possible exception of A Christmas Carol, which may still be performed depending on government guidelines.Previously, on July 22, 2020, it was said there was the possibility that some performances of Charley's Aunt and Flush might begin in September.
For the 2021 season, the Shaw Festival hopes to present many of the anticipated productions that were originally scheduled for 2020.
Gypsy , originally planned for the 2020 season, and then intended to be staged in 2021, has now been postponed until the 2023 season.
The productions that were originally scheduled, and subsequently cancelled, for 2020 and not planned for 2021 are: Mahabharata , Prince Caspian , Assassins , The Playboy of the Western World , and Me and My Girl .
A repertory theatre can be a Western theatre or opera production in which a resident company presents works from a specified repertoire, usually in alternation or rotation. In British English a similar term, "weekly rep", denotes a movement started in the early 1900s that focused on shorter runs of a single new work, rather than having several plays ready to perform at any given time.
James Maxwell was an American actor, theatre director and writer, particularly associated with the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a town in Ontario, Canada. It is located on the Niagara Peninsula at the point where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, across the river from New York, United States. Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the Niagara Region of Ontario and is the only town in Canada that has a lord mayor. It has a population of 17,511 (2016).
The Stratford Festival is a theatre festival which runs from April to October in the city of Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Founded by local journalist Tom Patterson in 1952, the festival was formerly known as the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, the Shakespeare Festival and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The festival was one of the first arts festivals in Canada and continues to be one of its most prominent. It is recognized worldwide for its productions of Shakespearean plays.
The Atlantic Theatre Festival (ATF) was a professional theatre company located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Theatre Festival presented a "broad range of critically acclaimed theatre classics" during the summer in Wolfville's Festival Theatre, the former town hockey arena which was converted into a 504 seat, thrust stage theatre and professional production facility by the Atlantic Theatre Festival Society.
The Royal Exchange is a grade II listed building in Manchester, England. It is located in the city centre on the land bounded by St Ann's Square, Exchange Street, Market Street, Cross Street and Old Bank Street. The complex includes the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Royal Exchange Shopping Centre.
The Theatre Royal Stratford East is a large theatre in Stratford in the London Borough of Newham. Since 1953, it has been the home of the Theatre Workshop company, famously associated with Joan Littlewood.
Factory Theatre is a theatre in Toronto, Ontario, founded as Factory Theatre Lab in 1970 by Ken Gass and Frank Trotz and was run for almost 20 years by Dian English.
Jackie Maxwell, is a theatre director and dramaturge.
Christopher Newton is a Canadian director and actor and served as artistic director of the Shaw Festival from 1980 to 2002.
Theatre Calgary, is a theatre company in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, established as a professional company in 1968. It was preceded by Workshop 14 a theatre study group founded in 1944 by Betty Mitchell. Calgary's Betty Mitchell awards are named after her.
Herbert Morse, known professionally as Barry Morse, was an English-Canadian actor of stage, screen, and radio, best known for his roles in the ABC television series The Fugitive and the British sci-fi drama Space: 1999. His performing career spanned seven decades and he had thousands of roles to his credit, including work for the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Dorothy Anna Sturgess, known professionally as Sydney Sturgess, was a British-Canadian actress. She is best known for her work with the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival of Canada. Primarily a stage actress in Canada, England and the US, she occasionally worked in television and film.
Francis Edward Paxton Whitehead is an English actor, theatre director and playwright. He was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for his performance as Pellinore in the 1980 revival of Camelot.
The Shaw Festival is a major Canadian theatre festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the second largest repertory theatre company in North America. Founded in 1962, its original mandate was to stimulate interest in George Bernard Shaw and his period, and to advance the development of theatre arts in Canada.
Remy Bumppo Theatre Company is a theater in Chicago known for productions from playwrights such as George Bernard Shaw and Tom Stoppard. Nick Sandys serves as the company's Artistic Director.
A winner of a 2002 Tony Award and a 2011 Massachusetts Cultural Council Commonwealth Award, the Williamstown Theatre Festival is a resident summer theater on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, founded in 1954 by Williams College news director, Ralph Renzi, and drama program chairman, David C. Bryant.
Theatre Calgary is theatre company in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, established as a professional company in 1968. The following is a chronological list of the productions that have been staged since its inception as Musicians and Actors Club (MAC) from 1964 to 1968, and Theatre Calgary from 1968 onwards.
John Paterson is a Canadian director, devisor, dramaturg, translator, actor and theatre creator who works across Canada, the United Kingdom, and internationally. His favourite credits include directing the installation of The List (BoucheWHACKED!), the site-specific The Women of Troy and F. Garcia Lorca’s The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa ; production dramaturgy on the English language premiere of H. Muller’s Macbeth: nach Shakespeare; and playing Adolf Hitler and Walt Disney in The Blue Light and Scheffler in The Ugly One.
Gregory A. Hersov is a British theatre director.