Year after year, Ontario’s Shaw Festival lures theatre lovers to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
In the historic village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, it’s easy to feel pulled back in time to say, the era of acclaimed playwright George Bernard Shaw.
Nearby this 19th century village with its horse-drawn carriages and cozy cafes are the rolling vineyards of wine country and the splendor of Niagara Falls. But for theatre lovers, the real draw is the world-class Shaw Festival. Every summer, fans of George Bernard Shaw fill The Shaw’s three theatres to view its repertoire of classics, comedies, and dramas.
“Audiences and critics alike have high praise for the powerful 2007 season line-up at The Shaw which offers a healthy mix of drama, comedy and music to satisfy even the most discriminating theatre lover,” says the festival’s public relations director, Odette Yazbeck. “Those new to live theatre are also enjoying the eclectic mix that the 2007 season has to offer.”
A few highlights? “Broadway legend Jerry Herman’s musical Mack and Mabel has been garnering standing ovations since it began previewing in April, and Tara Rosling as the peasant turned saint has left audiences emotionally charged following each performance of Bernard Shaw’s epic drama St. Joan,” Yazbek says. “Hilarity rules in the modern adaptation by Morris Panych of the Feydeau farce Hotel Peccadillo. These, along with the seven other productions make a journey to Niagara-on-the-Lake the perfect summer and fall sojourn to the country.”
Launched in 1962, The Shaw is the only theatre in the world specializing exclusively in plays by Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, as well as plays about the period during which Shaw lived (1856-1950). Shaw, who was known for his wit and irreverence, wrote over 50 plays and is acknowledged as one of history’s greatest playwrights.
The 2007 playbill includes 10 productions which will run on the Festival’s three Niagara-on-the-Lake stages. Larger productions are performed at the more modern Festival Theatre. The Royal George stage, which was built as a vaudeville house during World War I, offers a more intimate setting. Finally, the Court House Theatre is staged on the second floor of an old courthouse. (You can visit the jail during intermission.)
Here’s this season’s line-up:
Saint Joan by Bernard Shaw
Mack and Mabel book by Michael Stewart, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, revised by Francine Pascal
Hotel Peccadillo by Georges Feydeau, adapted by Morris Panych
ROYAL GEORGE THEATRE
The Circle by Somerset Maugham
The Philanderer by Bernard Shaw
Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams
COURT HOUSE THEATRE
A Month in the Country – After Turgenev by Brian Friel
The Cassilis Engagement – A Mother’s Comedy by St John Hankin
Tristan book, music and lyrics by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey
The Kiltartan Comedies by Lady Augusta Gregory
For more information, visit www.shawfest.com
IF YOU GO
The Shaw offers get-away packages for day-trippers and those who wish stay longer. On Friday evenings, for example, guests can pre-order a gourmet picnic with wine tastings on the grounds of the Festival theatre. Other packages include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Festival Theatre, creative workshops and special arrangements for children.
The festival also offers accommodation packages and winery tours. Click here for more information.