LSM Newswire

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shaw Festival Box Office Now Open for 2010 Season

2010 Shaw Festival Logo - with year - black - jpeg

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, January 11, 2010 . . . The Shaw Festival Box Office is accepting online, mail and fax orders from the general public for the 2010 season starting today.  Commencing January 16, the Box Office will be open for phone and in-person orders. 

The Shaw Festivals 2010 season resonates with the wit, social commentary and relevance for which Bernard Shaw himself was well known and features two plays by the Festivals namesake: The Doctors Dilemma, Shaws relevantly comedic exploration of the medical establishment, directed by Morris Panych; and John Bulls Other Island, Shaws exploration of the culture of misunderstandings and misconceptions, directed by Artistic Director Emeritus Christopher Newton.  

Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell directs An Ideal Husband, Shaws favourite Oscar Wilde work, featuring Shaw Festival favourites Patrick Galligan and Steven Sutcliffe.  Mr. Galligan will also be performing in The Doctors Dilemma, while Mr. Sutcliffe will also be featured in Eda Holmess production of Caryl Churchills Serious Money.  Ms. Maxwell will also direct Linda Griffiths Age of Arousal.

Deborah Hay, who garnered rave reviews as Billie Dawn in the 2009 runaway hit Born Yesterday, returns as Sylvia Fowler in Alisa Palmers production of Clare Boothe Luces The Women and as the whip smart Molly Grant in the S.J. Perelman, Ogden Nash and Kurt Weill musical One Touch of Venus, directed by Eda Holmes

Shaw Festival notables Benedict Campbell, Jim Mezon and Corrine Koslo will be featured in John Bulls Other Island.  Mr. Mezon and Mr. Campbell will also be performing in Tom Murphys adaptation of Anton Chekhovs The Cherry Orchard, directed by Jason Byrne; while Ms. Koslo will take on the role as society-conscious Veta Simmons in the Joseph Ziegler production of Mary Chases Harvey.

The Shaw welcomes back Norman Browning, Diana Donnelly, Kelli Fox, Jonathan Gould, Catherine McGregor, Moya OConnell, Jennifer Phipps and Severn Thompson to its stages this season. 

The Shaw Festival also offers a reading series of contemporary Shavian writers and a variety of enrichment activities that include workshops and seminars.  Affordable overnight and day packages are also available making a trip to The Shaw an enjoyable and hassle-free experience.

Ticket information and brochures can be obtained through the Shaw Festival Box Office:
       Toll free in North America: 1-800-511-7429
       Local: (905) 468-2172
       Fax: (905) 468-3804
       Internet: www.shawfest.com
       Mail: Shaw Festival, Box 774, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON  L0S 1J0

The Festival Theatre Box Office and Bernards, the Shaw Festival Shop, are located at 10 Queens Parade in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  To best serve our patrons, the Box Office will be open Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from January 11 to January 24. Beginning January 25, Box Office hours will be Monday to Friday 9 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Shaws 2010 season begins April 1 and features An Ideal Husband, The Women, The Doctors Dilemma, The Cherry Orchard, John Bulls Other Island, Age of Arousal, Harvey, One Touch of Venus, Half An Hour and Serious Money.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Shaw Festival 48th Season Closes

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, November 5, 2009 . . . The Shaw Festivals 48th season closed on November 1, and Executive Director Colleen Blake today released the attendance results for the 2009 season. With a turbulent 2008 winter, the Shaw Festival began rehearsals in March at 20% behind the year-to-date sales target. However as soon as performances began, sales jumped back, dramatically narrowing the gap. Attendance reached 253,000 or 63.5% of capacity for 800 performances (2008 attendance was 70% of capacity). Box office revenues reached $13.7 million.

In announcing these figures, Ms. Blake noted: Given the uncertain world economic situation when we went on sale for the 2009 season, we are very pleased with the significant increase once our productions hit the stage and are delighted with our final results.

The recession impacted The Shaws attendance this season, a result also experienced by our tourism partners throughout the Niagara Region. Funding from the federal and provincial governments to bolster marketing initiatives aimed at key Canadian and U.S. markets proved very helpful, resulting in a boost to attendance numbers in the latter months of the season. The Shaws box office revenues drive an overall economic impact of close to $100 million annually for the Niagara Region.

Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell commented on the artistic highlights of the season: As we come to the end of what can definitely be called a rollercoaster year, I am so pleased that our audiences responded so strongly to our work, from the ecstatic reception for Born Yesterday, to the huge enthusiasm for The Entertainer and our new Studio Theatre, and of course the interest, national and international, in our Coward Tonight at 8:30 series.

Tickets for the 2010 season go on sale to Shaw Festival Members on November 7. Sales to the general public begin January 11 by mail, fax and on-line and January 16 by phone or in person. Details are available on the Shaw Festival website, www.shawfest.com, or by calling 1-800-511-SHAW (7429).

Audited financial reports will be available January 29 at The Shaws Annual General Meeting, to be held at the Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Shaw Festival mourns the loss of director Neil Munro

Shaw Festival mourns the loss of director Neil Munro

The Shaw Festival Company is deeply saddened to announce today the passing of long-time Resident Director, Neil Munro. Mr. Munro died July 13, 2009 at the age of 62 at London Ontarios University Hospital after a lengthy illness. He is predeceased by his wife Carole Galloway and is survived by his sister Anna Munro, nephew John Munro and his mother-in-law Stella Galloway and sister-in-law Jackie Martinez.

On making this announcement, Jackie Maxwell commented: Neil Munro created an indelible mark on the Shaw Festival. As a director he had a vision that was unique blending extraordinarily detailed preparation with brilliant and at times outrageous ideas, always in the service of illuminating and revitalizing each play. His passion for theatre was immense, only matched by that for the artists he worked with especially actors. As Resident Director, his commitment to and love for the Ensemble and all it stood for was clear daily as was his brilliant sceptical humour which unsuccessfully hid his true warmth and empathy. We already miss him terribly but our vivid memories of his talent and his passion will live on here at The Shaw, and I know, in the hearts of the many, many Canadians artists whose lives he touched.

Mr. Munro has been one of Canadian theatres most vital artists for more than 35 years as a director, actor and playwright. He is revered at The Shaw as a director who brought a fascinating and often controversial directorial touch to many plays, notably, his recent productions of Somerset Maughams The Circle and Tennessee Williams Summer and Smoke (2007). Other Shaw Festival credits include: Michael OBriens adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel The Invisible Man, The Constant Wife, Something on the Side, Man and Superman, Harlequinade, Misalliance, The Plough and the Stars, Detective Story, Chaplin (The Trial of Charles Spencer Chaplin, Esq.), The Man Who Came to Dinner, Laura, the North American premiere of Lord of the Flies, Time and the Conways, You Can't Take It With You, All My Sons, Joy, Berkeley Square, Counsellor-at-Law, Saint Joan, The Front Page, The Petrified Forest, Rashomon, Marsh Hay, The Seagull and all of the Festival's productions of the works of Granville Barker including The Voysey Inheritance, The Marrying of Ann Leete, Rococo, Waste, The Madras House, The Secret Life and His Majesty.

Born in Musselburgh, Scotland, Mr. Munro moved to Toronto at an early age. After graduating from the National Theatre School of Canada, he performed at the National Arts Centre, the Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Tarragon and the Toronto Free Theatre, as well as at the Shaw and Stratford Festivals.

Mr. Munro also appeared in many television and radio productions and feature films, most notably in The Jonah Look, which he also wrote, and as Beethoven in the Emmy award-winning Beethoven Lives Upstairs. Mr. Munro played the title role in CBC Radio's Investigations of Quentin Nickles series.

Mr. Munro also wrote for the stage. His adaptations for The Shaw included Feydeaus Something on the Side and Ibsens Rosmersholm. His productions of Crossing Over and Bob's Kingdom at the Factory Theatre in Toronto won critical praise and in 1991 his adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, entitled Hamlet's Room, was recognized by Toronto theatre critics as one of the year's ten best plays.

He received a Best New Play Dora Award for Bob's Kingdom and a Best Director Dora Award for Hamlet's Room. He was also the recipient of two ACTRA awards and was a Chalmers Award nominee for best new play for Extreme Close Up.

Details regarding a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer openings at the Shaw Festival: The Devil's Disciple, Albertine in Five Times, Star Chamber and Play, Orchestra, Play

Summer openings at the Shaw Festival: The Devils Disciple, Albertine in Five Times, Star Chamber and Play, Orchestra, Play

The Shaw Festivals summertime openings begin tomorrow evening with Bernard Shaws rollicking adventure The Devils Disciple at the Festival Theatre. On Friday, July 10, a new translation of Michel Tremblay's Albertine in Five Times (Albertine en Cinq Temps) by Governor Generals Award winner Linda Gaboriau premieres at the Court House Theatre and on Saturday, July 11, the rarely produced Star Chamber, the comedy gem from Nol Cowards Tonight at 8:30 collection; and Play, Orchestra, Play, the second Nol Coward triplet, open at the Royal George Theatre. Sunday in the Park with George, Brief Encounters, In Good King Charless Golden Days, Moon for the Misbegotten and Born Yesterday opened The Shaws 2009 season in May.

In commemoration of the achievements of The Shaws creative team, gala dinners are held prior to opening night performances and are attended by dignitaries from local government, Canadas artistic and business communities; and by Shaw supporters.

The Devils Disciple

by George Bernard Shaw

directed by Tadeusz Bradecki

Opens July 9 Closes October 11

Festival Theatre

Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Its the height of the American Revolution and Dick Dudgeon the black sheep son is known as the Devils Disciple. When he is mistaken for a crusading minister and imprisoned by English forces, the lines between saint and sinner are blurred. A comedy, an adventure and a love story, its first production in 1897 was so successful that Shaw was able to quit his day job as a critic.

Albertine in Five Times

by Michel Tremblay

translated by Linda Gaboriau

directed by Micheline Chevrier

Opens July 10 Closes October 10

Court House Theatre

What would you say to your younger self if you had the chance? What if you met yourself 10, 20, 30 years in the future? Albertine, Qubcois theatres most iconic character, gets the chance to converse with five versions of herself in varying stages of her life, reviewing past pains, loves and losses.

Star Chamber

by Nol Coward

directed by Kate Lynch

Opens July 11 Closes October 11

Royal George Theatre

A committee of actors meet to discuss the refurbishment of Garrick Haven, a home for retired thespians. Though the stage manager and secretary dutifully arrive on time, the rest of the group make their tardy, and rather dramatic, entrances. With duelling divas and tales of past glories and gossip, the agenda is quickly forgotten and the meeting quickly reduces into comic chaos. Coward made sure every known and enjoyed type of performer makes an appearance during the meeting. Star Chamber is this seasons lunchtime presentation.

Play, Orchestra, Play

by Nol Coward

directed by Christopher Newton

Opens July 11 Closes October 31

Royal George Theatre

Taken from the Nol Coward song You Were There, the title Play, Orchestra, Play highlights the significant role music plays in this Coward cluster and features some of his most celebrated songs. From the backstage lives of a singing and dancing comedy act in Red Peppers, to the rare Coward stage depiction of suburban life in Fumed Oak, to Shadow Play, the musical fantasy of a couple falling in and out of love; this Coward compilation combines lyrics, laughter and longing.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jewel in the Tonight at 8:30 crown currently in previews at the Shaw Festival

Jewel in the Tonight at 8:30 crown currently in previews at the Shaw Festival

Star Chamber, the rarely produced comedy gem from Noel Cowards Tonight at 8:30 collection, continues in previews at the Shaw Festivals Royal George Theatre.

A committee of actors meet to discuss the refurbishment of Garrick Haven, a home for retired thespians. Though the stage manager and secretary dutifully arrive on time, the rest of the group make their tardy, and rather dramatic, entrances. With duelling divas and tales of past glories and gossip, the agenda is quickly forgotten and the meeting quickly reduces into comic chaos. Drawing on his own experiences as President of the Actors' Orphanage and reflecting his affection for the eccentricity of actors, Coward makes sure every known and enjoyed type of performer makes an appearance at the meeting.

Directed by Kate Lynch, this lunchtime production marks the first time since its initial performance in 1936 that Star Chamber has been produced along with Cowards other nine plays in the Tonight at 8:30 series. Featuring the ensemble cast of Neil Barclay, Evan Buliung, Fiona Byrne, Sharry Flett, Gabrielle Jones, Marla McLean, Mark Uhre, Jenny L. Wright, Peter Krantz, Guy Bannerman and Kelly Wong, Star Chamber has set and costumes designed by the Shaw Festivals Head of Design, William Schmuck, lighting design by Kirsten Watt and musical direction and arrangements by Reza Jacobs. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Dora Tomassi and Assistant Stage Manager Annie McWhinnie.

Star Chamber began preview performances on Thursday, June 25; opens Saturday, July 11; and plays in repertory until Sunday, October 11.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New translation of Canadian classic

New translation of Canadian classic Albertine in Five Times begins previews at the Shaw Festival

A new translation of Michel Tremblay's Albertine in Five Times (Albertine en Cinq Temps) begins previews Wednesday, June 24 at the Shaw Festivals Court House Theatre.

Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, thrilled to have one of Canadas leading playwrights and his quintessential tragic heroine as part of this seasons playbill, said: Michel Tremblays Albertine a fascinating, conflicted woman who refuses to take lifes knocks lying down is one of Quebec theatres most celebrated characters. We welcome her and Michel Canadian icons both to our Festival.


Michel Tremblay first introduced audiences to Albertine, one of his greatest loves, in 1966. She quickly became a Qubcois phenomenon appearing frequently in his plays and novels. Albertine en Cinq Temps, written in 1984, made its English premiere as Albertine in Five Times at the Tarragon Theatre in 1986. The play won the 1986 Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award and has been produced around the world in English, Danish, Hindi, Japanese, Spanish and German.

Directed by Micheline Chevrier, this new translation of Albertine in Five Times by Governor Generals Award winner Linda Gaboriau has Qubcois theatres most iconic character interacting with five versions of herself in varying stages of her life. The five Albertines review a lifetime of past pains, loves and losses. Their sister Madeleine is there to console, counsel and bear witness to how, for seventy years, Albertines spirit has suffered, struggled, flourished and survived.

Albertine, in five pivotal stages of her life, is portrayed by Patricia Hamilton (who also starred in the original English production of the play), Wendy Thatcher, Mary Haney, Jenny L. Wright and Marla McLean with Nicol Correia-Damude as Madeleine. Albertine in Five Times is designed by Teresa Przybylski, with lighting design by Ereca Hassell and original music and sound design by Marc Desormeaux. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Dora Tomassi and Assistant Stage Manager Leigh McClymont.

Albertine in Five Times preview performances begin on Wednesday, June 24; opens Friday, July 10; and plays in repertory until Saturday, October 10.

The Shaw Festival produces and presents the work of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and playwrights writing anywhere in the world during, or about, the era of Shaws lifetime plays about the beginning of the modern world.

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An Enchanted Evening featuring Measha Brueggergosman rescheduled


An Enchanted Evening featuring Measha Brueggergosman rescheduled

New date scheduled for special concert as vocalist recovers from surgery


The Shaw Festival announced today that An Enchanted Evening, a concert featuring soprano Measha Brueggergosman originally scheduled to take place on July 12, 2009, will now take place on August 9, 2009. Canadian jazz sensation Michael Kaeshammer and acclaimed Broadway performer and bass/baritone soloist Marcus Nance both remain on the bill for this one-night only Shaw Festival presentation.

Patrons who have purchased tickets for the original July 12 date will be contacted to exchange their tickets for the new date in August, or they may contact the Box Office directly at 1-800-511-7429. Tickets are priced at $50 and $65 (accessible seating is available).

Measha Brueggergosman, one of Canadas most critically acclaimed vocalists, underwent open-heart surgery on June 10, 2009. She is expected to make a full and complete recovery. Hailed by the New York Times as a singer of "ravishing and smouldering intensity" and noted by the San Francisco Chronicle as a singer of rare gifts and artistic intensity, this Canadian soprano has emerged as one of todays most magnificent performers and vibrant personalities. Her album, Surprise was released in 2007 and garnered a Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year.

An Enchanted Evening will commence at 8:30 p.m. and will be taped for future broadcast on BRAVO!

This special outdoor concert was made possible by the very generous support of the Ontario Ministry of Tourisms Celebrate Ontario 2009 initiative and the Government of Canadas Marquee Tourism Events Program. Special thanks to Parks Canada.

Media Sponsors: BRAVO! and The Globe and Mail.

Event Supporter: Vintage Hotels.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Devil's Disciple now in previews at the Shaw Festival


The Red Coats have returned to Niagara-on-the-Lake in a new production of George Bernard Shaws rollicking adventure The Devils Disciple. Known for his flair for revitalizing theatre classics, director Tadeusz Bradecki presents an inventive interpretation of Shaws most successful play. Last seen at the Shaw Festival in 1996, this seasons production of The Devils Disciple is currently in previews at the Festival Theatre.

Its the height of the American Revolution and Dick Dudgeon (Evan Buliung) the black sheep son is known as the Devils Disciple. When he is mistaken for a crusading minister (Peter Krantz) and imprisoned by English forces, the ministers wife (Fiona Byrne) begins to question who is really saint and who is really sinner? A comedy, an adventure and a love story, its first production in 1897 was so successful that Shaw was able to quit his day job as a critic.

The Devils Disciple also features Richard Stewart, Ali Momen, Craig Pike, Micheal Querin, Donna Belleville, Lucy Campbell, Jonathan Widdifield, Lorne Kennedy, Anthony Bekenn, Guy Bannerman, Peter Millard, Jim Mezon, Al Kozlik, Ijeoma Emesowum and Billy Lake.

Set and costumes designed by Peter Hartwell and lighting design by Kevin Lamotte. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Allan Teichman and Assistant Stage Manager Eamonn Reil.

The Devils Disciple began preview performances on Sunday, June 14; opens Thursday, July 9; and plays in repertory until Sunday, October 11.

The Devils Disciple is sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ontario Government Invests in the Shaw Theatre Festival

The Shaw Theatre Festivals marketing initiatives received a boost today with an $800,000 investment from the Ontario Government. Not only will the funding enhance The Shaws marketing strategies, it will also support the creation of new tourism experiences that will benefit the entire Niagara region.

Responding to the funding news, Colleen Blake, Executive Director of the Shaw Festival, said, Ontarios investment helps the Shaw Festival reach new audiences seeking outstanding cultural tourism experiences. This support helps the Shaw Festival one of North Americas most celebrated theatre companies widen its awareness and that of the Niagara Region as a definite must-see destination.

A portion of this welcomed investment in The Shaw, approximately $500,000, will be earmarked to support a marketing campaign aimed at key Canadian and U.S. markets, thereby attracting new audiences and increasing the number of visitors to The Shaw and the Niagara region. The remaining $300,000, from the Ministrys Celebrate Ontario Program, will be used to support a live concert headlined by Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman. Entitled An Enchanted Evening, the concert will feature a selection of songs from The Shaws mandate and will be taped for broadcast on the Bravo! network.

The Ontario Governments investment will have a ripple effect on the entire regional tourism economy by drawing new visitors, encouraging more overnight stays, and increasing tourism spending. A recent survey indicates that every dollar spent at The Shaw translates into over $5 of spending within the Niagara Region.

The 2008 survey shows approximately 42,000 visitors or 24,000 out-of-town tourists are estimated to have attended one or more plays during the Shaw Festivals season, spending approximately $37.7 million on tourism activities and services in Ontario, of which more than eighty percent or about $30.7 million was spent in the Regional Municipality of Niagara (Census Division 3526).

The Shaw Theatre Festivals attendance reached 281,000 in 2008; an increase of 6% over the previous year. Visitors from Canada made up 59.3%, while 40.3% came from the U.S. and 0.4% from overseas.

The Shaw Festivals 24,000 out-of-town visitors spent approximately $32.2 million. This spending generated about $29.6 million in total economic activity (GDP) across the province.

All jobs generated by visitors to the Shaw Festival yielded $19.1 million in wages and salaries province-wide in 2008. At the height of the season, the Shaw Theatre Festival employs approximately 600 employees.

www.shawfest.com


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Slaight Family Makes $5 Million Gift to Shaw Festival Academy - Embargoed

The Shaw Festival is thrilled to announce the establishment of The Slaight Family Academy at the Shaw Festival. A transformational gift of $5 million from the Slaight Family will endow The Academy and sustain it long into the future.

The Academy at the Shaw Festival was formed in 1985 during the tenure of Allan Slaight, the Chair of the Board of Governors, and past Artistic Director Christopher Newton. Created to foster the growth of the Company, it began as an informal skills exchange among Company members. Under the leadership of the Shaws current Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, the Academy has retained the important function of skills exchange and mentoring, and has grown to become an enrichment centre for further developing artists skills. The Shaw is one of the few institutions in North America with a strong commitment to the training of theatre artists attached to a permanent acting ensemble.

For over 25 years The Slaight Family has had a profound impact on The Shaw Festival through their leadership and generosity. In addition to establishing The Academy with Christopher Newton in 1985, Allan Slaight served as a Board member at The Shaw from 1982 to 1988 and as Board Chair from 1985 to 1986. In addition, he and Newton founded The Shaw Boxing Evening, the largest charity fundraiser of its kind in the world, which has raised more than $5 million for The Shaw.

An exemplary leader and patron as well, Ada Slaight served on the Board from 1990 to 1998 as a Governor, National Governor and Honorary Governor.

The investment made by the Slaight family will be used in four ways. The Mandate Intensive, a new training initiative, will provide apprentice actors, and actors new to the Company with two weeks of immersion in the world of The Shaws mandate before the start of rehearsals, with classes in text, voice, and a detailed course in the manners of the Mandate information available virtually nowhere else. Training programs for the Acting Ensemble will be enriched including voice, dialogue, singing, movement and acting. At present the Shaw Festival and other theatre companies must recruit coaches from outside Canada. The Slaight gift will help The Shaw develop Canadian professional trainers through Apprentice Teacher positions in Voice and Dialect and Alexander Technique.

Finally, the Slaight gift will allow the Shaw Festival to establish The Shaw Theatre School, which will open in the fall of 2009. Drawing on The Shaws professional artists and resources, and augmented by other theatre instructors, The Shaw Theatre School will initially offer a ten-

week drama course designed for young people (Grades 4 12). Classes will be offered in such areas as: Acting, Improvisation, Choreography, Voice & Dialect, Musical Theatre, Mask Work, Stage Combat, Monologues, Scene Study and Warm-up Techniques.

On presenting the gift to The Shaw, Allan and Adas son Gary Slaight said: The Shaw Festival is an organization close to the heart of the Slaight family, one that my parents served with joy and commitment as Board members. Were delighted to be part of the story of the Festival and to make this investment in The Shaws Academy.

In announcing the Slaight Family gift, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell said: We are tremendously grateful for the Slaight Familys generosity, and thrilled to be given this opportunity to enhance the programs of our renowned Academy.

Shaw Festival Campaign Chair, Richard D. Falconer, acknowledged the Slaight Familys generosity: The Slaight Familys magnanimous gift provides transformational leadership that is particularly critical during this period of economic difficulty. The gift supports the Shaws Festivals campaign for the future - A Splendid Torch - a $20 million campaign to grow The Shaws endowment and other financial resources to a level that will allow The Shaw to create innovative theatre without compromise, unencumbered by financial constraints.

www.shawfest.com

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Nol Coward threesome kicks off 48th season of the Shaw Theatre Festival

Still Life, We Were Dancing and Hands Across the Sea, the trio of one-act delights from the pen of Nol Coward, known collectively as Brief Encounters, launches the 48th season of the Shaw Theatre Festival. Four other productions also open this week: the Shavian Restoration romp In Good King Charles`s Golden Days: A True History That Never Happened; the Stephen Sondheim Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George; Eugene ONeills bittersweet love story A Moon for the Misbegotten; and Garson Kanins classic social comedy Born Yesterday.

The Shaw Festivals Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell joins The Shaws Board of Governors Chair Janet McKelvey and the rest of the Company in celebrating the launch of the season and says of this weeks events: There is a real feeling of anticipation and excitement here at The Shaw as we launch our first five shows glittering examples of this seasons rich and varied playbill.

The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; along with special guests from all levels of government, colleagues from the cultural sector and generous leading patrons and corporate sponsors will be in attendance. Federal government officials attending will include The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice, MP, Niagara Falls; The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State for Small Business & Tourism; Mr. Stephen Brereton, Canadian Consul General Buffalo; Mr. Bob Dechert, MP Mississauga-Erindale; Dr. Kirsty Duncan, MP Etobicoke North; Mr. Gerard Kennedy, MP Parkdale; Ms. Julia Munro, MP North York; and Mr. Paul Szabo, MP Mississauga South. Foreign dignitaries attending will include Mr. Jonathan Dart, British Consul General Toronto. Provincial government officials attending will include The Honourable Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources & MPP Etobicoke Centre; The Honourable Aileen Carroll, Minister of Culture; The Honourable Gerry Phillips, Chair of Cabinet; The Honourable Monique Smith, Minister of Tourism; Ms. Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP Hamilton Mountain; Mr. Kim Craitor, MPP Niagara Falls; and Mr. Rosario Marchese, MPP Trinity-Spadina. Lord Mayor Gary Burroughs, Mayor of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, will also be in attendance, as will members of the Arts community including Mr. William Boyle, CEO, Harbourfront Centre; Ms. Martha Durdin, Chair, Ontario Arts Council; Ms. Julia Foster, Chair, National Arts Centre; Mr. Peter Herrndorf, CEO, National Arts Centre; Ms. Linda Intaschi, Associate Producer, Mirvish Productions; and Mr. Robert Lamb, Managing Director, Canadian Opera Company.

The Shaw Festival produces and presents the work of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and playwrights writing anywhere in the world during, or about, the era of Shaws lifetime.

www.shawfest.com

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Monday, April 27, 2009

The Shaw Festival receives $2.1 million


The Shaw Festival receives $2.1 million in funding support from the Government of Canada

Colleen Blake, Executive Director of the Shaw Festival, announced today that the theatre festival is receiving $2,131,860 million in funding through the Marquee Tourism Events Program (MTEP).

The Shaw Festival is thrilled to receive this significant grant from the Government of Canada during this challenging economic time, said Blake. Not only will this funding assist the Shaw Festival in extending our marketing efforts to increase the visibility of our events both nationally and internationally by investing in building visitors now and in the future, but we are confident this injection of support will also have a positive economic impact for our community partners and the entire Niagara Region.

The announcement was made on behalf of the Government of Canada by the Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and MP for Niagara Falls at The Shaws Royal George Theatre. Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and Board Chair Janet McKelvey spoke on behalf of the Festival and a performance by Shaw Festival Ensemble member Jay Turvey from The Shaws production of Sunday in the Park with George concluded the celebration.

Funding from the Marquee Tourism Events Program (MTEP) must be used to support costs associated with new activities, programs or experiences that enhance a tourism event. In The Shaws case, this funding will be used primarily to support marketing initiatives that will increase ticket sales.

The Shaw will launch an immediate and aggressive strategic marketing plan to turn the current sales trend around early. One of the marketing initiatives is Great Theatre in the Heart of Niagara Wine Country, a fully integrated marketing project that leverages many partners in the Niagara Region (wineries, accommodation and fine dining) creating Staycation value-added packages to promote the experience of great theatre in a region rich in fine wine, fabulous dining experiences and award-winning accommodation. These and other funded activities will support and promote great theatre in the heart of Niagara wine country. The project deals not only with this years needs, but also focuses strongly on initiatives to grow future audiences to levels that ensures sustainability.

A powerful economic force in the Niagara (and Ontario) economy, The Shaws season lasts from April to the end of October, and critically affects the health of many industries that rely on Shaw visitors for this period. The Shaw believes it is vital to be in the market place more aggressively, for a longer period of time, and in more markets and this incremental marketing funding makes that possible.

In thanking the Government for its investment in The Shaw, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell spoke about the important role of theatre in times such as these: We become more, not less necessary. We are here to explain, to distract, to clarify, to comfort, and to give the reasons why. We have been heartened by the incredible support of our donors who are coming to the fore to ensure we can continue to create work that is both challenging and entertaining. The Government of Canadas support of the Shaw Festival with this Marquee Tourism Events grant makes a critical contribution towards ensuring financial stability for both the Shaw Festival and tourism in the Niagara Region. Thank you for creating this innovative funding initiative.

The Shaw Festival is an internationally renowned theatre company, one of the pre-eminent theatre companies in North America, and one of the major performing arts organizations in Canada. Its Academy plays an important role in training future actors, directors, and designers a major contribution to the health of theatre in Ontario and Canada. As well, The Shaw plays a vital part in the important tourism business of the Niagara Region, with an annual direct economic impact of over $80 million.

The Shaw Festival is just one of several of Canadas annual, world-class marquee tourism events that have been granted funding under the MTEP Summer 2009 funding stream.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Previews begin for Shavian Restoration comedy In Good King Charles's Golden Days


Preview performances of In Good King Charless Golden Days, George Bernard Shaws Restoration romp begin Friday, April 17, 2009, at the Royal George Theatre.

A religious leader (Ric Reid), an artist (Ken James Stewart) and Charles II, the Merrie Monarch (Benedict Campbell), meet at Sir Isaac Newtons (Graeme Somerville) house. The set-up for a joke? No, its Shaws Restoration comedy, where debates on everything from geometry to art to love potions ensue.

First produced in 1939, Shaws history lesson in three acts is a witty and decidedly Shavian take on some great men (and women) of history. The plays subtitle, "A True History that Never Happened", gives insight into Shaws whimsical approach to this fascinating and humorous discussion piece. Shaw pondered what would happen if several prominent and influential men of history met at the height of their powers? What debates and discussions would this gathering inspire? And what if this discussion was, on occasion, interrupted by one or several of the Kings mistresses? The result is a lively dialogue spanning both the serious and comedic on a wide-range of topics.

Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell considers this brilliant ensemble piece a glorious opportunity for our actors to display their unparalleled gifts for Shavian comic mayhem. In Good King Charless Golden Days also features Shaw Ensemble members Laurie Paton, Esther Maloney, Mary Haney, Nicola Correia-Damude, Claire Jullien, Lisa Codrington and Andrew Bunker.

Directed by Eda Holmes, director of last seasons The Little Foxes and the highly acclaimed 2004 Shaw Festival production of the musical Floyd Collins, In Good King Charless Golden Days has set design by Camellia Koo, costume design by Michael Gianfrancesco, lighting design by Bonnie Beecher and fight direction by John Stead. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Beatrice Campbell, Assistant Stage Manager Barry Burns and Production Stage Manager Judy Farthing.

In Good King Charless Golden Days begins preview performances Friday, April 17; opens Thursday, May 21; and plays in repertory until Friday, October 9. In Good King Charless Golden Days is generously sponsored by the Producers Circle.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nol Coward's Tonight at 8:30 started with previews of Brief Encounters at the Shaw Festival


Nol Cowards Tonight at 8:30 series started with previews of Brief Encounters at the Shaw Festival Theatre


Still Life, We Were Dancing and Hands Across the Sea, three of the best known one-act plays from Nol Cowards Tonight at 8:30, began preview performances in Brief Encounters on Saturday, April 11, 2009 at the Festival Theatre. Directed by Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, this first triple bill in the Shaw Festivals Coward cycle of ten one-act plays marks the start of a world premiere the first time all ten plays have been presented together in repertory theatre history.

Repressed love after a chance meeting at a train station; flaming passion from a single dance across the floor; mistaken identity following a passing holiday acquaintance three different stories all inspired by three brief moments in time, come together to make up Brief Encounters. This opening triplet of Cowards Tonight at 8:30 cycle features three miniature delights only possible from the pen of Nol Coward and demonstrate the great range of his writing from drama to comedy to music.

Initially conceived by Coward to revive the one-act play, Tonight at 8:30 also provided the opportunity for Coward to showcase his and his favourite actress, Gertrude Lawrences acting, singing, and dancing talents. Staying true to Cowards original idea, Deborah Hay, Patrick Galligan, Corrine Koslo and Thom Marriott perform multiple roles and show off their triple threat talents in this threesome of Coward short plays. Brief Encounters also features Krista Colosimo, Gray Powell, Goldie Semple, Michael Ball, Prince Amponsah, Wade Bogert-OBrien, Beryl Bain and David Schurmann in multiple roles.

Brief Encounters has set and costumes designed by the Shaw Festivals Head of Design, William Schmuck, lighting design by Head of Lighting Design Kevin Lamotte, musical arrangements and sound design by John Gzowski, projections by Adam Larsen, choreography by Valerie Moore. The stage management team includes Production Stage Manager Judy Farthing and Assistant Stage Manager Amy Jewell.

Jackie Maxwell and William Schmucks previous collaborations include last seasons production of The Stepmother and Rutherford and Son in 2004.

Brief Encounters preview performances began on Saturday, April 11; opens Wednesday, May 20; and plays in repertory until Saturday, October 24. Brief Encounters is sponsored by CIBC World Markets.

First presented in January 1935, the Tonight at 8:30 collection was completed, with the exception of Star Chamber, in May 1936. Previously, the Shaw Festival had presented We Were Dancing, Family Album and Shadow Play in 1971.

For more information on this once in a lifetime presentation of Tonight at 8:30, please visit www.tonightat830.com.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Previews for Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George"

Previews begin at the Shaw Festival for

Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George


The Shaw Festival celebrates the start of its 48th season this week with preview performances of Stephen Sondheims Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George at the Royal George Theatre.

Inspired by maverick pointillist painter Georges Seurats "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte - 1884", Sunday in the Park with George is a compelling story about love, art, inspiration and community revolving around Seurat (Steven Sutcliffe) during the creation of his now celebrated masterpiece and his fictionalized great-grandson George, a struggling installation artist and inventor. A hundred years later, while visiting La Grande Jatte, the ghosts of the past provide creative encouragement and a connection to the Seurat legacy for his descendant George.

Considered Stephen Sondheims most personal musical because it looks at the life of the artist, Sunday in the Park with George has been called "an audacious, haunting and, in its own intensely personal way, touching work" by the New York Times. Sondheim, with writer James Lapine, wrote the musical after his own artistic struggles and his announcement that he was leaving musical theatre to write mystery novels. Lapine coaxed him back with the Seurat painting and the idea of imagining the life of an artist who was at times misunderstood, but who also loved to create.

As Seurat brings his canvas to life on stage, so too does he give voice to the figures in the frame. Meet the characters within the painting such as the boatman (Mark Uhre), the man sitting in top hat and cane (Kyle Blair), the old woman under a parasol (Sharry Flett) and the gentleman (Jay Turvey) who accompanies Dot (Julie Martell), the woman in the hat who is also Georges mistress and muse. Hear about their lives and loves and their impressions of this unconventional painter. The cast also includes Kawa Ada, Neil Barclay, Alix Boyd, Celeste Brillon, Saccha Dennis, Patty Jamison, Melanie Janzen, Gabrielle Jones, Anthony Malarky, Melanie Phillipson, Jacqueline Thair, Robin Evan Willis and Kelly Wong.

Sunday in the Park with George is directed by award-winning director Alisa Palmer, with musical direction by Paul Sportelli, choreography by Bill Coleman, set and costume design by Judith Bowden, lighting design by Alan Brodie and associate Conductor/pianist Ryan deSouza. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Meredith Macdonald, Assistant Stage Manager Annie McWhinnie and Apprentice Stage Manager Erin Finn.

Sunday in the Park with George begins preview performances Tuesday, April 1; opens Friday, May 22; and plays in repertory until Sunday, November 1. Sunday in the Park with George is sponsored by TD-Canada Trust Music.

Sunday in the Park with George

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by James Lapine

Originally directed on Broadway by James Lapine

Originally produced on Broadway by The Shubert Organization and Emanuel Azenberg by arrangement with the Playwrights Horizon, Inc., New York City, which produced the original production of Sunday in the Park with George in 1983.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Changes at the Shaw Festival

Changes at the Shaw Festival

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, February 4, 2009ĶArtistic Director Jackie Maxwell regretfully announced today that Neil Munro is relinquishing his post as Associate Director of the Shaw Festival, for health reasons. He has also withdrawn from his directorial duties for the production of Born Yesterday, scheduled to appear on the Festival stage as part of The Shaws 2009 season.

In making the announcement, Ms. Maxwell stated Neils contribution to The Shaw over the past several years has been enormous and we plan to continue to work with him on a project basis. However for the time being, Neil must focus on his health, and we support and respect that decision.

Director Eda Holmes, who has a lengthy association with The Shaw, has been appointed Associate Director. In announcing Edas appointment, Ms. Maxwell noted; From her early days as an Intern Director at The Shaw to her strong directorial successes with such shows as Floyd Collins and last seasons The Little Foxes and her curatorial direction of our Play Reading Series, we see this new role for Eda as a natural progression of her work at The Shaw. We are all excited by the energy and ideas she will bring to our Creative Management.

Toronto director, actor and playwright Gina Wilkinson will now direct Born Yesterday.

Already well known as an actor and playwright, Gina has been gaining momentum and kudos as a director over the last several years across Canada and we enthusiastically welcome her on board as she leads the creative team of Born Yesterday, said Ms. Maxwell.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shaw Festival Box Office Now Open to Everyone!

Shaw Festival Box Office Opens for 2009 Season



Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, January 13, 2009 . . . The Shaw Festival Box Office is now accepting, telephone and in-person orders from the general public for the 2009 season. Fax, online and mail orders began on January 5.

The Box Office has been open to Members of the Shaw Festival since November 8 and to groups since January 5. We are delighted with the enthusiasm with which our Members and loyal patrons have responded to the season. In particular the Tonight at 8:30 series, which celebrates the enduring appeal of Nol Coward, makes 2009 an historic season for The Shaw. For a theatre experience like no other, theatre lovers are encouraged to book early this season, said Executive Director Colleen Blake.

In 2009 The Shaw produces each play in Nol Cowards famous Tonight at 8:30 collection. The Shaws 2009 productions represent the first time all ten short plays have been performed in repertory by a professional company since they were first produced by Londons Phoenix Theatre in 1935-36. The plays will be performed in sets of three, one on each of the Festivals Niagara-on-the-Lake stages, with the tenth, the rarely produced Star Chamber, being the lunchtime production in the Royal George. Brief Encounters (Still Life, We Were Dancing, Hands Across the Sea) will be staged in the Festival Theatre, Ways of the Heart (The Astonished Heart, Family Album, Ways and Means) in the Court House, and Play, Orchestra, Play (Red Peppers, Fumed Oak, Shadow Play) in the Royal George.

On three occasions - August 8, August 29 and September 19 - all ten Coward plays will be presented in one day, an event titled Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Almost 50% of available tickets for these events have been sold, so early booking is recommended.

The Shaw Festivals 2009 season also includes two plays by the Festivals namesake: The Devils Disciple in the Festival and In Good King Charless Golden Days in the Royal George, as well as Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin, A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene ONeill, Albertine in Five Times by Michel Tremblay, the musical Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, and a limited engagement of John Osbornes The Entertainer in the new Studio Theatre. The Reading Series of contemporary Shavian writers and a variety of enrichment activities including workshops and seminars are also offered. Affordable overnight and day packages are available and make a trip to The Shaw easy.

Ticket information and brochures can be obtained through the Shaw Festival Box Office or website:

Toll free in North America 1-800-511-7429

Local (905) 468-2172

Fax (905) 468-3804

Internet www.shawfest.com

Mail Shaw Festival

Box 774

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0

The Festival Theatre Box Office and Retail Shop is located at 10 Queens Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. From January 10 to April 11, Box Office hours are Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm. Beginning April 12, the Box Office is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm.

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