A favourite summer weekend or day trip for me is taking in a play at the annual Shaw Festival in the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. You can make a weekend trip by visiting the festival and the charming boutiques and cafes in Niagara-on-the-Lake, driving along the breathtaking Niagara Parkway, then heading to neighbouring Niagara Falls. The Shaw Festival 2017 is performing several comedies, dramas and musicals including headliners Me and My Girl, Saint Joan and Dracula at the Festival Theatre among others. Read further to find out what’s playing at the Shaw Festival in 2017.
History of The Shaw Festival
The Shaw Festival began in 1962 to showcase the plays of English playwright Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries. The festival’s original two theatres were the Royal George Theatre and the Court House Theatre on Queen Street. As the festival expanded to showcase plays that were written or set during the lifetime of Shaw, the festival’s bricks and mortar location expanded to include the Festival Theatre and the Jackie Maxwell Theatre.
Performances at the Festival Theatre in 2017
The following plays will be performed at the Festival Theatre, the Shaw Festival’s flagship theatre:
- Me and My Girl (book and lyrics) by L. Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber. Book revised by Stephen Fry with contributions by Mike Okrent. A Cockney man finds out that he is the fourteenth Earl of Hareford and must get rid of his old lifestyle and girlfriend to claim the title. The play runs from Apr. 5 to Oct. 15, 2017;
- Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw: Shaw’s greatest play ponders whether Joan of Arc was a saviour, fraud or confused country girl. The play runs from May 3 to Oct. 15, 2017;
- Dracula adapted for stage by Liz Lochead from the novel by Bram Stoker: In this version, men in Victorian-era England are frightened not only of vampires, but of female sexual desire. The play runs from July 8 to Oct. 14, 2017.
Performances at the Royal George Theatre in 2017
These plays will be performed at the Royal George Theatre, which is located on Niagara-on-the-Lake’s main street, Queen Street:
- The Madness of George III by Alan Bennett: King George III loses his mind and bodily functions while the court wonders how to deal with this very human man, anointed by God. The play runs from Apr. 11 to Oct. 15, 2017;
- 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt by Rick Salutin: Farmers in Canada protest the distribution of their land to government leaders and are led by William Lyon Mackenzie in a march down Toronto’s Yonge Street. Play runs from May 7 to Oct. 8, 2017;
- Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel: Five sisters in 1930s Ireland struggle against poverty while pinning hopes on love and find a communal spirit in dance. The Play runs from May 14 to Oct. 15, 2017;
- An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, adapted from The Octoroon by Dion Boucicault: When a plantation in Louisiana is for sale, a neighbour plots to buy it and the biracial woman who lives there. The play runs from July 16 to Oct. 14, 2017.
Performances at the Court House Theatre in 2017
The Court House Theatre is located on Queen Street and will host the following plays during the Shaw Festival 2017:
- Androcles and the Lion by George Bernard Shaw: Androcles, a Christian tailor, removes a thorn from a lion’s paw just before he is about to be thrown to the lions at the Colosseum in ancient Rome. The play runs from June 6 to Oct. 7, 2017;
- Wilde Tales by George Bernard Shaw: These four Wilde tales including The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Remarkable Rocket and The Selfish Giant feature magic and fantasy to delight children and the child within us. The play runs from June 8 to Oct. 7, 2017.
Performances at the Jackie Maxwell Theatre in 2017
The Jackie Maxwell Theatre is in the same building as the Festival Theatre on Queen’s Parade. The following plays will be performed at the Jackie Maxwell Theatre at the Shaw Festival 2017:
- 1979 by Michael Healey: This comedy is about Joe Clark’s short-lived career as a Canadian Prime Minister, who has been called one of the most honest politicians. The play runs from May 1 to Oct. 14, 2017;
- Middletown by William Eno: This play focuses on the ordinary people living unremarkable lives in an average North American town. Despite living in desperate circumstances, they all seek love. The play is performed from July 13 to Sept. 10, 2017.
Order your tickets for the Shaw Festival by calling 905-468-2172 or 1-800-511-7429. Connect with the Shaw Festival on social media:
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Enter our giveaway to win 2 tickets to Me and My Girl, Saint Joan or Dracula at the Shaw Festival
This giveaway is open to Canada only, 18+. The winner will be able to choose the date of performance for either Me and My Girl, Saint Joan or Dracula from performances after May 30, 2017. Value $160-$200 depending on performance.
This contest appears on Contest Canada