10 Queen's Parade- Box 774
Niagara On The Lake, Ontario LOS 1JO
In the spirit of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond. The Shaw Festival was started in 1962 by Niagara-area lawyer and playwright Brian Doherty. During the summer, Mr Doherty organized eight weekend performances of Don Juan in Hell and Candida by Bernard Shaw under the title “Salute to Shaw“. For this event, the Assembly Room in the historic Court House on Queen Street was converted into a small theatre. The company now works in four theatres. The largest is the Festival Theatre, which at 869 seats is still intimate by most standards. Here is where our grand season opening takes place each May. The Court House Theatre, located where the Shaw Festival began in 1962, has 327 seats in a “thrust” configuration. Each year The Shaw leases the Assembly Room in the historic Court House from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and installs a theatre in the space. The Royal George Theatre, which seats 328, was built in 1915 as an intimate vaudeville house and acquired by the Shaw Festival in 1980. Through the generosity of philanthropist Walter Carsen, its once-shabby auditorium was transformed into a glittering little opera house. The Studio Theatre, which doubles as a rehearsal hall, is located in the newly constructed Donald and Elaine Triggs Production Centre attached to the Festival Theatre. The seating arrangement is flexible, depending on the needs of the particular show appearing in that space, with a maximum capacity of 200 seats. The Shaw’s productions are designed to be enhanced by the theatre in which they are presented. Choices for each theatre are made carefully, taking into consideration what the theatre setting will bring to the work. The Shaw Festival is a non-profit charitable organization as opposed to a commercial theatre. It is governed by an active volunteer Board of Governors with almost 70% of our annual revenue coming from Box Office sales and other earned revenue. We produce 10 to 12 plays each season, with approximately 800 performances in our four theatres, to audiences totaling about 300,000 people.