If you love theatre and the performing arts and especially theatre shows in niagara on the lake, the Niagara Region is the place for you.
This region is home to a variety of shows, stage performances, and venues across St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Every year between May and October, one of Ontario’s biggest theatre festivals takes place right in Niagara. The Shaw Festival is a highly regarded and respected theatre company that runs between 10 and 12 plays in Niagara-on-the-Lake every season.
Every year, thousands of people arrive in town to experience the Shaw Festival and its sophisticated, upscale culture. People from all over the world come to watch the actors and actresses make stories come to life, right in the heart of Niagara.
Put on your Sunday best and head down to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a fine evening out with friends or family.
What is the Shaw Festival?
The Shaw Festival is a theatre company located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake that performs in 4 different theatres within the town. George Bernard Shaw‘s memory is what inspires this company, and they are inspired by and dedicated to his memory. They perform Shaw’s plays as well as his era’s plays.
Compelling, mind-opening experiences are what the Shaw Festival performances specialize in. Prepare to take your mind and your soul for an enriching journey you won’t forget.
Since 1962, the Shaw festival has been operating as a non-profit organization run by a board of volunteers. Calvin G. Rand and Brian Doherty founded the festival, putting together an ensemble to perform two of Shaw’s plays in the assembly room of the Niagara-on-the-Lake courthouse.
The Shaw Festival has experienced a variety of changes to the staff and productions in the course of its 50 year run. Every year there are new plays to put to life and new performances to explore.
The venues for the performances are more intimate than the big city. This is due to the fact that they have less seating, which makes the experience more engaging overall.
The 4 theatres are the Shaw Festival Theatre, the Royal George Theatre, the Court House Theatre, and the Studio Theatre.
The Shaw Festival Theatre is the main venue, and the largest, seating 856 people. The Court House Theatre is the second largest, seating 327. The Royal George Theatre holds 313, and the Studio Theatre has a capacity of 200 seats.
Shaw Festival ticket packages often come with wine tastings or winery tours, so you can indulge in an award-winning winery before showtime. Other ticket packages offer dinner and a show ticket at one of the town’s fine dining restaurants.
2016 Shaw Festival Lineup
Here are some of the highlights for the current 2016 season.
Alice in Wonderland
This version of the classic novel is adapted for the stage by Peter Hinton. His masterpiece features 19 original songs and many of the story’s classic characters, such as the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts.
The Shaw company has organized many events around the town to celebrate this performance. Some of these include a Mad Hatter tea party as well as a picnic lunch. Alice in Wonderland is running until October 16.
A Woman of no Importance
This classic play by Oscar Wilde explores the scandalous lives of upper class Victorian society. Marriage, divorce, politics, secrets, and society are all open to debate in this stage production.
Tickets are available for A Woman of no Importance until October 29.
This dark comedy has been adapted on Broadway as well as to film, and now it’s at the Shaw Festival. Two men, a beautiful girl, a shop owner, and a beggar woman become a recipe for a mysterious crime and an evening of entertainment.
Sweeney Todd runs until October 19.
Originally written by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, this version was adapted to the stage by Annie Baker. This heartwarming and engaging performance puts the struggles of family, love, and relationships to the test.
You can catch a performance of Uncle Vanya until September 11.
“Master Harold”…and the Boys
African playwright Athol Fugard’s piece examines the hardships of inequality and injustice. This compelling performance in the Court House Theatre brings these themes to life and has debuted to rave reviews.
“Master Harold”…and the Boys is running until September 10.
The Adventures of the Black Girl in her Search for God
This one-act play is based on Shaw’s controversial novel published in 1932, and adapted for the stage by Lisa Codrington. This performance is running at lunchtime and explores the idea of a young black woman searching for spirituality.
The Adventures of the Black Girl in her Search for God will run until September 11.
Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play has been adapted at the Shaw Festival in a compelling and dramatic production. Immerse yourself in the story of a small town and the human condition with this touching performance.
Tickets for Our Town are available until the last performance on October 15.
Mrs Warren’s Profession
An original Shaw play, this controversial piece examines the questions of feminism, motherhood, and the sex industry. It’s a contemporary glimpse into alternative society and the issues that some of us have to deal with.
Catch Mrs Warren’s Profession now until October 23.
This comedic performance will have you laughing at the shenanigans that occur when a group of passengers is stuck on a derailed train overnight. You’ll explore human interaction and learn about human behaviour.
You have until October 30 to catch Engaged on the stage at the Royal George Theatre.
The Dance of Death
This is another dark comedy that explores the idea of marriage, human behaviour, and relationships. In this play, a couple is stranded on an island together and learns to cope with only one another to torment.
The Dance of Death will run until September 10.
The Sophisticated Culture of Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara’s Shaw Festival gives you the ultimate cultural experience while taking in an engaging and thrilling performance. After the performance, stroll down to one of the gourmet gelato shops or go for a nightcap at one of the five-star establishments.
The town itself has a population of 15,000. Due to its small size, the area is able to keep its quaint appearance and historic value. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a National Historic site of Canada.
Stepping into the old town is like a walking history lesson. Many of the shops and restaurants date back to the 1800’s. These buildings are mostly original, with only minor modifications here and there.
In fact, Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to the oldest inn in Ontario that’s still operating: the Olde Angel Inn.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is known for its dining culture, luxury spas, and unique boutique shops as well as its close proximity to the country’s best wineries and golf courses all over the Niagara region.
Upper Vista Gets You Close to the Shaw Festival
Upper Vista is the first of its kind in the Niagara region. It will be offering upscale cottage resort living in a luxury condo building. With an indoor pool, yoga studio, scenic garden terrace, and entertainment room, this building will offer scenic views and a relaxing lifestyle.
The Upper Vista Condos will be located on the Thundering Waters golf course in Niagara Falls, just a half hour away from the Shaw Festival Theatre locations.
Living at Upper Vista, you can become a member of the Shaw Festival company.
Members get exclusive access to special events, behind-the-scenes activities, and promotions that are not available to the general public.
When you live this close, you can enjoy all of the performances you’d like without fighting Toronto-style traffic or fighting for a parking spot.
Living in Niagara Falls gives you access to the best of all of Niagara’s theatre options. From the Shaw Festival to dinner and comedy shows, you’ll have endless options for entertainment and outings.
Register now to take a look at floor plans, pricing options, or to book a consultation at the Markham showroom.