Shaw Festival

The Royal George Theatre Photography: Terry Babij

About the Guild » Shaw Festival

The Shaw Festival is one of the largest repertory companies in North America and the only theatre in the world that specializes in plays written by George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries (1856-1950). These are “plays about the beginning of the modern world.”

Shaw productions run from the beginning of April to the end of October each year. Because they are held in four different theatres, it is possible to see a total of ten plays, all performed by one of the world’s finest acting companies. The Shaw Festival is located in the beautiful village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, just 20 minutes downriver from Niagara Falls and less than 2 hours from Toronto.

Shaw Festival Theatre performances engage the imagination, illuminate the past and inspire debate about the future.

Up to and including 1999, the Shaw Festival performed plays written only during Shaw’s lifetime. From the year 2000 onward, the mandate of the Shaw Festival expanded to include plays written about the period. The core of the present company formed in 1980, with Christopher Newton as Artistic Director. He was responsible developing the distinctive personality of the Festival, based on his commitment to a permanent acting ensemble and his belief in the vitality of the Shaw Festival’s mandate.

Court House

The Court House Theatre

The Court House is where the Shaw Festival began.
Photography: David Cooper

The Shaw Festival moved into a new era in 2003 when Christopher Newton retired and Jackie Maxwell replaced him as Artistic Director. Jackie’s passion for contemporary work accentuated her desire to explore The Shaw’s mandated period, and promised audiences an audacious, compelling, resonant playbill.

2016 marked the end of an era, with Tim Carroll succeeding Jackie Maxwell as Artistic Director in 2017.

Peter and the Starcatcher

The cast of Peter and the Starcatcher

Photography: David Cooper