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By mason powell

By Mason Powell

Shaw Festival


“The Shaw Festival is the only theatre in the world that specializes exclusively in plays by George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, and in plays about the period of Shaw’s lifetime. We are one of the few theatre companies that had a permanent acting company, and the only one in the world which specialises in such a defined historical period. The Shaw Festival is renowned internationally for single-handedly revitalizing and re-energizing the works of George Bernard Shaw, and tackling the vast array of theatre pieces in our mandate- presenting them anew to appreciative theatre audiences.”

  • ~ Direct Quote from Website:


  • Founded in 1962 by Brian Doherty

  • Performed two plays by George Bernard Shaw, which he called “Salute to Shaw”

  • Became a non-profit organization in 1963, who toured Canada and the United States performing the works of Shaw and his contemporaries

  • The Festival Theatre was opened on June 20, 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II

  • In 1980, Christopher Newton became the new Artistic Director, expanded the Shaw Festival’s reputation

  • Shaw Festival also acquires the Royal George Theatre in 1980

History cont d
History cont’d

  • In 2000, Newton expanded the company’s mandate to also include new plays from George Bernard Shaw’s lifetime (1856-1950)

  • Jackie Maxwell became the new Artistic Director in 2003 and introduced the plays of little-known women playwrights from GB Shaw’s lifetime and new Canadian plays

  • Maxwell also launched a massive construction and renovation project that resulted in three new rehearsal halls and a small studio theatre

  • Shaw Festival currently produces about 10-12 productions per season, making use of the unique features of all four of their theatres

Fast facts
Fast Facts

  • Operating Budget for 2009 season: $27 Million

  • Company: up to 600 employees, including 64 actors

  • Number of facilities: Four

  • Total seats: 1874

  • Total Attendance for 2007 season:265,648


  • Festival Theatre:- Seats 856- All large-scale productions performed here- Features include a café, retail store and outdoor gardens and patio

  • Court House Theatre:- Seats 327- The original Shaw Festival playhouse in 1962- Uses a “thrust stage” (stages that extends into audience’s section)

Facilities cont d
Facilities cont’d

  • Royal George Theatre:- Seats 328- Modest exterior, but an elegant interior- Originally a vaudeville house to entertain Canadian soldiers during World War I

  • Studio Theatre:- Seats 175- Most recent theatre- Also contains three rehearsal halls

Season s offerings current productions
Season’s Offerings: Current Productions

  • The Devil’s Discipline by George Bernard Shaw

  • In Good King Charles’ Golden Days by George Bernard Shaw

  • Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim

  • The Entertainer by John Osborne

  • Also featuring works by O’Neill, Tremblay and Kanin

Other season s offerings
Other Season’s Offerings

  • Online and Retail Store to purchase merchandise

  • Complimentary tickets for members of the media on assignment (via public relations)

  • The Academy of Shaw Festival: offers professional training to actors

From the desk of jackie maxwell
From the Desk of Jackie Maxwell

  • Artistic Director and active director

  • Originally from Northern Ireland

  • Studied Drama at the University of Manchester

  • Came to Canada in 1978

  • “In the theatre, virtually everything starts with an idea.”