Story by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONTARIO — Shaw Festival Theatre is ready to hold court in 2018 with brand new plays and a re-branded stage and as usual I am wearing myself out trying to decide what to see.
So many fabulous choices and you can’t go wrong with any of them. It all boils down to personal taste but there are two on my list that have peaked my interest.
Henry V (By William Shakespeare, Co-Directed by Tim Carroll and Kevin Bennett) is a brilliant and fun twist on an old story. Starring Gray Powell as Henry, Natasha Mumba as Catherine and Yanna McIntosh as Alice, the play is about a troop of Canadian soldiers. Hunkered down in a dugout during WWI with some copies of Shakespeare’s Henry V for company they enter the death-haunted, morally ambiguous world of the play and the play enters theirs. This imaginative spin on Shakespeare is a powerful exploration of what it means — and costs — to fight for king and country.
The second play on my list to see in 2018 is the timeless classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The play is about Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable old miser who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. I never get tired of watching this story.
Several New Plays to Celebrate in 2018
This year, Shaw Festival will expand the use of the newly renamed Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre with three productions, including The Orchard (After Chekhov) (By Sarena Parmar, Directed by Ravi Jain) and The Baroness and the Pig (By Michael Mackenzie, Directed by Selma Dimitrijevic).
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Festival Theatre will feature The Magician’s Nephew (By C.S. Lewis, Adapted for the stage by Michael O’Brien and Directed by Tim Carroll) and Grand Hotel (Directed by Eda Holmes) a winner of five Tony Awards.
The newly restored Royal George Theatre will feature five plays including Stage Kiss (By Sarah Ruhl, Directed by Anita Rochon) and Of Marriage and Men: A Comedy Double-Bill (Bernard Shaw, Directed by Philip Akin).
The Court House Theatre, which has housed Shaw Festival productions since 1962, will be repurposed as a rehearsal, training and education facility.
“The Court House is an important part of the Shaw’s legacy and future, but as a true historic building, it is also the least physically accessible venue we work in, and that has presented a real concern. It is important to us to re-examine how we want audiences to interact with us. We want to remove physical challenges or barriers and welcome everyone to our theatres. By repurposing the spaces, we actually are able to keep our programmatic depth while making progress toward ever greater inclusivity,” says Tim Jennings, Executive Director and CEO.
MORE ABOUT SHAW FESTIVAL THEATRE
Address: 10 Queen’s Parade