O Canada: Shaw Festival announces its 2017 season

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – The Shaw Festival is pleased to announce the playbill and directors list for the 2017 season; the company’s 56th and the first led by Artistic Director Designate Tim Carroll (pictured).

The lineup of 11 plays includes two of Bernard Shaw’s most admired works; an edgy new American comedy set on a slave-owner’s plantation; two Canadian political pieces; the North American premiere of a gothic-cum-feminist horror story; an uproarious musical comedy about the English upper classes; and four more plays that continue the Shaw Festival’s mission to provoke social exploration.

The Shaw Festival is proud to announce that Canadian directors Eric Coates, Ashlie Corcoran, Christine Brubaker, Krista Jackson and Kevin Bennett will direct on Shaw’s stages for the first time. They join Festival veterans, Eda Holmes, Philip Akin and Peter Hinton who return this season. A full list of directors is below. Carroll himself will direct both Bernard Shaw productions, alongside his role as Artistic Director. When asked about the choice to hire Carroll, Peter Jewett, head of the search committee and incoming Chair, commented: “As soon as we met Tim Carroll we knew he would bring something special to The Shaw. His first season shows how true that is. With huge enthusiasm, I look forward to joining audiences in the conversations his selections will inspire.”

On the announcement of his first season, Tim Carroll said: “I am thrilled to announce my first season at the Shaw Festival and look forward to showcasing the skills for which this ensemble is famous, while stretching them in new directions. I am hoping for a season of plays that will entertain and provoke our audience as much as Bernard Shaw did his. I don’t want to leave audiences mildly amused or indifferent; I want us to be at the centre of the conversation. I took this job because of the combination of an intensely dedicated ensemble and a passionate, engaged audience who are ready to take risks. I can’t wait to see how our audience responds.”

Offering a greater glimpse of what is in store for the season, Tim Carroll said: “I hope to build on the work of Jackie Maxwell (and Christopher Newton previously) in developing the best acting company in North America. I want this season to engage with audiences on every level. In order to do it, we will be opening up: inviting our audience in to take part in the process, and taking our work out of our theatres and into places, and for audiences, we have never yet reached.”

Executive Director Tim Jennings said of the upcoming season: “I am so excited to be working with Tim Carroll and to see him bring this inaugural season to our stages. It’s a fantastic lineup that shows off his interest in echoing the social provocations of Bernard Shaw, in a very 21st century way. I think our audiences will really respond to it, and to him, and I love that he wants us all to engage in a deeper conversation with each other. People who have never been here will soon be making the trip just to see what the heck he is up to!”

The 2017 Shaw Festival season is:


Me and My Girl
Book and Lyrics by L. Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber
Book revised by Stephen Fry, with contributions by Mike Ockrent
Music by Noel Gay
Directed by Ashlie Corcoran

A joyous Pygmalion-inspired musical reworked with great success by Stephen Fry.

Saint Joan
By Bernard Shaw
Directed by Tim Carroll

A new production of Shaw’s 1924 masterpiece.

By Bram Stoker
Adapted for the stage by Liz Lochhead
Directed by Eda Holmes

Liz Lochhead’s sexy and brilliant adaptation of Bram Stoker’s gothic classic.


1837: The Farmers’ Revolt
A play by Rick Salutin and Theatre Passe Muraille
Directed by Philip Akin

A modern Canadian classic about the first stirrings of nationhood.

Androcles and the Lion
By Bernard Shaw
Directed by Tim Carroll

A fable more than eighteen centuries old, Shaw’s version borrows a pagan tale to take on the unholy alliance of religion and power.

Wilde Tales (Lunchtime One-Act)
Stories for Children
by Oscar Wilde
Adapted for the stage by Kate Hennig
Directed by Christine Brubaker

Four beautiful and funny tales, with an interactive twist: each show will be different. Great for adults and children.


The Madness of George III
By Alan Bennett
Directed by Kevin Bennett

Alan Bennett’s political comedy; a smash hit at the National Theatre, and an equally successful film.

Dancing at Lughnasa
By Brian Friel
Directed by Krista Jackson

Brian Friel’s masterpiece about the lives and dreams of five sisters in rural Ireland.

An Octoroon
By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Peter Hinton

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ edgy and hilarious riff on Dion Boucicault’s 19th century slavery play.


By Will Eno
Director TBA

Will Eno’s surreal response to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is funny and moving; a modern American classic.

By Michael Healey
Directed by Eric Coates
In co-production with the Great Canadian Theatre Company

A brilliant new piece on former Prime Minister Joe Clark: idealism vs. dirty politics; a defining moment in Canadian history.

Tickets to the Shaw Festival’s 2017 season will go on sale to Shaw Members beginning Saturday, November 5, 2016 and to the public on Saturday, December 3, 2016.

Categories: Festival, Theatre

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