Photo by Andree Lanthier
As a not-for-profit enterprise the Shaw Festival has a significant impact on the local economy, arts and culture scene, and creative community.
The Shaw Festival honours and celebrates the work of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) - a man who was passionately committed to the cause of social justice and to the importance of theatre as a means of promoting such causes through humour and reason. Using the work of Shaw as their inspiration, The Shaw Festival produces thought-provoking plays by not only Shaw himself, but also his contemporaries (1856-1950) and playwrights writing anywhere in the world during, or about, the era of Shaw’s lifetime and in the spirit of Bernard Shaw, offering a diverse, relevant mix of theatre for audiences of all ages. The Shaw Festival was started in 1962 by Niagara-area lawyer and playwright Brian Doherty. In its first decade, the Shaw Festival enjoyed explosive audience growth, and the company toured extensively in the United States and Canada. Then on June 20, 1973, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the Festival Theatre was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This beautiful new building enabled the Shaw Festival to mount large-scale productions which drew national and international acclaim.
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