Shaw Festival Theatre

Shaw Festival Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake: Hours, Address, Shaw Festival Theatre Reviews: 4.5/5

Shaw Festival Theatre
4.5
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
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About
The Shaw Festival – bringing great theatre to life in the heart of Niagara Wine Country. One of the world’s finest theatre companies, the Shaw Festival is celebrated for its vivid and exhilarating productions of plays by Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries (1856-1950), and plays about the period of Shaw’s lifetime. Join us for a compelling theatre experience with plays in four theatres from April to October in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Located between Toronto, ON and Buffalo, NY, near Niagara.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
2,328 reviews
Excellent
1,797
Very good
363
Average
83
Poor
36
Terrible
49

operalover939
Toronto, Canada2,643 contributions
Sep 2021
We're very happy that the Shaw Festival has resumed. Yesterday's performance of The Devil's Disciple is the first production of any kind we've seen on stage anywhere since early March of 2020. The play is enjoyable, and the three principal actors, Martin Happer as Dick Dudgeon, Graeme Somerville as Anthony Anderson, and Tom McCamus as General Burgoyne are very good. However, we found the tent unsatisfactory. The set was underlit, and it was sometimes hard to hear the actors. I hope we can get back into the Festival Theatre and other theatres soon.
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Larry E
Uxbridge, Canada251 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
Just saw Damn Yankees and the production was excellent with a standing ovation. Must praise James Hardy's stand in Drew Plummer who we found excellent. In fact the entire crew were very good and the musical production excellent. The production time of 2 hr 45 minutes went past extremely fast. Well worth a visit to NOTL
Written June 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Robby G C
Toronto, Canada78,235 contributions
Jul 2020
I like the Shaw Festival Theatre. It is always attractive!

Even around the Shaw Festival Theatre. it is beautiful.

Lots of flowers and trees are attractive!

The Shaw Festival Theatre is a beautiful place.

The building of the Shaw Festival Theatre. This can be see inside the Shaw Festival Theatre
Written April 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Louise S
London, Canada39 contributions
Nov 2021 • Couples
Just returned from attending a show at the royal George theatre in Niagara on the lake. The performance of A Christmas Carol was outstanding, but adherence to the masking rules by some of the audience was ridiculous. There were several “twenty somethings” seated behind us who were apparently exempt from the masking rules. Even after being told by staff to wear their masks, they refused. Sad that some people are so self absorbed that they don’t give any consideration to the health and well-being of others. Very disappointed. Easy to understand why this pandemic is dragging on for so long.
Written November 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Loonsgirl
St. Catharines, Canada9 contributions
Jun 2022
We attended the Royal George Theatre for the production of Gaslight today. It was very well done!! Julie Lumsden plays Bella wonderfully, Kate Hennig as Elizabeth keeps you guessing, and Andre Morin is the perfect creepy Jack. After being away from the theatre for 2 years, it was so great to get back and this was the perfect play to return to! Good job Shaw Festival!
Written June 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kirstin D.
Port Huron, MI482 contributions
Jun 2019
I have always loved coming to the Shaw Festival and beautiful Niagra on the Lake. The plays are just great, the shopping and meals, art galleries, and parks are thrilling. Everything quite a joy, whether with friends ir even on my own.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chaitanya
Cambridge, Canada988 contributions
Dec 2021
The festival theatre is very nice and well maintained. We visited to see the Holiday inn during the christmas season. Enjoyed the show - it was very good. The performances were very good and made for an enjoyable evening.
Would definitely visit again.
Written February 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Frequent_Traveller15
Northeastern USA21 contributions
Apr 2014 • Couples
It is said that the creators of Cabaret were inspired by Bertolt Brecht when reimagining Christopher Isherwood’s stories into a musical theatre piece that was groundbreaking for 1966. That confrontational Brechtian influence is on generous display in an impressive reimagining of the piece by Peter Hinton at the Shaw Festival, a production that makes this nearly 50-year-old work feel like it was written yesterday.

Cabaret is the darkest of musicals, and the Shaw Festival does not sweeten it. Those looking for an uplifting evening of lighthearted fun (or who only know the overplayed title tune) best look elsewhere. But for those who doubt the ability of musical theatre to punch you in the gut, the Shaw Festival has come up with something quite marvelous.

The set by Michael Gianfrancesco is a character in and of itself, a towering structure of metal stairs and catwalks, a cold industrial environment in which our flesh-and-blood characters must dwell. It's an apt visual metaphor, as these tiny humans go about their business in the shadow of a cold and foreboding machine.

As can be expected from the Shaw Festival, the performances are exemplary. The center of this Cabaret is the Emcee, portrayed in a stage-dominating performance by Juan Chioran. This production eschews the temptation to make the Emcee a puckish sprite whose demeanor darkens as the play's subject matter darkens. Instead he presents as a grotesque harlequin, a terrifying presence from the start, poured into a comically outsized tuxedo that only serves to make him more monstrous.. Sometimes we see the Emcee in shirtsleeves and smoking off to the corner of the stage, seeming all the more feral for his lack of costume. His presence hangs over some of the lighter scenes like a vulture waiting patiently for its prey to die so he can pick it apart. His is an image that will continue to haunt you long after the last strains of music have faded from memory.

If Gray Powell’s version of Cliff Bradshaw is a bit one-dimensional, the actor can hardly be blamed; the role is written that way. Cliff becomes the moral center of this morass of humanity not by being a good man, but by simply not being a bad one. A self-centered dilettante, Cliff is the first to wake up to the decay around him.

Corrine Koslo’s Fraulein Schneider and Deborah Hay’s Sally Bowles play as poignant counterpoint to each other. In Koslo's Fraulein Schneider, we see all the faded beauty and lost potential of a life unlived. Fraulein Schneider is proud of her ability to survive, but her life is devoid of beauty, of pleasure, of hopefulness. Hay’s appropriately gamine Sally Bowles stands in stark contrast, a shallow libertine who is convinced the party will go on forever and never plans further than the next morning. Her rendition of the show’s famous title number exudes all of the painful irony that the tune requires.

The rest of the large cast is universally compelling; special notice should be taken of Ben Sanders' Klown, a character with no lines, but whose unspoken ennui is felt throughout the show, a palpable despair that we will soon all share.

Sam Mendes' Donmar Warehouse production of Cabaret recently resurfaced on Broadway, featuring Alan Cumming as the Emcee and Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles. As compelling and groundbreaking as Mendes' production is, the one currently on view at the Shaw Festival is more compelling and more emotionally savage. See it while you still can.
Written April 21, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
What an amazing review – thank you so much for taking the time to write it. We truly value your feedback and appreciate the opinions of patrons like yourself. It is great to know that you have seen this production before and had such rave reviews for our version of this award-winning play. Please come back and see more with us this season!
Written April 29, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Allan S
Hanover Ontario23 contributions
Jun 2015 • Couples
As a long time attendee at the Shaw Festival the past 30 years, my wife and I were so angry last week at the production, Top Girls, that we left during the intermission. We were not alone. We joined several couples outside to discuss this offensive angry play. We returned to our B&B and discovered that the other 2 couples who had attended this play had also left in disgust.
This play is not in the tradition of humorous, entertaining, nostalgic plays from the time of Bernard Shaw. The director has widened her mandate to include what she terms "Shavian contemporaries". You will find feminist themes in a number of this season's plays. Although billed as a comedy, Top Girls is not a comedy by a long shot unless you find your humour in foul language, yelling, anger, and actors talking over each other, sometimes three at a time, so that at times it is quite unintelligible. Rants and diatribes are not entertaining. There is no humour or subtlety in this play by Caryl Churchill.
In the opening scene a gathering of fictional women from the past vent their anger with what has happened in their lives, blaming much of their unhappiness on men and the male dominated society they lived in in the past. In a subsequent scene two young girls who are friends express their anger with their situation, the one girl, Angie, wishing only to kill the woman she thinks is her mother.
I hope that this new direction at the Shaw Festival will not be allowed to continue. Theatre of outrage and anger belongs elsewhere, not at the Shaw which we have enjoyed so much in the past.
Written June 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

panglin
northern ontario15 contributions
Jun 2015 • Couples
This Pygmalion will amuse those who like slapstick, pratfalls, cheap-laugh vulgarity, a downmarket Higgins, models pointlessly milling about in their underwear, and mockery of English accents. Indeed, for a play all about English accents and social classes, the actors almost never get an accent right. So it shows no class at all.
Our aged matinee audience guffawed when, instead of saying "not bloody likely," Eliza says "not f***ing likely." Laughed again when the word was repeated. They also giggled tee-hee when told beforehand not to text during the show. A useful instruction, possibly for more than the usual reason.
Written June 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your feedback. The Shaw has produced Pygmalion a few times and in this case, director Peter Hinton felt it was appropriate and timely to adapt to 2015. Mr Hinton has used the 1914 text and altered the text as it related to concordances of money values and places. Our patrons are thoroughly enjoying this modern take. That being said, we are sorry that you did not enjoy the show.
Written June 12, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Shaw Festival Theatre

Shaw Festival Theatre is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM