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Previews begin tomorrow at the Shaw Festival for Heartbreak House, Bernard Shaw’s prophetic masterpiece

“This silly house, this strangely happy house, this agonizing house, this house without foundations. I shall call it Heartbreak House.”

Media Release #13

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, May 9, 2011 . . . One of Bernard Shaw’s greatest plays, Heartbreak House begins previews tomorrow at the Festival Theatre.

As the Western world teeters toward the tragedy of war, a young girl, her father and her older fiancée receive a seemingly innocent invitation to join Hesione Hushabye for a weekend in the English countryside. They quickly become entangled in a web of escalating events that result in unlikely unions, unwanted complications and ultimately, explosions, both metaphorical and real. A ruefully funny play, with a serious underlying message that still reverberates today, Heartbreak House is described by Shaw to be one of his favourites and is without doubt one of his most celebrated.

Last seen at The Shaw in 1999, Heartbreak House is revisited by Christopher Newton 25 years after first directing it for the Festival stage. Shaw’s great work was first performed at the Shaw Festival during its third season.

Heartbreak House features Michael Ball as Captain Shotover, Deborah Hay as Hesione Hushabye, and Robin Evan Willis as Ellie Dunn, with Benedict Campbell, Patrick Galligan, Patricia Hamilton, Patrick McManus, Laurie Paton, William Vickers and Blair Williams.

This season’s production of Heartbreak House is designed by Leslie Frankish, with lighting design by Kevin Lamotte. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Beatrice Campbell and Assistant Stage Manager Eamonn Reil.

Heartbreak House begins preview performances Tuesday, May 10; opens Wednesday, May 25; and plays in repertory until Friday, October 7. Heartbreak House is sponsored by CIBC.

The Shaw Festival’s milestone season began April 7, 2011, runs until October 30, 2011 and features an array of diverse theatre on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake stages. This momentous season also includes productions of My Fair Lady, Candida, The Admirable Crichton, Drama at Inish – A Comedy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, On the Rocks, Maria SeveraThe President, Topdog/Underdog, When the Rain Stops Falling and a special 50th season two-day event, The Speed of Ideas: A Theatrical Forum featuring award-winning playwrights Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks and author and renowned theatre critic Michael Billington. For more information on our 50th season celebrations, please visit www.shawfest.com/Home/Our-50th-Season.

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In the spirit of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck 
Public Relations Director 
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222                   

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224


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