• Search The Shaw Festival’s News Room

Early beginnings of the Shaw Festival chronicled in The Shaw Festival: The First Fifty Years

Media Release #16

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, May 25, 2011. . .The Shaw Festival will unveil a new book The Shaw Festival: The First Fifty Years, written by Dr. Leonard Conolly and designed by Scott McKowen, on May 26 at 3:30 p.m. in the Festival Theatre lobby. Commissioned to commemorate the 50th season of the world-renowned Shaw Festival, this new book recounts the remarkable story of one of Canada’s great cultural establishments. Members of The Shaw’s Acting Ensemble, Dr. Conolly and designer Scott McKowen will be in attendance to sign copies.

“We have all sorts of celebratory events planned for the 50th season, but the launch of this wonderful book must surely take centre stage as it celebrates the literally hundreds of theatre artists who have contributed to our illustrious past and glowing present, while shining a light towards the future,” noted Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell. “Artists, scholars, Shaw Festival supporters alike will be thrilled with this detailed record of our history enriched with an extraordinary collection of images old and new.”

This new publication fills a twenty-five-year gap in the published material on the history of the Shaw Festival and, according to Dr. Conolly, presents “a comprehensive and balanced history of the Festival from its unlikely and tenuous beginnings in 1962 to its fiftieth anniversary season in 2011.”

Published by Oxford University Press Canada, The Shaw Festival: The First Fifty Years contains a fascinating narrative history filled with anecdotes and little-known facts of one of Canada’s cultural success stories complemented with archival photographs from the Shaw Festival Archives and the L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives.

The Shaw Festival: The First Fifty Years retails for $50.00 (plus tax) and can be purchased at Bernard’s, the Shaw Festival’s retail shop, or online at www.shawfest.com/shop.

Dr. Conolly is professor of English at Trent University and was President and vice-chancellor of Trent University from 1994 to 1997. Having read, seen and studied the works of Bernard Shaw for the past fifty years, Dr. Conolly is a Corresponding Scholar for the Shaw Festival, as well as the president of the International Shaw Society and founder of the L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives at the University of Guelph.

Graphic designer and illustrator Scott McKowen has created award-winning publications for the Shaw Festival for twenty-six seasons, including the house programmes for 200 Shaw productions.  

The publication of The Shaw Festival: The First Fifty Years has been made possible by a generous grant from the 1916 Foundation in Montchanin, Delaware.

For more information about The Shaw Festival: The First Fifty Years, please visit Oxford University Press Canada at www.oupcanada.com.


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

Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed.