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Stylish social comedy Our Betters opens Shaw’s 2013 season

“If one wants to be successful in London, one must either have looks, wit, or a bank balance.”

Media Release #9

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, April 2, 2013 . . . The curtain rises tomorrow on the Shaw Festival’s 52nd season when W. Somerset Maugham’s glittering satire Our Betters begins previews at the Royal George Theatre. Morris Panych brings his usual directorial panache to this brilliant “take no prisoners” portrait of marriage — where English estates and titled aristocracy are bought with the traditional “I do” and a large American dowry. Longtime collaborators Ken MacDonald, Charlotte Dean and Alan Brodie design the sets, costumes and lighting, respectively.

When pretty young American Bessie Saunders travels to London to stay with her sister Pearl, now the sophisticated and worldly Lady Grayston, she is introduced to women of wealth who have also successfully made the marriage-for-status transaction. It doesn’t take long for Bessie to discover the high price paid for ambition, while witnessing first-hand the desperate measures and outrageous strategies all must make to advance their cause. The question Maugham ultimately raises with his wicked wit is who is really better off here — the haves, the have-nots or neither?

The Shaw’s production of Our Betters features Claire Jullien as Lady Grayston, Julia Course as Bessie Saunders, Catherine McGregor as Princess Flora della Cercola and Wade Bogert-O’Brien as Fleming Harvey. Returning this season is Laurie Paton as Minnie, the Duchesse de Surennes.

Our Betters is the third Maugham work to appear at the Festival, continuing the cycle successfully launched with The Circle in 2007 and The Constant Wife in 2005.

About Our Betters

April 3 to October 27; Opening: May 11
Our Betters will be on stage at the Royal George Theatre (85 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake)


Neil Barclay
Anthony Bekenn
Wade Bogert-O’Brien
Julia Course
Charlie Gallant
Claire Jullien
Lorne Kennedy
Catherine McGregor
Laurie Paton
James Pendarves
Ben Sanders

Thornton Clay
Fleming Harvey
Elizabeth (Bessie) Saunders
Anthony (Tony) Paxton
Lady Grayston (Pearl)
Arthur Fenwick
Princess della Cercola (Flora)
Duchesse de Surennes (Minnie)
Lord Bleane

Creative Team:

Morris Panych
Ken MacDonald
Charlotte Dean
Alan Brodie
Diane Konkin
Leigh McClymont

Set Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager

The Shaw Festival’s 2013 season begins April 3 runs until October 27 and features 10 productions presented on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake stages. For more information on our 2013 season, performance schedule and ticket information, please visit www.shawfest.com or call 1-800-511-SHAW.


The Shaw Festival is a theatre company inspired by the work of Bernard Shaw. We produce plays from and about his era and contemporary plays that share Shaw’s provocative exploration of society and celebration of humanity.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases.  For more information, or to acquire images 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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