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Michel Marc Bouchard’s The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt premieres at the Shaw Festival

- World premiere of commissioned work by acclaimed Québécois playwright presented on the Royal George Theatre stage -

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (September 4, 2015) The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt by Michel Marc Bouchard, with translation by Linda Gaboriau, premiered to rave reviews earlier this season at the Shaw Festival’s Royal George Theatre. Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell helms The Divine, which was written especially for the Shaw Festival’s Ensemble. This world premiere production marks the first time a Bouchard play has débuted in English.

This new work has been described by the National Post as “the most exciting new Canadian play in years.” The Globe and Mail called the production “moving and entertaining”, while the Toronto Star says “virtually every scene in the play makes its points well and leaves you thinking afterwards.”

At the turn of the 20th century, legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt (Fiona Reid) is booked to perform in Quebec City, but her performance is banned by the Archbishop. Two young seminarians (Ben Sanders and Wade Bogert-O’Brien) – one a theatre enthusiast and the other a moody postulant from a poor family – are charged with delivering the Catholic Church’s message to the “Divine Sarah.” The young men are swept up in the momentum of the theatrical superstar’s visit and their lives are forever changed by the encounter.

Influenced by the architecture of the Séminaire de Québec and the paintings of French-Canadian artist Jean-Paul Lemieux, designer Michael Gianfrancesco and lighting designer Bonnie Beecher transform the stage from stark seminary dormitory to grimy shoe factory to bustling backstage dressing room. This inaugural production also features original music and sound design by John Gzowski.

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt is on stage at the Royal George Theatre (85 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake) from July 5 to October 11 (Opening July 24). The Divine is sponsored by James and Diane King.

Cast: (in alphabetical order)

Wade Bogert-O’Brien
Andrew Bunker
Darcy Gerhart
Mary Haney
Martin Happer
Billy Lake
Catherine McGregor
Kyle Orzech
Fiona Reid
Ric Reid
Ben Sanders
Jonathan Tan
Jenny L. Wright

Talbot
Meyer
Madeleine
Mrs. Talbot
Brother Casgrain
Journalist
Emma/Journalist
Léo
Sarah Bernhardt
Mr. Willis/Journalist
Michaud
Journalist
Therese/Journalist

Creative Team:

Jackie Maxwell
Michael Gianfrancesco
Bonnie Beecher
John Gzowski
Michel Marc Bouchard
Linda Gaboriau
Diane Konkin
Andrea Schurman

Director
Designer
Lighting Designer
Composer and Sound Designer
Playwright
Translator
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager

The Shaw Festival’s 2015 season began April 8, runs until November 1 and features 10 productions presented on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake stages. For more information on the 2015 season, performance schedule or tickets, visit www.shawfest.com or call 1-800-511-SHAW.

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About the Shaw Festival

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

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Media Contacts:

Laura Hughes
Senior Communications Manager
905-468-2153 / 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222
lhughes@shawfest.com
Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
905-468-2153 / 1-800-657-1106 ext.2224
janand@shawfest.com

Cast: (in alphabetical order)

Wade Bogert-O’Brien

Andrew Bunker

Darcy Gerhart

Mary Haney

Martin Happer

Billy Lake

Catherine McGregor

Kyle Orzech

Fiona Reid

Ric Reid

Ben Sanders

Jonathan Tan

Jenny L. Wright

Talbot

Meyer

Madeleine

Mrs. Talbot

Brother Casgrain

Journalist

Emma/Journalist

Léo

Sarah Bernhardt

Mr. Willis/Journalist

Michaud

Journalist

Therese/Journalist

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