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Shaw Festival announces principal casting for Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell’s final season

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (November 5, 2015) — Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and the Shaw Festival announce principal casting and the creative teams for the 2016 playbill. The 2016 season features new and core ensemble members and beloved returning artists celebrating Ms. Maxwell’s final season and 14-year tenure at The Shaw.

The Shaw Festival’s 2016 principal casting:


Alice in Wonderland
Adapted for the stage by Peter Hinton
Music by Allen Cole
Based on the book by Lewis Carroll

Previews April 27 Opens May 14 Closes October 16

Created specifically for the Shaw Festival Acting Ensemble, this new adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved tale of a young woman’s journey to adulthood stars Tara Rosling as Alice. On her journey to make sense of the wonderland of grown-up nonsense, Alice meets familiar characters played by Festival favourites: Moya O’Connell as the Queen of Hearts; Graeme Somerville as the Mad Hatter; Kyle Blair as the March Hare; Donna Belleville as the Duchess; Ben Sanders as the White Rabbit; and Jennifer Phipps as the Cheshire Cat. The 22-person cast, including Guy Bannerman, Neil Barclay, Patty Jamieson, Harveen Sandhu, Kiera Sangster, Jonathan Tan, Jacqueline Thair, Jay Turvey, and Kelly Wong, plays over 144 characters in this magical musical experience that will delight adults and children alike.

Directed by Peter Hinton
Musical direction by Allen Cole
Choreography by Denise Clarke
Set designed by Eo Sharp
Costumes designed by William Schmuck

Lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte
Projection designed by Beth Kates & Ben Chaisson Sound designed by John Lott
Conducted by Paul Sportelli

Major funding provided by Michele Darling and Michael Eagen

A Woman of No Importance
By Oscar Wilde

Previews May 29 Opens June 25 Closes October 15

Wilde’s witty and piercing look at society’s public values is led by a cast of Shaw Festival stalwarts. Lady Caroline Pontefract (Mary Haney), Miss Hester Worsley (Julia Course) and Mrs. Allonby (Diana Donnelly) convene at Lady Hunstanton’s (Fiona Reid) country house to gossip about marriage, affairs, divorce, and the wickedly attractive and scandalously unmarried Lord Illingworth (Martin Happer). Word is that Illingworth would like to become a diplomat and make the young Gerald Arbuthnot (Wade Bogert-O’Brien) his protégé. But when Gerald’s mother (Fiona Byrne) arrives at the party, their world is rocked when her long-concealed secret comes back to haunt them all.

Directed by Eda Holmes
Designed by Michael Gianfrancesco

Lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte
Original music and sound designed by John Gzowski

Sweeney Todd
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
A Musical Thriller
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler
From an adaptation by Christopher Bond

Previews July 17 Opens July 30 Closes October 16

Benedict Campbell and Corrine Koslo, who starred opposite each other in Cabaret (2014) and The Entertainer (2009), return for Ms. Maxwell’s final season as the brooding Sweeney Todd and irrepressible Mrs. Lovett. Joining these two renowned performers in the dark corners of Victorian London are Marcus Nance as Judge Turpin, Jeff Irving as Anthony Hope, Kristi Frank as Johanna, Patty Jamieson as the Beggar Woman, Jay Turvey as The Beadle and Andrew Broderick as Tobias Ragg.

Directed by Jackie Maxwell
Musical direction by Paul Sportelli
Choreography by Valerie Moore

Designed by Judith Bowden
Lighting designed by Alan Brodie
Sound designed by John Lott

Sponsored by TD Bank Group


Uncle Vanya
By Anton Chekhov
Adapted by Annie Baker
Working with a literal translation by Margarita Shalina and the original Russian text

Previews May 1 Opens May 13 Closes September 11

Neil Barclay stars as Vanya in Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker’s fresh look at Chekhov’s masterpiece. For years, Vanya and his niece Sonya (Harveen Sandhu) have worked tirelessly to keep the family’s dilapidated estate from ruin. The return of Sonya’s father and his beautiful second wife Yelena (Moya O’Connell), along with disillusioned doctor and family friend Astrov (Patrick McManus), throws the harmony of the farm off balance as old loyalties and new loves conflict.

Directed by Jackie Maxwell
Designed by Sue LePage

Lighting designed by Rebecca Picherack
Original music by Paul Sportelli

Sponsored by James and Diane King

Master Harold”… and the Boys
By Athol Fugard

Previews June 30 Opens July 22 Closes September 10

Port Elizabeth, South Africa – 1950. In a tea-shop owned by his parents, Harold (James Daly) does homework while two black men rehearse ballroom dancing. Sam (Andre Sills) and Willie (Allan Louis in his Festival debut), who have long worked for his family, and Harold recall fond memories of times spent together as the young boy escaped his family life. But when news comes that the boy’s father is returning home, the personal becomes political.

Directed by Philip Akin
Set and costumes designed by Peter Hartwell

Lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte

The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God
Adapted for the stage by Lisa Codrington
From the short story by Bernard Shaw

Previews June 10 Opens June 25 Closes September 11

This season’s Lunchtime Production has Natasha Mumba making her Festival debut in Governor General Award-nominated playwright Lisa Codrington’s reimagining of Shaw’s short story about a girl who takes the phrase ‘Seek and ye shall find me’ a little too literally.

Directed by Ravi Jain
Designed by Camellia Koo

Lighting designed by Louise Guinand
Original music and sound designed by John Gzowski

Sponsored by Vintage Hotels


Our Town
By Thornton Wilder

Previews April 9 Opens May 12 Closes October 15

Playing the Stage Manager, Benedict Campbell will welcome audiences to Grover’s Corners – an ordinary town rendered with extraordinary care in Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning American classic. Weaving the tale of life in this small town are four Festival mainstays: Patrick Galligan and Catherine McGregor as Dr. and Mrs. Gibbs; and Patrick McManus and Jenny L. Wright as Mr. and Mrs. Webb. The story follows the touching romance of George Gibbs and Emily Webb played by Festival darlings Charlie Gallant and Kate Besworth, who played opposite each other in the critically acclaimed production of Peter and the Starcatcher (2015).

Directed by Molly Smith
Set designed by Ken MacDonald
Costumes designed by William Schmuck

Lighting designed by Kimberly Purtell
Original music and sound designed by James Smith

Mrs Warren’s Profession
By Bernard Shaw

Previews April 21 Opens May 14 Closes October 16

Nicole Underhay returns to the Shaw Festival as Kitty Warren in a contemporary look at Shaw’s classic play helmed by Eda Holmes that challenges the notions of motherhood and the business of sex. Opposite Ms. Underhay is Jennifer Dzialoszynski as Vivie, Mrs. Warren’s feminist daughter who finally learns the truth about her mother’s profession.

Directed by Eda Holmes
Designed by Patrick Clark

Lighting designed by Kimberly Purtell

By W.S. Gilbert

Previews June 15 Opens June 24 Closes October 16

When a train breaks down in the Scottish countryside, romantic shenanigans ensue. Gray Powell is Cheviot Hill, who can’t see a pretty girl without proposing. The women on the train and in the town, including innocent Minnie Symperson played by Diana Donnelly, quickly become his latest pursuits. Nicole Underhay as Belinda Treherne tries to escape an engagement only to find herself courted by her travel companion Belvawney played by Jeff Meadows. A hilarious comedy by one half of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan duo.

Directed by Morris Panych
Set designed by Ken MacDonald
Costumes designed by Charlotte Dean

Lighting designed by Alan Brodie
Original music by Ryan deSouza


The Dance of Death
By August Strindberg
In a new version by Conor McPherson

Previews July 13 Opens July 23 Closes September 10

Strindberg’s darkly comic play will be brought to life by three powerhouse Canadian performers. Festival luminariesJim Mezon and Fiona Reid step into the roles of Edgar and his wife Alice, who have been living on an isolated island and tormenting each other for 25 years. Patrick Galligan plays Kurt, Alice’s cousin who finds himself drawn into their deadly games.

Directed by Martha Henry
Designed by William Schmuck

Lighting designed by Louise Guinand
Original music and sound designed by Todd Charlton

Tickets for the Shaw Festival’s 2016 Season will be available December 5 by calling the Box Office at 1-800-511-7429 or online at www.shawfest.com. Members Priority Booking begins November 7.


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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