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Get the Most Out of the Shaw Festival With Our Handy Guide

April 16, 2018 by Michael Gioia
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Kyle Blair as Aslan with the cast of “The Magician’s Nephew.” (Photographed by Emily Cooper)

It may not be on the street where you live, but The Shaw Festival — the Canadian institution rooted in the works of late playwright George Bernard Shaw — is creating must-see theatre that is as provocative as Shaw himself. If you’re based in New York and loved the Broadway revivals of “My Fair Lady” or “Saint Joan” — or even if you’re closer to Canada — a summer trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, may be just what you need for your fill of works that share Shaw’s provocative exploration of society.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s festival, and make sure to get your tickets with TodayTix.

Must-See Shows
All epic adventures begin somewhere. Chock full of world-premiere theatrical events, this year’s Shaw Fest kicked off with the debut of C.S. Lewis’ “The Magician’s Nephew,” which runs through Oct. 13 at the Festival Theatre. The story takes place 1,000 years before “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” and audiences watch Aslan, the King of Beasts, create the magical world of Narnia. Shaw also offers a pre-show workshop, Creating “The Magician’s Nephew,” before all matinees, in which children build a keepsake prop and learn more about the show. TodayTix is also offering tickets to the show at 75% off.

Written by and starring comedian Stephen Fry, the three-part theatrical event “Mythos: A Trilogy – Gods. Heroes. Men.” (May 24-July 15 at the Festival Theatre) features Fry’s hilarious take on gripping tales of the Greek gods. Also premiering this year is “The Orchard (After Chekhov),” a modern Canadian spin on Chekhov’s powerhouse play based on actor Sarena Parmar’s own childhood in British Columbia. Running June 7-September 1 at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre, “The Orchard” is transformed into the tale of a Punjabi-Sikh family fighting to hold onto their Okanagan Valley orchard.

If you’re looking for something more familiar — but with an imaginative new flair — check out “Henry V,” which runs July 22-Oct. 28 in the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre. Billed as “Shakespeare like you’ve never seen it,” co-directors Tim Carroll and Kevin Bennett set this Shakespearean classic in the World War I trenches.

Getting to the Fest
Flying in to the Toronto or Buffalo airport? The Niagara Airbus offers door-to-door shuttle service. Direct bus service from Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake is also offered on the Shaw Express. (A round trip costs $25.) Other transport options are available here.

Bars and Bites
Plan a pre-show picnic. The Shaw Picnic offers a unique dining experience on the grounds of the Festival Theatre before the performance, prepared by the chefs of Shaw’s Green Room. And if you’re looking to get the most out of wine country, visit Peller Estates — the ultimate wine lover’s playground, including Niagara-on-the-Lake’s only igloo-like lounge where you’ll don a Peller Estates parka to taste Icewine.

See what’s playing at The Shaw Festival, and get your tickets now!

Available On TodayTix