Skip to main content

Western New York Explorer's Guide

The only comprehensive travel guide to the region

About Us
Contact Us
Site Map
Member Login
About Author
Media Interviews
WNY Resources
WNY Attractions and More
Explore WNY blog
Upcoming events
Celebrate Black History
Naples, NY
Mayville Ice Festival
Mid winter getaways
Art and History Museums
Visit Aviation Museums
Hiking Trails
Welland Canal
Athenaeum hotel
Bemus Point
Cobblestone Trail
Niagara Pkwy part 1
Niagara Pkwy part 2
Rock Park
Clifton Springs
WNY Amish
Nature in Winter
Wine & Chocolate
Winter Wonderland
Outdoors in winter
Inside in winter
Old Fort Niagara
Power Vista
WNY Waterfalls
Dads and Cars
Native American
Lake Ontario Shore
Lockport Cave
Amish traditions
Day Trips Rock
Country Barn Quilt
Halloween in WNY
Fest of Lights
Chautauqua Holiday
NYC by Train
Chautauqua Wine Trail
Mayville Ice Castle
Outdoor winter fun
Chautauqua Institution
Farm Markets
Recharge at Chautauqua
Niagara Wine Trail
Local boat rides
Local beaches
Chautauqua County
Lewiston Jazz Fest
Buffalo Waterfront
Pumpkin Fun
Chau Wine Trail LEL
Fall Road Trips
Off season getaways
Free attractions
Winter Fun
Spring Break
Winery Train
St Lawrence Seaway
Seaway Trail Journey
Welland Canal LEL
Fall Festivals
Scenic Fall Drives
Holiday Hollow
Shopping in NYC
Holiday Shopping Corning
Buffalo has Wright
Buffalo Religious Art
Ten must see getaways
Chautauqua and Erie
Welland Murals
The Tonawandas
Ten Hidden Places
Wing Festival
Presque Isle
Lewisburg PA
Victorian Christmas
Chocolate Trail
Fun with Grandkids
George Eastman House
National Historic Landmar
Thing for Wings
Olcott Beach
Little League Museum
Rock City
Glass Blowing
Queenston ON
Lawn Fetes
Chautauqua Co Bicentennia
Shaw Festival
Chautauqua County 2
Olcott Carousel
10 Hidden Gems
Olcott Beach 2
Hot Dog Spots
Enjoy Presque Isle
One Tank Trips
Belhurst Castle
Shop in Lewiston
Cuba Cheese Museum
Pumpkinville 2
Snowshoe 2
Spooky Treats
Walkable Shopping
Norman Rockwell Museum
Fatima Shrine Lights
Christmas Lights
Albright Knox
Darwin Martin
Maple Weekend
Divine Mercy Shrine
Erie Canal
Cape Cod
Cobblestone Trail 2
8 Great Fall Road Trips
Little Known Places
Buy Local
Made in America Store
Great Lakes Seaway Trail
Lovely Gardens
WNY Festivals
Erie PA Waterfront
Grape Discovery Center
Salt Sanctuary
Holiday Hollow 2
Historic Hull House
Buffalo Religious Arts Ce
Mall Madness
One day holiday getaways
New York City by train
Cabin Fever
Niagara on the Lake
Elmira 150th Anniversary
Carousels of WNY
Ontario Beach Park
Lockport Locks
USA Bird Supply Blog Arch
Backroads and Byways of U

Democrat & Chronicle

June 25, 2011


Shaw Festival Celebrates 50 Seasons of Quality Entertainment


            The village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, dubbed the prettiest town in Canada, is home to the world-renowned Shaw Festival, which focuses on producing and presenting the work of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and other playwrights working anywhere in the world during Shaw’s lifetime and those who currently write about that era. The 2011 season is a very special one, as it is the Shaw Festival’s 50th season.


Festival history

            The festival was originally started by Niagara area lawyer and playwright, Brian Doherty, who in 1962 organized eight weekend performances, entitled “Salute to Shaw.” Two plays, Don Juan in Hell and Candida by George Bernard Shaw, were performed in the Assembly Room of the historic Court House, which had been converted into a small theater.

            Over the next few decades the audiences grew and the company toured both the United States and Canada. Its reputation became well-known locally as well as internationally. Today, performances take place from April to October in four theaters. Their flagship theater is the Festival Theatre, an 856 seat theater, which was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973. Within that complex is their new Studio Theatre, an intimate 200 seat venue.

            The Court House Theatre, located within a National Historic Site built in 1840, has a 327 seat auditorium, while the RoyalGeorgeTheatre, was originally built as a vaudeville house to entertain troops during WWI. All four theaters are within walking distance of each other.


Special 50th season programming

“For our 50th season, artistic Director Jackie Maxwell has programmed the work to pay homage to our past, while at the same time programming work that looks ahead to the next 50 seasons,” said Odette Yazbeck, Public Relations Director of the Shaw Festival.

“As the play Candida was one of the first productions we presented, we are offering it up again as a tribute to our past. JM Barrie’s The Admirable Crichton has not been seen on our stages since 1976, so we’re bringing it back with a fresh, fantastical approach by director Morris Panych,” said Yazbeck.

She added, “We’ve also taken one of Shaw’s lesser known and more difficult plays, On The Rocks, and given it to contemporary writer Michael Healey. What Healey has given us is a fresh remix, while retaining the same humour and veracity in Shaw’s original text! Also this year, for the first time ever, we’re presenting the musical My Fair Lady, based on Shaw’s Pygmalion, on the Festival stage. Audiences have responded to all these choices, and the rest of the playbill very enthusiastically. Of course, what’s an anniversary without a commemorative book? Shaw Festival, The First 50 Years is a fantastic publication filled with extraordinary images and informative text that outlines our humble beginnings and carves a path to our future.”


East, Shop, and Stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake

            While the Shaw Festival is one of the main reasons for many people to come to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the town itself is an attraction in its own right. The historic downtown area, referred to as OldTown, is lined with numerous boutiques and many fine restaurants. There are also hundreds of accommodations in town, from five-star hotels to tiny B&B inns; many a short stroll to theaters, shops, and restaurants. If you enjoy wine, close to 100 wineries, open for tastings and tours, are located in the Niagara region.



If you go

Shaw Festival, 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-800-657-1106,


Niagara-on-the-lake Chamber of Commerce, 26 queen Street (lower), Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905-468-1950,




From Rochester, take the New York State Thruway (I-90) west; then take the I-290, to the I-190 towards Niagara Falls, crossing over Grand Island. You can either head into downtown Niagara Falls and cross over the Rainbow Bridge, or stay on the I-190 to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. After crossing the border at either bridge, head north of the

Niagara Parkway
to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Alternately, you can follow Route 104 from Rochester to Lewiston and cross over the Lewiston-QueenstonBridge.


Note: To cross the border into Canada and back into the United States, travelers are required to have a passport, passport card, enhanced license, or NEXUS card.