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Shaw Festival Delays the Start of the 2021 Season

April 29, 2021

The Shaw Festival says that Ontario’s provincewide stay-at-home orders have forced the Festival to delay the start of the 2021 season to early July.

In keeping with the commitment to presenting the current playbill in the safest way possible for both audience and company members, early performances of “Charley’s Aunt” and the full run of “The Devil’s Disciple” will now move to new outdoor venues. Bernard Shaw’s melodrama kicks-off the series of al fresco shows on July 6 at a newly raised outdoor stage in front of the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre.

Beginning July 7, audiences can enjoy “Charley’s Aunt” under a canopied stage set amid the Shaw Festival gardens. “A Short History of Niagara,” a commissioned puppetry piece originally set at Fort George, moves to the Festival grounds with shows starting on July 29.

“The opportunity to present these shows amid the beauty and magic of Niagara’s outdoors – in the light of day or under the early evening stars – allows us all to experience them in an entirely new and special way,” said Artistic Director Tim Carroll.

“Theatre is about connection – human connection – and our outdoor performances are one way that more of us can come together safely and experience live theatre again. I want to thank our patrons for staying with us at every pivot and turn over these last few months. I look forward to seeing you all very soon.”

“The recent increase in vaccination rates, coupled with all of our continued adherence to public health guidelines, will hopefully result in a rapid decline in case numbers over the summer months,” commented Executive Director Tim Jennings. “We continue to remain optimistic that our American patrons will also be allowed to join us at The Shaw and in Niagara-on-the-Lake before the end of summer.”

When it is safe to do so, the Festival plans to welcome audiences back indoors for reduced-capacity performances of “Flush” at the Royal George Theatre, starting July 8, and “Sherlock Holmes and The Raven’s Curse” at the Festival Theatre, beginning July 23.

As restrictions ease further, “Charley’s Aunt” will move back to the Royal George Theatre’s stage in August.

Due to severe restrictions affecting international travel, director Selma Dimitrijevic is unable to join the company this season. After directing “Serving Elizabeth” at the Stratford Festival, The Shaw’s Associate Artistic Director Kimberley Rampersad returns to take over the directorial duties of “Desire Under the Elms.” Performances of the Eugene O’Neill masterpiece will shift from the intended July start to October 15. It will run concurrently with “A Christmas Carol” and “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn.”

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out all the Festivals’ free, fun and informative videos, including the playful “The Great Shaw Quiz,” written and hosted by Neil Barclay, a new series of vocal performances “Shaw Sings” and an enlightening “How To…” series that includes “How to learn a song” and “How to move.”

Box office representatives will be reaching out to all affected ticket holders to discuss options, including refunds. Patrons with questions or concerns regarding their tickets can call the Shaw Festival Box Office at 1-800-511-7429, Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email

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Shaw Festival Delays the Start of the 2021 Season

Keith Tomasek
29 April 2021
News and Rumors

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