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Two Festivals, Both Alike In Dignity In Fair Canada

By Caitlin Leonard, Contributing Writer, August 4, 2017

Attending a theatre festival is often a destination experience, so when considering your options, there are two shining examples just north of the border in Canada; experience live theatre at its finest at the Stratford and Shaw Festivals in Ontario, Canada. Both world-famous festivals have unique and crowd-pleasing lineups for their respective 2017 seasons. Both destinations are approximately a two hour drive from Toronto, with the Stratford Festival presenting 14 plays and musicals running from now through September/October, and the Shaw Festival (also running through October) is headed by a new artistic director this year and features 11 diverse and riveting productions.


Stratford Festival Theatre.

Stratford, known for its exceptional Shakespearean dramatizations, will present another season of the Bard including, Twelfth Night (through October 21) and Romeo and Juliet (through October 23). Other stand-out productions include Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera HMS Pinafore (through October 21), the classic tale of Treasure Island (through October 22), and the beloved musical Guys and Dolls (through October 29). Round-trip bus tickets from Toronto are available for $25, making the festival easily accessible for an evening or day trip.


Blythe Wilson (center) and members of the company in ‘Guys and Dolls;’ photo: Cylla von Tiedemann.

The Stratford Festival also features past productions on-demand that may be viewed online; for more information click here. For more information on the this season’s performances and to purchase tickets click here.


Royal George Theatre; one of the theaters at the Shaw Festival.

Located in Niagara wine country in Niagara-on-the-Lake, The Shaw Festival presents a varied collection of 11 top-calibre productions and musicals this season. The festival’s new artistic director, Tim Carroll, brings expertise from directing productions all over the world, including Richard III and Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Standout plays include Wilde Tales, stories from Oscar Wilde for both children and adults (through October 7), Bram Stoker’s racy Gothic classic tale Dracula (through October 14), and Me and My Girl, a reverse Pygmalion-type love story (through October 15). Will Eno’s 2010 play Middletown started later in the summer and is running through September 10, and has been hailed by critics as “extraordinary,” adding that “Shaw saved the best for last this season” (


Michael Therriault and Kristi Frank in ‘Me and My Girl;’ courtesy of the festival.

For more information on this season’s performances and to purchase tickets click here.


Cover: Cast of ‘Shakespeare in Love’ at the Stratford Festival; courtesy of the festival.


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