Jackie Maxwell, Shaw Festival Artistic Director

Artistic Director’s


Welcome to our 2016 Season!

The building of a Shaw Festival season is a complicated undertaking. Logistically, we have our acting company, all of whom must be in two shows which will be spread around our four theatres. Balance wise, there must be a mix of genres and styles, from beloved classics to groundbreaking new work and, if possible something completely unexpected. And let’s not forget the budget … never forget the budget!

Imagine then, the extra complication of having this 2016 Season be my final one as Artistic Director. How to squeeze in all those plays I still want you to see?! Well, after much thinking, discussing, wrestling and “massaging”, I think we have done it.

And so I welcome you to a season that proudly showcases the great diversity of work we have built into our programming over my fourteen-year tenure … not to mention some of my absolute favourite plays!

I am thrilled to lead off with a brand new adaptation of Alice in Wonderland by Peter Hinton that will enchant every member of the family. New, too, is our lunchtime offering, a rambunctious Shaw “remix”, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God by Lisa Codrington. Alongside these new pieces we are featuring celebrated plays from mandate giants, like Oscar Wilde, Thornton Wilder and of course Shaw himself, with the ever provocative Mrs Warren’s Profession. For those of you who love our Studio Theatre, come and see a Strindberg play that has been an inspiration to myriad 20th century writers and beyond, as indeed was our archaeological gem, Engaged – a hilarious comedy about marriage and money by W.S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. And don’t miss our Contemporary Shavian, Athol Fugard.

And finally, two more brilliant pieces, only linked by the fact that I have kept them for myself to direct – Chekhov’s deeply moving masterpiece Uncle Vanya and Stephen Sondheim’s dazzling musical thriller, Sweeney Todd.

As always, it is your ultimate participation in all of the above that will really make them fly, and I would like to thank you for being such curious, knowledgeable, opinionated and deeply caring theatre lovers throughout my years here at The Shaw.

It has been an honour and a true pleasure,

Jackie Maxwell, Artistic Director