Artistic Director’s Message - Shaw Festival Theatre

Festival Theatre seats in empty theatre
Artistic Director's Message
The Shaw's 2021 Season
If this terrible, beautiful year has taught us anything, it is this: we need human contact.
Artistic Director's Message

If the only connection we can have with our loved ones is through a screen, we will make the best of it; but we know it is not the real thing.

While it has never been more challenging to make theatre, it has never been easier to make the case for theatre. Whether the piece is provocative and difficult, or silly and delightful, the same basic human need is being fulfilled: to share the experience of something being created. We have to be there, because we are creating it together: when the magic happens, our hearts and minds combine to create an experience that is a million miles away from that of watching a movie, still less a live stream of a play, however well done.

But if this year has taught us how valuable theatre is, it has also taught us how vulnerable it is. As theatre artists, we try to be ready for anything. But how does one prepare to have a whole season wiped out? I called it a terrible and beautiful year, and it has been both: terrible not to play, but also beautiful to see people taking such care of each other. For myself, I have never seen anything like the way that you, our audience, have rallied round in support of us, by keeping your money on account, by donating the price of your ticket, or by becoming a Friend of The Shaw.

It’s time to pay you back.

We have a great season planned. We have reduced it slightly to give us more time for hygiene protocols, but we have room to expand if the situation improves. If that happens, we have some great ideas up our sleeve for treats we can throw into the mix. But of course our first priority has to be safety. We have a duty of care to you and to our Company, and we will do everything possible to make sure that you can come to the theatre with confidence (for our latest safety measures, click here). Things may yet change, of course; that is why, for example, we can’t announce casting yet. As we adapt to this shifting landscape, I may have to ask you to adapt with us; but I hope and believe that next year all the twists and turns will be on stage.

Stay safe. We can’t wait to see you.


Tim Carroll, Artistic Director

Artistic Director Tim Carroll
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