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In 2009, The Academy at the Shaw Festival was re-named to honour the legacy and generosity of the family of Allan Slaight and Ada Slaight.
For over 25 years The Slaight Family has had a profound impact on the Shaw Festival through their leadership and generosity. In addition to establishing The Academy with then Artistic Director Christopher Newton in 1985, Allan Slaight served as a Board member at The Shaw from 1982 to 1988 and as Board Chair from 1985 to 1986. In addition, he and Newton founded The Shaw Boxing Evening, the largest charity fundraiser of its kind in the world, which has raised more than $6 million for The Shaw.
An exemplary leader and patron as well, Ada Slaight served on the Board from 1990 to 1998 as a Governor, National Governor and Honorary Governor.
Each season, the Academy provides training opportunities for emerging directors, designers and stage managers while the RBC Emerging Artists Program supports young actors. All are mentored by senior Shaw Festival Company members, coaches and teachers.
The Academy is the professional training, play development, publishing and public education wing of the Shaw Festival repertory theatre. It began in 1985 as an informal skills exchange among Company members, and still retains that important function. The Academy also sponsors workshop productions and the annual Directors Project as well as many outreach theatre education programs for the public, including the Shaw Seminars and backstage tours as well as student and group tours.