The Shaw Festival: Ways to Maximize Your Theatre Experience


The Shaw Festival is one of the premier attractions in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The world-renowned theatre company is inspired by the works of Bernard Shaw and has been delighting audiences for decades. There are performances every day at 2pm and 8pm (except Mondays) on four spectacular stages. These stages are: the Festival Theatre, the Court House Theatre, the Royal George Theatre, and the Studio Theatre. Whether you’re a festival newbie or a veteran to Ontario’s performing arts scene, it’s worth noting some of the ways you can maximize your Shaw experience!

Pick performances that interest you

The Shaw Festival is a well-run event featuring the finest performers Canada has to offer.  Although some works may get more fanfare than others, check out plays that personally interest youPerhaps you feel the story’s heroine resembles your own character, or maybe the plot takes place in a locale that intrigues you.Attending plays that pique your interest are crucial to event success.

Take advantage of Shaw’s back-stage programs

Another way to enhance your experience is to check out Shaw’s ‘Beyond the Stage’ programs. These sessions allow theatre-goers to get up close and personal with the various teams that make this famous event possible. Immerse yourself in the world of theatre and the works of Bernard Shaw. ‘Beyond the Stage’ programs include educational discussions, intimate workshops and presentations from guest speakers.

And no doubt Shaw’s got many wonderful secrets bubbling behind its curtains. If you’re fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes at the flagship Festival Theatre, then immerse yourself in a backstage tour. Take a peek behind the curtain on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11am. Tours include a walk-through of the costume workshop, dressing room, trap room and rehearsal halls. You’ll come away with a better understanding of what it takes to put together a Shaw performance. Tickets are just $10/person.

Look for ways to save on tickets

The Shaw Festival website has a series of promotions all year round to ensure you’re getting the best value on tickets. From buying in bulk to booking early, there are many ways to score great deals. If you know for sure you’ll be attending next year’s event, there’s no harm booking tickets in winter before the festival gets underway. And remember that accommodations book up fast leading up to the event. So be sure to look into overnight reservations well ahead of time.

Another way to save on overall ticket prices is to consider watching ‘Preview Performances’. These are productions that are available before the official opening date. ‘Preview Performances’ can save you up to 25% — which result in great value for your money.   

Take advantage of other events in Niagara-on-the-Lake

While watching a play or two is top priority for Shaw Festival attendees, don’t forget Niagara-on-the-Lake offers plenty of other things to do in your down time. This region is well-known for its beautiful vineyard landscapes and its historic town scenery. Fine dining, winery tours and an afternoon of shopping are lovely accompaniments to your Shaw Festival experience. And don’t forget about the other big events in town, including Music Niagara 2016 and both Cherry and Peach Festivals. Check out the Events Calendar on the tourism website before planning your trip.

Lakelands B&B is a favourite among theatre-goers. So if you’re looking to attend The Shaw Festival, be sure to book your stay with us. Not only is Lakelands a short distance to the theatre — your hosts will also make sure you enjoy the finest things this region has to offer.