Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and the Shaw Festival are all smiles in announcing its 2016 playbill. Marking the Festival’s 55th season and the end of Maxwell’s 14-year tenure, the 2016 line-up of 10 diverse productions includes works from the heart of the mandate, contemporary Shavian pieces and the world premieres of two commissioned works.
Of her final season as artistic director, Maxwell says: “The 2016 season sums up the journey the Shaw Festival has taken during my time here. I arrived with a number of passions and priorities that focused on producing work that would showcase equality and diversity of plays and players. This season has newly realized pieces true to our mandate alongside work from brilliant contemporary Canadian and international voices, and an original production on the Festival Stage. These offerings are an excellent representation of the Shaw Festival today – a progressive, leading cultural and artistic voice in Canada and beyond.”
The season’s two commissioned works illustrate Maxwell’s legacy at the Shaw Festival; expanding the company’s mandate to include modern works and examining the classics in new and different ways. In a new version offered as the 2016 season’s lunchtime production, playwright Lisa Codrington tackles Bernard Shaw’s brilliant and thorny fable The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, giving this classic a new twist. And for the first time in Shaw Festival history, a commissioned work will premiere on the Festival Theatre stage. Peter Hinton’s new version of Alice in Wonderland will be a theatrical treat for audiences of all ages.
Joining Alice in Wonderland on the Festival Theatre stage will be Oscar Wilde’s classic A Woman of No Importance, helmed by Dora Award-winning director Eda Holmes, and the musical Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, under the direction of Maxwell.
Other noteworthy productions of the 2016 Shaw Festival season include Uncle Vanya, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Master Harold…And The Boys, Our Town, Engaged, and The Dance of Death.