The Shaw Festival's first season under new artistic director Jackie Maxwell, April-November 2003, will be anchored by Bernard Shaw's Misalliance, Chekhov's The Three Sisters, Kaufman and Ferber's The Royal Family and a 1995 play, The Coronation Voyage, all on the Festival Theatre stage.
Maxwell and company, presenting on three stages in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, offer plays written during Shaw's lifetime, or plays relating to or taking place during his life, the period 1856-1950. Along with the Stratford Festival in Ontario, the Shaw is one of the most prestigious theatre companies in Canada, and has an international reputation.
The Coronation Voyage, by Michel Marc Bouchard, translated by Linda Gaboriau, is set during the time of the coronation of Elizabeth II. According to the Sept. 25 Shaw season announcement, "On his way to a new identity in Britain, a crime boss must make a Faustian bargain to secure his passport." The play explores "issues of paternalism and colonialism between England and Canada."
Respected Canadian actress and director Martha Henry will stage The Royal Family. Maxwell will direct Three Sisters (in a new translation by Susan Coyne) and Coronation Voyage.
On the three-quarter, intimate Court House Theatre stage will be Shaw's Widowers' Houses from 1892, Cecily Hamilton's Diana of Dobson's from 1908, Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars from 1926 and Brian Friel's Afterplay from 2002 (the work concerns a meeting in a Moscow café between characters from Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya). On the stage of the proscenium jewelbox Royal George Theatre will be On the 20th Century, the 1978 musical comedy by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Cy Coleman (based on Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's 1932 play, The Twentieth Century); Canadian playwright Sharon Pollock's 1980 take on the Lizzie Borden legend, Blood Relations; and Brecht and Weill's 1929 musical, Happy End.
Tickets for the 2003 season will go on sale to Shaw Festival members on Nov. 27 by mail, fax, or e-mail; on Dec. 7 by phone or in person. Tickets will go on sale to groups on Jan. 2, 2003. For the general public, tickets will go on sale Jan. 11, 2003, by mail, fax or e-mail and on Jan. 18, 2003, by phone or in person.