Shaw Festival, an Ontario Theatre, Announces 2009 Principal Casting

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Shaw Festival Theatre Welcomes Back Theatre Favourites & Newcomers to the Ensemble

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell of the Ontario Theatre, Shaw Festival, has announced the principal casting and creative teams for the 2009 season. The 2009 playbill includes full productions of each play in Noël Coward's Tonight at 8:30, a celebrated collection of ten brilliant short plays brought to life on all three of the Festival's stages. A world premiere, this marks the first time all ten plays have been presented together in repertory theatre history. On August 8, 29 and September 19 The Shaw presents all ten plays in one day, an event appropriately named "Mad Dogs and Englishmen". The season also includes Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple and In Good King Charles's Golden Days, a limited run of John Osborne's The Entertainer in our new Studio Theatre, four additional full productions, and the popular reading series of contemporary Shavian writers. The season runs from April 1 to November 1 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

The Shaw Festival Theatre welcomes back Company members Michael Ball, Neil Barclay, Donna Belleville, Andrew Bunker, Fiona Byrne, Benedict Campbell, Krista Colosimo, Nicolá Correia-Damude, Sharry Flett, Patrick Galligan, Mary Haney, Deborah Hay, Patty Jamieson, David Jansen, Gabrielle Jones, Claire Jullien, Lorne Kennedy, Peter Krantz, Thom Marriott, Julie Martell, Marla McLean, Peter Millard, Laurie Paton, Gray Powell, Ric Reid, David Schurmann, Goldie Semple, Graeme Somerville, Jay Turvey, Mark Uhre and Jenny L. Wright. In keeping with the Festival's emphasis on nurturing the careers of emerging theatre artists, several new members of the Company return in featured roles in 2009, including Kawa Ada, Beryl Bain, Lisa Codrington, Billy Lake, Ali Momen, Ken James Stewart, Richard Stewart, Jonathan Widdifield and Robin Evan Willis.

The Ontario Theatre welcomes back favourites Evan Buliung, Patricia Hamilton, Corrine Koslo, Jim Mezon, Steven Sutcliffe and Wendy Thatcher return after absences from the Shaw's stages. Newcomers Kyle Blair, Saccha Dennis Kelly Wong and Jenny Young are warmly welcomed to The Shaw's Ensemble.

In making the announcement, Jackie Maxwell noted: "The creativity and multi-faceted character of our world renowned Ensemble of actors, directors and designers allows us to embark with great brio on an ambitious season. The staging of Tonight at 8:30, in particular, requires great versatility in the acting company and innovation and imagination from our directors and designers. I'm thrilled to welcome to The Shaw Festival Theatre for the 2009 season - and to welcome back - many of Canada's top theatre artists."

The Niagara on the Lake theatre is also pleased to announce that Blair Williams will direct the Tonight at 8:30 production Ways of the Heart, which will include The Astonished Heart, Family Album, and Ways and Means, in the Court House Theatre. A veteran Shaw actor, Mr. Williams made his directorial debut at The Shaw in 2008, to great critical and audience acclaim, with Ferenc Molnár's The President. For detailed information on creative teams and primary and secondary castings, visit

Shaw Festival tickets for the 2009 season go on sale to Festival Members on November 8 and sales to the general public begin January 5 by mail, fax or online and on January 10 by phone or in person. For online tickets and information about Niagara on the Lake hotels and related travel information, visit

Tonight at 8:30 is generously supported by Lombard Insurance, Media Partners CTV and The Globe and Mail, and Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.

Please visit our website at for other Shaw Festival media releases.


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Odette Yazbeck
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