Jewel in the Tonight at 8:30 Crown, Star Chamber Opens at the Shaw Festival

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The rare, final instalment of Noel Coward's "Tonight at 8:30" presented at Shaw Festival along with nine others in the series.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario Star Chamber, the rarely produced comedy gem from Noel Coward's Tonight at 8:30 collection, opened on Saturday July 11 at the Shaw Festival's Royal George Theatre. Star Chamber plays in repertory until Sunday, October 11.

In Star Chamber, A committee of actors meet to discuss the refurbishment of Garrick Haven, a home for retired thespians. Though the stage manager and secretary dutifully arrive on time, the rest of the group make their tardy, and rather dramatic, entrances. With duelling divas and tales of past glories and gossip, the agenda is quickly forgotten and the meeting quickly reduces into comic chaos. Drawing on his own experiences as President of the Actors' Orphanage and reflecting his affection for the eccentricity of actors, Coward makes sure every known and enjoyed type of performer makes an appearance at the meeting.

Directed by Kate Lynch, this lunchtime production marks the first time since its initial performance in 1936 that Star Chamber has been produced along with Coward's other nine plays in the Tonight at 8:30 series. Featuring the ensemble cast of Neil Barclay, Evan Buliung, Fiona Byrne, Sharry Flett, Gabrielle Jones, Marla McLean, Mark Uhre, Jenny L. Wright, Peter Krantz, Guy Bannerman and Kelly Wong, Star Chamber has set and costumes designed by the Shaw Festival's Head of Design, William Schmuck, lighting design by Kirsten Watt and musical direction and arrangements by Reza Jacobs. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Dora Tomassi and Assistant Stage Manager Annie McWhinnie.

Visitors to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the Shaw Festival will find the theatre a valuable resource for information including restaurant and hotel recommendations; vacation packages, from vineyard getaways to packages built around attractions near Niagara Falls; and more. For more information or to reserve tickets for 2009 Season performances, call locally 905-468-2172 or toll free 1-800-511-SHAW (7429) or visit http://www.shawfest.com.

About Shaw Festival
Inspired by the brilliance, bravery, humanity and humour of George Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival is a crucible of progressive and provocative ideas, which illuminate our understanding of today's world. The Shaw's playbill, centred on the era of Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), covers a diversity of views that shine light on different worlds during a period of extraordinary shift.

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Odette Yazbeck
Shaw Festival Theatre
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