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Shaw Festival opens 55th season with ‘Our Town,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland’

After 14 years as the public face of the Shaw Festival, artistic director Jackie Maxwell is saying farewell to the venerable repertory company in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. But not before making one more bold and imaginative statement – in the form of a 10-play season only Maxwell could have envisioned.

That season officially opens May 12 in the Royal George Theatre (85 Queen St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.) with Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece “Our Town,” the kind of play that turns young neophytes into lifelong theatergoers. It continues May 13, with the opening of Annie Baker’s adaptation of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” in the Court House Theatre (26 Queen St.), followed on May 14 by George Bernard Shaw’s “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” at 2 p.m. in Royal George and what promises to be this season’s piece de resistance, the world premiere of Peter Hinton’s new adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” at 8 p.m. in the Festival Theatre (10 Queen’s Parade).

The season will continue with productions of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” Oscar Wilde’s “A Woman of No Importance,” Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold and the Boys,” a new adaptation of Shaw’s short story “The Adventures of the Black Girl in her search for God,” W.S. Gilbert’s marriage comedy “Engaged” and a new version of Strindberg’s “The Dance of Death” by Irish playwright Conor McPherson.

Tickets range in price from $35 to $117, with the favorable exchange rate liable to shave about 25 percent off the quoted price. For more information, visit or call (800) 511-7429.

– Colin Dabkowski