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The Shaw Festival: A Drama Inspiration

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Being a part of the Drama Club means more to its members than simply participating in a fall play and a spring musical. The group also attends events outside of school, such as the annual Shaw Festival. The festival takes place in various theaters near Niagara Falls in Canada. This year, the club plans to attend on October 13 and 14.

The Shaw Festival is a celebration of theatre, both classical and modern. It was instituted in 1962 by Irish playwright Bernard Shaw. Every year, at least 10 different productions are performed between April and December. The festival features a diverse mix of plays including comedies, tragedies, musicals and historic shows. It draws around 250,000 people every year. Gilmour’s Drama Club has attended regularly for over 10 years.

The Drama Club can see live performances. Last year, Dracula and St. Joan were shown at the festival.

This trip provides an opportunity for drama enthusiasts to experience world-class theatre. Mrs. Gay Janis, Upper School Drama Director, said, “I think that seeing a well done professional show sets the bar really high for Gilmour productions. It shows students what’s possible, and encourages them to give their best effort to make our own shows extraordinary.”

This year, students will have a chance to see the Magician’s Nephew and Henry V. The Magician’s Nephew is based on its novel from the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. The story is a prequel to the famous tale, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and centers on the creation of Narnia by Aslan the lion. Henry V is a historical play by William Shakespeare that focuses on a medieval king who confronts the French at the Battle of Agincourt, during the Hundred Years’ War. This unique version of the play also takes place in France, but during the First World War, in the trenches of battle.    

Niagara Falls is the destination for the Shaw Festival.     

Theater is only one aspect of this multifaceted trip. Since the festival takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, students will have the opportunity to behold Niagara Falls, the third largest waterfall in the world.   

There is also plenty of time allotted for students to explore the Niagara area. The town has many places for food, jewelry, and clothing. Thrift shops can be toured as well. This is a scenic opportunity for members of the Drama Club to bond and get to know one another better.

Sophia DiPuccio (‘19) said, “I can’t think of a better trip for theater lovers than the Shaw Festival. It is truly one-of-a-kind. Where else can you see world-class shows, a beautiful natural wonder, and go shopping with friends, all in the same trip? I would recommend the festival to anyone even remotely interested in any aspect of theater.”  

Students interested in attending the Shaw Festival next year, or joining the Drama Club may speak to Mrs. Janis in SC-07. To learn more about the festival, and for ticket information, the Shaw Festival website can be viewed at https://www.shawfest.com/

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Gabe Gainar is a senior at Gilmour Academy and lives in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. Gabe participates in mock trial, speech and debate, tennis, theater, and Lancers for Life. He is also co-founder of a new club at Gilmour, Lancers for Liberty. In the future, Gabe is planning to pursue a career in either law or pediatrics. His love for writing began in middle school through the Power of the Pen program. He is very excited to be a part of Gilmour’s news production team. Gabe wants to help students stay informed about the topics most important to them. He encourages students to use their time in high school to explore various career possibilities by trying courses such as Web Design, Mock Trial, and Management and Entrepreneurship.