Canada’s History Takes To The StageAt The Shaw Festival In A Rollicking Revival Of 1837: THE FARMERS’ REVOLT

Classic of Canadian theatre seen for first time at the Festival

A News Release from The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Posted May 9th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario  1837: The Farmers’ Revolt – the rebellion that helped shape this home and native land – begins previews May 7 at the Court House Theatre.

Created in 1973 by Rick Salutin and Theatre Passe Muraille, this ground-breaking Canadian work features an energetic portrayal of Canadian history through music and movement. The Shaw Festival and director Philip Akin (“Master Harold” … and the Boys, 2016) honour Canada 150 with a true collective piece from this nation’s theatre history. Oh Canada!

The rarely performed celebrated work tells the tale of immigrant farmers who joined the William Lyon Mackenzie-led rebellion after becoming fed up with the discriminatory policy of government. The Shaw’s production retains the theatrical nationalism of the original – with actors playing multiple roles presenting vignettes of Canadiana – while instilling a present-day consciousness.

Through art elements from Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation (informally known as the Indian Group of Seven) artists Daphne Odjig and Norval Morrisseau, designer Rachel Forbes in collaboration with lighting designer Steve Lucas pay homage to and honours the people who lived on the land. Gender-fluid costumes provide the ideal canvas for the actors to create the numerous characters involved in the Upper Canada uprising.

Like the original 1973 production, movement and music also play a significant role in this production of 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt. Movement designer Esie Mensah creates a lively dynamic portrayal that’s complemented by John-Luke Addison’s music direction.   1837: The Farmers’ Revolt is on stage at the Court House Theatre (26 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake) from May 7 to October 8 (opening May 27). The Ensemble (in alphabetical order):

Donna Belleville Sharry Flett Jonah McIntosh Marla McLean Ric Reid Cherissa Richards Travis Seetoo Jeremiah Sparks

The Shaw Festival’s 2017 season is on stage April 5 through October 15. The playbill features Me and My Girl, Saint Joan, Dracula, 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt, Androcles and the Lion, Wilde Tales, The Madness of George III, Dancing at Lughnasa, An Octoroon, Middletown, 1979 and Secret Theatre.

Direct bus service from Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake on the Shaw Express began April 5.

Patrons can choose to come for one day or stay for the weekend with a round trip costing $25. A ticket to a 2017 Shaw Festival performance is required to access this service.

Tickets for the 2017 Festival season and Shaw Express are available through the Box Office at 1-800-511-SHAW and online at

About the Shaw Festival The Shaw Festival celebrates the life and spirit of Bernard Shaw by creating theatre that is as entertaining and provocative as Shaw himself.  For more information, please visit

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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