Stage Door News

Niagara-on-the-Lake: The Shaw Festival cancels the remainder of its 2020 season

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

As the number of active COVID-19 cases in Ontario increases, the Shaw Festival is forced to cancel its annual presentation of Christmas Carol at the Royal George Theatre.

“We held off making this decision for as long as we possibly could because we had set our hearts on getting back into one of our theatres this year. But it was not to be: the situation clearly calls for caution. We need to keep everyone safe,” said Tim Carroll, Artistic Director. “But our optimism remains unquenchable: we will do what we can, when we can, and we will be ready to leap into action the moment we get the nod. We are about to announce our plans for next season, which I hope and believe will be our best yet, not only because of the quality of the work we can offer, but because the people making that work, and witnessing that work, will do so with such passionate, renewed commitment to the life-affirming value of live theatre.”  

Since 2017, The Shaw’s production of A Christmas Carol has been a defining tradition during the holidays in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This season, the historic Old Town will be missing one of its mainstay holiday events, however the town will still be filled with holiday cheer.

“We are all devastated by the cancellation of our final production of the 2020 season. The loss is heartbreaking, especially after hoping we’d be able to continue this annual holiday tradition that we know is cherished by so many,” said Tim Jennings, Executive Director/CEO. “The continued outpouring of support we have received from our patrons, donors and community is amazing and humbling. We hear you and thank you.”

“Despite the disappointment of cancelling A Christmas Carol, we continue to move forward with hope and find ways to share our art in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Thanks to our partners at FedDev Ontario, we have a series of outdoor concerts where we showcase the joy of live performance until we are able to gather together in our theatres,” continued Jennings. “I hope – as comfort and safety regulations allow – people will come to experience Niagara-on-the-Lake’s autumnal beauty and the magic of the holiday season in our picturesque town. Whether eating at our fabulous local restaurants, staying at our wonderful hotels and bed and breakfasts or finding the perfect holiday gift in our downtown shops. Niagara-on-the-Lake and The Shaw need everyone’s help to remain strong through these incredible and difficult times.”

While the Shaw Festival’s theatres will remain empty in 2020, plans are already underway for the 2021 season. Details of the Festival’s 2021 season will be announced soon.

Ticket holders to cancelled performances of A Christmas Carol will have the full value of their tickets held on their account. A team of box office representatives is working remotely to contact ticket holders to discuss options such as leaving money on account for future exchanges, converting the ticket value to a charitable donation or issuing a refund. In the meantime, patrons can visit for more information and direct any ticket-related questions to

Photo: Michael Therriault as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. © 2017 David Cooper.