Stage Door News

Niagara-on-the-Lake: Acclaimed director Philip Akin joins the Shaw Festival Board of Governors

Friday, March 19, 2021

During the Shaw Festival’s Annual General Meeting, Board Chair Peter E.S. Jewett welcomed new members Philip Akin, Dr. Glen Bandiera and Sylvia Bennett to the Board of Directors. The appointment of Elaine G. Triggs and Donald L. Triggs to the Festival’s Board of Governors was also announced.

In the course of his remarks, Mr. Jewett recognized the contributions and commitment of outgoing board members Sharon Levite, CEO of Buffalo Spree Publishing, Inc., and noted Buffalo area businessman, Charles E. Balbach. He also acknowledged Chair Designate Ian M. H. Joseph, who will take over the role on March of 2022.

Acclaimed director Philip Akin, a founding member and former artistic director of Obsidian Theatre Company, has a long-standing relationship with the Festival. Mr. Akin first appeared at The Shaw in the 1975 production of Caesar and Cleopatra and returned to the Festival in 2011 to direct Suzan-Lori Parks’s Topdog/Underdog. Since then, he has directed The Mountaintop (2014), Master Harold and the Boys (2016), 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt (2017) and Of Marriage and Men: A Comedy Double-Bill (2018) at The Shaw. He is the recipient of two Toronto Theatre Critics Awards for Best Director (2019) for Actually by Anne Zeigler and Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu, the Herbert Whittaker/CTCA Award for Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Theatre (2019) and the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (2018). In the wake of his retirement as Obsidian Theatre Company’s artistic director in 2020, a legacy fund was established. The Philip Akin - Black Shoulders Legacy Award is dedicated to the success of Black Canadian theatre artists. This season, Mr. Akin returns to the Festival to direct Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress.

For a decade, Dr. Glen Bandiera (BASc, MD, Med, FRCPC) has served as a staff emergency physician and trauma team leader at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and has also completed ten years as Chief of Emergency Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital. For the last seven years of this tenure, Dr. Bandiera concurrently served as Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education at the University of Toronto where he holds the rank of Full Professor. Widely published in the areas of medical leadership, faculty development and competency assessment, Dr. Bandiera has also developed interests in process improvement, hospital governance and physician leadership. In addition to sitting on several medical boards and medical education committees, he supports numerous charities related to the performing arts.

Sylvia Bennett is the Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Buffalo-Toronto Public Media (WNED-WBFO). She also serves on the Shaw Festival Foundation (USA) Board of Governors. Previously, Ms. Bennett was the Director of Development at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).

Elaine G. Triggs and Donald L. Triggs, the newest additions to The Shaw’s Board of Governors, have had a long relationship with the Shaw Festival. Mrs. Triggs served on the Shaw Festival Board from 2001-2008 and as its Chair in 2005-2006 and 2007-2008. Additionally, she is a member of the Past Chairs Council. Mr. Triggs was a member of the Shaw Festival Board in 2000 and both Mr. and Mrs. Triggs have served as Governors on the former International Advisory Council (2008-2014).

The Shaw Festival’s Board of Directors is comprised of individuals possessing relevant and needed skills and experience, working together to support and further the mission and well-being of the Festival.

On stage May 1st through December 23, the Shaw Festival’s 2021 season playbill features The Devil’s Disciple, Sherlock Holmes and the Raven’s Curse, Charley’s Aunt, Flush, Desire Under the Elms, Trouble in Mind, A Short History of Niagara, A Christmas Carol, Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn and an upcoming, yet to be announced, series of outdoor concerts and activities. Tickets are available through the Box Office at 1-800-511-SHAW and online at

Photo: Philip Akin.