Stage Door News

Niagara-on-the-Lake: “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “Chitra” and “Everybody” begin previews

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Three more shows from the Shaw Festival’s 2022 playbill are poised to begin previews. The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece of wit, comedy and satirical social commentary, begins previews May 18. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist Everybody, his riotously playful contemporary take on the 15th-century morality play Everyman, and Rabindranath Tagore’s enchanting Chitra follow with preview dates on June 8 and 11, respectively.

Directed by Tim Carroll, The Importance of Being Earnest features Martin Happer as Jack Worthing and Peter Fernandes as Algernon Moncrieff. Joining them in this farcical Wilde romp of romantic entanglements, mistaken identities and Victorian societal critiques are Julia Course as Gwendolen Fairfax, Gabriella Sundar Singh as Cecily Cardew and, as the formidable Lady Bracknell, Kate Hennig. Rounding out the cast is Neil Barclay, Patty Jamieson, André Morin, Ric Reid, Graeme Somerville and Jacqueline Thair.

The Shaw’s production has sets designed by Gillian Gallow, costumes designed by Christina Poddubiuk, lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte and original music and sound designed by James Smith. The production team includes Meredith Macdonald, stage manager, and Amy Jewell, assistant stage manager.

Subtitled A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, Oscar Wilde’s tour-de-force and final work begins previews May 18 at the Festival Theatre and is eligible for review beginning June 16. Recommended for audiences 12+, it has a running time of approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes, with two intermissions. 

In addition to her role as Lola in this season’s musical Damn Yankees, Associate Artistic Director Kimberley Rampersad serves as director and choreographer for Chitra, Rabindranath Tagore’s enthralling play about false appearances and true love that's based on a tale from the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata. Gabriella Sundar Singh is the warrior princess Chitra and Andrew Lawrie is Arjuna, the object of her affections; with Sanjay Talwar as Madana and Taurian Teelucksingh is Vasanta. Appearing alongside them are Caitlyn MacInnis, David Andrew Reid, Jade Repeta and Adam Sergison.

The creative and production team for this season’s Lunchtime One-Act includes set and costume designer Anahita Dehbonehie, lighting designer Chris Malkowski, composers and sound designers Darryn deSouza and Ryan deSouza; stage manager Beatrice Campbell and assistant stage manager Annie McWhinnie.

Chitra begins previews June 11 at the Royal George Theatre and is available for review beginning June 19. It has a running time of 60-minutes and is recommended for audiences 11+. 

László Bérczes returns to The Shaw to direct Everybody, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's clever modern riff on the medieval morality play Everyman – where Death comes to Every ... body, but is Everybody ready? Previews begin on June 8 at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre and features the ensemble cast of Andrew Broderick, Sharry Flett, Patrick Galligan, Deborah Hay, Julie Lumsden, Michael Man, Alana Randall, Kiera Sangster, Travis Seetoo and Donna Soares (陸明慧).

Everybody features movement direction by Alexis Milligan, sets designed by Balázs Cziegler, costumes designed by Sim Suzer, lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte and original music and sound designed by Claudio Vena. The production team includes stage manager Dora Tomassi and assistant stage manager Leigh McClymont.

Recommended for audience members 12+, Everybody has a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes, with no intermission. 

The Shaw Festival’s 2022 season runs through to December 23, with a playbill featuring Damn Yankees, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Cyrano de Bergerac, Gaslight, Chitra, Just to Get Married, This is How We Got Here, Too True to Be Good, Everybody, August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, Fairground, Shawground, A Short History of Niagara, a series of outdoor concerts and events, A Christmas Carol and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Tickets are available through the Box Office at 1-800-511-SHAW and online at

Despite the easing of COVID-19 measures in Ontario, The Shaw continues to require the use of masks in all indoor theatres and spaces until June 10. Masking is not required outdoors on Shaw Festival grounds or at outdoor performances. This decision is done out of an abundance of caution for both patrons and company members. The Shaw’s Duty of Care remains in place. While these measures include a commitment to ensuring the health and safety of audiences, company members and communities, there remains an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public place where people congregate. The Festival continues to work closely with public health experts to ensure all necessary and reasonable precautions are being met to reduce the chances of exposure; however, patrons are encouraged to take what precautions they deem necessary to protect themselves and others. Patrons are also requested to refrain from attending any performance or event if they are presenting COVID-19 symptoms.