The Shaw Festival has announced it’s program for 2024, and there are a couple of productions featuring queer talent at the helm. Damien Atkins  stars in not one, but two of next season’s productions – Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Human Heart, as well as, Candida. Also, Ryan G. Hinds directs the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

Inspired by the spirit of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival creates unforgettable theatrical encounters. The Shaw is a place where people who are curious about the world gather to share the unique experience of live theatre and to create a deeper human connection with the artists, the beauty and abundance of Niagara and with each other. 

Below is the full festival programming schedule. Be sure to grab your tickets early, and for those in Toronto/GTA without access to a vehicle, the Shaw Express Bus is an economical and convenient way to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake and back.



The adored musical adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion follows a Cockney flower girl’s transformation into a proper lady under the tutelage of a professor of phonetics and his fellow linguist.

Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner Music by Frederick Loewe. Adapted from Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion. 

Previews May 4 •  Closes December 22

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS (World Premiere)

Collecting a payout in Brighton with his current employer, petty East End criminal Roscoe Crabbe, Francis Henshall takes another job with Stanley Stubbers, an upper-class buffoon. To prevent discovery and remain dually employed, Francis must do everything to keep these “two guvnors” apart. Peter Fernandes is Francis Henshall, the one man in the employment of the two guvnors – Fiona Byrne as Roscoe (a.k.a. Rachel Crabbe) and Martin Happer as Stanley Stubbers – in this commedia dell’arte-styled comedy.

By Richard Bean. Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni With songs by Grant Olding. Directed by Chris Abraham. Original music and sound designed by Thomas Ryder Payne

Previews June 6 •  Closes October 13


Damien Atkins dons the deerstalker once again as Sherlock Holmes, the master of deduction and observation, in a new work by Reginald Candy. This time round, Holmes faces off against a villain so clever, so compelling and so lethal, that he may have met his match. Ric Reid returns as his ever-faithful friend Dr. John Watson.

By Reginald Candy. Based on characters by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Directed by Craig Hall. Original music and sound designed by John Gzowski

Previews July 24 •  Closes October 13



A wealthy widow is found brutally murdered and there is only one suspect: her handsome, charming, and much younger gentleman friend. At the centre of this Christie stage whodunit is a high-stakes fight to escape the hangman’s noose. Full of clever twists, shocking revelations and mounting tension.

Written by Agatha Christie. Directed by Alistair Newton. Original music and sound designed by Lyon Smith

Previews April 6 • Closes October 13

THE SECRET GARDEN A Play with Songs (World Premiere)

After the death of her parents, unloved and overindulged Mary Lennox is uprooted and moved to Yorkshire to live with her reclusive uncle in his cheerless mansion. She soon meets her sickly cousin Colin, and Dickon, a boy who knows all about animals and nature. When she discovers a walled garden with a locked door on the manor grounds, her curiosity is sparked into life.

Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett Adapted for the stage by Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli. Directed by Jay Turvey. Music direction by Ryan deSouza

Previews May 31 •  Closes October 13


A violent palace power struggle leaves an infant – the last of the house of Chao – orphaned. A benevolent doctor sacrifices his own son to keep the child alive. Later adopted by his family’s killer as son and heir, the orphan of Chao discovers the truth about his identity and exacts vengeance for the death of his clan.

Adapted by Michael Man. Based on the classical Chinese drama, The Great Revenge of the Zhao Orphan By Ji Junxiang. Directed by Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster. Original music and sound designed by Heidi Wai Yee Chan

Previews June 13 • Closes October 5


Caught in an emotional tug-of-war between her charming socialist vicar husband and her “foundling”, a young and aristocratic, but penniless poet, Candida must ultimately decide which one truly needs her most.

By Bernard Shaw. Directed by Severn Thompson. Original music and sound designed by Thomas Ryder Payne

Previews July 13 • Closes October 11



Set in early 19th century New Orleans, a wealthy free Black woman with three unwed daughters finds herself facing an uncertain future as racial divides widen and society around her begins to change.

By Marcus Gardley. Directed by Philip Akin. Original music and sound designed by Jacob Lin

Previews June 12 • Closes October 12


Young widow Dou Yi is sentenced to death for a murder she didn’t commit. She curses her town with a devastating drought, which will only end when she is proven innocent. A visiting businesswoman and her young daughter may be the key to the town’s redemption and Dou Yi’s peace in the afterlife.

By Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig. Based on the classical Chinese drama, The Injustice of Dou E That Moved Heaven and Earth by Guan Hanqing. Directed by Nina Lee Aquino

Previews August 8 • Closes October 5

Casting and creative team updates for the upcoming Shaw Festival season will be available at

Tickets for the Shaw Festival’s 2024 season can be purchased through the Box Office by calling 1-800-511-SHAW (7429) or at Patrons wishing to gain early access to tickets can visit the Festival’s Membership and Giving page or call 1-800-657-1106 x 2556 to become Friends of The Shaw.

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About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.