Province/Territory: Ontario

A Look Behind the Curtain

  • 02 hours in makeup and wardrobe
  • 08 hours to craft a hat
  • 20-30 hours to create a hair piece
Discover what it takes to stage a live production of a George Bernard Shaw play. Enroll in one of the Shaw’s public enrichment programs. Learn the basics of speaking in a British dialect from a theatre professional. Visit Costumes and Props and listen as a wigmaker describes how to knot human hair, strand-by-strand, to create a hairpiece. Speak with a milliner and find why it can take up to eight hours to make a hat. Listen to a set designer as he reveals the secret to how stagehands can switch sets between acts with machine-like precision. Tour completed, you leave with a new appreciation for what it takes to create the “magic” of the theatre.
Why you should visit
  • A rare opportunity to venture backstage at a world-renowned theatre and meet the people responsible for scores of acclaimed productions.
  • Learn about all that’s involved with staging a live theatre production.
  • Engage in conversation with seasoned, professional costume designers, wigmakers, prop makers and set designers as they reveal the trade secrets behind what they do.


  • The weather in Niagara-on-the-Lake through the spring, summer and fall is quite pleasant, making it ideal for strolling along the town’s picturesque streets before your visit to the Shaw Festival Theatre. Average temperatures for: Spring 1°C to 23°C, Summer 11°C to 26°C and Fall -6°C to 13°C.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
  • Tickets & Playbill.
  • US Funds accepted at par.
  • Parking is available across the street from the Festival Theatre at Fort George.
  • Special access seating and assisted listening devices are available.
When to go
  • Experience the magic of the Shaw Featival, from the audience's perspective and behind the curtain, April through October.
  • A visit during the spring months will allow you to also enjoy one of the many springtime fruit festivals that take place.
  • The summer months, with their warm temperatures, are an ideal time to plan a picnic in the park along with your visit to the Shaw.
  • Autumn brings the gorgeous fall colours, which make this storybook, quaint town even more picturesque.
Need to know
  • Watch a play and for $3 more, you can have a post-show chat with two of the actors from the production.
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake is also known for its many fabulous dining options. The Shaw Festival offers a variety of dining/accommodation/play packages on their website.
Getting Here
  • Approximately a 1 1/2 hour drive from the Toronto Pearson International Airport or approximately a 30 minute drive from Niagara Falls. For those driving from the United States, there are three border crossing bridges: Queenston Lewiston, Rainbow Bridge and Peace Bridge.
  • If you prefer not to drive; on weekends, starting at the end of June through to the beginning of September, you can take a Go Train from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Once you arrive in Niagara Falls, you can take a taxi to Niagara-on-the-Lake or, if you're visiting between May and September, there is a daily shuttle bus you can hop on.
  • Bus service from Toronto to Niagara Falls is also available via Greyhound Bus Lines or train service is available via Via Rail.
  • View current highway conditions.
  • The Shaw Festival theatres are located on the main street that runs through Niagara-on-the-Lake and are approximately a five minute walk from the town's centre.