St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival News – Help Us Keep the Legacy!

For over two decades, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival has thrived on the collective spirit of our community. Artists, volunteers, community, and donors – together we weave theatrical magic along the picturesque St. Lawrence River.

Theatre is a collaborative effort and we can’t do it alone. As we embark on a season of new beginnings, we remain grateful for the history of stewardship that has brought this Festival to life. The unwavering support of our community is the invisible thread that binds every aspect of the Festival. Every donation fuels our passion for exceptional theatre.

With arts funding shrinking, your support is more vital than ever. We understand this, and this season we’re committed to forging deeper connections with our donors through exclusive recognition programs. We want to get to know you and ensure that you feel valued and directly connected to the magic you create. By supporting the Festival, you will become a vital part of our legacy!

New this season is the Director’s Club, a special program offering donors unprecedented access to the artistic process and the Festival as a whole. For a monthly donation of only $15 (or at least $180 annually), you’ll join the club and receive invites throughout the year for special events, including drinks with our team, open rehearsals, and special behind the scenes talks and tours.

With your continued partnership, we can:

⭐ Cultivate a vibrant artistic community: Support talented artists and foster a thriving space for creativity.
Deliver artistic excellence: Continue to produce high-quality productions that captivate audiences of all ages.
⭐ Maintain a cultural cornerstone: The Festival is a beloved tradition, enriching Eastern Ontario for years to come.

We’re so thrilled to begin this summer, as our new artistic team embarks on their first season.

The exciting programming includes:

🎭 The Tempest (July 13-August 10): Immerse yourself in a dreamlike world as Shakespeare’s classic unfolds in our stunning riverside amphitheater.
🎭 She Stoops to Conquer (July 17-August 10): Prepare for side-splitting laughter with this hilarious comedy by Oliver Goldsmith.
🎭 Play On! A Shakespeare Inspired Mixtape (August 13-17): Don’t miss this sold-out hit from Stratford! This electrifying mash-up fuses pop music with Shakespearean text, featuring iconic artists like The Beatles, Taylor Swift, and Elton John.
🎭 Plus the return of the community show, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice, performed by the community!

Experience magic, joy, love, and wonder under the summer sky! This season, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival promises unforgettable performances in our picturesque riverside amphitheater. Help us make it possible! Your generous donation ensures the Festival remains Eastern Ontario’s premier summer theatre destination.

Donate today and be a part of the magic!

We look forward to seeing you there,

To DONATE, see button below, thanks for your help!

Please donate, thanks

Not in a position to donate? Spread the word!

We completely understand that not everyone is in a position to make a financial contribution. Please consider passing this along to your friends in the community and helping us spread the word of support for the SLSF.

Every dollar has an immeasurable impact and no donation is too small.

St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival History

The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival seeks to achieve the highest possible standards of artistic excellence by producing professional productions in magnificent natural surroundings while encouraging the greatest possible level of community involvement. It aspires to provide a creative summer home for artists with a passion for the classics and the talent to speak to audiences in such a way that their quality of life is enriched and their understanding of the human condition enhanced.


The Company began to take shape in 2002 after Deborah Smith of South Mountain brought a small, self-produced, touring production of Romeo & Juliet to the area.


The community was charmed by the idea of having live theatre in its midst and it was agreed that the Company could utilize the outdoor amphitheatre for a full production of The Tempest in the summer of 2003 and thus the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival was born.


Ian Farthing was appointed as the Festival’s Artistic Director. He oversaw the expansion of the theatre’s activities to a season of two mainstage Shakespeare productions, a full Sunday Series of events and an education program.


SLSF had the distinction of being the only Canadian Theatre to present Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s international touring production of Hamlet.

At the end of 2014, Ian Farthing handed over the Artistic Directorship to Rona Waddington.Innovations introduced by Rona included recruiting a team of local volunteers to plays crowds and soldiers in productions of Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, facilitating work on a scale that had not yet been seen at the Festival, and a series of “Community Productions”, in which post-season productions were directed by Rona, as fundraisers for the Festival, that exclusively featured local amateur actors.


In November 2017, Richard Sheridan Willis became Artistic Director, taking the company into its next phase of development and growth.


In December 2023, Julia Nish-Lapidus and James Wallis were named the new Co-Artistic Directors of the company, bringing new energy to foster growth, building an exciting future for the Festival.

With no other professional outdoor theatre in the St. Lawrence Seaway area, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival fulfils a key role in the artistic life of the region. The unique riverside setting combined with the high quality of the performances has resulted in a 600% increase in attendance over the first twelve years.