St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival News – Meet the 2024 Company

Prescott, ONThe St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce the incredible company of artists joining us in Prescott this summer to create magical theatre under the stars.

Click HERE to Meet the 2024 Company!

St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival

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.