Our Town at Shaw Festival

Our Town
Thornton Wilder was a one of the literary elite playwrights of his time. The winner of three Pulitzer Prizes, one for a novel and two for plays, Wilder was a highly respected member of the American literary industry and his works have been in constant circulation. Whenever an adaptation of arguably his most successful and accessible work, Our Town, is announced, there’s always going to be a sense of being matched to imposing standards.

Shaw Festival Production of Our Town

The Shaw Festival’s take on the 1938 play began performing in April of 2016 and will run until October 15 at the Shaw's Royal George Theatre. It’s faithful to the original production–inspired sense of removal and theatricality, utilising veteran actor Benedict Campbell as the stage manager who guides the audience through the events taking place in the town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire during the 1900s.

Our Town Plot

The focus of the play is in the characters of Emily Webb and George Gibbs, played here by married couple Charlie Gallant and Kate Besworth, and their development from precocious youths to a devoted couple ultimately touched by tragedy. It’s a small scale used as the springboard for big themes – the mundane motions of the small town life mined for meaning on life, death and the rigours of daily existence. It sounds bleak on paper, but Wilder’s talent was infusing that deep examination with earnest romance, light humour and fun characters.

Our Town Minimalist Set Design

Molly Smith is the director of this adaptation, with only a light history in the Shaw Festival but decades of work through other theatres. There are a few modern touches to the production, such as some mime-play in place of direct prop work to complement the minimalist design and the stage manager’s presence, which fit in with the play’s experimental scaffolding. Otherwise it’s a faithful and earnest rendition of the iconic play. Our Town is one of the gems of festivals like that of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s annual tradition – well-casted, lean but effective design work, and a creative direction that directly works with the source material and deviates only to emphasise the original virtues of the story. Shaw Festival Dates are subject to change. Stay at the closest hotel to Niagara Falls, the Marriott on the Falls Hotel. View our: Niagara Falls Hotel Packages


Shaw Festival's Royal George Theatre
85 Queen St,
Niagara Falls