AN OCTOROON MAKES ITS CANADIAN PREMIERE AT THE SHAW FESTIVAL; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ groundbreaking play is a no-holds-barred exploration of racial stereotypes

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– Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ groundbreaking play is a no-holds-barred exploration of racial stereotypes

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (July 14, 2017) — The Shaw’s production of An Octoroon is perhaps the funniest, and certainly the most subversive, theatre experience this season. Riffing off of Dion Boucicault’s melodrama The Octoroon, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Obie Award-winning play is his sardonic, radical response to present and past attitudes of race. Directed by Peter Hinton, An Octoroon makes its Canadian premiere at the Royal George Theatre, beginning previews July 16.

André Sills stars in Jacobs-Jenkins’ controversial and in-your-face reframing of Boucicault’s romantic tale about a plantation owner who falls in love with a woman of mixed race in the Old South. Taking on this challenging piece of theatre is an accomplished cast comprised of Lisa Berry, Ryan Cunningham, Starr Domingue, Diana Donnelly, Patrick McManus, Kiera Sangster, Vanessa Sears and Samantha Walkes.

Complemented by Bonnie Beecher’s lighting design, Gillian Gallow’s stark black and white set contrasts dramatically with the Edwardian finery of the Royal George Theatre – unnervingly mirroring the play’s themes. Gallow’s costumes rooted in the plantation era include touches of contemporary style. The production’s tone is completed with original music by Ryan deSouza.

An Octoroon is on stage at the Royal George Theatre (85 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake) from July 16 to October 14 (opening July 28). It is generously sponsored by James F. Brown.

Cast: (in alphabetical order)

Lisa Berry
Ryan Cunningham
Starr Domingue
Diana Donnelly
Patrick McManus
Kiera Sangster
Vanessa Sears
André Sills
Samantha Walkes
Br’er Rabbit/Captain Ratts

Creative & Production:

Peter Hinton
Gillian Gallow
Bonnie Beecher
Ryan deSouza
Diane Konkin
Annie McWhinnie
Lighting Designer
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager

The Shaw Festival’s 2017 season is on stage April 5 through October 15. The playbill features Me and My Girl, Saint Joan, Dracula, 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt, Androcles and the Lion, Wilde Tales, The Madness of George III, Dancing at Lughnasa, An Octoroon, Middletown, 1979 and Secret Theatre.

Direct bus service from Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake on the Shaw Express began April 5. Patrons can choose to come for one day or stay for the weekend with a round trip costing $25. A ticket to a 2017 Shaw Festival performance is required to access this service.

Tickets for the 2017 Festival season and Shaw Express are available through the Box Office at 1-800-511-SHAW and online at

About the Shaw Festival

The Shaw Festival celebrates the life and spirit of Bernard Shaw by creating theatre that is as entertaining and provocative as Shaw himself.  For more information, please visit


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