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The play's the thing: sit back, relax and enjoy the show! A growing number of theatre vacation packages provide unmatched opportunities to explore Canada's vibrant theatre scene.

As home to two world-famous theatre festivals, Ontario boasts some nifty theatre packages. A host of Shaw Festival options combine performances with the best of the Niagara region's hotels, wineries, restaurants and attractions (1-800-511-7429 or www.shawfest.com), while Stratford Festival packages include a night at a beautiful local inn, dinner and breakfast, plus, of course, your choice of a production (1-877-356-6385 or www.niagarafallstours.com). Prefer to take in both festivals? Consider a week-long theatre-and-wine package that features five performances as well as winery visits, backstage tours and more (800/263-0050 or www.odysseylearningadventures.ca), or a six-day cycling tour with days spent peddling the countryside and evenings devoted to festival productions (1-800-668-2453 or www.canadiantrails.com). Then there's the option of three plays in three days-at the Blyth Festival, at Stratford and at the Huron County Playhouse in Grand Bend (1-800-663-9709 or www.ontariocanadatravel.com). In Vancouve r, you can spend a night at the elegant Wedgewood Hotel after enjoying a performance at the Vancouver Playhouse or Arts club Theatre (1-800-663-0666 or www.wedgewoodhotel.com) or check into the Granville Island Hotel for a stay that includes two tickets to a Stanley Theatre or Arts Club Theatre show (1-800-663-1840 or www.granvilleislandhotel.com). And don't miss two outstanding outdoor theatrical events: Bard on the Beach, devoted to Shakespeare, running from June 12 to September 21 (604/737-0625 or www.bard.faximum.com), and Theatre Under the Stars, held in Stanley Park in July (604/687-0174 or www.tuts.bc.ca). Winnipeg's lively theatre scene runs the gamut from Shakespeare in the Ruins to Le Cercle Moliere. One of the most unusual is the Theatre in the cemetery's production of In Riel's Footsteps, held in the graveyard next to the Saint-Boniface Cathedral. The Riel Tourism Bureau offers packages that include horse-drawn wagon tours of the city's French Quarter plus the cemetery performance (1-866-808-8338 or www.tourismeriel.com). Quebec has its own distinctive brand of theatre - outdoor mega-productions! In La Baie, some 160 actors recount the Saguenay region's history in La fabuleuse histoire d'un royaume (1-888-873-3333 or www.grandsspectacles.com). In Drummondville, Legendes fantastiques is a spectacular multimedia trip through time that involves more than 150 performers (1-800-265-5412 or www.legendesfantastiques.com). An array of packages is available for both events.

RELATED ARTICLE: Theatrical Adventures

Countless theatre festivals are staged across Canada every summer. Here are just a few:

* EDMONTON FRINGE THEATRE FESTIVAL, North America's largest such event, August 15-25, 780/448-9000 or www.fringe.alberta.com.

* SHAKESPEARE ON THE SASKATCHEWAN FESTIVAL, held in large tents on the riverbank in Saskatoon, July 3 to August 18,306/652-9100 or www.shakespeareonthesaskatchewan.com.

* STRATFORD FESTIVAL OF CANADA, now in its 50th season in Stratford, Ont., late April to early November, 1-800-567-1600 or www.stratfordfestival.ca.

* SHAW FESTIVAL, featuring plays by Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., April to November, 1-800-511-7429 or www.shawfest.com.

* ATLANTIC THEATRE FESTIVAL, professional productions in Wolfville, N.S., June to September, 1-800-337-6661 or www.atf.ns.ca.

* THE CHARLOTTETOWN FESTIVAL, Anne of Green Gables - The Musical[TM] and other productions at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, June through October, 1-800-565-0278 or www.confederationcentre.com.

* SUMMER IN THE BIGHT FESTIVAL, 10 different plays performed indoors and out in Trinity Bight, Nfld., June through September, 1-888-464-3377 or www.risingtidetheatre.com.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
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Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:May 1, 2002
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