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