Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (March 25, 2014) - The Board of Governors of the Shaw Festival announced today that it has extended the contract of Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell through to the end of the 2016 season.
Part of a succession plan proposed by Ms. Maxwell and unanimously accepted by the Board at its March 21, 2014 meeting, this contract renewal means that Ms. Maxwell will program the 2015 and 2016 seasons, while she and a committee of the Board work towards identifying and selecting a successor. Ms. Maxwell will also assist in planning the 2017 season to ensure a seamless transition.
Ms. Maxwell said, "By the end of the 2016 season I will have served as the Shaw Festival's Artistic Director for 14 years. I am immensely proud of what has been achieved during those years but this is a huge, all-consuming job and I think it is time for me to start looking ahead to new and different challenges. I am pleased that the Board acknowledged my plan to make a change and they have initiated a process that will allow the company to continue under my leadership, finishing a two year cycle that is currently planned, while a successor is sought and found. I look forward to assisting my successor in assuming leadership as seamlessly as possible – as was offered to me twelve years ago."
Andy Pringle, Chair of The Shaw’s Board of Governors added “Jackie’s contribution to the Shaw Festival is rooted in her brilliance as a theatre artist. She came to the company’s attention with her production of William Inge’s Picnic in 2001, and she was named Artistic Director Designate later that year, taking over as Artistic Director in 2003. Since then, she has directed a long list of highly successful stage productions – of which Major Barbara, Ragtime and Come Back, Little Sheba are only the most recent. She leads this company and shapes its seasons with a great depth of theatrical knowledge and a willingness to push the boundaries — an unusual combination that has served us well, preserving the best of our past while introducing The Shaw and our audiences to new ideas and challenges. We look forward to some spectacular final seasons and to celebrating her contribution when she steps down, several years from now."
The Board will immediately begin the process of nominating a Search Committee and determining the process by which it will identify Ms. Maxwell’s successor. Given The Shaw’s standing as one of Canada’s most prestigious theatre companies, the search will be extensive and is expected to start in 2014 and continue until its successful completion.