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The Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival Site

Welcome to Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Metis! You'll find us located in the heart of Saskatoon: right on the bank of the South Saskatchewan River across the street from PotashCorp Playland, near the former Mendel Art Gallery, and just down the path from our friends at Prairie Lily Riverboat Cruises. Nestled between the riverbank and a grove of luscious mature trees, our site is the perfect evening getaway for an evening of theatre, or a drink by the riverbank.  Read our reviews on tripadvisor, or see how we compare with other local attractions on travelmag.

STAGING THE FUTURE: Planning for the next 30 years and beyond...

This season we completed phase 1 of a plan to redevelop our site.  We have moved the performance tent to the North end further away from traffic noise on Spadina Crescent, but we are not done yet. Check out this document that gives you a sneak peak of what we are planning.  Here are the KEY GOALS OF A NEW SITE for your Shakespeare festival, Meewasin Trail and the citizens of Saskatoon:

Efficient and user friendly, permanent base for performance tent that can be used “open air” year-round, permanent pavilions to house box office, bar, dressing rooms etc, new washrooms, year-round accessibility and Meewasin Trail integration, permanent landscaping with Native plants, option open for future expansion, and the entire site available for use by partner organizations like the PotashCorp Children’s Festival.  Did we miss anything?  What would you like to see?  Take our SURVEY here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parking

There are a few different places to park at the festival: 

  • The City Hospital Staff Parking lot located on Queen Street
  • The two parking lots located next to the Festival Site
  • The Kinsmen Park parking lot next to the YWCA building
  • The Potashcorp Playland parking area

City Hospital's parking lot will be the easiest option for parking, as the lot is available for our patrons after 6:00pm and has enough spots to accommodate most festival patrons. The other three options tend to fill up fast with PotashCorp Playland's popularity, so be sure to check City Hospital first before moving on to another option. 

Accessibility

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan's mandate is to be accessible to all; as such, our festival site is accessible for patrons with mobility issues. Special seating is also available for patrons with mobility issues, upon request. For more details on these seats or any other questions about mobility, call the box office at (306) 652-9100. 

Partners in the Area

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan is located in close proximity to a number of other cultural and tourism destinations in the city:

The Prairie Lily will be working together with us to present a discounted ticket package for the summer! With this package, you can enjoy a riverboat cruise at 4pm, head to Living Sky Cafe for a quick bite at 5:15, and head to our Community Stage at 6:30 for a quick drink before our show! For more information, check out Prairie Lily Riverboat Cruises and Living Sky Cafe. As a side-note, Living Sky's full menu is available for viewing on their website, and all food from Living Sky can be ordered to go. Living Sky Cafe will be open until 6:00pm to accommodate our patrons coming off the cruise, and anyone else looking for a quick meal, so be sure to check them out!

The Meewasin Trail

One of Saskatoon's most well-known pastimes is taking a walk along the Meewasin Trail. The trail runs along both sides of the South Saskatchewan River and incorporates many parks, natural habitats, businesses, and showcases the natural beauty of Saskatoon. We are located along the Meewasin Trail, a mere 12 minute walk from the Delta Bessborough, Saskatoon's Castle on the River. If you're staying downtown be sure to take a walk down the trail and experience the rich natural beauty that Saskatoon has to offer, and be sure to visit us along the way!

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Who we are now

 

A not-for-profit, registered charity incorporated in 1985, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival Inc. continues to provide exciting contemporary and traditional productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Each summer, two full-length plays are performed in repertory by professional artists, in large tents on the banks of the beautiful South Saskatchewan River in the heart of Saskatoon. The festival runs from the first week in July until mid-August. Matinees are performed during certain weekdays and all weekends. See our show schedule for detailed information.

Each season, our barren riverbank perch is amazingly transformed into a summer cultural paradise combining mainstage performances with numerous festive activities. The month of May will see the raising of our mainstage tent, with its 282 seat capacity, along with our smaller tents, collectively known as the Elizabethan Village, which house the Community Stage. During the month of June, the energetic activity of crew and cast prepare the site and rehearse in great anticipation of the season's opening. Our site also features Sir Toby’s Tavern and Riverside Deck – the only riverside tavern in Saskatoon.

In addition to performances taking place on the mainstage, companion activities such as Medieval Feasts, workshops, tours, art displays, special matinees, and the Community Stage offer great variety for our patrons. Our Community Stage is Saskatoon’s only summer-long free performance venue for emerging local artists, community groups, and individuals providing valuable public exposure and recognition not readily available elsewhere.

Where we came from

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan has a long and exciting history of innovation and cutting edge arts programming on the riverbank. There is one simple reason for that – the people. Under its origin of Nightcap Productions, founder and first Artistic Director Gordon McCall brought a group of exciting theatre artists together to put up the first production - A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was in the summer of 1985 on the old Bowling Green just a stone’s throw away from our current site. During Gordon’s tenure from 1985-1991, the festival saw the production of seven of Shakespeare’s plays plus a remounted national tour - a landmark bilingual production of Romeo & Juliette. These productions celebrated the festival atmosphere and challenged the lines of how Shakespeare can be done and are remembered fondly to this day – it's hard to forget Caliban's magical entrance from under the surface of the water of a submerged hot tub!

After years at the festival as stage manager and production manager, Mark von Eschen stepped into the role of Artistic Director to see the longest and most consistent period of the Festival’s leadership and artistic output. Mark directed a staggering 28 productions for the festival over his tenure and was known for his personal connection with his audience. From his first A Midsummer Night’s Dream to swinging broadsword tragedies audiences had a great time at his shows. In 2004, Mark also stepped into the shoes of Executive Director to take leadership of the company’s financial health. With his many years of dedicated and passionate work for the company, Mark is responsible for the restructuring, refocusing, and leadership that erased deficits and brought the company to a fiscally healthy position to head into the next era.

In 2014, the leadership of the organization of the company was passed to Will Brooks as Artistic Producer. The future will hold a commitment to the artistic innovation and cutting edge work began by Gordon, the exciting range of programming begun by Henry, and the organizational health painstakingly built by Mark.

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Mandate

Vision :

To make the experience of Shakespeare enriching and accessible to all.

Mission :

To mount professional productions of plays by William Shakespeare and other related works, and to celebrate the skills and talents of Saskatchewan artists, in a manner accessible to all.

Principles:

  • To maintain our identity as a summer festival while exploring other venues for performance
  • To be professional
  • To employ local artists
  • To maintain fiscal responsibility
  • To be accessible
  • To provide opportunities for other local performers
  • To recognize the educational opportunities and benefits that Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan can provide.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

EXECUTIVE

  • Rick EwenChair
  • Carey HyndmanVice Chair & Special Event Committee Chair
  • Angie FergussonTreasurer
  • Karen HaywardSecretary

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