Innovative storytelling enters stage right

When the Campanelli’s left The Magician’s Nephew rehearsal, both of their kids were wide-eyed with wonder. The excitement and discovery of getting an insider’s peek into the Shaw Festival production spilled over when they met and chatted afterwards with Artistic Director Tim Carroll as well. Of course, this whole experience was shared on all the buzzy social media channels and helped usher in one of the repertory theatre company’s most successful seasons in recent years. 

Live performance is one of the oldest forms of entertainment and storytelling. Social media is one of our newest. This World Theatre Day, we salute our friends at the Shaw Festival for all the creative ways that they both reinvent and embrace dynamic storytelling to engage and keep the stage relevant among today’s digital natives. 

Artistic Director Tim Carroll is an avid believer in “two-way theatre,” and has brought this audience-cast interaction, along with an ambitious vision, to the Niagara-on-the-Lake company’s productions since joining two years ago. The immersive approach of “two-way theatre” is consistent with the expectations of today’s experience-hungry, social media-savvy audiences and, as Laura Hughes, Senior Communications Manager at The Shaw notes, "it was so clear how we could help realize Tim’s vision - we would bring the audience into the experience before they're here, while they're here and after they leave by engaging with them on social media.”

In addition to harnessing the power of social media to amplify their innovative approaches to theatrical productions, The Shaw also saw digital storytellers or “influencers” as another way to engage new audiences. When choosing influencers to be part of The Shaw, the Company makes sure that they connect with its values. Then they plan a bespoke Niagara experience which along with the diverse playbill, is able to provide experiences that appeal anyone’s tastes. Whether it’s side-splitting comedy, toe-tapping musicals or heart-pounding dramas, influencers helped share the magic of the theatre with their followers and in turn inspire thousands of new theatre-goers.

Innovative programming and immersive experiences have helped The Shaw Festival draw a fresh crowd to its stages, proving that compelling storytelling endures no matter the format. 

Discover what’s on stage at the Shaw Festival this year and #ShareYourShaw on your favourite channel.