Credit: Shaw Festival
At a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, the Shaw Festival honoured former Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell’s fourteen year tenure by renaming the Studio Theatre. In front of an audience of donors, company members and patrons, the space was officially christened the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre just days before Middletown takes residency for the season.
"Jackie’s indelible impression on the Festival and on its character cannot be understated. Her championing of new work, of women and of a new facility to support her expanded mandate make her legacy in Canadian theatre forever assured," says Tim Jennings, Executive Director and CEO of the Shaw Festival. "It seems only fitting that Jackie is honoured in a permanent way with the re-naming of the Studio Theatre she created."
Ms. Maxwell, who left the Shaw Festival at the end of 2016, has also been named Artistic Director Emerita by the Board of Governors for her contributions to the Festival. During her time as Artistic Director, Ms. Maxwell propelled the Shaw Festival into the 21st century. Under her guidance, The Shaw expanded to include plays by contemporary playwrights along with new works commissioned for the Festival’s world-class acting ensemble. In addition to growing the Festival’s programming, Ms. Maxwell added a fourth theatre space – opening the Studio Theatre in 2009.
"Having a new space where we could really take risks – showing the continuum from our namesake Bernard Shaw to our most provocative and vital contemporary writers – was a dream that seemed destined to become a reality. The company, staff, Board and our audiences enthusiastically embraced the brilliant work of Caryl Churchill, Tony Kushner, Suzan-Lori Parks and many more: playwrights who are expanding and revitalizing our theatrical conversations," says Jackie Maxwell, Artistic Director Emerita. "I am very moved at the honour of having this space, which means so much to me, given my name. I give heartfelt thanks to this incredibly generous group of donors who have been endlessly supportive and energetic in their belief in this venture."
Friday's ceremony was the culmination of a year-long special fundraising campaign in honour of Ms. Maxwell resulting in $1.5 million gifted collectively from several individual American and Canadian donors to the Shaw Festival. Approximately one million of the dollars raised are eligible for a matching donation through the Canadian Heritage program for endowed gifts, which will provide support for the Shaw Festival in perpetuity.