Chronicling a Love Affair with Canadian Theatre

Shaw’s best seats

Back in the days when I was writing guidebooks to Orlando’s many theme parks, I would include a section in my descriptions of various attractions called “the best seats in the house,” wherein I would attempt to guide readers to the best locations from which to maximize their enjoyment of a roller coaster, dark ride, or indoor show.

I’m surprised I haven’t tried to do something similar for Ontario’s major theatre festivals. Having just booked my seats for the Shaw Festival’s 2024 season, I am in a position to remedy that lapse.

Here, then, are my suggestions for the best seats for a couple in Shaw’s three venues:

The Festival Theatre

For straight plays, Row G, seats 18 & 19 or 20 & 21, which puts you dead center at a comfortable distance from the stage, not too close, not too far.

For musicals, I find a bit more distance from all the razzle-dazzle preferable. Row J, seats 18 & 19 or 20 & 21.

The Royal George

Row F, seats 12 & 13. Again, dead center and, for me and my wife, ideal.

The Jackie Maxwell Studio

The Maxwell Studio is fairly tiny, a narrow in-the-round space comprising just 266 seats, and choices are a bit trickier here.

For some years, we have been happy with seats B7 & 8, which are on the long side of the playing area. The corresponding seats on the other side of the stage, which we have also used, are B55 & 56.

However, advancing age and the narrowness of the rows have given us pause about these choices. Since they are located in the middle of the row, we are often discommoding fellow theatergoers both coming and going. And if you’ve ever tripped over the seats at the Studio, join the club.

So we are experimenting with seats B1 & 2 and seats B60 & 61, which are aisle seats at one corner of the playing area. They are the seats in the side sections, farthest from the entrance.

Of course, as I am always saying, your mileage may differ. If you have been coming to Shaw for a number of seasons and remember that you liked the seats you had last year or the year before but can’t remember where they were, the sterling box office staff at Shaw is at your service. They have a seemingly perfect record of your past bookings. So don’t hesitate to ask.

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