Locals shine at Shaw

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Touchstone Theatre artistic director Katrina Dunn recently returned from a five-month stint at Niagara-on-the-Lake's Shaw Festival-a different sphere from her usual work developing new Canadian plays. She was one of two intern directors chosen to work with such luminaries as Christopher Newton, as well as helming her own production, In the Shadow of the Glen by Ireland's J.?M. Synge. "It was a chance for me to expand into an area I never get to work in. The exciting thing is being in an environment where you're approaching literary and challenging works for an audience that's sophisticated and knows them well," said Dunn, who's also newly invigorated by a five-months-in pregnancy. "Also, it's arguably the best acting company in the world, so the calibre of actors was very, very high." The annual internship has been a breeding ground for some of Canada's top theatrical directors.

This summer, Vancouver's Morris Panych was also at the Shaw, directing George Bernard Shaw's You Never Can Tell. "It has a flaming-pink Ken MacDonald set, uses Beatles songs, and is very physical and quite wild. A lot of the audience is loving it, but I have to say some of the traditional Shaw patrons thought it went a little too far," Dunn reported with a laugh.