Bringing Humour With Heart to the Heart of Niagara
The Foster Festival is a theatre company located in St. Catharines, Ontario in Canada inspired by the work of internationally renowned Canadian playwright Norm Foster.
Welcome Lovers of Laughter!
At The Foster Festival, It is our mission to showcase the heart and humour of Foster's writing in a dedicated environment, employing the finest Canadian theatre practitioners and to foster and support emerging and established Canadian playwrights interested in stories that are entertaining but also deeply meaningful to and reflective of our audience.
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Very funny play; loved the show. Great theatre; not a bad seat in the house. I predict the Foster Festival will join The Shaw Festival & The Stratford Festival as a major attraction in Ontario.
History of The Foster Festival
The year was 1997. Emily sat in the Blyth Festival theatre in anticipation of seeing her very first production of a Norm Foster play, The Melville Boys. She was in her last year of high school preparing for post-secondary theatre school that coming fall. The house lights dimmed and she felt that familiar sense of excitement as she settled in to be entertained. From beginning to end, she laughed, she reflected, she felt frustrated, she laughed again, and ultimately found her cheeks wet with tears as she was swept up in Norm’s world of heartfelt comedy. Instantly, a Foster Fan was born.
Fast forward. On November 17, 2014, Emily and Patricia sat in Patricia's kitchen. Emily had carried a vision for a Theatre Festival honouring Norm Foster for nearly a decade. After approaching Norm with her vision, Norm had suggested she partner with Patricia.
Lots of people had talked about a “Foster Festival”. Emily and Patricia were going to make it happen so here they were getting to know one another. Emily shared that the Blyth Festival’s production of Norm’s The Melville Boys had inspired her as a high school student. Patricia had starred in the 1984 world premiere and directed that 1997 Blyth production. They joked that their partnership was meant to be….The Foster Festival's creation story. This nucleus of two, circling the heart of Norm’s wonderful writing was the delicate beginning. Two weeks later, Emily and Patricia had a first meeting with Steve Solski . The Foster Festival found our home. Our circle now encompassed St Catharines.
18 months later, in June 2016, we opened our inaugural season in Cairns Hall - a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to Canada’s best-loved Playwright that engaged and delighted audience members and brought a vibrant summery energy to the downtown core.
In our first season, we evolved from an unknown commodity to a major cultural anchor in St Catharines that delivers beautiful and definitive productions of Norm Foster’s work. Our circle of two has expanded to encompass a dynamic and committed Board of Directors helmed by passionate arts advocate Rosemary Drage Hale. Our hearts nearly burst with pride seeing Norm awarded Canada’s highest civilian honour with his induction as an Officer of the Order of Canada.
We have unbelievable support from the City of St Catharines - everyone from Mayor Walter Sendzik and City Council through the Tourism and Cultural Offices.
As our circle continues to grow we are humbled by the commitment and enthusiasm of our wonderful Board of Directors, the City of St Catharines, our company of artists and artisans and of course our growing audiences. Thank you!