Showboat Festival Theatre 2020 season announcement

Posted by Showboat Festival Theatre on Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

Showboat Festival Theatre has been presenting professional theatre in southern Ontario for over 32 years. With a focus on Canadian content, Showboat has been fortunate enough to present over 80 Canadian shows to an audience pushing one million patrons.

But now Showboat is faced with the reality that the live theatre environment, for the foreseeable future, cannot exist as it once did prior to COVID-19. “Our team has been diligently exploring each, and every, option on how we might present our 2020 season safely for the Showboat audience this coming summer,” said Artistic Director Derek Ritschel.

With social distancing and unknown future mitigation efforts, Showboat cannot confidently welcome their 15,000 patrons, guest artists, technical crew, volunteers and partners safely to the theatre this summer. “Our first and only priority must be the safety of each and every member of our Showboat family,” Ritschel shared.

To that end, with heavy hearts Showboat must announce the cancelation of their five main stage productions of the 2020 season.

“It is a tough decision, without a doubt, but we believe we have made the most responsible choice. We take this step to ensure there is a bright future for Showboat beyond this summer,” said Ritschel. “When the world opens again, our theatre can return to the laughter and joy we have all enjoyed for many more years to come.”

It is Showboat’s goal to present the Season Topper GLORY DAYS! this September.

They hope it will act as a musical kick off to the new era of Showboat Festival. Showboat wishes to thank their patrons for supporting them all these years. Ritschel and his team will be spending the next few weeks preparing a range of options for ticket holders and will then be reaching out to all patrons individually. Showboat would also like to thank all the organizations and individuals who have been working alongside them to present the 2020 Season.

Ritschel has now started to work on the playbill for 2021 and is excited to share his plan for an all Canadian playbill including Sugar Road, Halfway There, and Meet My Sister, three of the cancelled productions that were planned to be onstage this summer.

“It will be a Canadian playbill of the highest order that will feature our wonderful Canadian artists and our great Canadian sense of humour,”promises Ritschel.

For more information: Showboat Festival Theatre has been operating in Port Colborne, Ontario for 32 years presenting live theatre and musicals. Dedicated to fostering and promoting live professional theatre for Canadians by Canadians, Showboat Theatre welcomes over 15,000 attendees each season. In 2013 Showboat Festival Theatre and Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover entered into a partnership to present high caliber live theatre in both lake side towns. For more information please visit or contact Caitlin O’Neill at


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