The Company began to take shape in 2002 after Deborah Smith of Chesterville brought a small, self-produced, touring production of Romeo and Juliet to the area. The community was charmed by the idea of having live theatre in its midst and it was agreed that the Company could utilize the outdoor amphitheatre for a full production of The Tempest in the summer of 2003; the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival was born.
In the summer of 2006, Ian Farthing was appointed as the Festival's new Artistic Director and oversaw the expansion of the theatre's activities to a season of two mainstage Shakespeare productions, a full Sunday Series of events and an education program.
With no other professional outdoor theatre in the St. Lawrence Seaway area, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival fulfills a key role in the artistic life of the region. The unique riverside setting combined with the high quality of the performances has resulted in a 500% increase in attendance over the first ten years.