Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Stratford Festival kicks off 62nd season with first preview of Crazy for You


Reimagined for the Festival stage by director and choreographer Donna Feore

April 21, 2014… Fresh from her triumph with last season’s hit musical, Fiddler on the Roof, acclaimed director and choreographer Donna Feore returns for her 20th Festival season with an exciting new production of Crazy for You specially conceived for the Festival Theatre’s thrust stage. The new Gershwin musical begins previews on Monday, April 21, marking the first performance of the 2014 season.

Ms Feore, the force behind a growing list of hit musicals at the Festival, including You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Oklahoma! and Oliver!, has taken a completely fresh approach to Crazy for You, creating an entirely new production with its own unique staging and choreography. The show boasts more than 14 spectacular song-and-dance numbers featuring a broad range of styles, including jazz, Charleston, lindy hop, cancan and even the early stages of jitterbug.

“Not a single day has passed since I began work on the show that I have not heard something new in Gershwin’s extraordinary music,” says Ms Feore. “The complexity of his score inspired me to explore equally demanding styles of dance. I’ve based the choreography on the most exhilarating dance styles of the period. Gershwin loved hanging out at the Savoy Ballroom in the late twenties, and I’m certain that while there he was dazzled by the Charleston and the original swing dance – the lindy hop – a dance that was hot, wild and not a little dangerous.”

Crazy for You tells the story of Bobby Child who is sent to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a derelict theatre but unexpectedly falls for its owner’s daughter, Polly Baker. The high-energy comedy and romance are further elevated by the dazzling score packed with beloved Gershwin songs, including “I Got Rhythm,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Celebrating the joyous insanity of the bumpy road to love, Crazy for You is a lighthearted choice within the season’s overall theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

Crazy for You promises to be a masterpiece in every sense of the word: a song-and-dance spectacle with stunning dance routines, exquisite staging and costumes, and of course, the powerful force of the Gershwins’ timeless music,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Revamping the show especially for our stage, as Donna has so brilliantly done, brings the most spectacular dancers in the country up close and personal with our audiences, giving them an experience they can’t find anywhere else in quite the same way.”

The production features two Stratford newcomers: Josh Franklin as Bobby Child and Natalie Daradich as Polly Baker. Festival favourite Tom Rooney will play Broadway impresario Bela Zangler.

The cast also features Lally Cadeau as Mrs. Lottie Child, Shane Carty as Lank Hawkins, Keith Dinicol as Everett Baker, Robin Hutton as Irene Roth, Monique Lund as Patricia Fodor, Marcus Nance as Mingo, Stephen Patterson as Sam, Steve Ross as Moose and Shawn Wright as Eugene Fodor.

Artistic credits include Musical Director Shelley Hanson, Designer Debra Hanson, Lighting Designer Paul Miller, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Fight Director John Stead.

“The excitement of rediscovering these dances, these songs and Crazy for You’s particular brand of screwball comedy has inspired our exceptional company to push themselves to the edge of madness,” says Ms Feore. “I am blessed, thrilled and delighted to have found these most remarkably talented artists with whom to collaborate.”

With music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and book by Ken Ludwig, Crazy for You was co-conceived by Ken Ludwig and Mike Ockrent. The musical was inspired by material by Guy Bolton and John McGowan, and originally produced on Broadway by Roger Horchow and Elizabeth Williams.

Crazy for You Forum Highlights

The Stratford Festival Forum is a series of activities and events, including concerts, debates, talks, comedy and interactive presentations, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve further into the ideas and issues raised by the 2014 playbill and its theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

Themes related to Crazy for You will be explored through several Forum events, including: Song and Dance, in which company members teach a fun number from the show; The Mind and Music of George Gershwin, a lecture-performance by Juilliard-trained concert pianist and Harvard-educated psychiatrist Richard Kogan; and Creating Crazy for You, an interview with Ken Ludwig by CBC Radio producer Robert Harris. Mr. Ludwig will also present How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, in which he shares the method he used to instil an understanding and a love of Shakespeare’s plays in his own children.

Sustaining support for the Forum is generously provided by Kelly & Michal Meighen and the T.R. Meighen Foundation. Support for the 2014 Forum is generously provided by Nandita & Julian Wise. Selected Forum events supported by Bell Let’s Talk.

Crazy for You is co-sponsored by Union Gas Limited and RBC. Production support is generously provided by Riki Turofsky & Charles Petersen. Support for the 2014 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Claire and Daniel Bernstein.

Stratford Direct, the daily return private bus service, now offers two routes: Toronto to Stratford and Detroit to Stratford. The Toronto bus costs $20 round trip, departing once daily from May 3 to 24 and September 23 to October 12, and twice daily between May 26 and September 21.The Detroit bus costs $40 round trip, with Tuesday, Friday and Saturday departures from June 3 to September 28. Both routes run on performance days only.

The Stratford Direct Presenting Sponsor is OLG. Support for Stratford Direct is generously provided by The Peter Cundill Foundation.

The 2014 season runs from April 21 to October 12, featuring King Lear; Crazy for You; two versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Beaux’ Stratagem; Man of La Mancha; Alice Through the Looking-Glass; Hay Fever; King John; Mother Courage and Her Children; Antony and Cleopatra; Christina, The Girl King; and more than 200 events in The Forum.

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Jimmy………………………………………….         Matt Alfano
Junior…………………………………………..        Matthew Armet
Susie…………………………………………...         Carla Bennett
Mrs. Lottie Child………………………………        Lally Cadeau
Lank Hawkins…………………………………         Shane Carty
Wyatt…………………………………………..        Stephen Cota
Polly Baker…………………………………….        Natalie Daradich
Everett Baker…………………………………..        Keith Dinicol
Margie…………………………………………         Marisa Falcone
Bobby Child ………………………..................        Josh Franklin
Pete…………………………………………….        Sean Alexander Hauk
Patsy…………………………………………...        Alexandra Herzog
Irene Roth……………………………………...        Robin Hutton
Tess……………………………………………         Kayla James
Swing……………………………………….....         Galen Johnson
Betsy…………………………………………..         Bonnie Jordan
Swing………………………………………….         Bethany Kovarik
Patricia Fodor…………………………………         Monique Lund
Elaine………………………………………….         Ayrin Mackie
Slim, the bass player…………………………..         Michael McClennan
Billy……………………………………………        Chad McFadden
Louise………………………………………….        Natalie Moore
Mingo………………………………………….         Marcus Nance
Perkins, Custus…………………………………       Cory O’Brien
Sam…………………………………………….        Stephen Patterson
Mitzi…………………………………………....        Kimberley Rampersad
Bela Zangler……………………………………        Tom Rooney
Moose…………………………………………..       Steve Ross
Clem……………………………………………        Jason Sermonia
Harry……………………………………………       Mike Tracz
Sheila…………………………………………...       Breanna Willis
Eugene Fodor…………………………………..       Shawn Wright

Artistic Credits
Director and Choreographer……………………       Donna Feore
Musical Director……………………………......       Shelley Hanson
Designer………………………………………..        Debra Hanson
Lighting Designer………………………………       Paul Miller
Sound Designer………………………………...       Peter McBoyle
Fight Director…………………………………..       John Stead
Producer………………………………………..        David Auster
Casting Director………………………………..        Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director…………………….        Jason Miller
Associate Choreographer, Tap Vocabulary…....        Kerry Gage
Associate Musical Director……………………         Marilyn Dallman
Associate Fight Director………………………         Geoff Scovell
Assistant Director……………………………..         Ann Baggley
Assistant Set Designer…………………………        Devon Bhim
Assistant Costume Designer…………………..         Jenna McCutchen
Assistant Lighting Designers………………….         Kaileigh Krysztofiak, Tristan Tidswell
Assistant Sound Designer……………………..         William Fallon
Dance Captain…………………………………        Stephen Cota
Fight Captain………………………………….         Matt Alfano
Stage Manager………………………………...         Cynthia Toushan
Assistant Stage Managers……………………..         Krista Blackwood, Angela Marshall, Zeph Williams
Production Assistant…………………………..         Jocelyn McDowell
Production Stage Managers..………………….         Margaret Palmer, Cynthia Toushan
Technical Director…………………………….          Jeff Scollon


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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

ROBERT LEPAGE TO EXPLORE CITIZENSHIP AND BELONGING Lepage selected as the 12th speaker in the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium lecture series

TORONTO, ON, MARCH 18, 2014 – The Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) and the Stratford Festival have once again partnered to present the ICC’s LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium featuring Robert Lepage, cutting-edge creator and recipient of The Glenn Gould Prize. Marking the 12th event, the 2014 Symposium will take place this fall on Saturday, October 18 in Toronto; tickets are now on sale, visit lafontaine-baldwin.com.

Founded in 2000 by John Ralston Saul, the LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium is a national event that explores citizenship, belonging and the public good with leading Canadian and international thinkers. It challenges the audience to think about Canada’s big picture by inviting them to add their voice to post-lecture roundtable discussions with the speaker and ICC founders and co-chairs, Saul and the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson. Past speakers include His Highness the Aga Khan, the Honourable Louise Arbour, Georges Erasmus, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin and, most recently, Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“Each year the Symposium speaker is selected for their ability to push our conversation in thought-provoking directions,” said Saul. “We need this because Canada is the most experimental of countries when it comes to immigration and citizenship. We are at our best when we are open to original and inclusive ideas. Last year, National Chief Atleo asked us to paint a new picture of Canada that includes our First Nations peoples. This year, Robert Lepage will shift our dialogue into the enticingly abstract, referencing his work filled with people who are stateless, moving between countries or belonging to several civilizations. It will be fascinating to see where he takes us.”

“I am both thrilled and honoured to be the 2014 LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium lecturer,” said Robert Lepage. “I see this as a unique opportunity to celebrate new citizens who have chosen to make our country their own, and to explore how different cultures brought together are shaping our identity and making us all citizens of the world.”

Last year, the launch of the ICC – Stratford Festival partnership saw the Symposium take centre stage in Stratford as a key element of its inaugural Stratford Festival Forum, a series exploring the principal themes found in the Festival’s 12 theatrical productions performed over its seven-month season.

“We are delighted to partner with the ICC to present the Lafontaine-Baldwin Symposium,” said Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival. “By co-hosting this event in Toronto, we are able to expand the borders of the Stratford Festival Forum, furthering our commitment to providing Canadians with unparalleled opportunities to explore issues crucial to a civil society. No one interested in contemporary theatre should miss this rare opportunity to hear Robert Lepage, one of the most extraordinary directors of our time.”
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Stratford Festival box office 1.800.567.1600 (or 519.273.1600) or by emailing orders@stratfordfestival.ca. Visit lafontaine-baldwin.com for full event details.

12th LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium lecture by Robert Lepage
Isabel Bader Theatre, 2 p.m. | $30 (HST included), lecture only

Symposium Roundtable Discussion hosted by Lepage, Saul and Clarkson
Gardiner Museum, 4 p.m. | $70 (HST included), lecture and roundtable

Special discounted rates are available for members of the ICC’s Cultural Access Pass program, students and arts workers. Please call 1.800.567.1600.


ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP
The Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) is a national, non-profit charity that encourages active citizenship through innovative programs, collaborations and unique volunteer opportunities. Founded and co-chaired by the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul, the ICC works to: ensure new citizens are welcomed and included as equals; create meaningful connections among all Canadians; foster a culture of engaged citizens; reframe the national conversation on inclusion, identity and citizenship; and celebrate what it means to be Canadian. For more information, visit icc-icc.ca. You
can also follow us on Twitter (@ICCICC).

ABOUT THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL
The Stratford Festival, in picturesque Stratford, Ontario, Canada, is North America’s leading classical theatre, drawing half a million visitors a year. It presents a seven-month season of a dozen plays in four venues, along with a Forum of events to enrich the play-going experience. With the works of Shakespeare at its core, the Festival features classics, contemporary dramas, musical theatre and new plays. It presented its first season in 1953, using an innovative thrust stage that revolutionized Shakespearean performance in our time and inspired the design of several other major venues worldwide. Visit stratfordfestival.ca for more information.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Jess Duerden, Institute for Canadian Citizenship
(416) 593-6998 ext. 225 | jduerden@icc-icc.ca

Ann Swerdfager, Stratford Festival
(519) 271-4040 ext. 2297 | aswerdfager@stratfordfestival.ca

Sylvie Isabelle, Ex Machina
(418) 692-5323 | sisabelle@exmachina.qc.ca

Monday, 10 March 2014

Second annual Shakespeare Slam features Paul Gross, Steven Page, Hawksley Workman

Toronto event offers an evening of music and spirited debate

MEDIA RELEASE


March 10, 2014… Paul GrossSteven Page and Hawksley Workman are headlining the Stratford Festival Forum’s Shakespeare Slam on Wednesday, April 23, at Toronto’s Koerner Hall. This celebration marking Shakespeare’s 450th birthday will be hosted by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, and will showcase the Festival’s 2014 season theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

Two teams of spirited debaters will square off on whether madness is inherent in the artistic process. On the one side are actor Paul Gross, famed for his portrayal of Slings and Arrows’ mentally overwrought artistic director Geoffrey Tennant, and Lisa Brown, founder and executive/artistic director of Workman Arts, which celebrates and promotes the work of artists living with mental-health and addiction issues.

Opposing them are Juno Award-winning musician, Festival composer and renowned troubadour Steven Pageand the Festival’s resident Rhodes Scholar, the hilarious and erudite David Goldbloom, who, in addition to being past chair of the Festival’s Board, is the senior medical advisor for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and the chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Once they’ve hashed things over, the music begins! Hawksley Workman takes centre stage with his own brand of musical performance that is certain to leave you wanting more – which you’ll be able to find in Stratford, September 11 to 20, when he presents his Bacchae-inspired cabaret The God That Comes at the Forum.

Steven Page will also offer up one of his exuberant musical performances, featuring songs combining humour and pathos in a memorable exploration of the evening’s theme.

The event culminates in a truly joyous grand finale, featuring Slam headliners and members of the Festival company.

Tickets for the Shakespeare Slam go on sale March 11. They are priced from $39 to $54, with a student price of $29. To purchase, call the Stratford Festival box office at 1.800.567.1600. Tickets are also available through Koerner Hall.

The Shakespeare Slam serves as the launch of the Stratford Festival Forum, which will present more than 200 events this season, including featured speakers Margaret TrudeauJian GhomeshiMuhammad Robert Heft and Camille Paglia, as well as concerts, comedy shows, screenings and performance showcases exploring the playbill and the theme of Minds Pushed to the Edge.

The Stratford Festival Forum is very pleased to welcome Bell Let’s Talk as a new partner and the Host Sponsor for the Shakespeare Slam as well as selected Forum events that focus on mental health throughout the 2014 season.

Sustaining support for the Forum is generously provided by Kelly & Michael Meighen and the T.R. Meighen Foundation.

Support for the 2014 Forum is generously provided by Nandita & Julian Wise.

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Monday, 24 February 2014

Stratford Festival extends two Shakespeares Venue set for Peter Sellars’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

07/14

February 24, 2014… The 2014 season is off to a strong start, with brisk advance ticket sales. To meet demand, the Stratford Festival is adding performances of Antony and Cleopatra and A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Chamber Play.

“It is encouraging to see such strong endorsement at our box office this early in the season,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. “And we’re delighted that the first shows we’ve had to extend are two of our Shakespeare offerings – very fitting as we mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth this year.”

“We have presented Antony and Cleopatra just four other times in our history,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Audience members who have been eagerly awaiting a Stratford Festival production of this title will be justly rewarded. We could not hope for two more passionate and charismatic actors to play the title roles than Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh.

“The demand for Peter Sellars’s re-imagined Dream also speaks to the fact that our audiences are actively seeking out Shakespeare productions that they cannot see anywhere else. The Chamber Dream promises to delight and challenge theatregoers with a new take on a Shakespearean favourite.”

In this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream four actors – Sarah AffulDion JohnstoneTrish Lindström and Mike Nadajewski – will explore the multiple worlds of Shakespeare’s play. It will reflect on Shakespeare’s intertwining of pagan and Christian spirituality and venture into the inner realms of the play’s supernatural elements.

Community-based venue confirmed
for A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Chamber Play

The Festival has confirmed that A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Chamber Play will be staged in Stratford’s Masonic Concert Hall, located downtown, at 15 Church Street, across from the library and court house.

“The Masons were very quick to support our use of the venue, and we give them our thanks,” says Ms Gaffney. “They have agreed to complete a number of renovations to make the building accessible, including adding a ramp and accessible washroom, renovations that will be of great benefit to the community and all those who wish to use the facility in the future.”

The idea of presenting the show in a non-traditional venue was central to the vision of director Peter Sellars. He feels that the venue’s location in a combined commercial-residential neighbourhood makes it a perfect choice and he is delighted that the Masons are enthusiastic about making improvements to the building for its future use.

Performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Chamber Play, directed by Peter Sellars, have been added as follows:
·         Friday, August 1, at 2 p.m.
·         Friday, August 8, at 8 p.m.
·         Thursday, August 14, at 8 p.m.
·         Friday, August 22, at 8 p.m.
·         Thursday, August 28, at 8 p.m.
·         Thursday, September 11, at 8 p.m.
·         Friday, September 19, at 2 p.m.

The following performances of Antony and Cleopatra, directed by Gary Griffin, have been added:
·         Friday, August 22, at 8 p.m.
·         Friday, August 29, at 2 p.m.
·         Friday, September 5, at 8 p.m.
·         Saturday, September 13, at 8 p.m.

Tickets for these additional performances will go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. on February 26, with advance sales to Members of the Stratford Festival beginning at the same time on February 25. Call the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit www.stratfordfestival.ca to purchase.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Chamber Play is sponsored by BMO Financial Group.

Production support for Antony and Cleopatra is generously provided by M.E.H. Foundation. Support for the 2014 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Richard Rooney & Laura Dinner.

The 2014 season of the Stratford Festival runs from April 21 to October 12, featuring King LearCrazy for YouA Midsummer Night’s Dream;The Beaux’ StratagemMan of La ManchaAlice Through the Looking-GlassHay FeverKing JohnMother Courage and Her ChildrenAntony and CleopatraChristina, The Girl KingA Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Chamber Play; and more than 150 events in the Stratford Festival Forum.
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Friday, 14 February 2014

Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction welcomes new participants for 2014 session


February 14, 2014… The Stratford Festival welcomes five new directors to the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction, along with three directors returning to the program for a second year.

New to the workshop are Christine BrubakerJessica CarmichaelBrett Christopher,Krista Jackson and Rona Waddington. Returning for a second season are Kevin BennettMitchell Cushman and Birgit Schreyer Duarte.

The workshop, now in its fifth year, is intended for directors in the early and middle stages of their careers who have had some experience working with the classics, but not at a theatre of the complexity and scope of the Festival.

Participants will serve as assistant directors and are given the opportunity to showcase their work by presenting a classical piece of their own choosing to an invited audience later in the season. They will also participate in classes in text, voice, movement and other disciplines held by the Festival’s Coaching Department.

“I am delighted with the quality of the participants this year,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “They come from across Canada and have diverse backgrounds. What unites them is their love for theatre and a record of early accomplishments, which promises much for the future. I welcome them to Stratford.”

The workshop is overseen by Mr. Cimolino and Theatre Training Consultant David Latham. Associate Producer Bonnie Green is the coordinator of the program.

The Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction is generously supported by Johanna Metcalf, the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation and The Philip and Berthe Morton Foundation. The Workshop is sponsored by the RBC Emerging Artist Project.

Participants’ Biographies

Kevin Bennett
Second season: Assistant director of King JohnStratfordThe Three Musketeers(assistant director), Macbeth (Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction Directors’ Workshop Presentation). Vancouver: Directing: Measure for Measure (Pacific Theatre);King LearHamlet (The Honest Fishmongers); FalloutTreasure Island (Studio 58); The Loudest Silence7 Stories (Templeton Secondary School); Cold ComfortThe Woman in Black (Yogurt Theatre); The Priory (United Players of Vancouver); MacbethPet Stories(Limbo Circus Theatre); To Sea, or Not to Sea (Burnaby Summer Theatre); Paper Boats(Walking Fish Festival). Assistant director: She Stoops to Conquer (Arts Club); Richard III,Much Ado About Nothing (Bard on the Beach); NiX (The Only Animal, Cultural Olympiad);The Merchant of VeniceHeptademicThe Winter’s TaleLot’s Wife (Studio 58). Training: Graduate of Studio 58; RADA’s How to Rehearse directing course.

Christine Brubaker
Stratford debut: Assistant director of Alice Through the Looking-GlassElsewhere: An award-winning actor, director and teacher, Christine has performed nationally and internationally. She just completed a season in the National Arts Centre’s acting ensemble:TartuffeThe Sound of Music and EnronActingFear of Flight (Artistic Fraud); The Vaudevilles of Chekhov (NAC); The Penelopiad (Dora Award) and The Danish Play(Nightwood Theatre); The Comedy of Errors (Canadian Stage); The Trials of John Demjanjuk (Theatre Asylum); The Babysitter (Theatre Direct – Dora Award); Schoolhouse(Festival Players PEC). DirectingMuch Ado About Nothing (Nightwood Theatre);Madhouse Variations and Doc Wuthergloom’s Haunted Medicine Show (Eldritch Theatre – resident director); Elle (Lab Cab). Assistant DirectorCinderella (YPT), Measure for Measure (Ryerson), Metamorphoses (NAC). Training: National Theatre School, University of Waterloo, MFA Interdisciplinary Arts, Goddard College. Awards: Fox Fellow. Et cetera: Christine is a regular instructor at Humber and Sheridan colleges.

Jessica Carmichael
Stratford debut: Assistant director of Christina, The Girl KingElsewhere: Selected directing: Good Grief (Weesageechak Festival-26 – Native Earth Performing Arts);girls!girls!girls! (co-director, SummerWorks); The Ghost Sonata – an adaptation (Studio Theatre); Juliet – an adaptation, Skylight (UofA); The Sophocles Project (RADA). Assistant directing: Yellow Moon: The Ballad of Leila and Lee (Studio Theatre); Edward the Second(Jerwood Vanbrugh Studio, U.K.). Has acted with such companies as Theatre Junction, ATP, The Only Animal, Suitcase In Point, Northern Light Theatre. Film/TVThe Reporter,I Think I DoHeart of the SunRecordings: The voice of Tiger Lily on The New Adventures of Peter PanTraining: MFA in Directing (University of Alberta), MA in Text & Performance Studies (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art/King’s College London), three-year Acting Program (The National Theatre School of Canada). Et cetera: Artistic Associate with Native Earth Performing Arts.

Brett Christopher
Stratford debut: Assistant director of A Midsummer Night’s DreamElsewhere: Direction:The TempestThe Taming of the ShrewTwelfth NightShakespeare on Love (Theatre by the Bay); The GrandkidRat Snake (Theatre Kingston); Munschapalooza (Thousand Islands Playhouse). Performance: Boeing BoeingThe Clockmaker (TIP); Vigil (Theatre Kingston); I Am My Own WifeDangerous Liaisons (Segal Theatre); Antony and Cleopatra(Shakespeare in the Rough); Much Ado About Nothing (Canadian Stage); Family Stories: BelgradeThe Sea (ARC); A Midsummer Night’s DreamRomeo and JulietAs You Like It(Theatre by the Bay); The Gladstone VariationsAutoshow (Convergence Theatre); Mary’s Wedding (Theatre & Co.). Training: Queen’s University, George Brown College. Awards: Masques Award and a MECCA Award for his performance in I Am My Own Wife, Segal Centre (Montreal). Et cetera: Brett is the Artistic Producer of Theatre Kingston.

Mitchell Cushman
Second season: Assistant director of The Beaux’ StratagemStratford: Assistant director,The Merchant of VeniceElsewhere: Directing: VitalsTerminusMr. MarmaladeThe Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve JobsOh the Humanity and Other Good Intentions(Outside the March); New Jerusalem (Harold Green Jewish Theatre); The Last of Romeo and JulietPossible Worlds (Talk Is Free Theatre); The Cripple of Inishmaan (Studio Theatre, Edmonton); Oh My Irma (Edmonton Fringe); Seeds (touring director, Crow’s Theatre). Training: MFA in Directing, University of Alberta. Awards: Siminovitch Protégé Award; Dora Award for Outstanding Production (Mr. Marmalade); Toronto Theatre Critics’ Award for Best Director; Ken McDougal Award; SummerWorks Prize for Production (Terminus). Online: www.outsidethemarch.ca. Et cetera: Founding Co-Artistic Director of Outside the March; Associate Artistic Director of Crow’s Theatre; resident artist at Theatre Passe Muraille; faculty member at Act 2 Studio at Ryerson.

Krista Jackson
Stratford debut: Assistant director of Mother Courage and Her ChildrenElsewhere: Directing: The SeagullThe Seafarer (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre); Dying to be Thin(Manitoba Theatre for Young People); The Miser of Middlegate (zone41 theatre / Theatre Projects Manitoba); If Men Played Cards as Women DoOvertones (Shaw Festival);Village Wooing (zone41 theatre). Assistant directing: Hedda GablerMisallianceHis Girl Friday (Shaw Festival); The Wizard of Oz (Globe Theatre). Training: Shaw Festival’s Neil Munro Intern Directors Project 2012, Rumble Directors Lab 2013 (Peter Hinton), Ryerson Theatre School. Awards: Gina Wilkinson Prize (2013). Nominated for: John Hirsch Prize (2014), Winnipeg Arts Council’s RBC On the Rise Award (2012). Online: www.zone41.ca.Et cetera: Founding artistic director of zone41 theatre.

Birgit Schreyer Duarte
Second season: Assistant director of King LearStratford: Assistant director, Mary Stuart (2013). Elsewhere: Most recently: Director/translator, Purgatory in Ingleton (Toronto SummerWorks Festival). Upcoming: Assistant director/dramaturge, To a Flame(Swedish/Finnish/Canadian co-production). Director, Little Pea’s Revolution (United Solo, New York); translator, The Test (Company Theatre), Life of Galileo (Small Wooden Shoe); director/translator, Kaspar & the Sea of Houses (SummerWorks); assistant director, The Cosmonaut’s Last Message, intern director, Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter(Canadian Stage). Training: Theatre Ontario Professional Training Program Directing (mentor Josette Bushell-Mingo); University of Toronto (PhD, drama); Munich University (MA, dramaturgy). Awards: SummerWorks Festival Prize for Outstanding Production; nomination, Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize; Government of Canada Research Award. Online: www.birgitschreyerduarte.com. Et cetera: Literary associate, Shaw Festival. Currently: Artistic and dramaturgical consultant, Canadian Stage. Originally from Munich, Germany.
Rona Waddington

Stratford debut: Assistant director of Antony and CleopatraElsewhere: Director: Hamlet(St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival); The TempestKing Lear (upcoming) (New Open Space Company, Paris); Trying (Centaur Theatre); A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumThe MousetrapSteel Magnolias (Drayton Entertainment); Dry Streak(Grand Theatre); Apollo of Bellac (Shaw Festival Director’s Project); Oleanna (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Orson’s Shadow (Pilot Group); Chekhov’s The BearThe SantaLand DiariesPower Lunch (Lunchbox Theatre); Driving Miss Daisy (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); The Godot Cycle (Toronto Fringe); The Collected Works of Billy the Kid(American Conservatory Theatre, MFA program). Assistant Director: Age of ArousalThe Women (Shaw Festival); Night and Day (American Conservatory Theatre). Resident director: The Railway Children (Marquis/Mirvish). Awards: Ottawa Critic’s Circle Award, Best Director, Hamlet, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival.

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Welcome!

I'm a freelance reviewer of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, in Stratford, Ontario (and the odd show elsewhere). I'll also provide links to other national reviews along the side, for those who don't agree with me and who want to know what other people have said. (My apologies if the links stop working - their rules, not mine.)

Here's to a great season of theatre!

P.S. I delete anonymous comments. If it's worth saying, it's worth knowing who said it.

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Stratford Festival Production Clips

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