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Monday, 15 May 2017

MEDIA RELEASE: Martha Henry’s star-studded Twelfth Night begins previews


Brent Carver as Feste. Photo by Lynda Churillo.
Martha Henry directs an all-star cast in Shakespeare’s beloved comedy Twelfth Night. 

Previews begin this Saturday, May 13, and the production opens the Festival’s 65th season on Monday, May 29, at the Festival Theatre.

The cast, which Ms Henry calls “one of the greatest casts for this play ever assembled,” features Sarah Afful as Viola, Rod Beattie as Malvolio, Brent Carver as Feste, Lucy Peacock as Maria and Geraint Wyn Davies as Sir Toby Belch, with Tom Rooney as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, E.B. Smith as Orsino and Shannon Taylor as Olivia.

“Shakespeare’s gently piercing comedy Twelfth Night is such a great play, so singular in its characters, so deeply romantic, so bittersweet in its humour that it’s wildly popular,” says Ms Henry, “and a number of our gifted cast have been in it before – some multiple times, playing different roles. Yet each time we come back to it, as we are, as the adage points out, amazed to see how much the play has changed since we last took it on.”

“As teams go, this one is hard to beat,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Here we have one of Shakespeare’s most beautiful plays, helmed by the extraordinary Martha Henry, who played Viola early in her Stratford career, and brought to life by a company with remarkable skills and accomplishments. Together, they bring so much heart to this production, and the result is a pure delight.”

The creative team includes Designer John Pennoyer, Lighting Designer Louise Guinand, Composer and Sound Designer Reza Jacobs, Fight Director John Stead and Movement Director Valerie Moore.

This production is dedicated to the memory of former Artistic Director Robin Phillips.

Production support is generously provided by Jane Petersen Burfield & family, by Dr. Desta Leavine in memory of Pauline Leavine and by Jack Whiteside.

Support for the 2017 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein & Claire Foerster.

The 2017 season opening night presenting sponsor is BMO Financial Group.

Twelfth Night Forum highlights

The Forum is a series of events, such as exclusive showcases, guest speakers, special meals, music and family fun, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the ideas and issues raised by the 2017 playbill. Themes related to Twelfth Night will be explored through several Forum events, including:

•             Woman: Goods or Goddess?
Wednesday, July 19
Playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald and author, academic and activist Shereen El Feki speak to their experience as female writers in diverse social and cultural contexts, discussing how the female voice and perspective has shifted over time in literature and what that shift has meant, particularly to women in society.

•             WordPlay
Geraint Wyn Davies hosts a broad-ranging series of dramatic readings inspired by the season’s themes and performed by members of the company.
o             Sunday, June 18: Albert Speer by David Edgar
o             Thursday, September 28: The Rover by Aphra Behn
o             Friday, October 13: The Honest Whore by Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton

Support for WordPlay is generously provided by The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation.

The Stratford Festival’s 2017 season runs until October 29, featuring Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Guys and Dolls, HMS Pinafore, Treasure Island, The School for Scandal, The Changeling, Bakkhai, Tartuffe, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Komagata Maru Incident, The Virgin Trial and The Breathing Hole. For tickets and more information, visit stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Viola.................................................................. Sarah Afful
Malvolio............................................................ Rod Beattie
Understudy....................................................... Maev Beaty
Sebastian........................................................... Michael Blake
Sea Captain, Priest............................................ Matthew G. Brown
Feste.................................................................. Brent Carver
Valentine........................................................... Mac Fyfe
Proteus............................................................... Farhang Ghajar
Fabian................................................................ Gordon S. Miller
Rose................................................................... Mercedes Morris
Maria................................................................. Lucy Peacock
Fuchsia.............................................................. Monice Peter
Sir Andrew Aguecheek..................................... Tom Rooney
Understudy....................................................... Anusree Roy
Antonio............................................................. Stephen Russell
Orsino................................................................ E.B. Smith
William.............................................................. Johnathan Sousa
Olivia................................................................. Shannon Taylor
Curio.................................................................. Emilio Vieira
Lily.................................................................... Brigit Wilson
Sir Toby Belch................................................... Geraint Wyn Davies
Jack.................................................................... Tim Ziegler

Artistic Credits

Director............................................................. Martha Henry
Designer............................................................ John Pennoyer
Lighting Designer.............................................. Louise Guinand
Composer and Sound Designer......................... Reza Jacobs
Fight Director.................................................... John Stead
Movement Director........................................... Valerie Moore
Producer............................................................ David Auster
Casting Director................................................ Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director................................ Jason Miller
Associate Director............................................. Graham Abbey
Assistant Set Designer...................................... Holly Meyer-Dymny
Assistant Costume Designer............................. Francesca Callow
Assistant Lighting Designer.............................. Bryan Kenney
Associate Fight Director................................... Anita Nittoly
Stage Manager................................................... Ann Stuart
Assistant Stage Managers................................. The. John Gray, Corinne Richards
Apprentice Stage Manager................................ Jane Honek
Production Assistant......................................... Steven Smits
Production Stage Manager................................ Cynthia Toushan
Technical Director............................................. Jeff Scollon


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MEDIA RELEASE: The School for Scandal now on stage

Geraint Wyn Davies and Shannon Taylor.
Photo by Lunda Churillo


Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino at the helm

May 15, 2017… The School for Scandal, Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s delicious comedy of gossip, rumour-mongering and “fake news,” debuts at the Avon Theatre today, directed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino.

As hilarious today as it was in the 18th century, this comedy also feels incredibly timely. It depicts a society obsessed with gossip and insinuation, in which the wealthy use malicious rumour and unfounded allegations to bolster their own reputations while destroying those of their enemies.

“The scandal sheets of the 18th century were the social media – and fake news outlets – of their day, and we’ll be drawing that parallel quite clearly in this production,” says Mr. Cimolino.

“Written in the months immediately after the Declaration of Independence, the play carries in its heart a longing for simple honesty and compassion. It ridicules those who manipulate facts and spin the truth to enhance their own reputations at the expense of others. It uses the device of theatre – disguise and role-playing – to reveal truth. In effect, it throws down the screen on hypocrisy and corruption.

“In this age of blogging, tweeting and relentless self-promotion, we need this play more than ever before.”

The stellar cast features Shannon Taylor as Lady Teazle, Geraint Wyn Davies as Sir Peter Teazle and Joseph Ziegler as Sir Oliver Surface, with Maev Beaty as Lady Sneerwell, Brent Carver as Rowley, Sébastien Heins as Charles Surface, Tyrone Savage as Joseph Surface and Brigit Wilson as Mrs. Candour.

The creative team includes Designer Julie Fox, who brings the opulence of the 18th century to the stage with a lavish set and breathtaking costumes, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Composer Berthold Carrière, Projection Designer Nick Bottomley, Sound Designer Thomas Ryder Payne and Fight Director John Stead.

The School for Scandal officially opens on Saturday, June 3, and runs until October 21.

This production is dedicated to the memory of philanthropist and arts activist Joan Chalmers.

Production support is generously provided by M. Fainer, by Drs. M.L. Myers & the late W.P. Hayman and by the Tremain family.

Support for the 2017 season of the Avon Theatre is generously provided by the Birmingham family.

The School for Scandal Forum highlights

The Forum is a series of events, such as exclusive showcases, guest speakers, special meals, music and family fun, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the ideas and issues raised by the 2017 playbill. Themes related to The School for Scandal will be explored through several Forum events, including:

•             Behind the Profile
Wednesday, September 20
Join Jennifer Hollett (Twitter Canada), Andrew Lundy (The Canadian Press) and Kirstine Stewart (Diply Goviral) as they discuss self-branding, respectability policing and survival on the new frontier of social media.

The Stratford Festival’s 2017 season runs until October 29, featuring Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Guys and Dolls, HMS Pinafore, Treasure Island, The School for Scandal, The Changeling, Bakkhai, Tartuffe, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Komagata Maru Incident, The Virgin Trial and The Breathing Hole. For tickets and more information, visit stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Servant.............................................................. Jared Armstrong
Servant.............................................................. Patrick Avery-Kenny
Crabtree............................................................. Rod Beattie
Lady Sneerwell................................................. Maev Beaty
Mr. Balance....................................................... Michael Blake
Sir Toby Bumper............................................... Michael G. Brown
Rowley.............................................................. Brent Carver
Gentleman #2.................................................... Farhang Ghajar
Charles Surface................................................. Sébastien Heins
Trip.................................................................... Omar Alex Khan
Lady Teazle’s Maid........................................... Mercedes Morris
Maria................................................................. Monice Peter
Maid.................................................................. Kaitlyn Rietdyk
Sir Benjamin Backbite....................................... Tom Rooney
Snake................................................................. Anusree Roy
Servant.............................................................. Stephen Russell
Joseph Surface................................................... Tyrone Savage
Careless............................................................. Johnathan Sousa
Maid.................................................................. Carley Stastny
Lady Teazle....................................................... Shannon Taylor
Joseph Surface’s Servant................................... Emilio Vieira
Mrs. Candour.................................................... Brigit Wilson
Sir Peter Teazle.................................................. Geraint Wyn Davies
Sir Oliver Surface.............................................. Joseph Ziegler
Gentleman #1.................................................... Tim Ziegler

Artistic Credits

Director............................................................. Antoni Cimolino
Designer............................................................ Julie Fox
Lighting Designer.............................................. Michael Walton
Composer.......................................................... Berthold Carrière
Projection Designer........................................... Nick Bottomley
Sound Designer................................................. Thomas Ryder Payne
Fight Director.................................................... John Stead
Producer............................................................ David Auster
Casting Director................................................ Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director................................ Jason Miller
Assistant Director.............................................. Peter Pasyk
Assistant Set Designer...................................... Joshua Quinlan
Assistant Costume Designer............................. Mary-Jo Carter Dodd
Assistant Lighting Designer.............................. C.J. Astronomo
Associate Fight Director................................... Anita Nittoly
Stage Manager................................................... Anne Murphy
Assistant Stage Managers................................. Katherine Arcus, Corinne Richards
Apprentice Stage Manager................................ Hilary Nichol
Production Assistant......................................... Madison Kalbhenn
Production Stage Managers.............................. Julie Miles, Marylu Moyer, Anne Murphy
Technical Director............................................. Elissa Horscroft


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