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Monday, 22 November 2010

Blyth Festival Announces 2011 Season

[Press Release]

Blyth Festival 2011 Season to Celebrate Canadian History and Identity

Blyth, Ontario, November 19, 2010—The Blyth Festival is gearing up for another compelling season of homegrown Canadian theatre. The 2011 season pays homage to Canada—past and present—and explores ideas of the Canadian identity in a sometimes reverent and sometimes playful way.

“The Blyth Festival is housed in Blyth Memorial Hall, which is always forefront in my mind,” says Artistic Director Eric Coates. “It is a community space, but the original intention of the building is to serve as the village cenotaph. It is important for us to pay tribute to both uses in the artistic choices that we make each year.”

The 2011 summer season runs June 21-August 27, 2011 and features four productions on the main stage—two of them world premieres:

Hometown (June 21 – August 7) by Jean Marc Dalpé, Mieko Ouchi, Mansel Robinson, Martha Ross, Peter Smith and Des Walsh (world premiere)
Where is your hometown? Is it the prairie village where you learned to ride a bicycle or is it a condo by the ocean? Is it the town where you played hockey for ten years or is it the city where you watched your favorite team for thirty years? We asked six writers from across Canada to answer this question: is hometown a place or is it a state of mind? Through memory, stories and song, this dynamic group of artists shines a light on Canada’s hometowns from coast to coast.

Vimy (June 29 – August 6) by Vern Thiessen “A victory of a play…” The Globe and Mail
On April 9, 1917 more than 15,000 Canadian men went over the top to storm Vimy Ridge. Despite blinding sleet, snow, heavy enemy fire, and the endless quagmire of mud, our troops took the ridge and held fast. Many believe that Canada was truly born on this day. In a field hospital, four soldiers reflect on their lives before, during and after the Battle of Vimy Ridge. A young nurse from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia guides them through the aftermath of grief and fear as they look to the future in a changed world. Vimy earned the 2009 Carol Bolt Award for playwright Vern Thiessen.

Rope’s End (July 27 – August 27) by Douglas Bowie “Uplifting romantic comedy…” Winnipeg Free Press
Toby Boone is a forty-something loser, living in a rundown apartment, unlucky at love and everything else. Just as he reaches his rope’s end, Toby stumbles across a photo of his long lost love – and the written promise that they would one day reunite. The only problem is that thirty-one years have gone by. In Toby’s hopelessly romantic fantasy life, the reunion is a cinch but in reality, it’s a trifle more complicated. Join Toby Boone on his fearless and fantastical quest for love against all odds in this hilariously bittersweet romantic comedy.

Early August (August 3 – August 27) by Kate Lynch (world premiere)
In the women’s dressing room of a small Canadian theatre in a small Canadian village, three actresses battle their inner demons along with the practical problems of living in the country: an infestation of possums, an amorous veterinarian, and the quest for a decent Chardonnay. And just to complicate matters, they are all vying for the attention of Albert, a handsome young actor with a heart of gold. Enter Teddy, the assistant stage manager. She’s calm, she’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s going to whip these slackers into shape if it’s the last thing she does. Early August is a loveletter to summer theatre and a comedy for those who always wondered what really happens backstage.

In addition to main stage offerings, for the first time in Blyth Festival history the Young Company will be promoted to the main stage with a revival of the musical hit Alligator Tears by Britta Johnson, directed by Rebecca Picherack. Anyone who saw it in the Phillips Studio in 2010 knows that this show has enormous potential and we are eager to provide the resources that our young artists deserve for such work.

Finally, we will be presenting a very exciting Studio Series in the Phillips Studio August 23-September 4, 2011. The Studio Series is a new initiative that will introduce our audience in Southwestern Ontario to two productions from 2010 Summer Works, an indie theatre and arts festival held annually in Toronto.
For more information on the Blyth Festival 2011 season, visit or call 1-877-862-5984.

P.S. Check out our recipe for summer fun! 2011 season passes are on sale at special holiday prices until December 24 and are the perfect holiday gift. You choose the right pass for you! For more information, visit or call 1-877-862-5984.

The Blyth Festival’s season sponsors are Sparling’s Propane Company Limited and CTV.

Media Contact:
Marcie McLean
Marketing & Publicity Coordinator
519-523-9300/1-877-862-5984 Ext 209

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Stratford Shakespeare Festival might shoot 'Twelfth Night,' says filmmaker

[The Canadian Press Online]
Victoria Ahern, The Canadian Press
Nov. 17, 2010

Brian Dennehy
TORONTO - The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is looking at "Twelfth Night," starring Brian Dennehy, as its next big-screen project.

Filmmaker Barry Avrich, who shot "Caesar and Cleopatra" and "The Tempest" at the festival, tells The Canadian Press he's now "exploring the potential of filming 'Twelfth Night' next year."

Film versions of the festival's productions of "Caesar and Cleopatra" from 2008 and "The Tempest" from this year have screened at Cineplex theatres across the country.

"Caesar and Cleopatra" also aired on TV around the world and "The Tempest" is set for broadcast on Bravo in Canada in the spring.

Both productions starred Christopher Plummer and had festival artistic director Des McAnuff at the helm.

McAnuff will also direct Shakespeare's comedy "Twelfth Night," in which Dennehy will play Sir Toby Belch.

"We'd like to keep doing more with Stratford," Avrich said Wednesday in a phone interview. "Because it's about not only the extension of Stratford's brand nationally and internationally, but it's the preservation of live work."

Dennehy, a veteran film, TV and stage star, last performed at the Stratford festival in southwestern Ontario in 2008 in productions of "Krapp's Last Tape" and "Hughie."

The Woodstock, Conn., resident will also play Max in a production of Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming" at next year's festival.

Other productions on the docket for the 2011 festival include "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "Richard III" and "Titus Andronicus."


Monday, 15 November 2010

2011 Casting Complete

[Press release]

Roberta Maxwell rejoins company in two Shakespeares

Leads named for Camelot

Roberta Maxwell
November 15, 2010… The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is pleased to announce that Roberta Maxwell will return to the acting company to play the Duchess of York in Richard III and the Nurse in Titus Andronicus.

“Roberta Maxwell is one of the greats,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “She started at the Festival as a child actress. A few years later, when I came to Stratford on one of those yellow school buses, I saw her play Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor. A decade or so after that I was directing her in the title role of Mary Stuart at New York’s Public Theatre. What an absolute delight it is to be working with her once more.”

Ms Maxwell was last at Stratford in 2009, when she played Oenone in Phèdre, which featured Seana McKenna in the title role. Ms McKenna will also play the title role in Richard III as previously announced.

In 14 seasons at Stratford, Ms Maxwell’s roles have included Lady Macbeth, Rosalind in As You Like It, Olivia in Twelfth Night, Nina in The Seagull, Elmire in Tartuffe and Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. An award-winning actor, she has performed across the U.S. and on Broadway, in such productions as Equus, Our Town and The Carpetbaggers’ Children. Her films include Brokeback Mountain, Popeye and Dead Man Walking.

Richard III will be directed by Miles Potter and, as previously announced, will feature Peter Donaldson as Buckingham and Martha Henry as Queen Margaret, with Sean Arbuckle as Catesby, Nigel Bennett as Hastings, Andrew Gillies as Stanley, Bethany Jillard as Lady Anne and Yanna McIntosh as Queen Elizabeth.

“We have completed most of our key casting for 2011 and advance ticket sales to members of the Festival are now getting underway,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “I know our patrons are going to be excited by the lineup we have in store and I urge them to start making their plans to visit us next season.”

Key casting for Camelot completed

Kaylee Harwood
The Festival is delighted to welcome two hot young actors from B.C. to play Guenevere and Lancelot in the 2011 production of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot, directed by Gary Griffin. Festival favourites Dan Chameroy and Mike Nadajewski will also play key roles in the production.

Kaylee Harwood will make her Festival debut as Guenevere, having captured the hearts of West Coast theatregoers soon after graduating from Trinity Western University in 2009.

Joining her as Lancelot is Jonathan Winsby. Also a rising star on the B.C. theatre scene, Mr. Winsby made his Stratford debut in 2006, playing Stewpot in South Pacific. He is the son of Festival company member Sandy Winsby, who will also appear in the production.
Jonathan Winsby

“Everyone was blown away by the chemistry that Jonathan and Kaylee had during the audition process,” says Mr. McAnuff. “I can’t wait to see what these young performers can create under the direction of the wonderful Gary Griffin. With Dan and Mike now joining the cast, the production promises to be something very special.”

Ms Harwood and Mr. Winsby have performed together before, as Cosette and Enjolras in the Arts Club Theatre production of Les Miserables in 2009. Ms Harwood also recently played Johanna in the Citadel production of Sweeney Todd and Eliza Doolittle in the Western Canada Theatre production of My Fair Lady. Mr. Winsby’s theatre credits include Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and Chris in Miss Saigon, both for the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver. Ms Harwood and Mr. Winsby will also appear in Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Mr. McAnuff.

Dan Chameroy will return for his 10th season to play Sir Dinadan in Camelot. Mr. Chameroy, who played Charles and William in As You Like It and Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale, will soon open in the Toronto production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, in which he plays a hilarious Miles Gloriosus. Mr. Chameroy made a knock-out Stratford debut playing Lancelot in the 1997 production of Camelot. The 2011 season will also feature Mr. Chameroy as Pistol in The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Frank Galati.

Also joining the cast of Camelot is Mike Nadajewski, who will play Mordred. Like Mr. Chameroy, Mr. Nadajewski is heading to Toronto, where he will reprise the role of Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Mr. Nadajewski was extremely well received in this season’s production of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris and in As You Like It, in which he played Amiens. As announced earlier, Mr. Nadajewski will also play Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar.

These performers join those already announced in the cast of Camelot: Brent Carver as Merlyn and Pellinore, Lucy Peacock as Morgan le Fey and Geraint Wyn Davies as King Arthur.

Casting for the 2011 season continues with Trent Pardy announced as Sebastian in Twelfth Night, directed by Des McAnuff. Mr. Pardy, a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatory, returns for his fourth season, having played the Second Twin in Peter Pan and Christie in King of Thieves in 2010. His other Stratford credits include Bartholomew Cokes in Bartholomew Fair, Navarre in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Samson in Romeo and Juliet. As previously announced, the cast of Twelfth Night includes Brian Dennehy as Sir Toby Belch, Stephen Ouimette as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Tom Rooney as Malvolio, Andrea Runge as Viola and Sara Topham as Olivia. Ben Carlson will play Feste; Cara Ricketts will play Maria; and Mike Shara will play Orsino.

Gord Rand will play Lenny in The Homecoming, directed by Jennifer Tarver. Last seen at Stratford in 2002, Mr. Rand spent the 2010 season at the Shaw Festival, where he appeared as Petya Trofimov in The Cherry Orchard and Hugh Paton in Half an Hour. He has performed at theatres throughout Canada and has numerous film and television credits, including the new Kids in the Hall series Death Comes to Town. As previously announced, The Homecoming features Brian Dennehy as Max and Stephen Ouimette as Sam, with Ian Lake as Joey, Cara Ricketts as Ruth and Mike Shara as Teddy.

Tim MacDonald will return for his 17th season to play Acaste in The Misanthrope. Mr. MacDonald played Merriman in the Festival’s 2009 production of The Importance of Being Earnest directed by Brian Bedford, and will reprise the role this winter at New York’s Roundabout Theater. He has appeared on Broadway many times, including in Timon of Athens and The Government Inspector. His Stratford credits also include Metellus Cimber in Julius Caesar, the King of France in King Lear and Mark Meddle in London Assurance. As previously announced, The Misanthrope will be directed by Brian Bedford (who will play Oronte) and will feature Ben Carlson as Alceste, Juan Chioran as Philinte and Sara Topham as Célimène, with Martha Farrell as Eliante, Kelli Fox as Arsinoé and Steve Ross as Clitandre.

Also returning to the company in a principal role is Paul Fauteux, who has been cast as Lucius in Titus Andronicus. Mr. Fauteux made his Stratford debut in 2010, playing Cecco in Peter Pan and Stringer in King of Thieves. As announced, Titus Andronicus will be directed by Darko Tresnjak and will feature John Vickery in the title role, with Peter Donaldson as Marcus Andronicus, Dion Johnstone as Aaron, Claire Lautier as Tamara and Amanda Lisman as Lavinia, with Sean Arbuckle as Saturninus. As mentioned, Roberta Maxwell will play the Nurse.

Tickets for the 2011 season go on sale to Members of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival beginning November 15, 2010. American Express Cardmembers have advance ticket access through Front Of The Line beginning December 11. Sales to the general public begin January 8, 2011.


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