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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Festival announces Langham Workshop directors

[Press Release] November 28, 2012… The Stratford Festival welcomes six directors to the 2013 Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction: Kevin BennettMitchell Cushman,Andrea Donaldson, Kevin HammondBirgit Schreyer Duarte and Ken Schwartz.

“This is a dynamic and very talented group of directors,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “They come from across Canada and have widely different experiences within the theatre but are united in their love for and dedication to staging the classics. We are very excited to welcome them to the Festival.

“Under the direction of accomplished director and teacher David Latham, we have focused the program to provide a more comprehensive and deeper learning experience with Shakespeare and the classics.”

The workshop, launched in 2010 and named for the Festival’s second Artistic Director, the late Michael Langham, is designed for directors in mid-career who have experience working with the classics but not at a theatre of the complexity and scope of the Festival.

Participants are given classes in text, voice, movement and other disciplines. Working with director-mentors, they serve as assistant directors during the season and are given the opportunity to present a classical piece of their own choosing to an invited audience.

The Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction is sponsored by RBC and funded by Heritage Canada.

Participant Biographies

Kevin Bennett
Kevin Bennett
Stratford debut: Assistant director of The Three MusketeersElsewhere (theatre): Founding member of Honest Fishmongers’ Equity Co-Op. Director: King Lear and Hamlet (Honest Fishmongers Equity Co-Op); 7 Stories (Dream Big Productions, Templeton Secondary School); The Priory (United Players of Vancouver); Treasure Island (Studio 58); Macbeth and Pet 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 and Much Ado About Nothing (Bard on the Beach); NiX (The Only Animal, Cultural Olympiad); Dirty White(Theatre Terrific); The Merchant of VeniceHeptademicThe Winter’s TaleLot’s Wife (Studio 58). Training: Graduate of Studio 58; Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts’ How to Rehearse directing course.

Mitchell Cushman
Mitchell Cushman
Stratford debut: Assistant director of The Merchant of Venice. Elsewhere: Directing: Terminus (Mirvish/Outside the March); Mr. MarmaladeThe Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve JobsOh the Humanity and Other Good Intentions (Outside the March); The Cripple of Inishmaan (Studio Theatre, Edmonton); Oh My Irma(Edmonton Fringe); Seeds (touring director, Crow’s Theatre); A Skull in Connemara (Obstructed View). Assistant Directing: TravestiesGlengarry Glen RossA Month in the Country (Soulpepper); Them & Us (TPM); Cellular (Luminato). Training: Graduate of the University of Alberta’s MFA Directing ProgramAwards: Prize for Production (Terminus, SummerWorks 2012), Theatre Passe Muraille Emerging Artist Award (SummerWorks 2011). Et cetera: Founding Co-Artistic Director of Outside the March; associate producer, Crow’s Theatre; resident artist, Theatre Passe Muraille; director of artistic programs, Paprika Festival; faculty member, Act 2 Studio at RyersonUpcoming: Possible Worlds (Talk Is Free Theatre).

Andrea Donaldson
Andrea Donaldson
Second season: Assistant director of OthelloStratford: Assistant director of The MatchmakerElsewhere: Andrea Donaldson is the Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre. Directing credits include the following Dora-nominated projects: The Atomic Weight of HappinessMontparnasseOffensive Fouls and The Unfortunate Misadventures of Masha Galinski. Other directing credits include Tyumen ThenThe Possibilities and Crack, as well as her own play Garden and directing the Young Company at the Blyth Festival. Andrea is an associate artist with multi-award-winning Toronto theatre company Groundwater Productions and is an Associate Artistic Director of Directors’ Lab North, the Lincoln Center’s sister lab in Canada. Andrea has been nominated for the John Hirsch Directing Award (2008 and 2011) and has received two Dora Awards for performing in Theatre Direct’s URGE project And By the Way, MissOnline:

Kevin Hammond
Kevin Hammond
Second season: Assistant director of Measure for MeasureStratford: Assistant director, You’re a Good Man, Charlie BrownLangham Workshop: Director, A Most Unnoble SwervingElsewhere: Artistic Director/co-founder of Humber River Shakespeare Co.; Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Rough, 2001 to 2005. Director:MacbethTwelfth NightMuch Ado About NothingThe Taming of the ShrewThe Comedy of ErrorsHenry VA Christmas CarolA Shakespeare Cabaret (Humber River Shakespeare). Assistant director: Much Ado About NothingThe Merchant of Venice (SITR). Adjudicator: National Shakespeare Youth Festival 2011 (Shakespeare in Action). Recordings: Oxford University Press’s Oxford Next online Shakespeare program (Julius CaesarHamletRomeo and JulietA Midsummer Night’s Dream). Online: www.humberrivershakespeare.caEt cetera: Kevin directs a touring production of As You Like It this summer for Humber River Shakespeare and has completed the Certificate Course in Arts Education with York University and the Stratford Festival.

Birgit Schreyer Duarte
Stratford debut: Assistant director of Mary StuartElsewhere: Assistant director/dramaturge, To a Flame (Nightwood Theatre/Tyst Teater/Teatteri Totti); dramaturge, The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely (Ngozi Paul); 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 Festival, SummerWorks Prize for Best Production); assistant director, The Cosmonaut’s Last Message, intern director, Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter (Canadian Stage). Training: Theatre Ontario Professional Training Grant (Directing, with Josette Bushell-Mingo); 
 (PhD, Drama); Munich University/Bavarian Theatre Academy, Germany (MA, Dramaturgy). Awards: Nomination, Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize; Government of Canada DFAIT Award (for research in Canadian theatre). Online: www.birgitschreyerduarte.comEt cetera: Literary associate, Shaw Festival (2008 to 2010). Currently: artistic and dramaturgical consultant for Canadian Stage. Originally from Munich, Germany.

Ken Schwatrz
Ken Schwartz
Second season: Assistant director of Romeo and JulietStratford: Assistant director, Peter PanElsewhere (as director): Over 30 productions for Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, including The OdysseyOur TownRockbound and Lysistrata. Most recently directed Six Characters in Search of an Author for Dalhousie University.Training: Two-time graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada in directing (’92) and technical production (’90). Awards: Merritt Awards for outstanding director (’09, ’10) and outstanding production (’08, ’09, ’10), the Established Artist Recognition Award from the Province of Nova Scotia (’08) and the Queen’s Golden (’02) and Diamond (’12) Jubilee Medals. His production of Rockbound was a finalist for the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award in 2010. Et cetera: Currently the Artistic Director of Two Planks and a Passion Theatre (, which is the resident company at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts (, of which Ken is a co-founder.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

New Forum is taking shape with a fascinating 2013 lineup

Participants include: John de Chastelain, Stanley Wells, Adam Gopnik, Stephen Lewis, Colin Mochrie, Ian Brown, Seán Cullen, Cynthia Dale, Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul, Shawn Atleo

[Press Release] November 13, 2012… The new Stratford Festival Forum will host an exciting array of high-profile speakers and entertainers during the 2013 season. From the serious to the light-hearted, Forum events will offer a variety of riffs on themes running through the playbill, in particular themes of community, especially communities in conflict, and the role of the outsider in those communities.

These themes open the door to lively discussions on a number of topics that continue to inspire artists working in various media, including film-makers, comedians, novelists and composers. Forum events include performances and showcases, improv and stand-up comedy, speakers, active explorations and workshops, panels and debates, music, screenings, conversations and exhibits.

Participants range from Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells to military leader John de Chastelain to comedian Colin Mochrie.

“We are building a festival within our Festival and we’re very proud of this exceptional program for the inaugural Forum,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “We have found tremendous interest for the idea of addressing the themes of classical theatre as they are seen in our world today, and that interest has come from every corner – from political and religious thinkers, performers, writers, visual artists and others.

“Our patrons hunger for opportunities to reflect on the work they see on our stages. They seek out opportunities that provide context, insight and illumination. The Forum is designed to feed that desire and to give people something they can’t get anywhere else: a chance to become fully immersed in theatre and the thoughts and feelings that it provokes.”

More than 100 events have already been programmed with many more still to be finalized. Some activities are recurring events to be enjoyed each week of the season. Others will be offered on a one-off or limited basis. “Forum Forays” – periods with a special concentration of Forum events – have been planned for June 12 to 16, July 9 to 14 and August 9 to 18.

Some Forum Highlights

Canada’s former Chief of the Defence Staff and former ambassador to the U.S. reflects on the Prince of Verona’s role as peacekeeper in Romeo and Juliet and relates it to his own experiences in the military and through the United Nations. General de Chastelain played a key role in the Northern Ireland peace process and in the crafting of the Good Friday accord. He was also a leader in the negotiations on the decommissioning of arms in Northern Ireland.

The ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) presents two concerts introduced by Artistic Director Simon Wynberg.
·         Tradition and the Jewish Composer: June 16 at 5:30 p.m.
·         Music Suppressed in Fascist Italy: Date TBA

Sally Armstrong: Ascent of WomenJune 16 at 10 a.m.
Journalist, author and human rights activist Sally Armstrong, a three-time winner of the Amnesty International Media Award and a Member of the Order of Canada, will address themes of repression and rebellion, which inform such productions as Measure for MeasureMary StuartFiddler on the Roof and Romeo and Juliet. Ms Armstrong was a member of the International Women’s Commission at the UN and is the author of four books: Ascent of WomenVeiled Threat: The Hidden Power of Women of AfghanistanThe Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor; and Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan’s Women.

Stanley Wells is emeritus professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of Birmingham and general editor of the Oxford and Penguin Shakespeares.

A Night of Improv: August 15 at 11 p.m.
Four of Canada’s best improvisers, including Paul BatesChristy Bruce and Colin Mochrie, take the stage to improvise scenes based on audience suggestions that resonate with our 2013 themes. Hosted by Joanne O’Sullivan.

Raised in Canada, essayist and commentator Adam Gopnik is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He is the author of Winter: Five Windows on the Season, written for the 2011 Massey Lectures.

This short film follows the founding of the Festival: how the idea grew, how a famous British director, international stars and Canadian talent were recruited, and how the Festival finally became a triumphant reality. Includes a post-screening chat with director Morten Parker.

Breaking with Tradition: Fiddler on the Roof and the 1960s Generation GapJuly 12 at 11 a.m. With Marlis Schweitzer, associate professor of theatre at York University.

Barbara Kyle, author of Blood Between Queens, to be published in May 2013, will sign books following her talk.

Stephen Lewis’s talk will touch on themes that pertain to such diverse productions as The ThrillTommy and Taking Shakespeare. Leader of Ontario’s New Democratic Party in the 1970s, Mr. Lewis later became Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations and the UN’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. He is currently the Board Chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring, of CBC’s This Is That, bring Stratford audiences a live rendition of the award-winning satirical radio show. Nothing is off limits – politics, culture, justice, religion – if it’s relevant to Canadians. This Is That finds a way to fabricate a story. Subject matter: totally Canadian. Truth factor: totally questionable.

The Playwrights Crucible: July 11 at 11 p.m.
Put the heat on a sharp playwright, a bold director and four top-rate actors and what do you get? A new play created right in front of your eyes. Created by Joanne O’Sullivan.

Canadian-born writer and theatre artist Alex Bulmer, now based in the U.K., shares her experience creating Disable-led Art after losing her sight. Her work includes Breathe, a multidisciplinary performance piece that opened the sailing events at the London Olympics.

With Priscilla Costello, counselling astrologer.

Original Pronunciation: June 1 at 10 a.m.
Using scenes from Romeo and Juliet as illustration, we explore the implications of original pronunciation in the performance of Shakespeare’s plays.

Len Rudner and Frank Bialystok from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Shakespeare expert Vivian Rakoff look at the confrontation of synagogue and state inThe Merchant of Venice.

Writing about the Right to Die: August 15 at 10:30 a.m.
With journalist, broadcaster and author Ian Brown (The Boy in the Moon), author Zoe FitzGerald Carter (Imperfect Endings) and playwright Judith Thompson (The Thrill). Moderator: Alex Bulmer.

Cynthia Dale in Concert: Outside Looking In: May 23, 24, 28, 30 and June 4, 6, 11, 13, 18 and 21 at 2 p.m.
Cynthia Dale will present a series of concerts featuring songs that reflect on the themes of the season. With special guest Dan Chameroy.

Honorary “Foreign Ministers” are invited to illuminate and ignite candid conversations about race and culture.

Shakespeare in KabulAugust 22 at 11 a.m.
With Stephen Landrigan and Qais Akbar Omar, authors of Shakespeare in Kabul. The authors will sign copies of their book following the talk.

Alisa Solomon: Fiddler’s Fortunes: September 21 at 10 a.m.
Former theatre critic and cultural and political reporter for The Village VoiceAlisa Solomon directs the Arts and Culture concentration in the MA program at Columbia Journalism School. She will discuss the long-lived legacy of Fiddler on the Roof.

Shylock AppealsOctober 5 at 10:30 a.m.
Witness the appeal of Shylock’s sentence as argued by prominent lawyers before a court of outstanding Canadian judges.

Introduced and contextualized by Dr. Ted McGee, company members Seana McKenna and Lucy Peacock present readings of letters between Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart.

Members of the company join host Geraint Wyn Davies for a series of dramatic readings.

Israeli Folk Dancing: June 23 and September 21 at 12:30 p.m.
Created in the early 20th century by settlers in what later became the state of Israel, Israeli folk dancing is now a fixture at Jewish celebrations all over the world. Learn a few of the dances that the grandchildren of the characters in Fiddler on the Roof might have done at their weddings.

How to Disappear Completely: August 11, 15 and 17 at 2 p.m.
Itai Erdal performs this award-winning solo work, demonstrating his approach to theatrical lighting while also reflecting on the events that followed his mother asking him to take her life. Surprisingly funny, incredibly personal, this unique show continues to tour internationally. Produced by The Chop Theatre.

Stand Off: June 13 at 11 p.m.
Using themes of the season, stand-up comics, including Seán CullenChris Gibbs and Sharron Matthews, compete to write the best stand-up sets in under 15 minutes. Hosted by Joanne O’Sullivan.

With author, playwright and activist Susan G. Cole, scholar Margaret Jane Kidnie and other panelists to be announced.

Who Chooseth Me: August 11 at 11 a.m.
Practising psychoanalyst Mavis Himes speaks with Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino about the insights psychoanalysis can bring to The Merchant of Venice.

Late Night with Lucy: July 5 and 19, August 9 and 23 at 11:30 p.m.
By popular demand, Lucy Peacock presents a second series of after-hours cabarets with special guest performers.

With artistic directors Peter HintonJackie MaxwellBill Rauch and others. Chaired by Antoni Cimolino.

Screening: Dark Lullabies: June 15 at 5:30 p.m.
Having grown up in the shadow of the Holocaust, Canadian film-maker Irene Lilienheim Angelico reaches for comprehension through interviews with survivors and their children in Montréal and Israel – and with their contemporaries in Germany. Winner of six international awards, and selected as one of the fifty greatest documentaries of all time at the international Salute to the Documentary, the film will be followed by a chat with Ms. Angelico.

With directors Chris AbrahamTim CarrollAntoni Cimolino and Martha Henry. Chair: David Prosser.

A Rose by Any Other Name: June 15 at 5:30 p.m.
Practising psychoanalyst Mavis Himes speaks with Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino about the insights psychoanalysis can bring to Romeo and Juliet.

For the Love of GodotJune 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Brian Dennehy, who plays Pozzo in this season’s Waiting for Godot, discusses all things Beckett with the production’s director, Jennifer Tarver.

Screening: Budrus: August 14 at 2 p.m.
An award-winning documentary about a Palestinian community organizer who united Fatah and Hamas members with Israeli supporters to save his village from destruction. Includes a post-screening chat with producer Ronit Avni.

Tommy Guitar School: July 20 and August 24 at 6 p.m.
Bring your electric guitar and learn some riffs from the score of Tommy.

The Festival Exhibition: May 27 to October 20
Four Shakespeare Masterpieces at the Stratford Festival: Present and Past Productions of OthelloRomeo and JulietMeasure for Measure and The Merchant of Venice.

All for Fun and Fun for All: July 7 and October 6 at 10:30 a.m.
This interactive, fun-filled workshop on The Three Musketeers immerses 10- to 12-year-olds in the historical time period and introduces the basics of swordplay.

Based on Neal Gabler’s best-selling book An Empire of Their Own, this award-winning feature-length documentary tells the story of the men who founded Hollywood. All were immigrants, or children of immigrants, who wanted to reinvent themselves as Americans. In the process, they reinvented America. The screening includes a talk by director Simcha Jacobvici.

Under the leadership of former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and author John Ralston Saul, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship will move the annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium to Stratford as part of The Forum, on August 9 and 10. This symposium on the public good features lectures on democracy, civic engagement and citizenship with an opportunity for participants to engage through round-table discussions and online. This year’s speaker will be Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. Events include:

·         “Adopting” One’s Culture, with Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul.

·         First Nations and the Future of Canadian Citizenship, with Shawn A-in-chut Atleo.

·         Diaspora Dining, a roundtable with Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul and guests.

The 2013 season begins on April 23 and runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of Venice,TommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot, two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, and The Forum.

Tickets go on sale to Members today and to the general public on January 5. For more information visit


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Tickets go on sale for 2013 season

New app lets people purchase directly through Facebook

[Press Release] November 8, 2012… The Stratford Festival’s box office opens to Members on Monday, November 12, at 9 a.m., putting them first in line to purchase tickets for the 2013 season. A special advance online sale to Members will be offered on Sunday, November 11, beginning at noon. Sales to the general public begin January 5, with online advance sales beginning January 4.

This season, the first under Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, features 12 productions and a new initiative to enhance the play-going experience, The Forum, a series of extraordinary events planned around a cluster of themes that run through the playbill. These themes explore the idea of communities, particularly communities divided, and the role of the outsider in society, through such plays as Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Fiddler on the Roof, Othello, Mary Stuart and Tommy. The themes will be explored through interactive discussions, comedy events, music and film.

This season also sees the introduction of some new initiatives to improve the ticket-buying experience.

Stratford Social Ticketing is a new Facebook application that allows people to purchase tickets through their personal Facebook page. The app allows users to create a Festival Facebook Event, where they can coordinate visits to Stratford with friends and family. It even offers a seat selection function through which users can see where their Facebook friends will be sitting and select their own seats accordingly.

The free app can be downloaded at Sales to Facebook fans of the Festival will be able to buy their tickets on January 3, ahead of the general public.

The Festival took the lead in developing the new app, partnering with the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Center Theater Group, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the San Francisco Ballet, the Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The Festival is also introducing a Pre-Season Promise, which allows advance ticket buyers to exchange their tickets without incurring additional costs. Those who order before January 31 will keep their pre-season ticket price while being able to exchange for the same performance type and seating zone without paying exchange fees.

In addition to holding ticket prices at last year’s levels, the Festival is offering the following:
·         Up to 25% off tickets purchased before January 31.
·         A new $20 ticket price for students (down from $25).
·         A 50% reduction in handling fees for all online purchases.
·         A two-for-one promotion for tickets to Tuesday evening performances all season long (except opening nights).
·         A number of free and low cost Forum events.
·         Twice-daily bus service from Toronto at a cost of $10 each way.

“Our goal is to enhance the Stratford experience in as many ways as possible,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. “We want people to enjoy not only the productions, but also the many Forum events we have planned. We hope that by introducing such things as Two-for-one Tuesdays, along with lower prices for students, reduced fees and an affordable twice-daily bus from Toronto, people will be able to come to Stratford more often or stay longer and immerse themselves in the theatre and the city.”

The Festival’s recently announced Stratford Direct bus offers direct travel between Toronto and Stratford at a cost of just $10 each way. Buses leave Toronto at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and return after the shows, at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. on performance days between May 27 and September 29. From May 1 to 25 and October 1 to 20, there will be one return trip daily, on performance days only, with buses leaving Toronto at 10 a.m. and departing Stratford at 5 p.m.

The 2013 season begins on April 23 and runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and Juliet, Fiddler on the Roof, The Three Musketeers, The Merchant of Venice, Tommy, Blithe Spirit, Othello, Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart, Waiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill.

To order tickets, call 1.800.567.1600 or visit


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Antoni Cimolino officially takes over as artistic director, unveils new logo, returns to name ‘Stratford Festival’

[Press Release] November 1, 2012Antoni Cimolino officially becomes Artistic Director today, beginning his mission to establish the Festival as an unrivalled theatrical, intellectual and emotional retreat. As part of this mission, the theatre company is returning to the name Stratford Festival and unveiling a new logo.

“‘Stratford Festival’ is the name that we have used for most of our 60 years,” says Mr. Cimolino. “It is simple and direct, it resonates with people and it carries our legacy of quality and success. The name connects powerfully with audiences and allows us to best convey the breadth and depth of the seasons we are planning to present.

“We have discussed this idea for some time and it has broad support amongst artists and staff, as well as members of the Board, who agreed this was the right time to make the change. When I spoke to Des McAnuff about my decision, he gave his complete and enthusiastic support.”

Inspired by the Festival’s founding principles, Mr. Cimolino will focus his tenure on establishing the Festival as a place to become immersed in the theatre experience.

“Tyrone Guthrie, our first Artistic Director, conceived of the Festival as a place removed from a major metropolis where you could lay aside for a moment the demands of daily life and give yourself time to enjoy, to think and to feel – and then go home refreshed, restored and inspired.”

Mr. Cimolino has planned the 2013 season around a cluster of themes, especially the drama of communities – communities in conflict – and the role of the outsider in those communities. “I was drawn to examining how we reach across our differences to find our common humanity with people we have identified as the ‘other,’ how we find healing. Because that’s what these plays are all about: bringing people together.”

These thematic strands run through a playbill that offers a rich variety of dramatic experiences, starting with Shakespeare and balancing intimate pieces with productions of greater scope, comedy with tragedy, ancient with modern.

“Most of our patrons come to Stratford to see more than one production,” says Mr. Cimolino. “By offering works that complement each other, we’re giving our audiences a fuller opportunity to reflect on ideas that touch our lives at the deepest levels.”

Central to Mr. Cimolino’s vision for the Festival is the introduction of The Forum, a wide-ranging series of events that invite audiences to enjoy theatre in a deeper and more dynamic way, using the work they see on stage to spark ideas, raise questions and open the door to good-hearted and open-minded debate.

“Stratford is a storehouse of brilliant material, presented by great artists working under the best conditions,” he says. “People come here from all over the world to immerse themselves in these stories and to reflect on what they tell us about our lives. Our patrons love it when we provide context, insight, illumination – anything that enriches and enlarges upon their enjoyment of the work we do on stage.”

The Forum has been created to meet that ever-growing demand for enrichment and to achieve Mr. Cimolino’s larger aim of placing the Festival firmly at the centre of society.

Encompassing panels, chats, debates and other interactive discussions, as well as keynote speakers, dramatic readings, concerts and other presentations, The Forum will be offered continuously throughout the season, with each month from June through September featuring a supercharged “Forum Foray” week that will have a particularly high concentration of events.

“The ancient Greeks used theatre as an imaginative arena for exploring ideas, issues and possibilities that were of profound importance to their society,” he says. “I believe the Festival plays that same role for us today.”

Beginning with a press release next month, Forum events and participants will be announced as they are confirmed. Details will be available on the Festival website,

Tickets for the 2013 season go on sale to Members on November 11 and to the general public on January 5. The playbill features Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Othello, Fiddler on the Roof, The Three Musketeers, Tommy, Blithe Spirit, Mary Stuart, Waiting for Godot, and two new Canadian plays, The Thrill by Judith Thompson, and Taking Shakespeare, by John Murrell.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Festival announces key casting for 2013

[Press Release]
October 16, 2012… With the 2013 box office opening to Members in just a few weeks, the Stratford Festival is pleased to announce key casting for the 2013 season, featuring the return of many Festival favourites.
Jewelle BlackmanMichelle GirouxJonathan GoadKate HennigDion Johnstone,Jeremy Kushnier, Mike NadajewskiPaul NolanStephen OuimetteSteven SutcliffeSara Topham and Scott Wentworth will be returning to the Festival in 2013, joining current company members Graham AbbeyNigel BennettMichael Blake,James Blendick, Ben CarlsonJacquelyn French, Carmen GrantDeborah Hay,Randy HughsonLuke Humphrey, Peter Hutt, Keely Hutton, Bethany Jillard,Gabrielle JonesIan LakeTom McCamusSeana McKennaLucy PeacockChick Reid, Tom RooneySteve RossStephen RussellMike SharaJennifer Stewart,Brian Tree and Geraint Wyn Davies.
Also joining the company are newcomers Daniel BriereNehassaiu deGannesKira GuloienHannah Miller, Andre Morin and Robert Markus. As previously announced,Brian BedfordBrian Dennehy and Martha Henry will also return in leading roles.
“At the heart of the Festival stand extraordinary artists,” says Antoni Cimolino, who will take over as Artistic Director on November 1. “I am immensely proud of the company we have assembled for the 2013 season, bringing together some of our finest actors as well as some exceptionally promising newcomers. We look forward to working with them to present the most exciting stories ever told.”
Daniel Briere and Sara Topham to play Romeo and Juliet

Daniel Briere and Sara Topham will play the title characters in Tim Carroll’s production of Romeo and Juliet. They will be joined by Nehassaiu deGannes as Lady Capulet,Jonathan Goad as Mercutio, Kate Hennig as the Nurse, Tom McCamus as Friar Laurence and Scott Wentworth as Capulet.
Daniel Briere will make his Stratford debut as Romeo. A graduate of the National Theatre School, Mr. Briere has played such roles as Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew and Paris in Romeo and Juliet at Calgary’s Shakespeare in the Park, Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing at Driftwood Theatre, Number One in Lebenstraum at the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre and Art in The Mail Order Bride at the Blyth Festival.
Sara Topham will return for her 13th season to play Juliet. After her Stratford and Broadway turn as Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest, Ms Topham returned to Stratford in 2010 to play Wendy in Peter Pan and La Présidente de Tourvel in Dangerous Liaisons, followed by Olivia in Twelfth Night and Célimène in The Misanthrope in 2011. This past year has seen her in leading roles at the Hartford Stage Company, McCarter Theater Center and Shakespeare Theater Company.  Other key Stratford credits include Miss Mabel Chiltern in An Ideal Husband, Jessica in The Merchant of Venice, Grace Harkaway in London Assurance, Cordelia in King Lear and Rosalind in As You Like It.
Fiddler on the Roof to feature Kate Hennig and Scott Wentworth
Kate Hennig and Scott Wentworth will take the leading roles of Golde and Tevye in Donna Feore’s production of Fiddler on the RoofJacquelyn French has been cast as Hodel, Keely Hutton as Chava, Gabrielle Jones as Yente, Andre Morin as Motel, Mike Nadajewski as Perchik, Paul Nolan as Fyedka and Jennifer Stewart as Tzeitel.
Kate Hennig, who is returning for her fourth season at Stratford, is well remembered for playing the dance teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, in Broadway’s Billy Elliot: The Musical, a role she also played in Toronto, winning a Dora Award for her performance. Most recently she was seen as Emma Goldman in this season’s Shaw Festival hit, Ragtime, as well as in A Man and Some Women. She was also in the wildly popular première of Margaret Atwood’sThe Penelopiad, co-produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Arts Centre. Ms Hennig was last in the Stratford company in 1991, playing Mrs. Mullin inCarousel, Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing and the Player Queen in Hamlet. She can currently be seen playing Adele Witham in Bomb Girls on Global Television.
Scott Wentworth, who marks his 18th season in 2013, was last seen at Stratford in 2008, playing Commander Fernán Gómez de Guzmán in Fuente Ovejuna and Claudius inHamlet. His musical credits at Stratford include playing Clifford Bradshaw in the 1987 production of Cabaret and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls in both 1990 and 2004 – a role he is currently reprising at the Segal Centre in Montreal. His other Stratford credits include the title roles in MacbethRichard IIIHenry IV Part 1 and The Merchant of Venice, Iago in Othello, David Cutrere in Orpheus Descending and Theseus in Phèdre. Mr. Wentworth has also written a number of musicals in collaboration with his wife, Marion Adler, including Enter the Guardsman, which was nominated for an Olivier Award for best musical in 1997.
Musketeers Graham Abbey, Jonathan Goad, Mike Shara joined by Luke Humphrey as D’Artagnan
Graham AbbeyJonathan Goad and Mike Shara headline Miles Potter’s production ofThe Three Musketeers, with Luke Humphrey playing D’Artagnan. They will be joined byMichael Blake as Count de Rochefort, Nehassaiu deGannes as the Queen of France,Deborah Hay as Milady de Winter, Bethany Jillard as Constance Bonacieux andSteven Sutcliffe as Cardinal Richelieu.
Graham Abbey, who will play Athos, returned to the Festival in 2012 for the first time since 2006 to play Posthumus in Cymbeline and Aigisthos in Elektra. His extensive television career includes the series lead, Gray Jackson, in The Border, Glen Martin in Degrassi and George Thomey in Republic of Doyle. His Stratford credits include Henry V, Macbeth, Romeo and Henry VIII, as well as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Happy in Death of a Salesman and D’Artagnan in the 2000 production of The Three Musketeers.
Jonathan Goad will play Porthos. Mr. Goad was last seen at Stratford in 2009, playing Quarlous in Bartholomew Fair, Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Hippolytus in Phèdre. In 11 Stratford seasons, his credits have included Harold Hill in The Music Man, Iago inOthello, Angelo in Measure for Measure, Theseus and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the title role in Pericles. Mr. Goad can also be seen on CBC TV, where he plays Christian Doyle in Republic of Doyle.
Luke Humphrey made his Stratford debut in 2011, appearing in The Tempest and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. This season he played Michael Williams in Henry V. He will also be remembered as the shirtless tango dancer in Much Ado About Nothing. His other credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at Highland Hall Theatre, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Leontes in The Winter’s Tale at the Stella Adler Studio.
Mike Shara will return for his fifth season at Stratford to play Aramis. Mr. Shara is currently playing Cloten in Cymbeline and Cornelius Hackl in The Matchmaker. His Stratford highlights include Teddy in The Homecoming, Orsino in Twelfth Night, Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac and Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest. Mr. Shara is a veteran of the Shaw Festival and has performed across the country. His television work includes Little Mosque on the PrairieQueer as Folk and Due South.
Tom McCamus to play the Merchant

Tom McCamus will once again collaborate with Antoni Cimolino in next season’s The Merchant of Venice, in which he will play Antonio. Mr. McCamus gave a searing performance as Iachimo in Mr. Cimolino’s production of Cymbeline this year and beautifully portrayed Jim Casy in 2011’s The Grapes of Wrath and Justice Overdo in 2009’s Bartholomew Fair. His portrayal of Horace Vandergelder in The Matchmakercontinues to delight audiences. In his 12 seasons at Stratford, Mr. McCamus has played a vast number of leading roles including Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Le Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, Master Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, King Arthur inCamelot, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot and Edmund Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night.
As previously announced, Brian Bedford will play Shylock. They will be joined byMichelle Giroux as Portia, Jonathan Goad as Gratiano and Hannah Miller as Jessica.
Stellar cast for Blithe Spirit features Ben Carlson, Michelle Giroux, Seana McKenna and Sara Topham
Brian Bedford will direct a stellar ensemble in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, with Ben Carlson as Charles Condomine; Michelle Giroux as Elvira, the ghost of Charles’s deceased wife; Seana McKenna as the medium, Madame Arcati; and Sara Topham as Charles’s second wife, Ruth. They will be joined by James Blendick as Dr. Bradman andChick Reid as Mrs. Bradman. Mr. Bedford worked with Mr. Carlson and Ms Topham most recently in the Oscar Wilde comedy The Importance of Being Earnest in 2009.
Ben Carlson, currently playing Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and Captain Fluellen in Henry V, returns for his sixth season at Stratford. Highlights of his time here include Feste in Twelfth Night, Alceste in The Misanthrope, Touchstone in As You Like It, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, John Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest, Brutus in Julius Caesar and the title role in Hamlet. He has worked throughout Canada and the U.S., and spent 12 seasons at the Shaw Festival, where he is well remembered for his marathonMan and SupermanThe Return of the Prodigal and All My Sons, among other performances.
Michelle Giroux will celebrate her 10th season at Stratford in 2013. She was last here in 2007, when she played Jean Louise in the celebrated production of To Kill a Mockingbirdand Julia in A Delicate Balance. Her Stratford credits also include Queen Isabella inEdward II, Katerina in The Brothers Karamazov, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Daphne in Present Laughter, Olivia in Twelfth Night and Gwendolen in the 2000 production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
After her hilarious turn as Dolly Levi in The MatchmakerSeana McKenna will return for her 22nd season to play Madame Arcati. Stratford audiences will also remember Ms McKenna’s lighter side from such performances as Amanda Prynne in Private Lives, Monica Reed in Present Laughter, Dotty Otley in Noises Off and Lady Gay Spanker inLondon Assurance. Her other Stratford credits include her remarkable portrayals of Richard III in 2011 and Clytemestra in this season’s Elektra, as well as moving portrayals of Medea, Andromache and Phèdre. She has played every one of Shakespeare’s leading ladies, many of them here at Stratford, as well as his wife, Anne Hathaway, in the one-woman show Shakespeare’s Will, which was produced at Stratford in 2007 and 2011.
Newcomer Robert Markus to play Tommy
Newcomer Robert Markus will play the title role in Des McAnuff’s production of Tommy. Mr. Markus graduated from the University of Alberta’s acting program in 2010. His credits include Gabe in Next to Normal at the Citadel Theatre and Theatre Calgary, Riff Raff inThe Rocky Horror Show and Young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, also at the Citadel, and Angelo in The Comedy of Errors at the Freewill Shakespeare Festival.
He will be joined by Jewelle Blackman as the Gypsy, Kira Guloien as Mrs. Walker,Jeremy Kushnier as Captain Walker, Paul Nolan as Cousin Kevin and Steve Ross as Uncle Ernie.
Dion Johnstone takes title role in Othellowith Graham Abbey as Iago and Bethany Jillard as Desdemona
Dion Johnstone will return to Stratford to take on the title role in Chris Abraham’s production of Othello, with Graham Abbey playing Iago and Bethany Jillard as Desdemona. They will be joined by Deborah Hay as Emilia, Peter Hutt as Brabantio,Mike Shara as Roderigo and Brian Tree as Gratiano.
Dion Johnstone comes to the role of Othello at the Festival, having turned in a number of memorable classical performances here, including Aaron in Titus Andronicus, Caliban inThe Tempest, opposite Christopher Plummer’s Prospero, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Des McAnuff’s production of Macbeth, Edmund in King Lear, Iachimo in the 2004 production of Cymbeline and Orestes in the 2003 productions of The Flies and Electra. He has a vast television career as well, most recently including Harold Kalb in The Listener, Tyrone Evans in King and Barnaby Howe in Flashpoint.
Bethany Jillard made her Stratford debut in 2010 as Cécile Volante in Dangerous Liaisons and has since shone in both classical and contemporary roles as Lady Anne inRichard III, Young Kate and Tanya in The Little Years, Hero in Much Ado About Nothingand Catherine in Henry V. Her other credits include Miss Julie in the MTC Warehouse production of After Miss Julie, the title role in My Name is Rachel Corrie at Theatre Panik and Brooke in How It Works at Tarragon. She won the Equity Emerging Theatre Artist Award in 2010.
Seana McKenna plays Elizabeth to Lucy Peacock’s Mary Stuart
Lucy Peacock will take on the title role in Antoni Cimolino’s production of Mary Stuartopposite Seana McKenna as Elizabeth.
It will feature Ben Carlson as Lord Burleigh, Geraint Wyn Davies as the Earl of Leicester and, as previously announced, Brian Dennehy as the Earl of Shrewsbury. James Blendick will play Amias Paulet, Peter Hutt will play Count Aubespine, Ian Lake will play Mortimer and Brian Tree will play Melvil.
Lucy Peacock celebrated her 25th season and 60th production with the Festival this season, playing the Hostess in Henry V and Mrs. Munsch in the new musical Wanderlust– as well as producing and starring in the cabaret series Late Night with Lucy. Last season she also combined musical theatre and Shakespeare, playing Morgan le Fey in Camelotand the delightfully scheming Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Her career at Stratford has been studded with brilliant performances, including Nana in For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Audrey in As You Like It, Masha in Three Sisters, Emilia in Othello, the title roles in The Duchess of Malfi and Hello, Dolly!, and a tour-de-force performance of all of the characters in The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead.
After his stirring portrayal of King Cymbeline, Geraint Wyn Davies will again collaborate with Mr. Cimolino, playing the key role of the Earl of Leicester in Mary Stuart. Mr. Wyn Davies will celebrate his 10th season at Stratford in 2013. He began his Stratford adventure in 1986, playing Pericles and Antipholus of Syracuse in The Boys from Syracuse. Since then he has played a number of major roles, including Stephano in The Tempest, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the title roles in Julius Caesar andHenry V, Polonius in Hamlet, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady and Dylan Thomas in the one-man show Do Not Go Gentle. His stage career has taken him throughout Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. and he has dozens of film and television credits, including key roles inRepublic of DoyleReGenesis24Slings and ArrowsAirwolfForever Knight andAmerican Psycho II.
Measure for Measure to feature Carmen Grant, Stephen Ouimette,
Tom Rooney, Geraint Wyn Davies
Martha Henry’s production of Measure for Measure will feature Carmen Grant as Isabella, Stephen Ouimette as Lucio, Tom Rooney as Angelo, and Geraint Wyn Davies as Duke Vincentio, with Randy Hughson as Pompey, Peter Hutt as Escalus andStephen Russell as Provost.
Carmen Grant made her Stratford debut in 2010, after completing her first year at the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, where she played such roles as Mrs. Higgins in Pygmalion, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Goneril in King Lear. At the Festival she has appeared in Much Ado About NothingThe MatchmakerTitus Andronicus and Richard III. She received a Dora nomination for her portrayal of the title role in The Miracle Worker at YPT and won the Rising Star Award for playing Ruth in the ATP production of Zadie’s Shoes.
Stephen Ouimette recently gave an acclaimed performance as Harry Hope in The Iceman Cometh at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago, with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy. Mr. Ouimette and Mr. Dennehy had performed together at Stratford in 2011’s outstanding productions of The Homecoming and Twelfth Night. Mr. Ouimette was also featured in the West End and Broadway productions of La Bete and is well-known for his portrayal of Oliver Welles in the television series Slings and Arrows. He has spent 18 seasons entertaining Stratford audiences with such performances as Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest and Touchstone in As You Like It. He has directed a number of productions, including Timon of Athens in 2004, and has played the title roles in Hamlet,King JohnAmadeus and Richard III, as well as many other leading roles.
Tom Rooney will return for his sixth Stratford season, after delighting audiences as Robert Service in the 2012 première of Wanderlust and as Ensign Pistol in Henry V. Since joining the company in 2008, Mr. Rooney has fast become a favourite on the Festival stage, with his richly drawn portrayals of Malvolio in Twelfth Night and Master Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. He gave standout performances in 2009 as the Porter inMacbeth, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cassius in Julius Caesar.  In addition to playing the Narrator in 2010’s For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Mr. Rooney played Duke Frederick and Duke Senior in As You Like It and Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale.
Stephen Ouimette and Tom Rooney lead cast of Waiting for Godot
Jennifer Tarver’s production of Waiting for Godot will feature Stephen Ouimette as Estragon and Tom Rooney as Vladimir. As previously announced, Brian Dennehy will play Pozzo. Randy Hughson will play Lucky.
Lucy Peacock stars in Judith Thompson’s The Thrill
Lucy Peacock will play the leading role of Elora in the world première of Judith Thompson’s The Thrill, which was commissioned by the Festival and will be directed byDean Gabourie. She will be joined by Nigel Bennett as Julian.
Luke Humphrey to take Shakespeare from Martha Henry
As previously announced, Martha Henry will play the Prof in John Murrell’s new playTaking Shakespeare, directed by Diana LeblancLuke Humphrey has been cast as the student, Murph.
Tickets for the 2013 season will go on sale to Members of the Stratford Festival on November 11 and to the public on January 5. The 2012 season concludes on October 28, with tickets still available for Much Ado About Nothing42nd StreetThe MatchmakerThe Pirates of Penzance and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. To purchase tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit

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