Search This Blog

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Festival welcomes new talent into the Birmingham Conservatory


September 11, 2013… Classes for the 15th session of the Birmingham Conservatory for classical Theatre are now underway with ten actors embarking on six months of intensive training under the guidance of Conservatory Director Martha Henry.

Three participants are returning for their second year in the program: Josue Laboucane, Andrew Robinson and Antoine Yared. Company member Sara Farb, who made her Stratford debut this season, joins the program for her first year, along with Festival newcomers Jamie Mac, Jennifer Mogbock, Derek Moran, Karack Osborn, Sarena Parmar and Laura Schutt.

“We are thrilled to welcome this year’s remarkably talented and dynamic group of actors,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “The training they will receive here is unparalleled given the opportunity to work under the leadership of Martha Henry, one of Canada’s most respected actors and directors, and alongside top voice, movement and text coaches. This program has helped to launch the careers of many of our leading actors. This year we are proud to have 29 Conservatory graduates in our 2013 acting company and I have no doubt that this year’s group will become an integral part of our future seasons. I look forward to not only their highly anticipated theatrical presentations, but to working with them in our upcoming season.”

The end-of-term presentations will be directed by Stratford Festival company member Stephen Ouimette and Conservatory Director Martha Henry.

The 2013/2014 Birmingham Conservatory will receive classes from some of the finest instructors from across the world.

Instructors (in alphabetical order)

Annette av Paul, ballet dancer and director – ballet instructor
Frank Bach – instructor of conscious movement
Janet Madelle Feindel, Voice and Alexander Technique instructor at Carnegie Mellon University – voice instructor
Kate Hennig, actor and playwright – voice and Original Practices instructor
Thomas Morgan Jones, Associate Artistic Director and Dramaturg at Theatre District – movement instructor
David Latham, Theatre Training Consultant, Stratford Festival – mask instructor
Claire Lautier, actor – gyrokinesis instructor
David Ley, Drama Professor at University of Alberta – voice instructor
Kristin Linklater, Professor at Columbia University, Chair of Theatre Arts Division – voice and text instructor
Melinda Little, actor, movement coach and playwright – movement instructor
Keira Loughran, Creative Associate for Special Projects, Stratford Festival – aikido instructor
Kate Lynch, director, actor, playwright and acting teacher at University of Toronto – voice instructor
Jack MacDonald – yoga instructor
Kennedy C. MacKinnon – voice, text and dialect instructor
Kelly McEvenue – Alexander Technique and Movement Coach
Seana McKenna, actor – text instructor
Valerie Moore, choreographer – dance instructor
Hugh O’Gorman, Associate Professor and Head of Acting, California State University – Michael Chekov instructor
Janine Pearson, Head of Voice and Coaching, Stratford Festival – voice instructor
Chick Reid, actor – text instructor
David Smukler, Professor at York University – voice instructor
Richard Stewart – voice instructor
Terry Tweed, actor – text and grammar instructor
Nicolas Van Burek, actor – T’ai Chi instructor

The Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre at the Stratford Festival is made possible by the support of the Birmingham family, the Stratford Festival Endowment Foundation and the Department of Canadian Heritage. Additional in-season support is provided by The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation.

Participants’ Biographies
Sara Farb
Stratford: Doña Estefania in The Three Musketeers, Jessica in The Merchant of Venice and appears in Romeo and Juliet. Elsewhere: Natalie in Next to Normal (Citadel Theatre/Theatre Calgary co-production; also Clearwater Productions, Tarragon Theatre); Adele in The Passion of Adele Hugo (Eastern Front Theatre); Songs for a New World, Scrooge (Rose Theatre); The Sisters Rosensweig (Harold Green Jewish Theatre); Lavender Blue (Smile Theatre); Edges, The Long and Winding Road, Tapestries (Acting Up Stage); The Wizard of Oz (YPT); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Canadian Stage); Jane Eyre, Oliver! (Mirvish). Film/TV: The Firm, The Listener, Covert Affairs, Celine. Awards: Robert Merritt Award nominee for Adele Hugo. Online: @sarafarb. Et cetera: Sara is from Toronto. She would like to thank NLM, and her loving and supportive family and friends.

Josue Laboucane
Stratford: Justice in Measure for Measure, Page in Mary Stuart and appears in Othello. Elsewhere: Henry VI in Henry VI: Wars of the Roses, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Julius Caesar, Timon of Athens (Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival); Revenge (Felix Culpa); Zachary in The Exquisite Hour (Relephant Theatre); Carnage (Pi Theatre); Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, Toad in A Year with Frog and Toad, Horton in Seussical, Robin Hood, Bird Brain, Pharaoh Serket, Silverwing (Carousel Theatre); The Emperor’s New Threads (Axis Theatre). Training: The Birmingham Conservatory, Studio 58, the Canadian National Voice Intensive. Awards: Six Jessie Richardson Theatre Award nominations and one win, and the Sydney J. Risk Award. Online: Twitter @josuelaboucane. Et cetera: Josue is also a teacher, emerging director (BC Buds, Alley Theatre, Walking Fish) and mask maker (Carousel Theatre, Vancouver Opera). He is from Vancouver, BC.

Jamie Mac
Theatre: Jacob Mercer in Salt-Water Moon (Canada’s National Arts Centre), Laurie in Vimy (Great Canadian Theatre Company), Clown in The 39 Steps (Stage West), David Jung in Rockbound (Two Planks and a Passion), Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Ryerson Theatre), Michael in The Elephant Song (Beothuk Street Players), Dromio of Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare by the Sea) and Jerry in The Zoo Story (Reid Theatre). Film/TV: Republic of Doyle, Covert Affairs, Life With Derek. Training: Ryerson University, BFA Acting. Awards: For The Elephant Song: Walter C. Chambers Memorial Scholarship, D.A. Matthews Memorial Scholarship, Honorary Chairman’s Award for Best Actor. Et Cetera: Jamie grew up in St. John’s, NL, but trained in Toronto and Ottawa for the past seven years.

Jennifer Mogbock
Theatre: Phebe in As You Like It (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Bernarda in The House of Bernarda Alba (Theater of War); Icarus in Damages Tangled (Theater for the New City, N.Y.C.). Film: Quincy Vidal (Yellowhouse Pictures). Training: BFA, State University of New York (SUNY), Purchase College. Online: Et Cetera: Jennifer was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and raised in Argentina, Houston, TX, and Ottawa.

Derek Moran
Theatre: Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Mario in The Game of Love and Chance (Neptune Theatre); Trout Stanley in Trout Stanley (Heart in Hand Theatre); Owen in The Melville Boys (Red Barn Theatre); Cléante in The Miser, The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Mug in New Canadian Kid (Sudbury Theatre Centre). Film/TV: Mayday, Lost Girl, Bomb Girls, Being Erica, Murdoch Mysteries, Life With Derek, October 1970. Training: George Brown Theatre School. Et Cetera: Derek grew up in Paris, ON.

Karack Osborn
Theatre: Karack has worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theater (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (workshop – The March), Shattered Globe Theatre (Happy Now?), Hartford Stage Company (The Crucible), Eugene O’Neill Theater Center (House of Gold), Highlands Playhouse (The Buddy Holly Story), Wisconsin Theatreworks (The Buddy Holly Story) and the Adler Studio (La Ronde, Pow’rful Rhyme). Training: The School at Steppenwolf and The Stella Adler Studio. Online: Twitter @KarackOsborn. Et cetera: Karack proudly hails from Brisbane, Australia, but calls Chicago home. Love to family and the WP2010. Proudly represented by Maryann Ziesch and Actors Talent Group. Utmost respect, love and thanks to Brian.

Sarena Parmar
Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Canadian Stage); Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Ophelia in Hamlet (Forward Theatre); Beneath the Banyan Tree (Theatre Direct); Lost Voices (Topological Theatre); Iphigenia at Aulis (SummerWorks). Film/TV: Series regular on the Gemini-nominated show How to Be Indie. Co-star in the Disney Original Movie Radio Rebel. Guest star on Flashpoint, The Border and Degrassi. Training: National Theatre School of Canada. Online:, @sarenaparmar. Et cetera: Sarena grew up in Kelowna, B.C. “Thank you to my loving family, mentors and friends.”

Laura Schutt
Theatre: Mrs. Perks in The Railway Children (Marquis/Mirvish), Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (The Grand Theatre), Kellyanne in Pobby and Dingan (YPT), Anne Catherick in The Woman in White (Theatre Aquarius), Eloise in The Eyes of Heaven (Blyth Festival). Film/TV: Copper (BBC America), The Kennedys (Muse Entertainment), Murdoch Mysteries (Citytv), Rookie Blue (ABC/Global). Training: George Brown Theatre School, Meadows School of the Arts (Southern Methodist University). Et cetera: Laura was born in Mississauga and raised in Bartlesville, OK. She currently resides in Kingston, ON. She would like to thank her father for his neverending love and support, and dedicates this time in Stratford to the memory of her mother.

Andrew Robinson
Stratford: Grimaud in The Three Musketeers and appears in Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice. Birmingham Conservatory: Giles (Tons of Money), Dr. Chasuble (The Importance of Being Earnest), director Christopher Newton; Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Twelfth Night), director Robin Phillips. Elsewhere: Menelaos (Ajax in Afghanistan), Dancer (The Intuition of Iphigenia) (Women & War Project – Greece tour: Athens, Hydra, Delphi, Elefsina); Groom (Machina Nuptialis) (Corpus Dance Projects/Regency Theatre – Ontario tour); Dionysus (The Bacchae) (Hydrama Centre – Hydra, Greece); Echo/Narcisszeus (Divorce Play or Russian Dolls) (Rhubarb/Buddies); Chorus (Tightrope) (; Duckett/Merrisson/John/Major/Gleason (Serious Money) (Nightwood/Ryerson); Wolf/Soldier (Bent) (Theatre Engine). Training: Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, Ryerson Theatre School. Et cetera: Born in Scarborough, Andrew has dreamed of acting at the Stratford Festival all his life. He dedicates this season to his mother, Anita, whose constant support makes every dream a possibility.

Antoine Yared
Stratford: Paris in Romeo and Juliet, Planchet in The Three Musketeers and Prince of Aragon in The Merchant of Venice. Elsewhere: The Fox in Pinocchio, Trent Dolin in Smokescreen and various characters in Alice Through the Looking Glass (Geordie Productions); Justin in Jesus Jello (Sheep in Fog); Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Touchstone in As You Like It and Stefano in The Tempest (Repercussion Theatre); Galoshin in Provincial Anecdotes (Concordia University). Film/TV: Boucherie Halal (Babek Aliassa), Open (Tom Abray). Recordings: Kojiro Sasaki, Samurai Warriors 2 (KOEI). Training: Dawson College, Concordia University, Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre. Awards: 2010 Elsa Bolam Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Emerging Artist. Et cetera: Antoine was born in Lebanon and raised in Montreal. He would like to thank his family and friends for always believing in him.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Fiddler on the Roof extended for an extra week

Scott Wentwoth as Tevye (centre) with members of the cast.
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

September 5, 2013… The Stratford Festival is delighted to announce yet another extension to the 2013 season: Fiddler on the Roof, directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, will now run until October 27, giving theatregoers an additional week to catch this season’s hit musical.

“Donna has created a Fiddler for the memory books,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Scott Wentworth presents a Tevye who truly touches our hearts as he balances his devotion to tradition against his daughters’ demands for change. Every member of the cast contributes to this outstanding production, which offers a rare combination of music and dance, humour and warmth.” 

In addition to Mr. Wentworth as Tevye, the production features Kate Hennig as his wife, Golde, with Jacquelyn French as Hodel, Keely Hutton as Chava, Gabrielle Jones as Yente, André Morin as Motel, Mike Nadajewski as Perchik, Paul Nolan as Fyedka and Jennifer Stewart as Tzeitel. 

Described by the Toronto Star’s Richard Ouzounian as “a musical done to perfection” and by the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones as a show “with more than its share of out-of-the-ordinary moments,” Fiddler on the Roof has been selling to sold-out houses filled with delighted theatregoers since it opened in the spring. 

“Director and choreographer Donna Feore’s production of Fiddler on the Roof bubbles over with [life],” said The Globe and Mail’s Kelly Nestruck. “All the love and pain, joy and sadness of living are found on her stage – and, during a few propulsive dance numbers, even spill right into the audience.”

Adds Mr. Ouzounian: “Forget every Fiddler on the Roof you have seen. This is something special, a show that makes you laugh and cry. You’ll leave the theatre marvelling at the entertainment quality of the Stratford Festival at its best, yet pondering the essence of the human condition the show reveals underneath.” 

Tickets for the following additional performances go on sale to Members of the Festival on Friday, September 6, and to the general public on Saturday:

 Tuesday, October 22, at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 24, at 2 p.m.
 Friday, October 25, at 2 p.m.
 Saturday, October 26, at 2 p.m.
 Sunday, October 27, at 2 p.m.

Based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem, with book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, the Tony Award-winning musical was originally produced on the New York stage by Harold Prince and directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. The rousing, unforgettable score features such beloved songs as “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “Sunrise, Sunset.”Fiddler on the Roof is co-sponsored by Union Gas Limited. Production support is generously provided by the Harkins Family in memory of Susan Harkins and by Celebrate Ontario.

To reserve tickets for these and other performances, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit

The rest of the Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and Juliet, The Three Musketeers, The Merchant of Venice, Tommy, Blithe Spirit, Othello, Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart, Waiting for Godot, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 events at The Forum.


Seana McKenna honoured by U of T’s Trinity College

Seana McKenna
September 5, 2013… Seana McKenna yesterday received the degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters, honoris causa, from the University of Trinity College in the University of Toronto. The citation was made by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and Ms McKenna was “hooded” by Toronto Star theatre critic Richard Ouzounian.

Ms McKenna, who attended Trinity on scholarship as an Honours English major, made her Stratford Festival debut as Helena in the 1982 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in the decades since has won international renown for her work.

“Seana McKenna is simply one of the greatest actors Canada has ever produced,” said Mr. Cimolino in his citation. 

Ms McKenna was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal earlier this year, and in 2011 received an Honorary MFA in Acting from The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, joining such other recipients as Olympia Dukakis, Tracy Chapman, John Guare and Denzel Washington.

In addition to 22 seasons at Stratford, she has performed in more than 80 productions at other theatres across Canada and the U.S. and has a number of achievements on screen, including a Genie Award for her supporting role in The Hanging Garden.

“For examples of her range and versatility, one need look no further than the current season, in which she plays the delightfully eccentric Madame Arcati in Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit and the hard-edged but deeply complex Elizabeth I in Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart,” said Mr. Cimolino.

Ms McKenna’s previous Stratford roles have ranged from the title roles in Euripides’ Medea and Racine’s Phèdre to Dotty Otley in Michael Frayn’s great farce Noises Off. She has played every one of Shakespeare’s leading ladies, many of them at Stratford, as well as his wife, Anne Hathaway, in the acclaimed one-woman show Shakespeare’s Will. Her talent is unbounded even by gender: in 2011 she made history for the Festival by playing the title role in Richard III. It is not talent alone that makes Ms McKenna a great leader of the Festival company, but also her care for her fellow artists. In addition to mentoring younger colleagues in the profession, she has devoted her time and energy to serving on our Guthrie Awards committee, as an instructor in our Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre and as a director of the Actors’ Fund of Canada.

“To everything she does – and I speak from experience, having had the privilege of directing her in Mary Stuart and in Tennessee Williams’s The Night of the Iguana – Seana brings an incisive intelligence, powerful analytical skills and a keen sense of curiosity: qualities that clearly were recognized, encouraged and developed during her years at Trinity College,” said Mr. Cimolino.

The staff and company of the Stratford Festival extend their heartiest congratulations to Ms McKenna on this great honour from her alma mater.


Follow by Email

Stratford Festival on Youtube


Blog Archive