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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Stratford Festival expands online teaching tools

PerformancePlus provides an unparalleled opportunity to study the play in performance

April 5, 2016… The Stratford Festival is greatly enhancing its online teaching toolkit with PerformancePlus. Created by the Festival’s Education Department in collaboration with D2L Corporation, PerformancePlus is designed primarily for use by students and teachers, but is available for public use on the Festival’s website.
PerformancePlus integrates Shakespeare’s text with an HD video of a live performance at the Stratford Festival, allowing for dynamic engagement with Shakespeare’s works in the classroom or during individual study.

“We wanted to develop a way to really bring these wonderful plays to the classroom,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, “showing students that Shakespeare can be vibrantly alive in the very same media they use to navigate and explore the world around them.”

PerformancePlus is an ideal primary tool for delivering the Grade 9 to 12 curriculum. It presents a world-class Stratford Festival performance alongside Shakespeare’s script, highlighting each piece of dialogue as it is delivered by the actor, offering an unparalleled clarity of understanding.

PerformancePlus goes live on March 31 with King Lear. More titles will be added as the Festival continues with its new initiative to capture all of Shakespeare’s plays in HD over the next 10 years.

“We are launching PerformancePlus with our HD production of King Lear, an ideal title for the education market,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. “Part of our motivation for introducing the Stratford Festival HD series is to make the plays available to students and teachers. By the end of this year, we will have nine productions in our catalogue of Shakespeare films, providing an incredible tool for classrooms around the world.”
With PerformancePlus, students are able to read and watch the play at the same time, and can easily pause at any moment to explore additional content, including mouse-over definitions of words and expressions. The site offers scene selection, character descriptions, scene-by-scene plot outlines, thought-provoking essay questions and more – all of which can be easily and successfully navigated during individual or class study. Video enhancements include interviews with actors and directors offering insight into the play, its concepts, themes and character development.

PerformancePlus King Lear can be accessed on the Stratford Festival website:

Stratford Festival HD is sponsored by Sun Life Financial as part of their Making the Arts More Accessible™ program. Support for Stratford Festival HD is generously provided by Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, the Jenkins Family Foundation, the Henry White Kinnear Foundation, Ophelia & Mike Lazaridis, Sandra & Jim Pitblado, the Slaight Family Foundation, and Robert & Jacqueline Sperandio. The Festival also acknowledges the generous support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Sarah Garton Stanley steps in to direct Bunny


April 20, 2016… Vanessa Porteous has had to withdraw from the Stratford Festival’s 2016 season, in which she was to direct Hannah Moscovitch’s new play, Bunny. An unforeseen family health issue requires her attention in Calgary.
Sarah Garton Stanley will step in to direct Bunny, a Festival commission, which begins rehearsals on June 9 and premières on August 18.
“We were all very sorry to hear that Vanessa would not be able to direct this exciting new play,” said Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Her previous Festival production of Christina The Girl King was beautiful and Vanessa’s collaboration with Hannah on Bunny promised a terrific experience in the theatre. I wish Vanessa well and look forward to her return to the Festival in the years ahead.
“Fortunately in Sarah Stanley we have a director who is extremely gifted, skilled at developing new plays and deeply trusted by Hannah herself. I’m delighted to welcome Sarah to the Stratford Festival. I have long admired her work and am profoundly grateful that she has made herself available to direct this remarkable script.”
“I’m very sorry to lose the chance to work with the formidable Vanessa Porteous,” said Ms Moscovitch. “It’s been an immense pleasure to develop Bunny with her.
“I’ve admired Sarah’s art for the last 10 years and so I’m big time thrilled to finally get to work with her. I love the collaborative and original spirit she brings to all her work. I’m very grateful to Stratford, Bob White and Antoni Cimolino for giving me the opportunity to première a new play with a director I’ve longed to work with.”
Ms Stanley is the Associate Artistic Director of English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre, Artistic Director of and co-director of Selfconscious Theatre. She co-founded The Baby Grand, in Kingston, co-created Women Making Scenes in Montreal, and Die in Debt Theatre in Toronto. Ms Stanley is a former Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and over a 25-year award-winning career, she has held extended stays at the National Theatre School of Canada, the Magnetic North Theatre Festival and Factory Theatre in Toronto. Recently Ms Stanley was Associate Director on Stan Douglas’s Helen Lawrence, a live film noir project that played New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Munich, Edinburgh and Antwerp. She directed Colleen Murphy’s December Man (L’homme de décembre) at the NAC, and Caught by Jordi Mand at TPM. This will be her Stratford Festival directorial debut.
Support for the 2016 season of the Studio Theatre is generously provided by Sandra & Jim Pitblado.
The 2016 season runs from April 19 to October 30. It features Macbeth, As You Like It, A Chorus Line, Shakespeare in Love, A Little Night Music, All My Sons, Breath of Kings, John Gabriel Borkman, The Hypochondriac, The Aeneid, Bunny and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 1.800.567.1600 FREE.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

#Shakepseare400 Shakespeare Play Finder

Just in time for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death (and possibly 452nd birthday), Mya Gosling of GoodTickleBrain has created this funky and pleasingly accurate Shakespeare play finder... whatever mood you're in, this flowchart will find the right play for you!

Click on the chart to see the full size.Coutesy of Mya Gosling, GoodTickleBrain

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