March 26, 2013… The Stratford Festival is taking action to meet growing demand for what is shaping up to be one of the season’s hottest tickets, Mary Stuart, with a quarter of performances already sold out.
Matinee performances of Mary Stuart have been added to the 2013 schedule on August 27 and September 20. Tickets are available online and through the box office.
“This rarely performed play explores the fascinating relationship between two iconic figures from history – Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Elizabeth I – and features two of Canada’s finest actors, Seana McKenna and Lucy Peacock,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. “It is the first production directed by Antoni Cimolino since he took over as Artistic Director. His production of Cymbeline was one of the highlights of last season – and we had to schedule additional performances of it as well.
“Antoni has assembled a playbill that connects through themes of ‘community’ and in Mary Stuart we are swept away by the political and religious forces that envelop this world. It will be interesting to see this play alongside some other selections in the season that expose these same forces, such as Measure for Measure, Othello and The Three Musketeers.”
Mary Stuart features Ms Peacock in the title role and Ms McKenna as Elizabeth I. Joining them are Ben Carlson as Lord Burleigh, Brian Dennehy as the Earl of Shrewsbury and Geraint Wyn Davies as the Earl of Leicester.
The play, by Friedrich Schiller, follows a period in the life of Mary Stuart, when the former Queen of Scots has been imprisoned in England because her very existence poses a political and personal risk to her Protestant cousin, Elizabeth I. As Elizabeth hesitates over decreeing her rival’s fate, Mary pleads for a face-to-face meeting, and we see how religion can become a tool in the hands of cynical politicians who are willing to sacrifice lives in the supposed interests of the state.
A number of events relating to Mary Stuart are being presented at the Festival’s new Forum, a series of thought-provoking and entertaining events planned to enrich the play-going experience. They include:
- Dear Mary, Dear Elizabeth, in which Ms McKenna and Ms Peacock present readings of the letters of Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I, introduced and contextualized by Dr. Ted McGee. In the Studio Theatre on June 28 at 5:30 p.m., July 26 at 11 a.m., and August 31 at 11 a.m. $15.
- Table Talk, a buffet lunch followed by a talk on Mary Stuart by David G. John of the University of Waterloo. In the Paul D. Fleck Marquee on July 9 at 11:30 a.m. $37, with a cash bar.
- Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens: A Study of Leadership Lost and Won, a talk by Barbara Kyle, author of Blood Between Queens, which will be published in May 2013. In the Festival Theatre Lobby on July 10 at 11 a.m. Free admission.
- The Power of Women / Women in Power, a panel featuring author, playwright and activist Susan G. Cole, scholar Margaret Jane Kidnie and others. In the Studio Theatre Annex on August 18, 5:30 p.m. $10.
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 www.stratfordfestival.ca.