Press Release | The Festival’s first “Forum Foray” begins tomorrow

June 11, 2013… Some of the world’s greatest thinkers and entertainers are gathering in Stratford this week as part of the Stratford Festival’s new Forum, a series of activities and events designed to make a visit to Stratford an immersive, all-encompassing cultural experience. From June 12 to 16, the Festival will host its first “Forum Foray,” a supercharged week that is jam-packed with provocative speakers, panels, comedy nights, concerts and more.

Highlights of the week include: Ancient Grudges and New Mutinies, in which John de Chastelain, the 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 Northern Ireland and other conflict zones; and The Ambassadors, in which David Jacobson, U.S. Ambassador to Canada and Wael Ahmed Kamal Aboul-Magd, Egyptian Ambassador to Canada, discuss the highlights and challenges of their roles in Canada today and relate their experiences to those of ambassador figures in this season’s plays.

The Foray also includes a live rendition of CBC’s hit satirical show This is That; a performance by the ARC Ensemble: Tradition and the Jewish Composer with special guest Alon Nashman; Stand Off, a competition of stand-up comedy offering a different take on this season’s themes; the first in the series Geraint Wyn Davies Presents…“Wordplay”; and Cynthia Dale in Concert: Outside Looking In. Also of note: Jordan Peterson on The Necessity of Virtue; Sally Armstrong on the Ascent of Women; Mavis Himes on Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare; Theatre Artists Displaced by War; Youth Driving Social Change; a screening of Dark Lullabies; and a conversation between Brian Dennehy and Jennifer Tarver.

The week’s schedule of events includes:


Jordan Peterson: The Necessity of Virtue

Festival Theatre lobby, 11 a.m.

Regular contributor to TVO’s Big Ideas, University of Toronto professor and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson examines the necessity of virtue as evidenced in Measure for Measure.

Admission: $10.

For the Love of Godot

Studio Theatre, 5:30 p.m.

Actor Brian Dennehy, who plays Pozzo in this season’s Waiting for Godot, discusses all things Beckett with director Jennifer Tarver.

Admission: $10.

This event will be available via Livestream:


Today’s Youth: Driving Social Change

University of Waterloo Stratford Campus,

125 St. Patrick Street, 10:30 a.m.

Egyptian Ambassador Wael Ahmed Kamal Aboul-Magd, Idle No More organizer Tori Cress, Outside the March Theatre’s Mitchell Cushman and Manifesto Community Projects’ Stephanie Perrin explore how the next generation is shaping society through art and political activism.

Admission: $10.

This event will be available via Livestream:

The Ambassadors

Festival Theatre lobby, 5:30 p.m.

Often the bearers of bad news in classical literature, ambassadors have a unique perspective as posted outsiders to a nation. Join the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, in conversation with the Egyptian Ambassador to Canada, Wael Ahmed Kamal Aboul-Magd, as they discuss some of the contentious challenges they face in their roles today and how they see our country in a global perspective.

Admission: Free.

Stand Off

Studio Theatre, 11 p.m.

Using themes of rebellion and audience feedback, stand-up comics, including Sabrina Jalees, Chris Gibbs, Albert Howell, Elvira Kurt, Sharron Matthews and Matt Watts, compete to write the best stand-up sets in under 15 minutes. Hosted by Joanne O’Sullivan.

Admission: $25.

The Festival regrets to announce that, due to scheduling of the second season of Match Game on The Comedy Network, Seán Cullen is no longer able to participate in this event.

We are pleased to welcome comedian, actor, keynote speaker and writer Sabrina Jalees. The host of YTV’s In Real Life and CBC’s national radio show Laugh Out Loud, and best known as a fixture on MuchMusic’s Video on Trial, Ms Jalees is one of the most recognizable faces in Canadian media.


Theatre Artists Displaced by War

University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street, 10:30 a.m.

Celebrated Canadian artists including Iranian-born director Soheil Parsa (Modern Times Theatre), and Lebanese-born director Majdi Bou-Matar (MT Space Theatre), explore the gifts and challenges they have faced as artists exiled from their native homes.

Admission: $10.

Dark Lullabies

University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street, 5:30 p.m.

Canadian filmmaker Irene Lilienheim Angelico strives for comprehension of the Holocaust by reaching out to the children of both survivors and perpetrators. The screening of this award-winning documentary will be followed by a chat with Angelico.

Admission: $20.

Geraint Wyn Davies Presents… “Wordplay”: Becket

Studio Theatre, 8 p.m.

Guest star Colm Feore joins host Geraint Wyn Davies, Martha Henry and other company members in a dramatic reading of Jean Anouilh’s historical drama, Becket, which centres on the conflict between Thomas Becket and King Henry II of England leading to Becket’s assassination in 1170.

Admission: $25.


John de Chastelain: Ancient Grudges and New Mutinies

Tom Patterson Theatre, 10 a.m.

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.

Admission: $20.

This event will be available via Livestream:

Support for the appearance of John de Chastelain is generously provided in memory of Dr. W. Philip Hayman.

A Rose by Any Other Name: Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare

Festival Theatre lobby, 5:30 p.m.

Psychoanalyst Mavis Himes speaks with Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino about the insights psychoanalysis can bring to Romeo and Juliet.

Admission: Free.


Sally Armstrong: Ascent of Women

Studio Theatre, 10 a.m.

Journalist, author and human rights activist Sally Armstrong discusses inspiring women who are fighting for equality, and thereby making room for economic justice and peace.

Admission: $20.

ARC Ensemble: Tradition and the Jewish Composer

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 25 St. Andrew Street, 5:30 p.m.

A concert of rare Jewish art music with readings from the work of Sholem Aleichem, delivered by award-winning actor Alon Nashman.

Admission: $35.

This Is That: A Conversation with the Nation

Studio Theatre, 8 p.m.

Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring in a live rendition of CBC’s award-winning satirical radio show. Nothing is off limits – politics, culture, justice, religion. Subject matter: totally Canadian. Truth factor: totally questionable.

Admission: $29.


Cynthia Dale in Concert: Outside Looking In

Studio Theatre, June 11, 13, 18, 21 at 2 p.m.

Canada’s favourite performer delivers a full-length concert of songs inspired by the themes of the season. Special guest Dan Chameroy joins Cynthia Dale on stage for spellbinding duets and solo numbers.

Admission: $45.

Festival Exhibition

104 Downie Street, Wednesdays through Sundays, June 5 to October 20

Explore Present and Past Productions of Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure and The Merchant of Venice. A vast selection of costumes, props and artefacts from our Archives are displayed in a beautiful museum-style venue, with talks with Festival artists.

Cost included in admission to the Exhibition.

Festival Theatre Tours

Festival Theatre, Wednesday to Sunday, June 5 to October 20, at 9:15 and 9:30 a.m.

Take this one-hour walking tour to see and hear about the magic of the theatre. Our knowledgeable guides will share stories and information about both the current and past seasons.

Admission: $8 per person; $6 students and seniors.

For tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit

Forum events will run all season long with two more “Forum Forays” scheduled for July 9 to 14 and August 9 to 18. Through debates, talks, concerts, comedy nights, hands-on workshops and more, The Forum will offer theatregoers more ways to discover and examine the themes running through this season’s productions.

Support for the inaugural season of The Forum is generously provided by Kelly and Michael Meighen and the Province of Ontario, in partnership with the University of Waterloo, with media sponsorship provided by The Walrus. Support for the Speakers Series is generously provided in memory of Dr. W. Philip Hayman.

The Festival’s new Toronto bus service Stratford Direct is now available twice daily on performance days for only $20 return. Reservations can be made through the box office.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season 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, Taking Shakespeare, and The Thrill, along with more than 150 events at The Forum.



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