The Perfect Present: The Gift of Stratford

Sometimes it’s a challenge to find the perfect item for everyone on your list. Why not give them a Festival gift certificate and let them open up a present full of possibility?

Holiday_certificates

Here are our top five reasons to give someone a Festival gift certificate:

#1: Choice – and lots of it!
Festival gift certificates come in any denomination, giving complete freedom on how your dollars can be spent. You can even purchase a gift certificate online and have it delivered straight to your home! For guaranteed holiday delivery by standard mail, please order by December 12. You may also purchase in person at the Festival Box Office until December 24 at 2 p.m.

#2: Experience the ‘Madness’ of 2014’s season
With a gift certificate, you can give the theatre lovers on your list their own special piece of our next season. With shows like Crazy for YouA Midsummer Night’s Dreamand Alice through the Looking-Glass, your loved one will be brimming with excitement at the thought of planning their next trip to the theatre! Click here for our entire 2014 Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge season playbill.

#3: You’ll be able to give back with this gift
Did you know our gift certificates can even be used to purchase a Festival Membership? Donating to the Festival on another person’s behalf shows how much you care – both for them and for world-class theatre! It’s a splendid way to acknowledge that special someone who has touched your life.

#4: Give the gift of exploration
At the Stratford Festival, we operate four different guided tours to give you a taste of life at the theatre. Buy your loved one a gift certificate and they can use it to spend a fun day touring the iconic Festival Theatre, our costume and props warehouse, intriguing archives, or beautiful gardens.

#5: Memories for keeps
Shop anytime at our online Theatre Store and use a gift certificate to purchase any item in stock! You’ll find perfect mementos and goodies to complement your theatre-going experience.

Finish checking off your holiday shopping list with these lovely items that we’ve specially hand picked from The Theatre Store!

Costume ornaments
This is the perfect gift that allows the theatre enthusiast in your life to preserve the memory of a favourite performance. Each unique glass ornament contains actual fabrics and trims gathered from our Costume Wardrobe workshop from productions like Fiddler on the Roof and Tommy.

Stuffed white swan
Purchase this adorable Webkinz white swan for your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew. They’re bound to get along swimmingly! Friendly and loveable, each one carries a secret code and invitation to a virtual world of online fun and adventure at www.webkinz.com.

Waterglobe
Celebrate sixty years of theatre on the thrust stage designed by Tanya Moiseiwitsch. This beautiful glass water globe features a pair of actors on the famous Festival stage, and makes a splendid keepsake for any theatre lover. Every time you shake the globe, the ‘spotlights’ come on in the form of gold glitter –mimicking the performance lights that play over the stage.

Order your keepsakes online at www.stratfordfestival.ca/store!

While online you can also buy your gift certificates in any denomination a twww.stratfordfestival.ca/giftcertificates or contact our Box Office at 1.800.567.1600. For guaranteed holiday delivery by standard mail, please order by December 12, or purchase in person at the Festival Box Office until December 24 at 2 p.m.

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Press Release | Stratford Festival sees largest jump in attendance since 1999

November 20, 2013… With a ticket sales increase of 11% – the largest since 1999 – the Festival regained valuable ground in 2013, exceeding the season’s goals. Attendance reached more than 480,000, generating revenue from ticket sales of $29.7 million. Though it’s very early days, the trend seems to be continuing with advance sales to Members up 11% for 2014.

In addition to being a smashing success at the box office, Antoni Cimolino’s first season as Artistic Director was also a huge critical success, winning acclaim from critics almost across the board. Five of the season’s 12 productions were extended to meet the demand for tickets, including Mr. Cimolino’s sold-out production of Mary Stuart, which was extended an unprecedented four times.

“We feel we’ve made a great start in turning things around,” said Executive Director Anita Gaffney, reflecting on her first season as the Festival’s top administrator. “Antoni programmed an amazing season featuring repertoire with great appeal to our audiences and we implemented a number of initiatives to encourage longer visits, draw new audience members and bring back lapsed patrons. I’m relieved and delighted these initiatives resonated with people and succeeded on so many fronts.”

The new Forum was enormously popular, attracting nearly 30,000 people to the 150 events held throughout the 2013 season. The Forum was conceived to make a visit to the Festival a more immersive experience, giving theatregoers an opportunity to more deeply explore and discuss the themes of the plays. Figures show that 47% of those who attended The Forum bought more performance tickets than they did the previous year. In addition to accomplishing its goal of solidifying the Festival’s relationship with existing patrons, The Forum also attracted a new audience, with 13% of overall attendance coming to the Festival expressly for Forum events. (As The Forum was designed to enhance the Stratford experience, it was budgeted as a break-even project. Neither the $340,000 it generated in revenue nor its attendance numbers are included in the figures quoted above.)

“We are so pleased to see attendance growing once more,” says Mr. Cimolino, “but what has been even more gratifying is our audience’s response to the season. Time and again, people have come to me to thank me for creating an experience that stimulates them not just emotionally but intellectually and spiritually as well; for presenting plays they aren’t able to see elsewhere; and for providing them with a place to discuss the productions through The Forum. To hear that we’re heading in a positive direction and then to see that reflected at the box office makes our work all the more rewarding as we prepare for 2014.”

Growth was seen across the board, with the following notable increases:

  • Lapsed patrons (who have not attended in five years) up 76%.
  • New customers up 46%.
  • School sales up 20%.
  • U.S. attendance up 8% – the first increase since it began to decline in 2003.
  • Canadian attendance up 13%.

In 2013, a number of new initiatives were introduced to make the Festival more accessible to a broader section of the population and to allow a greater number of people to see multiple performances, giving them a richer experience.

“We wanted to make the Festival as accessible as possible,” says Ms Gaffney. “To that end, we introduced the bus between Toronto and Stratford, which not only brought more people to the Festival but also made it easier for people to make multiple visits.

“We also extended special ticket savings as soon as our box office opened rather than waiting to offer last-minute discounts. As a result we saw an increase in the number of shows patrons were attending, as well as an increase in the number of new and returning patrons. There was also an additional benefit: in recent years we had observed a trend toward last-minute ticket purchases, but this year we were encouraged to see slightly earlier buying behaviour. We will be adding to our incentives to bolster these trends.”

The new Stratford Direct bus service running twice daily from Toronto at a price of just $20 round trip was a huge success. Roughly 15,000 people used the service, and they bought $1 million worth of tickets. As hoped, the bus helped attract new patrons – 53% of those riding the bus had not been to the Festival before. It also lured a number of patrons back to the Festival: 13% of riders had not attended in two or more years. Inspired by this success, the Festival is launching a bus service from Detroit three times a week in 2014.

The Festival introduced two-for-one Tuesdays in 2013. This incentive provided an opportunity for almost 12,000 additional people to attend a performance at the Festival, and 32% of people who took advantage of the two-for-one offer were first-time visitors. The offer drove a 30% increase in Tuesday attendance, along with a 6% increase in Tuesday revenue over 2012. As a result of its success, the program will be extended to include Thursdays in 2014.

The Festival also started a loyalty program in 2013, which featured special acknowledgements, perks and selected incentives for its best customers. People targeted by the program purchased $3.7 million more in tickets than they did the previous year.

Meanwhile, existing incentives also saw increased sales, including Play On, which offers 16- to 29-year-olds $25 tickets to selected performances – up 57% – and the Family Experience, which offers $36 tickets to children 18 and younger attending with an adult – up 39%.

In addition to extending two-for-one Tuesdays and adding the Detroit bus, the Festival is introducing the following programs and incentives:

  • Playcare, a weekend afternoon babysitting service for children 4 to 10 years old, offered through the Stratford Y at just $15.
  • A family concierge in the Avon lobby to assist with children’s needs.
  • Sundays with the Bard, $45 tickets for Sunday matinées of King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Festival Theatre.
  • The Dream Deal, a $99 advance purchase package with tickets to both Chris Abraham’s and Peter Sellars’s versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • The Lucky 29 ticket lottery, sponsored by Sun Life Financial, offering $29 balcony seats to non-musicals at the Festival and Avon theatres.
  • Teacher Ticket Deals, offering discounts for teachers to preview plays for student attendance or enjoy a performance on their own.

The 2013 attendance figure of 480,232 represents an 11% increase over 2012’s attendance of 432,240. In 2011, attendance dipped below 500,000 for the first time in almost 20 years, hitting 455,044.

Tickets for the 2014 season went on sale to Members of the Stratford Festival on November 11. Sales to the general public begin on January 4. For more information, or to place an order, visit www.stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.

The 2014 season runs from April 21 to October 12, featuring King Lear; Crazy for You; two versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Beaux’ Stratagem; Man of La Mancha; Alice Through the Looking-Glass; Hay Fever; King John; Mother Courage and Her Children; Antony and Cleopatra; Christina, The Girl King; and more than 150 events in The Forum.

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PRESS RELEASE | Stratford Festival actors visit Michigan to work with students and teachers

October 22, 2013… Artists from the Stratford Festival arrived in Michigan this weekend as part of the eighth annual Michigan residency. Festival teaching artists will be in the area until November 1, visiting Michigan State University as well as schools in Detroit and environs, East Lansing, Grand Rapids and Port Huron, where they will lead student workshops based on bringing Shakespeare’s plays to life.

“The Michigan Residency is one of many educational and enrichment activities we offer to foster in young people a lifelong love and appreciation of theatre,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Our acting company and artisans create magical worlds on our stages every day. Thanks to the generosity of our Michigan members, we are delighted to bring some of that magic to the students and teachers in the Michigan area, as they work with our artists to explore the joy and inspiration that Shakespeare and classical theatre provide.”

Workshops will teach the Festival’s philosophy of actively learning Shakespeare as participants physically work through a variety of texts in Shakespeare’s canon. A number of topics will be explored, including theatrical play analysis, voice, English language arts, monologue coaching, aspects of technical theatre and design for the theatre, the cultural relevance of Shakespeare and the fundamentals of acting.

During the first week of the residency, 13 artists will visit elementary and secondary schools in Detroit and environs, East Lansing, Grand Rapids and Port Huron. At the end of the week, a Teaching Shakespeare workshop for high school teachers will be held at the University of Michigan Detroit Centre. During the second week, the artists will be working with high school students in the Student Immersion Project at the Wharton Center and with classes at Michigan State University. Workshops will also be held at All The World’s A Stage Acting Studio in the nearby village of Romeo, MI.

Led by Stratford Festival Resident Teaching Artist Edward Daranyi, this year’s group of participating artists are:

Graham Abbey
Skye Brandon
Michelle Giroux
Bruce Godfree
Carmen Grant
Alana Hawley
Brad Hodder
Jacob James
Ruby Joy
Tamara Kutcheran
Anthony Malarky
E.B. Smith
Dorcas Sowumni

Participating Schools:

Detroit and area
Detroit School of Arts
Marian High School
Marine City High School
International Academy of Bloomfield Hills
Willow Wood Public School 

East Lansing and area

Everett High School
Chippewa Middle School
Dansville High School
Grand Ledge High School
Lansing Community College
Mason High School
Sexton High School
Wexford Montessori Academy

Grand Rapids and area

Allegan High School
Aquinas College – Performing Arts Center
Byron Center High School
Grandville High School
Forest Hill High School

Port Huron

Port Huron High School
St. Clair Community College

The Festival extends its gratitude to the Wharton Center of Michigan State University and Michigan Member Executive for their support in making this residency happen, as well as the donors who established the Michigan Educational Outreach Fund in the endowed holdings of the Stratford Festival.

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Three Job Opportunities at the Stratford Festival

The Stratford Festival is North America’s leading classical repertory theatre, entertaining more than half a million people each year. We attract the world’s finest talent, offering a unique experience for staff, artists and actors alike. If you would like to be part of this exciting organization, we are looking for someone to fill the role of…

 Assistant Buyer-Wardrobe department (maternity leave)

This contract position is responsible for assisting with the inventory and purchase of all notions, Health and Safety/personal protective equipment and maintenance supplies. You will be expected to establish and maintain excellent relations with wholesalers and retail suppliers while maintaining current information in both a computerized and manual environment. This will include some travel both locally and in the Toronto area on a regular basis. You will also act as a liaison between several departments within the organization including conveying the needs of our theatres’ designers and wardrobe artisans to our many suppliers.

You must have good working knowledge of the computer programs Word & Excel and a strong ability to research items and suppliers on the internet. It is extremely important that you are able to multi-task several demands at one time in an efficient and timely fashion while maintaining a high level of accuracy. Excellent communication skills in both verbal and written are considered essential. It will be necessary for you to be in possession of a valid Ontario Drivers’ License and will be required to use your own vehicle.

This is a temporary seasonal position located in Stratford beginning January 20, 2014 and ending July 11, 2014.

We recognize that diversity in our workplace, in our audiences and on our stages, fosters a rich and creative environment. We are actively engaged in building a more diverse workforce and encourage all qualified applicants to apply by October 25, 2013 to:

Human Resources
Stratford Festival
55 Queen Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2
E-mail: resumes@stratfordfestival.ca
Subject: Assistant Wardrobe Buyer
Fax: 519-271-0626

_________________________________________________________________________

The Stratford Festival is North America’s leading classical repertory theatre, entertaining more than half a million people each year. We attract the world’s finest talent, offering a unique experience for staff, artists and actors alike. If you would like to be part of this exciting organization, we are looking for someone to fill the role of…

Retail Manager

 Reporting to the Director of Audience Development, your primary responsibility will be to manage the Stratford Festival’s retail operations, ensuring that the Theatre Store operations are profitable, effectively operated, and support the overall brand and mandate of the Stratford Festival.

You will oversee the design of all customized product, the purchasing of all retail offerings and determine the store layout and in-store displays. You will direct and oversee the Festival’s online Theatre Store determining the product mix and implementing improvements that are in line with the best practices for online retail. Where applicable, you will negotiate and manage royalty agreements for production-specific merchandise.

Operationally, you will prepare and manage the annual budget for the Theatre Store, ensuring that both revenue targets and expenses are met, and adjusting forecasts as appropriate.  You will establish internal policies and procedures and will work closely with the Finance department to implement purchasing and inventory controls.  You will analyze sales trends and respond by managing pricing and promotions, and through visual merchandising.

You will hire and manage all seasonal sales associates, operational staff, and lead hands.  One of your key responsibilities will be to motivate staff to reach sales targets through staff meetings, promotions, and incentive programs.  You will also ensure that extraordinary customer service is delivered to Stratford Festival patrons through all retail channels.

You will bring post-secondary education in retail management or business with 5 or more years of related experience.  You must demonstrate strong retail sales skills, proven experience in managing and motivating staff, a track-record of using creative ideas to reach sales targets, strong analytical skills, and the ability to work as part of a larger team.

This is a full-time position located in Stratford, ON.

We recognize that diversity – in our workplace, in our audiences and on our stages – fosters a rich and creative environment. We are actively engaged in building a more diverse workplace and encourage all qualified applicants to apply by October 30, 2013 to:

Human Resources
Stratford Festival
55 Queen Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2
E-mail: resumes@stratfordfestival.ca
Subject: Retail Manager
_________________________________________________________________________

The Stratford Festival is North America’s leading classical repertory theatre, entertaining more than half a million people each year. We attract the world’s finest talent, offering a unique experience for staff, artists and actors alike. If you would like to be part of this exciting organization, we are looking for someone to fill the role of…

Props Apprentice – Festival Theatre – Production department

As an apprentice, you will work with some of this industry’s top craftspeople and artisans, learning the techniques and skills required to work in a large-scale repertory theatre. The apprentice position will consist of a 20-week contract over the winter/spring 2014, and will combine a period of training with work on the 2014 season productions.

There is an option for a second year of training starting February 2015.

Applicants should have post-secondary education in Fine Arts. Theatre Arts, or a related field, and have some theatre production experience. Apprentices will be required to interact with other production staff, designers, and craftspeople, therefore good interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team environment are essential. This position can be physically strenuous and require some heavy lifting.

A portfolio demonstrating skills would be an asset.

This position will begin early February 2014.

We recognize that diversity – in our workplace, in our audiences and on our stages – fosters a rich and creative environment. We are actively engaged in building a more diverse workplace and encourage all qualified applicants to apply by November 8th, 2013 to:

Human Resources
Stratford Festival
55 Queen Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2
E-mail: resumes@stratfordfestival.ca
Subject: Props Apprentice
Fax: 519-271-0626

Job Opportunity | Props Apprentice – Festival Theatre – Production department

The Stratford Festival is North America’s leading classical repertory theatre, entertaining more than half a million people each year. We attract the world’s finest talent, offering a unique experience for staff, artists and actors alike. If you would like to be part of this exciting organization, we are looking for someone to fill the role of…

Props Apprentice – Festival Theatre – Production department

As an apprentice, you will work with some of this industry’s top craftspeople and artisans, learning the techniques and skills required to work in a large-scale repertory theatre. The apprentice position will consist of a 20-week contract over the winter/spring 2014, and will combine a period of training with work on the 2014 season productions.

There is an option for a second year of training starting February 2015.

Applicants should have post-secondary education in Fine Arts. Theatre Arts, or a related field, and have some theatre production experience. Apprentices will be required to interact with other production staff, designers, and craftspeople, therefore good interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team environment are essential. This position can be physically strenuous and require some heavy lifting.

A portfolio demonstrating skills would be an asset.

This position will begin early February 2014.

We recognize that diversity – in our workplace, in our audiences and on our stages – fosters a rich and creative environment. We are actively engaged in building a more diverse workplace and encourage all qualified applicants to apply by November 8th, 2013 to:

Human Resources
Stratford Festival
55 Queen Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2
E-mail: resumes@stratfordfestival.ca
Subject: Props Apprentice
Fax: 519-271-0626

PRESS RELEASE | Playwrights, directors and actors take part in In Vitro: Airings from the Laboratory

October 15, 2013… Join us October 15 to 19 for In Vitro: Airings from the Laboratory, a free series of discussions, demonstrations and dialogue emerging from the inaugural season of the Laboratory, the Festival’s new research and development program for artistic experimentation and exploration.

The Laboratory has provided space for our artists, artisans and staff to participate in master classes with special guest artists and exploratory workshops using rehearsal processes and performance styles from around the world. This special end-of-season series allows our company members to share some of their discoveries. Demonstrations of the work will be accompanied by dialogues and open discussions with the playwrights, directors and actors who have been instrumental in the creative process.

“I believe that exploration and innovation are at the centre of the Festival,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “The idea behind the Laboratory is to provide opportunities not only to experiment with different ways of examining great classic texts but also to explore new large-scale works as well. The Lab is for our artists what the Forum is for our audiences: a transformational experience that provokes curiosity and discussion while enabling us all to enjoy theatre in a deeper and more dynamic way. I am incredibly proud of the work done in this program and cannot wait to share it with the public.”

Join us for a series of informal gatherings hosted by Keira Loughran, Creative Associate for Special Projects, and Bob White, Director of New Plays.

In Vitro: Airings from the Laboratory
Avon Rehearsal Hall 1, enter through the Studio Theatre
10 a.m. – noon, October 15 – 19
Admission is free. Space is limited, so please reserve a ticket through the box office, 1.800.567.1600 or stratfordfestival.ca/invitro.

Tuesday, October 15
Traditions and Trajectories
What is the history of Stratford as a place of innovation? How do we walk the line artistically between tradition and evolution? Join directors and company members, including Patricia Collins and Brian Tree, in an examination of where we – the Stratford Festival – come from and a look at where we – the Stratford Festival – might go to continue to embrace the global diversity of our country and expand our craft.

Wednesday, October 16
The Power of Play
Through moderated discussion with actors and directors and a hands-on demonstration led by Varrick Grimes and Andrew Shaver, this session will examine the role of games and play within a process and within a production. How do they impact the actor’s engagement or responsibility? What is the place of play within a “set” production?

Thursday, October 17
Classic Women in Contemporary Times
Join director Heather Davies and company members, including Carmen Grant, Kate Hennig and Michelle Giroux, in a discussion of the roles for women within the classical canon and the possibilities and challenges offered in cross-gender casting.

Friday, October 18
Original Practices
This session will centre on the reflections and discoveries made through the textual approach used by Tim Carroll in our production of Romeo and Juliet, discoveries made in the Forum event on Original Pronunciation, and Coffee and a Scroll – led by company member Kaitlyn Riordan and Shakespeare in the Ruff, in which company members will explore original staging practices believed to be used in Shakespeare’s time through a spontaneous staging of an edited Henry VI, Part 3. Donations will be taken for the Actor’s Fund of Canada.

Saturday, October 19
The Making of Meaning
Join directors Varrick Grimes, Thomas Morgan Jones, Clare Preuss and Kate Hennig as we explore the diverse processes of devising work; creating work without a script, the job of the actor within that process, the proposition of non-text based narrative, and navigating the means of storytelling.

 

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 27, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for GodotTaking Shakespeare and The Thrill.

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