Press Release | Mary Stuart extended for a fourth time

August 23, 2013… The Stratford Festival is extending Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino’s production of Mary Stuart for an unprecedented fourth time.

The production, described as “electrifyingly entertaining and intellectually exciting” by the Toronto Star’s Richard Ouzounian and “edge-of-your-seat suspenseful” by The Globe and Mail’s J. Kelly Nestruck, features Seana McKenna as Elizabeth I and Lucy Peacock as Mary Stuart, with Ben Carlson as Lord Burleigh, Brian Dennehy as the Earl of Shrewsbury and Geraint Wyn Davies as the Earl of Leicester.

Mary Stuart is striking for the clarity of its storytelling, the constant intensity of its dramatic stakes and, especially, for the evenhanded excellence of Lucy Peacock and Seana McKenna in the leading roles,” says Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune. “This is one for the memory books, with two remarkable actresses at the peak of their powers,” says Postmedia’s Jamie Portman.

With the run entirely sold out despite three previous extensions, the Festival is delighted to offer eager theatre-goers four more opportunities to see the smash hit of the season.

Tickets for the following performances will go on sale to Members of the Stratford Festival on Tuesday, August 27, and to the general public on Wednesday, August, 28:

  • Wednesday, October 16, at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 17, at 8 p.m.
  • Friday, October 18, at 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 19, at 8 p.m.

The play, by Friedrich Schiller, newly adapted by Peter Oswald, 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.

The final performance of The Forum event Dear Mary, Dear Elizabeth will be held on August 31 at 11 a.m. in the Studio Theatre. It features Ms McKenna and Ms Peacock reading the letters of Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I, introduced and contextualized by Dr. Ted McGee.

Mary Stuart is co-sponsored by PwC. Production support for Mary Stuart is generously provided by Dr. Dennis & Dorothea Hacker, Dr. M.L. Myers and the late Dr. W.P. Hayman, Alice & Tim Thornton and Diana Tremain. Support for the 2013 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Richard Rooney and Laura Dinner.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.

To purchase tickets for Mary Stuart and all of the 2013 season productions, call the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.

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Mary Stuart extended for third time | Six performances in October added in response to sold-out run

July 23, 2013… With every performance virtually sold out, the Stratford Festival’s production of Mary Stuart, directed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, is being extended for a third time this season. Already one of the most highly attended productions in the Festival’s history, Mary Stuart will now run for an additional two weeks in October.

“It gives me immense pleasure to see a work by an 18th-century German playwright capture the public’s imagination in such a big way,” says Mr. Cimolino. “This play has so much to say about our world today and it’s great to see audiences recognize and connect to that.”

The following additional performances of Mary Stuart will go on sale to Members of the Stratford Festival at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 23, and to the general public at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24:

  • Wednesday, October 2, at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 3, at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 5, at 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 9, at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 10, at 8 p.m.
  • Friday, October 11, at 8 p.m.

“In my 22 years with the Festival, I have never seen a show consistently sell out to this extent,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. “Mary Stuart tickets have been in demand since advance ticket sales began. In March we added two performances to the schedule. Then last month we added an additional week of performances for all three productions at the Tom Patterson Theatre – Mary Stuart, Measure for Measure and Waiting for Godot. Now we’re at it again!

“This compelling production of Mary Stuart features two of Canada’s finest actors, Seana McKenna and Lucy Peacock, and is directed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, who was at the helm of last season’s Cymbeline and 2009’s Bartholomew Fair – two other rarely produced works that thrilled audiences and played to near capacity houses.”

Mary Stuart features Seana McKenna as Elizabeth I and Lucy Peacock as Mary Stuart, with Ben Carlson as Lord Burleigh, Brian Dennehy as the Earl of Shrewsbury and Geraint Wyn Davies as the Earl of Leicester.

It also features James Blendick as Amias Paulet, Patricia Collins as Hanna Kennedy, Peter Hutt as Aubespine, Ian Lake as Mortimer, E.B. Smith as Bellievre and Brian Tree as Melvil, with Nigel Bennett as the Sheriff, Brad Hodder as O’Kelly, Josue Laboucane as the Page, Robert Persichini as the Earl of Kent, Christopher Prentice as Drury and Dylan Trowbridge as William Davison.

Production support for Mary Stuart is generously provided by Dr. Dennis & Dorothea Hacker, Dr. M.L. Myers & the late Dr. W.P. Hayman, Alice & Tim Thornton and Diana Tremain. The production co-sponsor is PwC. Support for the 2013 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Richard Rooney and Laura Dinner.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.

To purchase tickets for Mary Stuart and all of the 2013 season productions, call the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.

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Press Release | Samuel Beckett’s comedic masterpiece Waiting for Godot starts previews

June 13, 2013… Widely considered the greatest play of the 20th century, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot begins previews on Thursday, June 13, at the Tom Patterson Theatre.

Since it was first staged 60 years ago at the Theatre de Babylone in Paris, theatre artists, critics, scholars and audiences have come to embrace this seminal tragicomedy as a modern masterpiece. A funny, harrowing and deeply human story, the play centres on two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, who wait by the side of a road for their meeting with the mysterious Godot – a figure who never arrives and is never explained. As they struggle to make sense of their predicament, their hilarious conversations and clownish games help them to pass the time.

Acclaimed director Jennifer Tarver, who won international plaudits for her 2008 production of Krapp’s Last Tape, continues her fascinating exploration of Beckett’s work with this production.

“I am entranced by Samuel Beckett’s writing,” says Ms Tarver. “He has an incredible theatrical sense: he knows the power of live performance and everything it entails in terms of choreography, rhythm of movement, lighting and all the other resources of the medium. It’s almost as if he writes the theatre before he writes the play, telling the story through those three-dimensional elements rather than beginning with text that then has to be translated onto the stage. Some of his plays don’t even have any spoken words. I love that kind of inherently theatrical drama. And then on top of that, the words he does write are heartstoppingly beautiful poetry.”

In a playbill that explores the idea of community and particularly how we as individuals relate to our fellow human beings, to society and its institutions, Waiting for Godot is a natural fit.

“In programming the Tom Patterson Theatre, I selected three plays that examine our relationship to God and the place of God in our communities,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Alongside the imposed morality of Measure for Measure and the political violence motivated by religion in Mary Stuart, we see in Godot a landscape where God is awaited but never arrives and any sense of community is absent. This play will be a great complement to the more political and social examinations of community that we have in this season.

“Jennifer Tarver is a director who has had astounding success with Beckett and this production is no exception. Not only does she have an ear for it, she has the heart for it. Her brilliant direction coupled with an extraordinary company of actors makes this show one of this season’s most anticipated productions.”

The remarkable cast features Brian Dennehy as Pozzo, Stephen Ouimette as Estragon and Tom Rooney as Vladimir, with Randy Hughson as Lucky.

The artistic team features Designer Teresa Pryzbylski, Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell, Sound Designer Jesse Ash, Movement Coach Shona Morris and Fight Director John Stead.

Waiting for Godot Forum Highlights

The Forum , the new festival within the Festival, is a series of activities and events designed to make a visit to Stratford an immersive, all-encompassing cultural experience. 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.

Waiting for Godot will be explored through several Forum  events, including: Beckett: Longing and Belonging, in which Professor Sean Kennedy, an expert on Beckett, examines questions of identity, community and isolation in the play; Talking Theatre: “Who would believe thee Isabel?” in which Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and Education Consultant Pat Quigley lead a discussion on how several of this season’s characters, including Lucky in Waiting for Godot, are rendered voiceless by the structure and exercise of power; and Star Talks, in which Toronto Star theatre critic Richard Ouzounian interviews Brian Dennehy on stage.

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. Philip Hayman.

Waiting for Godot officially opens on June 27 and runs until September 26. For tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit stratfordfestival.ca.

Waiting for Godot is co-sponsored by Sylvanacre Properties Ltd.. Production support is generously provided by Sylvia D. Chrominska.

Support for the 2013 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Richard Rooney and Laura Dinner.

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 JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Pozzo………………………………………….         Brian Dennehy
Understudy……………………………………         Keith Dinicol
Lucky………………………………………….         Randy Hughson
Boy, alternating…..……………………………         Ethan Ioannidis
Boy, alternating.………………………………         Noah Jalava
Estragon…………………………………….…         Stephen Ouimette
Understudy……………………………………         Gareth Potter
Vladimir……………………………………….         Tom Rooney

Artistic Credits

Director………………………………………..         Jennifer Tarver
Designer……………………………………….         Teresa Przybylski
Lighting Designer……………………………..         Kimberly Purtell
Sound Designer………………………………..        Jesse Ash
Movement……………………………………..         Shona Morris
Fight Director…………………………….……        John Stead
Producer…………………………………….…         David Auster
Casting Director…………………………….…         Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director……………………         Jason Miller
Assistant Set Designer…………………………         Patrice Strate
Assistant Costume Designer…………………..         Sara Brzozowski
Assistant Lighting Designer…………………..         Sarah Mansikka
Assistant Fight Director……………………….         Geoff Scovell
Fight Captain………………………………….         Stephen Ouimette
Stage Manager…………………………………         Janine Ralph
Assistant Stage Manager………………………         Jessica Stinson
Apprentice Stage Manager……………………         Kelsey Rae
Production Assistant…………………………..         Heather Bellingham
Production Stage Manager…………………….        Janine Ralph
Technical Director……………………………..         Sean Hirtle

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Friedrich Schiller’s political thriller Mary Stuart starts previews

May 3, 2013… Examining the power struggle between two legendary monarchs, Mary Stuart offers a timely exploration of the often dangerous relationship between religion and politics. Directed by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Antoni Cimolino, Friedrich Schiller’s gripping historical drama, in a new version by Peter Oswald, begins previews on Friday, May 3, at the Tom Patterson Theatre.

For the first time since 2005’s Fallen Angels, two of the Festival’s most celebrated leading women – Seana McKenna and Lucy Peacock – will be sharing the stage. Ms Peacock will play the title role opposite Ms McKenna as Elizabeth I. The cast also features Ben Carlson as Lord Burleigh, Brian Dennehy as the Earl of Shrewsbury and Geraint Wyn Davies as the Earl of Leicester.

This will be the first production directed by Mr. Cimolino since taking over as Artistic Director this season. A celebrated director, he has been at the helm of many of the Festival’s most successful productions, including last year’s hauntingly beautiful Cymbeline. Mary Stuart promises to be a highlight of this season as well, with a quarter of the performances already sold out.

“I have selected a season that I hope will touch both the hearts and minds of our audiences, not only engaging them emotionally but also provoking discussion and debate,” says Mr. Cimolino. “A story about religious extremism, fanatics willing to die for their God, gender politics and a society struggling to find its way to democracy, Mary Stuart serves as a bridge that connects the England of 1587 with the German states of 1800 and with any monotheistic nation in 2013.”

Mary Stuart, former Queen of Scots, is 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.

“It’s a great enlightenment play,” says Mr. Cimolino. “I think the point Schiller is trying to make is that it is human to become intolerant – and even to take a force for good, like religion, and twist it. It’s not that you doubt the belief of the people who believe; you just doubt the aims of the people who are telling them who their enemies are and what to do.”

The production’s artistic team includes Designer Eo Sharp, Lighting Designer Steven Hawkins, Sound Designer Todd Charlton, Movement Coach Shona Morris and Fight Director John Stead.

Mary Stuart Forum Highlights 

The Forum, the new festival within the Festival, is a series of activities and events designed to make a visit to Stratford an immersive, all-encompassing cultural experience. 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.

Mary Stuart will be explored through several Forum events, including: Dear Mary, Dear Elizabeth, in which cast members Seana McKenna and Lucy Peacock present readings of real-life letters between the rival queens Elizabeth and Mary; Ascent of Women: A Remarkable Story of World-Wide Change, in which Sally Armstrong, journalist, author and three-time winner of the Amnesty International Media Award and a Member of the Order of Canada, discusses her latest book, Ascent of Women; and Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens: A Study of Leadership Lost and Won, a talk and book signing by Barbara Kyle, author of Blood Between Queens, published in May 2013.

The Forum also includes events led by key cast members of Mary Stuart: Geraint Wyn Davies Presents… “Wordplay”: Becket, in which members of the company join Geraint Wyn Davies for a reading of Becket, Jean Anouilh’s historical drama about an earlier conflict in British history, and Late Night with Lucy, an after-hours cabaret with host Lucy Peacock and special guest performers.

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.

Mary Stuart officially opens on May 31 and runs until September 21. For tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.

Production support for Mary Stuart is generously provided by Dr. Dennis & Dorothea Hacker, Drs. M.L. Myers & the late W.P. Hayman, Alice & Tim Thornton and Diana Tremain.

Support for the 2013 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Richard Rooney and Laura Dinner.

Stratford Direct, the new daily return private bus service between Toronto and Stratford, began May 1. Departing once daily from May 1 to 25 and October 1 to 20 and twice daily from May 27 to September 29 (on performance days only), the round trip costs only $20.

Support for Stratford Direct is generously provided by The Peter Cundill Foundation.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Ensemble……………………………….        Sarah Afful

Officer #1/Sheriff………………………       Nigel Bennett

Amias Paulet……………………………        James Blendick

Ensemble……………………………….        Susie Burnett

Lord Burleigh…………………………..       Ben Carlson

Hanna Kennedy………………………..        Patricia Collins

Earl of Shrewsbury…………………….        Brian Dennehy

Ensemble……………………………….        Carmen Grant

O’Kelly…………………………………       Brad Hodder

Aubespine………………………………       Peter Hutt

Ensemble……………………………….        Ruby Joy

Officer #2/Page…………………………       Josue Laboucane

Mortimer………………………………..       Ian Lake

Elizabeth………………………………..       Seana McKenna

Mary Stuart……………………………..       Lucy Peacock

Earl of Kent…………………………….       Robert Persichini

Drury……………………………………       Christopher Prentice

Understudy……………………………..       Stephen Russell

Bellievre………………………………..        E.B. Smith

Ensemble……………………………….        Dorcas Sowunmi

Melvil……………………………………       Brian Tree

William Davison………………………..       Dylan Trowbridge

Earl of Leicester…………………………       Geraint Wyn Davies

Artistic Credits

Director…………………………………       Antoni Cimolino

Designer…………………………………       Eo Sharp

Lighting Designer………………………       Steven Hawkins

Sound Designer…………………………       Todd Charlton

Movement………………………………       Shona Morris

Fight Director…………………………..       John Stead

Producer…………………………………       David Auster

Casting Director………………………..        Beth Russell

Creative Planning Director……………..       Jason Miller

Assistant Director………………………       Birgit Schreyer Duarte

Assistant Set Designer………………….       Patrice Strate

Assistant Costume Designer……………       Kimberly Catton

Assistant Lighting Designer……………       Sarah Mansikka

Assistant Fight Directors……………….       Geoff Scovell, Anita Nittoly

Stage Manager………………………….       Anne Murphy

Assistant Stage Manager……………….       Holly Korhonen, Kristopher Weber

Apprentice Stage Manager……………..       Kenilee Kehler

Production Assistant……………………        Heather Bellingham

Production Stage Manager……………..       Janine Ralph

Technical Director………………………        Sean Hirtle

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Festival announces key casting for 2013

October 16, 2012… With the 2013 box office opening to Members in just a few weeks, the Stratford Festival is pleased to announce key casting for the 2013 season, featuring the return of many Festival favourites.

Jewelle Blackman, Michelle Giroux, Jonathan Goad, Kate Hennig, Dion Johnstone, Jeremy Kushnier, Mike Nadajewski, Paul Nolan, Stephen Ouimette, Steven Sutcliffe, Sara Topham and Scott Wentworth will be returning to the Festival in 2013, joining current company members Graham Abbey, Nigel Bennett, Michael Blake, James Blendick, Ben Carlson, Jacquelyn French, Carmen Grant, Deborah Hay, Randy Hughson, Luke Humphrey, Peter Hutt, Keely Hutton, Bethany Jillard, Gabrielle Jones, Ian Lake, Tom McCamus, Seana McKenna, Lucy Peacock, Chick Reid, Tom Rooney, Steve Ross, Stephen Russell, Mike Shara, Jennifer Stewart, Brian Tree and Geraint Wyn Davies.

Also joining the company are newcomers Daniel Briere, Nehassaiu deGannes, Kira Guloien, Hannah Miller, Andre Morin and Robert Markus. As previously announced, Brian Bedford, Brian Dennehy and Martha Henry will also return in leading roles.

“At the heart of the Festival stand extraordinary artists,” says Antoni Cimolino, who will take over as Artistic Director on November 1. “I am immensely proud of the company we have assembled for the 2013 season, bringing together some of our finest actors as well as some exceptionally promising newcomers. We look forward to working with them to present the most exciting stories ever told.”

Daniel Briere and Sara Topham to play Romeo and Juliet

ROMEO AND JULIET | DIRECTED BY TIM CARROLL | FESTIVAL THEATRE
PREVIEWS START MAY 1 | OPENS MAY 27 | CLOSES OCTOBER 19
PRODUCTION SPONSOR: SUN LIFE FINANCIAL
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: M. VAILE FAINER

Daniel Briere and Sara Topham will play the title characters in Tim Carroll’s production of Romeo and Juliet. They will be joined by Nehassaiu deGannes as Lady Capulet, Jonathan Goad as Mercutio, Kate Hennig as the Nurse, Tom McCamus as Friar Laurence and Scott Wentworth as Capulet.

Daniel Briere will make his Stratford debut as Romeo. A graduate of the National Theatre School, Mr. Briere has played such roles as Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew and Paris in Romeo and Juliet at Calgary’s Shakespeare in the Park, Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing at Driftwood Theatre, Number One in Lebenstraum at the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre and Art in The Mail Order Bride at the Blyth Festival.

Sara Topham will return for her 13th season to play Juliet. After her Stratford and Broadway turn as Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest, Ms Topham returned to Stratford in 2010 to play Wendy in Peter Pan and La Présidente de Tourvel in Dangerous Liaisons, followed by Olivia in Twelfth Night and Célimène in The Misanthrope in 2011. This past year has seen her in leading roles at the Hartford Stage Company, McCarter Theater Center and Shakespeare Theater Company.  Other key Stratford credits include Miss Mabel Chiltern in An Ideal Husband, Jessica in The Merchant of Venice, Grace Harkaway in London Assurance, Cordelia in King Lear and Rosalind in As You Like It.

Fiddler on the Roof to feature Kate Hennig and Scott Wentworth

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF | DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY DONNA FEORE | FESTIVAL THEATRE
PREVIEWS START APRIL 23 | OPENS MAY 28 | CLOSES OCTOBER 20
PRODUCTION CO-SPONSOR: UNION GAS LIMITED
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: THE HARKINS FAMILY IN MEMORY OF SUSAN HARKINS

Kate Hennig and Scott Wentworth will take the leading roles of Golde and Tevye in Donna Feore’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. Jacquelyn French has been cast as Hodel, Keely Hutton as Chava, Gabrielle Jones as Yente, Andre Morin as Motel, Mike Nadajewski as Perchik, Paul Nolan as Fyedka and Jennifer Stewart as Tzeitel.

Kate Hennig, who is returning for her fourth season at Stratford, is well remembered for playing the dance teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, in Broadway’s Billy Elliot: The Musical, a role she also played in Toronto, winning a Dora Award for her performance. Most recently she was seen as Emma Goldman in this season’s Shaw Festival hit, Ragtime, as well as in A Man and Some Women. She was also in the wildly popular première of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, co-produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Arts Centre. Ms Hennig was last in the Stratford company in 1991, playing Mrs. Mullin in Carousel, Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing and the Player Queen in Hamlet. She can currently be seen playing Adele Witham in Bomb Girls on Global Television.

Scott Wentworth, who marks his 18th season in 2013, was last seen at Stratford in 2008, playing Commander Fernán Gómez de Guzmán in Fuente Ovejuna and Claudius in Hamlet. His musical credits at Stratford include playing Clifford Bradshaw in the 1987 production of Cabaret and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls in both 1990 and 2004 – a role he is currently reprising at the Segal Centre in Montreal. His other Stratford credits include the title roles in Macbeth, Richard III, Henry IV Part 1 and The Merchant of Venice, Iago in Othello, David Cutrere in Orpheus Descending and Theseus in Phèdre. Mr. Wentworth has also written a number of musicals in collaboration with his wife, Marion Adler, including Enter the Guardsman, which was nominated for an Olivier Award for best musical in 1997.

Musketeers Graham Abbey, Jonathan Goad, Mike Shara joined by Luke Humphrey as D’Artagnan

THE THREE MUSKETEERS | DIRECTED BY MILES POTTER | FESTIVAL THEATRE
PREVIEWS START MAY 18 | OPENS JUNE 1 | CLOSES OCTOBER 19

Graham Abbey, Jonathan Goad and Mike Shara headline Miles Potter’s production of The Three Musketeers, with Luke Humphrey playing D’Artagnan. They will be joined by Michael Blake as Count de Rochefort, Nehassaiu deGannes as the Queen of France, Deborah Hay as Milady de Winter, Bethany Jillard as Constance Bonacieux and Steven Sutcliffe as Cardinal Richelieu.

Graham Abbey, who will play Athos, returned to the Festival in 2012 for the first time since 2006 to play Posthumus in Cymbeline and Aigisthos in Elektra. His extensive television career includes the series lead, Gray Jackson, in The Border, Glen Martin in Degrassi and George Thomey in Republic of Doyle. His Stratford credits include Henry V, Macbeth, Romeo and Henry VIII, as well as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Happy in Death of a Salesman and D’Artagnan in the 2000 production of The Three Musketeers.

Jonathan Goad will play Porthos. Mr. Goad was last seen at Stratford in 2009, playing Quarlous in Bartholomew Fair, Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Hippolytus in Phèdre. In 11 Stratford seasons, his credits have included Harold Hill in The Music Man, Iago in Othello, Angelo in Measure for Measure, Theseus and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the title role in Pericles. Mr. Goad can also be seen on CBC TV, where he plays Christian Doyle in Republic of Doyle.

Luke Humphrey made his Stratford debut in 2010, appearing in The Tempest and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. This season he played Michael Williams in Henry V. He will also be remembered as the shirtless tango dancer in Much Ado About Nothing. His other credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at Highland Hall Theatre, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Leontes in The Winter’s Tale at the Stella Adler Studio.

Mike Shara will return for his fifth season at Stratford to play Aramis. Mr. Shara is currently playing Cloten in Cymbeline and Cornelius Hackl in The Matchmaker. His Stratford highlights include Teddy in The Homecoming, Orsino in Twelfth Night, Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac and Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest. Mr. Shara is a veteran of the Shaw Festival and has performed across the country. His television work includes Little Mosque on the Prairie, Queer as Folk and Due South.

Tom McCamus to play the Merchant

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE | DIRECTED BY ANTONI CIMOLINO | FESTIVAL THEATRE
PREVIEWS START JULY 30 | OPENS AUGUST 15 | CLOSES OCTOBER 18
PRODUCTION SPONSOR: SCOTIABANK
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: CATHERINE & DAVID WILKES; JANE PETERSEN-BURFIELD & FAMILY; BARBARA & JOHN SCHUBERT

Tom McCamus will once again collaborate with Antoni Cimolino in next season’s The Merchant of Venice, in which he will play Antonio. Mr. McCamus gave a searing performance as Iachimo in Mr. Cimolino’s production of Cymbeline this year and beautifully portrayed Jim Casy in 2011’s The Grapes of Wrath and Justice Overdo in 2009’s Bartholomew Fair. His portrayal of Horace Vandergelder in The Matchmaker continues to delight audiences. In his 12 seasons at Stratford, Mr. McCamus has played a vast number of leading roles including Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Le Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, Master Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, King Arthur in Camelot, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot and Edmund Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night.

As previously announced, Brian Bedford will play Shylock. They will be joined by Michelle Giroux as Portia, Jonathan Goad as Gratiano and Hannah Miller as Jessica.

Stellar cast for Blithe Spirit features Ben Carlson, Michelle Giroux, Seana McKenna and Sara Topham

BLITHE SPIRIT | DIRECTED BY BRIAN BEDFORD | AVON THEATRE
PREVIEWS START MAY 16 | OPENS JUNE 1 | CLOSES OCTOBER 20
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: JOHN H. WHITESIDE; NONA MACDONALD HEASLIP
PRODUCTION SUPPORT FOR THE AVON THEATRE 2013 SEASON: THE BIRMINGHAM FAMILY

Brian Bedford will direct a stellar ensemble in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, with Ben Carlson as Charles Condomine; Michelle Giroux as Elvira, the ghost of Charles’s deceased wife; Seana McKenna as the medium, Madame Arcati; and Sara Topham as Charles’s second wife, Ruth. They will be joined by James Blendick as Dr. Bradman and Chick Reid as Mrs. Bradman. Mr. Bedford worked with Mr. Carlson and Ms Topham most recently in the Oscar Wilde comedy The Importance of Being Earnest in 2009.

Ben Carlson, currently playing Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and Captain Fluellen in Henry V, returns for his sixth season at Stratford. Highlights of his time here include Feste in Twelfth Night, Alceste in The Misanthrope, Touchstone in As You Like It, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, John Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest, Brutus in Julius Caesar and the title role in Hamlet. He has worked throughout Canada and the U.S., and spent 12 seasons at the Shaw Festival, where he is well remembered for his marathon Man and Superman, The Return of the Prodigal and All My Sons, among other performances.

Michelle Giroux will celebrate her 10th season at Stratford in 2013. She was last here in 2007, when she played Jean Louise in the celebrated production of To Kill a Mockingbird and Julia in A Delicate Balance. Her Stratford credits also include Queen Isabella in Edward II, Katerina in The Brothers Karamazov, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Daphne in Present Laughter, Olivia in Twelfth Night and Gwendolen in the 2000 production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

After her hilarious turn as Dolly Levi in The Matchmaker, Seana McKenna will return for her 22nd season to play Madame Arcati. Stratford audiences will also remember Ms McKenna’s lighter side from such performances as Amanda Prynne in Private Lives, Monica Reed in Present Laughter, Dotty Otley in Noises Off and Lady Gay Spanker in London Assurance. Her other Stratford credits include her remarkable portrayals of Richard III in 2011 and Clytemestra in this season’s Elektra, as well as moving portrayals of Medea, Andromache and Phèdre. She has played every one of Shakespeare’s leading ladies, many of them here at Stratford, as well as his wife, Anne Hathaway, in the one-woman show Shakespeare’s Will, which was produced at Stratford in 2007 and 2011.

Newcomer Robert Markus to play Tommy

TOMMY | DIRECTED BY DES McANUFF | CHOREOGRAPHED BY WAYNE CILENTO | AVON THEATRE
PREVIEWS START MAY 4 | OPENS MAY 30 | CLOSES OCTOBER 19
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: RICHARD ROONEY & LAURA DINNER

Newcomer Robert Markus will play the title role in Des McAnuff’s production of Tommy. Mr. Markus graduated from the University of Alberta’s acting program in 2010. His credits include Gabe in Next to Normal at the Citadel Theatre and Theatre Calgary, Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show and Young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, also at the Citadel, and Angelo in The Comedy of Errors at the Freewill Shakespeare Festival.

He will be joined by Jewelle Blackman as the Gypsy, Kira Guloien as Mrs. Walker, Jeremy Kushnier as Captain Walker, Paul Nolan as Cousin Kevin and Steve Ross as Uncle Ernie.

Dion Johnstone takes title role in Othellowith Graham Abbey as Iago and Bethany Jillard as Desdemona

OTHELLO | DIRECTED BY CHRIS ABRAHAM | AVON THEATRE
PREVIEWS START AUGUST 4 | OPENS AUGUST 14 | CLOSES OCTOBER 19
PRODUCTION SPONSOR: BMO FINANCIAL GROUP
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: LARRY ENKIN & FAMILY IN MEMORY OF SHARON ENKIN;
MARTIE & BOB SACHS

Dion Johnstone will return to Stratford to take on the title role in Chris Abraham’s production of Othello, with Graham Abbey playing Iago and Bethany Jillard as Desdemona. They will be joined by Deborah Hay as Emilia, Peter Hutt as Brabantio, Mike Shara as Roderigo and Brian Tree as Gratiano.

Dion Johnstone comes to the role of Othello at the Festival, having turned in a number of memorable classical performances here, including Aaron in Titus Andronicus, Caliban in The Tempest, opposite Christopher Plummer’s Prospero, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Des McAnuff’s production of Macbeth, Edmund in King Lear, Iachimo in the 2004 production of Cymbeline and Orestes in the 2003 productions of The Flies and Electra. He has a vast television career as well, most recently including Harold Kalb in The Listener, Tyrone Evans in King and Barnaby Howe in Flashpoint.

Bethany Jillard made her Stratford debut in 2010 as Cécile Volante in Dangerous Liaisons and has since shone in both classical and contemporary roles as Lady Anne in Richard III, Young Kate and Tanya in The Little Years, Hero in Much Ado About Nothing and Catherine in Henry V. Her other credits include Miss Julie in the MTC Warehouse production of After Miss Julie, the title role in My Name is Rachel Corrie at Theatre Panik and Brooke in How It Works at Tarragon. She won the Equity Emerging Theatre Artist Award in 2010.

Seana McKenna plays Elizabeth to Lucy Peacock’s Mary Stuart

MARY STUART | DIRECTED BY ANTONI CIMOLINO | TOM PATTERSON THEATRE
PREVIEWS START MAY 3 | OPENS MAY 31 | CLOSES SEPTEMBER 21
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: DR. M.L. MYERS & DR. W.P. HAYMAN; ALICE & TIM THORNTON; DIANA TREMAIN; DR. DENNIS & DOROTHEA HACKER

Lucy Peacock will take on the title role in Antoni Cimolino’s production of Mary Stuart opposite Seana McKenna as Elizabeth.

It will feature Ben Carlson as Lord Burleigh, Geraint Wyn Davies as the Earl of Leicester and, as previously announced, Brian Dennehy as the Earl of Shrewsbury. James Blendick will play Amias Paulet, Peter Hutt will play Count Aubespine, Ian Lake will play Mortimer and Brian Tree will play Melvil.

Lucy Peacock celebrated her 25th season and 60th production with the Festival this season, playing the Hostess in Henry V and Mrs. Munsch in the new musical Wanderlust – as well as producing and starring in the cabaret series Late Night with Lucy. Last season she also combined musical theatre and Shakespeare, playing Morgan le Fey in Camelot and the delightfully scheming Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Her career at Stratford has been studded with brilliant performances, including Nana in For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Audrey in As You Like It, Masha in Three Sisters, Emilia in Othello, the title roles in The Duchess of Malfi and Hello, Dolly!, and a tour-de-force performance of all of the characters in The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead.

After his stirring portrayal of King Cymbeline, Geraint Wyn Davies will again collaborate with Mr. Cimolino, playing the key role of the Earl of Leicester in Mary Stuart. Mr. Wyn Davies will celebrate his 10th season at Stratford in 2013. He began his Stratford adventure in 1986, playing Pericles and Antipholus of Syracuse in The Boys from Syracuse. Since then he has played a number of major roles, including Stephano in The Tempest, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the title roles in Julius Caesar and Henry V, Polonius in Hamlet, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady and Dylan Thomas in the one-man show Do Not Go Gentle. His stage career has taken him throughout Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. and he has dozens of film and television credits, including key roles in Republic of Doyle, ReGenesis, 24, Slings and Arrows, Airwolf, Forever Knight and American Psycho II.

Measure for Measure to feature Carmen Grant, Stephen Ouimette,

Tom Rooney, Geraint Wyn Davies

MEASURE FOR MEASURE | DIRECTED BY MARTHA HENRY | TOM PATTERSON THEATRE
PREVIEWS START MAY 18 | OPENS MAY 29 | CLOSES SEPTEMBER 21
PRODUCTION SPONSOR: RBC
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: KARON BALES & CHARLES BEALL

Martha Henry’s production of Measure for Measure will feature Carmen Grant as Isabella, Stephen Ouimette as Lucio, Tom Rooney as Angelo, and Geraint Wyn Davies as Duke Vincentio, with Randy Hughson as Pompey, Peter Hutt as Escalus and Stephen Russell as Provost.

Carmen Grant made her Stratford debut in 2010, after completing her first year at the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, where she played such roles as Mrs. Higgins in Pygmalion, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Goneril in King Lear. At the Festival she has appeared in Much Ado About Nothing, The Matchmaker, Titus Andronicus and Richard III. She received a Dora nomination for her portrayal of the title role in The Miracle Worker at YPT and won the Rising Star Award for playing Ruth in the ATP production of Zadie’s Shoes.

Stephen Ouimette recently gave an acclaimed performance as Harry Hope in The Iceman Cometh at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago, with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy. Mr. Ouimette and Mr. Dennehy had performed together at Stratford in 2011’s outstanding productions of The Homecoming and Twelfth Night. Mr. Ouimette was also featured in the West End and Broadway productions of La Bete and is well-known for his portrayal of Oliver Welles in the television series Slings and Arrows. He has spent 18 seasons entertaining Stratford audiences with such performances as Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest and Touchstone in As You Like It. He has directed a number of productions, including Timon of Athens in 2004, and has played the title roles in Hamlet, King John, Amadeus and Richard III, as well as many other leading roles.

Tom Rooney will return for his sixth Stratford season, after delighting audiences as Robert Service in the 2012 première of Wanderlust and as Ensign Pistol in Henry V. Since joining the company in 2008, Mr. Rooney has fast become a favourite on the Festival stage, with his richly drawn portrayals of Malvolio in Twelfth Night and Master Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. He gave standout performances in 2009 as the Porter in Macbeth, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cassius in Julius Caesar.  In addition to playing the Narrator in 2010’s For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Mr. Rooney played Duke Frederick and Duke Senior in As You Like It and Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale.

Stephen Ouimette and Tom Rooney lead cast of Waiting for Godot

WAITING FOR GODOT | DIRECTED BY JENNIFER TARVER | TOM PATTERSON THEATRE
PREVIEWS START JUNE 13 | OPENS JUNE 27 | CLOSES SEPTEMBER 20
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: SYLVIA D. CHROMINSKA

Jennifer Tarver’s production of Waiting for Godot will feature Stephen Ouimette as Estragon and Tom Rooney as Vladimir. As previously announced, Brian Dennehy will play Pozzo. Randy Hughson will play Lucky.

Lucy Peacock stars in Judith Thompson’s The Thrill

THE THRILL | DIRECTED BY DEAN GABOURIE | STUDIO THEATRE
PREVIEWS START JULY 28 | OPENS AUGUST 13 | CLOSES SEPTEMBER 22

Lucy Peacock will play the leading role of Elora in the world première of Judith Thompson’s The Thrill, which was commissioned by the Festival and will be directed by Dean Gabourie. She will be joined by Nigel Bennett as Julian.

Luke Humphrey to take Shakespeare from Martha Henry

TAKING SHAKESPEARE | DIRECTED BY DIANA LEBLANC | STUDIO THEATRE
PREVIEWS START JULY 13 | OPENS JULY 30 | CLOSES SEPTEMBER 22
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: DR. NANCY EPSTEIN & DR. DAVID GOLDBLOOM

As previously announced, Martha Henry will play the Prof in John Murrell’s new play Taking Shakespeare, directed by Diana Leblanc. Luke Humphrey has been cast as the student, Murph.

Tickets for the 2013 season will go on sale to Members of the Stratford Festival on November 11 and to the public on January 5. The 2012 season concludes on October 28, with tickets still available for Much Ado About Nothing, 42nd Street, The Matchmaker, The Pirates of Penzance and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. To purchase tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.

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MEDIA ADVISORY | Coming events in Toronto, Detroit, Montreal

October 3, 2012… The Stratford Shakespeare Festival will be hosting or participating in a number of events over the coming weeks, including the following:

TORONTO
Wednesday, October 10
Twelfth Night screenings
Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street East, Toronto

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival will be doing two screenings of the 2011 film of Twelfth Night, directed by Des McAnuff, featuring Ben Carlson, Brian Dennehy and Stephen Ouimette. An afternoon screening is for invited students and teachers from the Regent Park area. It will be preceded by a workshop with two actors from the production, Cara Ricketts and Mike Shara, and followed by a question and answer period. An evening screening will be open to the public and will also be followed by a Q&A with Cara Ricketts and Mike Shara.

Schedule:

11:30 a.m. Pre-film workshop for students with Cara Ricketts, Mike Shara and Andrea Jackson

12:30 p.m. Screening of Twelfth Night for students from schools in the Regent Park area.

3:15 p.m. Post-film Q&A with Cara Ricketts and Mike Shara

7 p.m. Public screening of Twelfth Night

9:45 p.m. Post-film Q&A with Cara Ricketts and Mike Shara

DETROIT
Sunday, October 14, at 3:30 p.m.
Stratford Presents: Twelfth Night
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Film Theater

The Festival presents a screening of the 2011 production of Twelfth Night, directed by Des McAnuff, featuring Ben Carlson, Brian Dennehy and Stephen Ouimette.

Tickets and information: http://www.dia.org/auxiliaries/event.aspx?id=3408&iid=&aux_id=14&cid=100

MONTREAL
Thursday, October 25, at 5:30 p.m.
McGill Shakespeare Lecture
Leacock Building, Room 232, McGill University, Montreal

Lucy Peacock will deliver an address titled Work, Prayer, Carnival: My Journey with Shakespeare. Introduction by Prof. Paul Yachnin.

DETROIT
Sunday, November 11, at 2 p.m.
Stratford Presents: The Tempest
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Film Theater

The Festival presents a screening of the 2010 production of The Tempest, directed by Des McAnuff, featuring Christopher Plummer as Prospero.

Tickets and information:

http://www.dia.org/auxiliaries/event.aspx?id=3407&iid=&aux_id=14&cid=100

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Antoni Cimolino unveils first season as Artistic Director

July 17, 2012… Antoni Cimolino today announced the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s playbill for 2013, his first season as Artistic Director, and began to outline his vision for the Festival’s future during his tenure.

Combining intimate chamber pieces with works of larger scope, the 2013 season offers a rich variety of repertoire, from classics to light-hearted comedy to powerfully emotive musicals. It also invites audiences to enhance their enjoyment of the productions by exploring various thematic strands that run through the playbill as a whole.

“I have selected a season that I hope will touch both the hearts and minds of our audiences, not only engaging them emotionally but also provoking discussion and debate,” said Mr. Cimolino. “These plays complement and reflect one another, while at the same time connecting with contemporary social issues. Each will offer a complete and fulfilling experience on its own – but the experience will be even richer for those who see several of the productions and take advantage of the opportunity to draw connections among them.

“Our audiences have always expected us to tell the great stories, and to tell them superbly,” he added, “but I believe that today they also want to explore, to ask questions, to interact with us and to better understand the artist’s goals.”

To that end, Mr. Cimolino will complement his playbill with a new initiative, the Forum: an interactive program of talks, discussions, music and dance, and other ancillary events that will offer a diverse range of perspectives and invite debate on the season’s themes.

“Many of these plays, for instance, deal with the bonds that hold communities together and the differences that divide them,” said Mr. Cimolino. “Several of them feature characters whose ‘otherness’ challenges the status quo. The Forum will invite our audiences to pursue these and other topics raised on our stages by participating in a lively exchange of ideas.

Acclaimed directors featured throughout the season

The 2013 season will open at the Festival Theatre with Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s great tragedy of young lovers who defy their families’ ancient hatred. It will be directed by Tim Carroll, who helmed 2010’s Peter Pan and is currently directing Mark Rylance in Richard III and Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe in England.

Donna Feore, whose previous work on the Festival’s thrust stage has included such hugely popular productions as Oklahoma! and Oliver!, will direct and choreograph one of Broadway’s most celebrated musicals, Fiddler on the Roof, the humorous yet heart-wrenching story of a community whose traditions – andvery existence – are assailed by the winds of change.

The solidarity of comrades-in-arms is pitted against the machinations of church and state in the swashbuckling adventure The Three Musketeers. Based on Alexandre Dumas’s classic novel, this adaptation by Peter Raby was written in 1968 especially for the Festival stage and will appeal to audiences of all ages. It will be directed by Miles Potter, whose Stratford productions include the highly lauded Richard III, Medea and Orpheus Descending.

Brian Bedford to play Shylock

Completing the line-up at the Festival Theatre will be The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s perennially popular yet always controversial story of a despised outsider who seeks horrific vengeance for the abuse to which he has been subjected. It will be directed by Mr. Cimolino, whose prior Festival productions include the current season’s widely acclaimed Cymbeline. The production will feature Brian Bedford as Shylock.

Mr. Bedford, whose recent double triumph as director and star of The Importance of Being Earnest thrilled audiences first in Stratford and then on Broadway, and was broadcast in high definition on cinema screens, will also direct Blithe Spirit, Noël Coward’s hilariously witty comedy of ghostly visitation from the “other side.” The production will be presented at the Avon Theatre.

Des McAnuff returns to direct Tommy

Also at the Avon, Des McAnuff, whose tenure as Artistic Director ends after the 2012 season, will return to direct The Who’s Tommy, which he co-wrote with Pete Townshend and for which he won a Tony for Best Director in 1993. The spectacular rock musical tells the story of a young man who, despite having lost the faculties of speech, sight and hearing, becomes a pinball virtuoso – and the centre of a celebrity cult.

In his first Shakespearean assignment at Stratford, Chris Abraham, director of this year’s critically lauded production of The Matchmaker, will direct Othello, the classic tragedy of an interracial marriage fatally undermined by the deadly insinuations of a master manipulator.

At the Tom Patterson Theatre, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure will explore the problems and paradoxes inherent in the state’s attempts to regulate sexual morality. It will be directed by Martha Henry, whose renowned Stratford productions most recently included Chekhov’s Three Sisters in 2009.

Brian Dennehy returns for Mary Stuart and Waiting for Godot

Meanwhile, at the same theatre, Mr. Cimolino will direct Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart. This gripping historical drama about the power struggle between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, offers a timely exploration of the often dangerous relationship between religion and politics. Brian Dennehy will return for his third season at Stratford to play Talbot.

Jennifer Tarver, who won international plaudits for her 2008 production of Krapp’s Last Tapefeaturing Mr. Dennehy, will continue her exploration of Samuel Beckett’s work with Waiting for Godot, a 20th-century classic that raises fundamental questions about the meaning of human life in a seemingly indifferent universe. She will once again be working with Mr. Dennehy, who will play Pozzo.

Martha Henry takes the lead in Taking Shakespeare

Two Canadian plays will be presented at the Studio Theatre. Diana Leblanc, whose remarkable career includes the Festival’s celebrated 1994 production of Long Day’s Journey into Night, returns to direct John Murrell’s Taking Shakespeare, in which a disenchanted professor and her student undertake an exploration of Othello, a journey that leads them to a new understanding of themselves and each other. The play will feature Martha Henry as the Prof, a role that was written expressly for her.

Dean Gabourie, who this year is directing the première of Daniel MacIvor’sThe Best Brothers, will bring another world première to the stage in 2013: Judith Thompson’s The Thrill. Commissioned by the Festival, this spirited new play concerns a disability activist who confronts a champion of the right-to-die movement – with results that catch them both unawares.

Two new initiatives focus on innovation and exploration

In outlining his future plans, Mr. Cimolino –­ a 25-year Stratford veteran– said that he intends to build in three specific ways on the achievements that have already earned the Festival its reputation as North America’s leading classical theatre company.

“First, I will put the actor and the text firmly at the centre of what we do. That was the principle on which our Festival was founded 60 years ago, and I think it has become even more important today. In a culture that has become so visually oriented, I think people crave the kind of storytelling that relies above all on the uniquely compelling power of the spoken word.

“At the same time, I want the Festival to be a world leader in artistic innovation and exploration. The very act of exploration, of trying things in new ways and expanding the skills we have, is critically important to a great company examining the classics. With that in mind, I shall also launch a second initiative, the Laboratory, which will be for the artist what the Forum is for the audience.”

Incorporating the Festival’s existing new play development activities into a program with wider aims, the Laboratory willenable playwrights to work on a grander scale, emulating the scope of the classics. It will also provide opportunities to experiment with existing works.

“The Laboratory will be a workshop but also a playground,” explained Mr. Cimolino. “It will enable us to work with artists from other countries and to form partnerships with other disciplines.It will encourage innovative approaches to the great classical texts, so that we can find new ways of telling these familiar stories, and it will also enable us to explore classics with which we are less familiar, so that we may discover the overlooked treasures of other eras and other cultures.

“My third goal for the future,” he added, “is to establish our Festival and its beautiful city of Stratford as an unrivalled spiritual, emotional and intellectual retreat. Tyrone Guthrie, our first Artistic Director, conceived of Stratford as a place removed from a major metropolis where you could lay aside for a moment the demands of daily life and give yourself time to enjoy, to think and to feel – and then go home refreshed, restored and inspired. Hence my introduction of the Forum as a means of enabling audiences to enjoy theatre in a deeper and more dynamic way, using the work they see on our stages to prompt ideas, raise questions and open the door to good-hearted and open-minded debate.”

Specific details regarding casting, the Forum and the Laboratory will be announced at a later date.

“We are excited about both the 2013 playbill and the vision for the Festival outlined by our incoming Artistic Director,” said Dr. David Goldbloom, Chair of the Board of Governors. “It reconfirms our commitment to classical theatre while promoting new talent and innovation through the Laboratory. Antoni’s plans for the playbill bring a coherence to the offerings that we hope provokes curiosity and discussion – not only before and after performances but also in the Forum.”

THE 2013 PLAYBILL

FESTIVAL THEATRE

Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Tim Carroll

Fiddler on the Roof
Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Book by Joseph Stein
Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore 

The Three Musketeers
By Peter Raby
Adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas
Directed by Miles Potter

The Merchant of Venice
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Antoni Cimolino

AVON THEATRE

Blithe Spirit
By Noël Coward
Directed by Brian Bedford

The Who’s Tommy
By Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
Based on the album Tommy by The Who
Directed by Des McAnuff

Othello
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Chris Abraham

TOM PATTERSON THEATRE

Measure for Measure
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Martha Henry

Mary Stuart
By Friedrich Schiller
Directed by Antoni Cimolino

Waiting for Godot
By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Jennifer Tarver

STUDIO THEATRE

Taking Shakespeare
By John Murrell
Directed by Diana Leblanc

The Thrill
By Judith Thompson
Directed by Dean Gabourie
World première of a Stratford Shakespeare Festival commission