PRESS RELEASE | Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and other legal luminaries to hear Shylock’s appeal

October 3, 2013… Join us Saturday for one of this season’s most exciting Forum events: Shylock Appeals. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, will lead a distinguished panel of judges including Ian Binnie, Earl Cherniak, Patricia Jackson and Dean Mayo Moran, as two prominent lawyers, Sheila Block and Alan Lenczner, argue Shylock’s sentence. Shylock Appeals takes place this Saturday, October 5, at 10:30 a.m. in the Festival Theatre.

This mock trial is one of a number of events being held to shed light on The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s most controversial play about intolerance and vengeance, helmed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. When the merchant Antonio asks for a loan from the Jewish moneylender Shylock – a man whom he has always treated with contempt – Shylock agrees, but demands a startling collateral: a pound of the merchant’s flesh. When Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock prepares to take his revenge – only to find that the law is a knife that can cut both ways. The court rules that Shylock may take the flesh as agreed, but “not one jot of blood.” Shylock concedes, only to be threatened with the death penalty for attempted murder, but is pardoned on the condition that he converts to Christianity.

“The case against Shylock has been hotly debated for years,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “As you’ll recall, his last trial didn’t go very well for him, so we have gathered some of the most distinguished members of the Canadian legal community to settle this dispute over a loan default once and for all. For those able to witness this appeal, Shylock’s day in court promises to inspire entertaining discussion.”

Other roles in the trial will be played by Merchant company members, including Wayne Best, Michael Blake, Skye Brandon, Daniel Briere, Shane Carty, Tyrell Crews, Victor Ertmanis, Michelle Giroux, Jonathan Goad, Andrew Lawrie, Robert King, Tom McCamus, Anand Rajaram, Kaitlyn Riordan, Andrew Robinson, Sabryn Rock, Steven Sutcliffe, Sophia Walker, Scott Wentworth and Antoine Yared.

While admission is free, donations are appreciated. Seating is assigned. To reserve seats, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit This event will also be available live on Youtube starting at 11 a.m. on October 5:

Support for Shylock Appeals is generously provided by Mary and Guy Pratte.

The Merchant of Venice will be explored through two other Forum events this week:

Shylock Revisited

Factory 163, 163 King Street, Friday, October 4, at 10:30 a.m.

With her fellow company members Sam Moses and Mike Nadajewski, Kate Hennig performs the contentious role of Shylock in excerpts of scenes from The Merchant of Venice. Together with the audience they will explore the surprising shifts in power dynamics that arise from cross-gender casting and from our own assumptions about the roles of Jewish women in society. Directed and moderated by award-winning theatre artist Liza Balkan, each segment will be followed by an audience question period.

Admission: $20.

Exclusive Dinner – SOLD OUT

Friday, October 4, Paul D. Fleck Marquee, Festival Theatre, at 5 p.m.

Enjoy a three-course-meal, complimentary bar and the company of Festival actors at this prominent event for the legal community. Remarks by former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Ian Binnie.

Admission: $95 (including bar and gratuities).

Support for the dinner is provided by Borden Ladner Gervais.

For more information, visit

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 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 Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.



Media icons take part in the Festival’s July “Forum Foray”

July 4, 2013… The Stratford Festival is gearing up for its second “Forum Foray,” another supercharged week of fresh new performances, film screenings, provocative panels and talks by A-list guests. Following the season’s theme of community, many of this month’s events explore the idea of storytelling – at the heart of all drama – and its role in defining, challenging and changing communities. Offering more than a dozen exciting events, the Foray runs July 9 through 14.

Highlights of the week include: The Kind of Life It’s Been, in which acclaimed broadcaster Lloyd Robertson, in an interview with CTV National News correspondent Seamus O’Regan, looks at the stories that have shaped and changed his life, and his role in sharing those stories with the world; To 1982 and Back, in which award-winning broadcaster and best-selling author, Jian Ghomeshi, uses his book, 1982, to talk about growing up as a reluctant outsider in suburban Toronto and finding his way into the mainstream; and a Storytelling Workshop with First Nations storyteller James Adams, improvisational comedian Joanne O’Sullivan and actor and journalist Barbara Budd.

The Foray also includes The Playwright’s Crucible, an exhilarating performance in which Canadian playwright Carmen Aguirre inspires a director and five top-rate actors, including Festival favourite Stephen Ouimette, to create a new play right in front of the audience; a panel of Canadian playwrights, including Carmen Aguirre, Sky Gilbert and Djanet Sears discussing the drive to write and the theatrical forum in The Power of the Pen; and the second instalment of Geraint Wyn Davies Presents… “Wordplay”, in which he and members of the company will present Cardenio, Shakespeare’s “lost play”.

Also of note: a screening of An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill and the Jews; author Barbara Kyle on Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens; a panel discussion with directors Chris Abraham, Tim Carroll, Antoni Cimolino and Martha Henry; and Marlis Schweitzer on Fiddler on the Roof and the 1960s Generation Gap.

The week’s schedule of events includes:


Geraint Wyn Davies Presents… “Wordplay”: Cardenio  

Studio Theatre, 8 p.m.

Members of the company join host Geraint Wyn Davies for a dramatic reading of Shakespeare’s “lost play”. Based on an episode in Cervantes’Don QuixoteCardenio is a thrilling story of a friendship betrayed, disguise, dishonour and deceit played out in the heat and dust of Andalusia in 17th-century Spain.

Admission: $25.


Storytelling Workshop  

Factory163, 163 King Street, 10 a.m.

First Nations storyteller James Adams, improvisational comedian Joanne O’Sullivan and actor and journalist Barbara Budd share thoughts, traditions and approaches to finding the universal myths of your own life.

Admission: $50. (Pre-registration is required.)

Barbara Kyle: Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens: A Study of Leadership Lost and Won
Festival Theatre lobby, 11 a.m.
Barbara Kyle, author of the recently published Blood Between Queens, will sign books following her talk.

Admission: Free.

An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill and the Jews  

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

A screening of a powerful documentary examining a neglected aspect of one of world history’s most renowned leaders: Winston Churchill’s relationship to Jews and Jewish issues. Drawing on a treasure trove of interviews, the film explores the origins, implications and results of this world leader’s commitment to his generation’s most vulnerable people. Join director Barry Avrich and producer Michael Levine for a discussion following the screening.

Admission: $20.


Fiddler on the Roof: Song and Dance

Festival Theatre Lobby, 10:30 a.m.
Find out what it’s like to be in a musical at the Stratford Festival. Company members Matthew Armet and Julia Juhas teach a song and dance from Fiddler on the Roof. No observers, please.

Admission: $30.

The Playwright’s Crucible  

Studio Theatre, 11 p.m.

With only a script outline and character descriptions, Canadian playwright Carmen Aguirre inspires director Varrick Grimes and five top-rate actors, Laura Condlln, André Morin, Stephen Ouimette, Anand Rajaram and Kaitlyn Riordan, to create a new play right in front of your eyes. Created by Joanne O’Sullivan.

Admission: $20.


Marlis Schweitzer: Breaking with Tradition: Fiddler on the Roof and the 1960s Generation Gap
Festival Theatre lobby, Friday, July 12, at 11 a.m.
Talk by Marlis Schweitzer, associate professor of theatre at York University.

Admission: Free.

Jian Ghomeshi: To 1982 and Back
Studio Theatre, 5:30 p.m.
Jian Ghomeshi, the host and co-creator of CBC’s cultural-affairs program Q, uses his national bestseller, 1982, as a jumping-off point, as he shares hilarious and poignant anecdotes and insights of his journey from outside to inside: growing up Persian in Thornhill to being an award-winning, internationally renowned media personality.

Admission: $20.


The Kind of Life It’s Been  

Tom Patterson Theatre, 10 a.m.

Stratford-born broadcaster Lloyd Robertson speaks to CTV National News correspondent Seamus O’Regan, one journalist to another, about his life behind the headlines and the world as he sees it now.

Admission: $20.

The Power of the Pen  

Festival Theatre Lobby, 5:30 p.m.

Some of Canada’s most political and prolific playwrights, including Carmen Aguirre (The Refugee Hotel, Something Fierce – winner of 2012 Canada Reads), Sky Gilbert (Ban This Show, The Emotionalists) and Djanet Sears (Harlem Duet, The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God), discuss the drive to write and the theatrical forum.

Admission: $10.


Reform It Altogether: Directing Shakespeare Today
Studio Theatre, Sunday, July 14, at 11 a.m.
A panel discussion with directors Chris Abraham, Tim Carroll, Antoni Cimolino and Martha Henry. Chair: Communications Director David Prosser.

Admission: $10.

Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream  

University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street, 8 p.m.

Based on Neal Gabler’s best-selling book An Empire of Their Own, this award-winning feature-length documentary tells the story of the men who founded Hollywood. All were immigrants, or children of immigrants, who wanted to reinvent themselves as Americans. In the process, they reinvented America. Join co-creator Stuart Samuels for a post-screening chat.

Admission: $20.


Late Night with Lucy – Back by popular demand!  

Fridays, July 5 and 19, August 9 and 23, at 11:30 p.m.

Join Lucy Peacock for her second series of after-hours cabarets with special guest performers from the acting company and from behind the scenes.

Admission: $25.

Table Talk

Paul D. Fleck Marquee, Festival Theatre, 11:30 a.m.

Buffet lunch followed by a talk on one of this season’s productions. Must book 48 hours in advance.

Admission: $37.

July 9: Mary Stuart led by David G. John – SOLD OUT

July 11: Blithe Spirit led by Alexander Leggatt

July 19: Measure for Measure led by Graham Roebuck

July 25: Fiddler on the Roof led by Bill Rudman

Tales Under the Tent
Festival Theatre Grounds, Wednesdays, July 10 to August 21, from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
Gather under the tent for family fun! Stratford Public Library staff provide stories and activities related to the play on stage at the Festival Theatre that afternoon. Look for the tent on the Festival Theatre grounds between the Discovery Centre and Upper Queen’s Park. Suitable for families with children ages 6 to 12. Cancelled in the event of rain.

Admission: Free.

Star Talks

Festival Theatre lobby and Tom Patterson Theatre stage, directly following performances

Toronto Star theatre critic Richard Ouzounian interviews the stars, following matinée performances in July and August.

July 7: Graham Abbey, Jonathan Goad, Luke Humphrey and Mike Shara (The Three Musketeers, Festival Theatre lobby)

Admission: Free.

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 on:

July 6: Susan Coyne

July 20: Carmen Grant and Tom Rooney

July 27: Sara Topham

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

The third and final “Forum Foray” is scheduled for August 9 to 18. Through debates, talks, concerts, comedy nights, hands-on workshops and more, The Forum offers theatregoers more ways to discover and examine the themes running through this season’s productions.

For those unable to attend, 15 of the over 150 Forum events will be available via Livestream:

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.

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.


TICKET GIVEAWAY | Jordan Peterson: The Necessity of Virtue

We’re giving away 10 pairs of tickets to Jordan Peterson’s talk at the Festival Theatre Lobby on Wednesday June 12 at 11 a.m.!

Jordan Peterson

Peterson, a regular contributor to TVO’s Big Ideas, University of Toronto professor and clinical psychologist will examine the necessity of virtue as evidenced in the story of Measure for Measure as part of our 2013 Forum chats

To win a pair of tickets to Mr. Peterson’s talk, please send an e-mail to with the following information: 

1) Your first and last name
2) Your e-mail address
3) Your Festival account number
4) Your favourite line from Measure for Measure 

* Failure to include any of the requested information renders your submission null and void. 


Cynthia Dale in Concert | Outside Looking In

We’re thrilled to have Festival favourite Cynthia Dale with us this season for a special concert — Outside Looking In – running until June 21 at the Studio Theatre. The charming Dan Chameroy will join Ms Dale on stage as they explore the themes of the season through song.

Cynthia Dale. Photo by Don Dixon.

Cynthia Dale. Photo by Don Dixon.

We were lucky enough to talk with Ms Dale about Outside Looking In as she began her concert series. Here’s what she had to say…

Stratford Festival (SF): What first inspired Outside Looking In?

Cynthia Dale (CD):  Antoni [Cimolino, the Festival’s Artistic Director] asked me to perform concerts as part of the Festival’s Forum series. From there, a lot of my inspiration sprung from themes of the season. We deal with prejudice and racism in songs like “Children Will Listen,” the importance of community and of teaching our children well in “Born to live” and “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” – a wonderful Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash tune. That’s in a very broad scope. In a much more intimate way, I look at relationships at their end in that beautiful song “Where do you start?” and then from a couple’s point of view in “Every Day a Little Death” and “Sorry-Grateful.” So, there are many different ways we look through the prism of “outside looking in.”

SF: How long have you been preparing for this concert?

CD: 52 years, really! Directly I have also been preparing for this since last fall. Once I knew what my themes were, I started by looking through tons and tons and tons of music. Then once I finally picked the songs, my days, nights and middle of the nights were devoted to learning the 22 tunes that we selected. The concert includes everything from Stephen Sondheim to Stevie Wonder to songs from musicals that haven’t even hit Broadway yet – so there’s something for everyone.

SF: Gary Griffin, who directed you in 42nd Street for our sixtieth season, is working with you on this concert. What’s it like having him direct you for this kind of performance?

CD: It’s been a more difficult rehearsal process in the sense that it’s just the two of us sitting there going through the tunes, trying to tell the story. So he’s much more “on” me, of course – but it’s a much more intimate experience, working this way. I love it, and I love Gary; he’s the best.

SF: Dan Chameroy will join you as a special guest for your concert series. Why did you pick Dan and what can we expect from the two of you on stage (besides being brilliantly entertained!)?

CD: Why not pick Dan? Everybody would love to pick Dan!

I realized I wanted to sing with someone else, as well. You can’t really do songs about community and sing alone. I knew if there was going to be one other person, it should be someone who is a magnificent singer, whom I love, who is incredible on stage – someone I’ve worked with and someone who had worked here at the Festival before. Dan fit the bill perfectly.

SF: Watching you dance in 42nd Street last season was a complete joy – will there be any dance in Outside Looking In?

CD: I don’t haul the tap shoes out on this one! The concert is filled with movement, though.

SF: You’ll be performing in the Studio Theatre, a warm and intimate venue. How does the theatre inform how the concert is arranged, and what is it like singing in the Studio?

CD: It’s such an intimate space – you really can see the people in the back row. It’s different than the Festival. It’s not about the songs as much as it’s about how the music is arranged and how the story is told.

I love singing in the Festival, but singing in the Studio is completely different. It’s a sweet setting – with a very close, intimate, warm feeling. All of those emotions arise in the bigger theatres, too; it depends on the mood that you set and the type of show. This show was tailored to the Studio Theatre and it suits the space wonderfully.

SF: You’ll have a band – how many people will be accompanying you?

CD: Three extraordinary musicians accompany me: Charlene Nafziger on piano, Michael McLennan on stand-up bass and George Meanwell on guitar and cello.

Just for fun…

SF: One thing we’ll always find in your refrigerator is…

CD: Yogurt!

SF: The book resting on your nightstand right now is…

CD: James Salter’s All That Is. I just started it yesterday. I can’t read when I’m learning music or when I’m in rehearsal, so I’m glad to be able to pick up a new book!

SF: The most played song on your iPod is…

CD: It’s mostly my rehearsal music from the show – it’s all I’ve been listening to for the last two months! Although, I did buy the new Michael Bublé CD and I’ve been listening to Joni Mitchell and wonderful old soundtracks from movies from the 40s and 50s.

See Cynthia Dale and special guest Dan Chameroy in Outside Looking In this spring at the Studio Theatre! Cynthia’s show is getting rave reviews earning four stars and tickets are selling quickly – get yours today!

Follow Cynthia on Twitter: @CynthiaDale