Itai Erdal: How to Disappear Completely

Award-winning lighting designer Itai Erdal is bringing his acclaimed solo work How To Disappear Completely to The Forum. Join us at the Studio Theatre on August 11, 15 and 17 at 2 p.m. for a brave, humorous and deeply moving piece that will stay with you long after the show ends.


Produced by The Chop Theatre, How To Disappear Completely reflects on the events following Itai’s mother asking him to take her life. In the year 2000, Itai, a recent film school graduate, received a call telling him that his mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Right away he flew back to Israel to be with her, where he captured hours of film and hundreds of pictures documenting her last days and their time together.

From these images he created a poignant and vital production that follows the very personal journey he took with his mother, Mery, and also reflects on the broader experience of how we respond when we’re faced with our own mortality.


Here’s what reviewers had to say about the show:

“It may sound like a grim, three-hankie experience, but along with the tears (and they do come, eventually), there is humour, and life . . . What could have been a dark show is driven in fact by light. The professional insights of Erdal, who at times operates the lighting from the stage, are used to great effect to illuminate his story, becoming a metaphor for his experiences and for life’s big questions.” – Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail

“For years Vancouver theatregoers have sung the praises of local lighting designer Itai Erdal, who always brings something especially, well, illuminating to the stages he works on. Now it’s time to change our tune and marvel instead at this man’s bravery . . . [How to Disappear] is warm, witty and, naturally, beautifully lit.” – Peter Bernie, Vancouver Sun

How to Disappear Completely runs for only three performances, so don’t wait! Book your tickets here. Admission is $25.

Check out more of our August Forum events, including:

Writing About the Right to Die
Studio Theatre, Thursday, August 15, at 10:30 a.m.
With journalist, broadcaster and author Ian Brown (The Boy in the Moon), playwright and lighting designer Itai Erdal (How to Disappear Completely), author Zoe FitzGerald Carter (Imperfect Endings) and playwright Judith Thompson (The Thrill). Moderator: Alex Bulmer. Admission is $10.

Barbara Budd with Stories of Significant Strangers… and Others
Festival Theatre lobby, Wednesday, August 14, at 5:15 p.m.
Award-winning actor/broadcaster Barbara Budd spent two decades as co-host of As It Happens sharing stories with a worldwide audience on CBC radio and American public radio. Presenting two Canadian short stories that wittily capture this year’s theme of the Outsider and Community, she is joined by our fiddler, Anna Atkinson. Admission is $10.

Othello vs Otello
Festival Theatre lobby, Friday, August 16, at 10:30 a.m.
Verdi aficionado John Zaretti of the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan and Othello director Chris Abraham discuss the play and the operatic adaptation and their respective strengths and genius, pitting aria against soliloquy in this face-off of masterpieces. Admission is $20.

Join the conversation using the hashtag #sfForum.


Spend a weekend with the Peanuts this fall!

by Lisa Middleton

The school year has officially started and the busyness of autumn has set in! In the midst of the craziness, take a second to relax and enjoy a bit of quality time with your family. We have the perfect escape – kick back at a performance of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown any weekend this fall for as little as $15 a ticket!

I’ve taken my daughter to see You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown a couple of times now, and it’s so refreshing to put aside the demands of our daily routines and go to the theatre together – not to mention that Charlie Brown’s a fabulous show for families. I love being able to share my childhood favourite, Peanuts, with my daughter! The show has lots of laughs for kids and adults alike, as well as songs that you’ll be sure to sing the whole way home (and, if your household is anything like mine, for few days after, too!).

Here’s a sneak peek of the fabulous cast of Charlie Brown in action!

The fun doesn’t stop with the curtain call! Make it a full weekend and enjoy one of our Warehouse or Festival Theatre tours with your family. It’s a great chance to see what goes on backstage and behind the scenes.

Autumn is also a fabulous time for other festivals happening in the area. The Stratford Garlic Festival kicks off this weekend (September 8-9), so if you’re coming to see You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, bring a breath mint! Here are few other family-friendly activities you can enjoy while you’re at the Festival this fall:

Don’t forget to check out ongoing activities like our Shakespeare Garden tours, Off the Eaten Path culinary walking tours, Historic Stratford Downtown tours and more! The Stratford Tourism Alliance website has lots of great information for visitors to our city!

Pack up the car and join us for great weekends full of fantastic productions, beautiful fall colours, delicious food and lots of fun activities!


You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown plays until October 28, 2012. All A, B & C tickets are $15 and all A+ tickets are $25.

Bring your family to the Festival this Canada Day weekend!

by Lisa Middleton

If you’re looking to make some family plans for Canada Day weekend, look no further! We’re hosting a special celebration for you and the kids that includes great shows, loads of activities, chocolates and treats, a pizza party and meet and greets with actors from You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and The Pirates of Penzance.

I’ll be there with my daughter enjoying some Festival fun. Come and celebrate with us on Saturday, Sunday or both days and enjoy these fabulous ticket packages!

Choose from:

Saturday, June 30

  • Buy one adult ticket to The Pirates of Penzance and get up to four child tickets to The Pirates of Penzance for the special price of $29 each
  • One free Warehouse Tour ticket (to be used on June 30) with every ticket purchased (adult or child)
  • One free ticket for the post-show pizza party/cast meet and greet with every ticket purchased (adult or child)
  • Meet cast members Sean Arbuckle (our Pirate King), Kyle Blair (our resident Frederic) and Gabrielle Jones (the hilarious Ruth)!


Sunday, July 1

  • Buy one adult ticket to You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and get up to four child tickets to You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown for the special price of $29 each
  • One ticket for each child attending to receive a free Charlie Brown key chain (to be picked up from the Avon Theatre Store)
  • One free ticket for the post-show pizza party/cast meet and greet with every ticket purchased (adult or child)
  • Who will you and your children get to mingle with at the post-show meet and greet? Spend some time with Snoopy (Stephen Patterson), Ken James Stewart (Charlie Brown), Andrew Broderick (Schroeder), Amy Wallis (Sally) and Kevin Yee (Linus)!



When you buy both the Saturday and Sunday packages, we’ll give you the child tickets to the Sunday performance (up to four for each adult ticket purchased) FREE!

Call our Box Office today at 1.800.567.1600 to book your tickets.*

Make sure to mention that you’d like to book the Canada Day Kids Weekend Package and our Box Office staff will assist you in planning a fun holiday for your family.

What a great way to spend your Canada Day weekend!



  • Downtown Market Square Canada Day Celebrations
  • Farmers Market, Stratford Rotary Complex – open 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Slow Food Market, Market Square– open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Stratford Summer Music events

Click here to download coupons for local family- and kid-friendly restaurants, retailers and accommodation providers.

Share the gift of theatre with your family this Canada Day weekend!

I’ll see you there!

Happiness is…
The Family Experience at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival

“Families today are so busy juggling multiple schedules. BMO is happy to sponsor the Family Experience program, which helps simplify bringing families together to enjoy the magic of live theatre.”


*Not available online.

Visit Stratford this spring!

By: Christi Rutledge

Spring is beautiful wherever you are, but it’s particularly stunning here in Stratford. So what better way to spend a spring afternoon, evening or weekend than to come for a visit! Here are a few reasons why we think you’ll love our town at this time of year.

This weekend!

  • Our Easter egg hunt! On April 7, we’ll be giving away 50 pairs of tickets to see our 2012 production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Bring your friends and family and search Stratford for one of the eggs hidden by our Easter Beagle. For more details, click here!
  • Cozyn’s Garden Gallery is hosting a special class to help visitors create Easter-themed indoor planters with mixed live and artificial plants.
  • Create your own herb box at Anything Grows. Take home a long-lasting collection of herbs to use all year round!
  • The swans are back in the river! Take a guided swan tour. We promise that the birds will be beautiful, but we can’t promise that they’ll be nice! 😉

Other springtime activities!

  • Enjoy the lowest in-season ticket prices. When you come to see a spring performance you save up to $30 on the regular price of summer seats! Not only can you say that you saw a production first, you also know you that you got an amazing deal.
  • Spring will be in full bloom after a damp and drizzly winter! Enjoy a walk through the beautiful gardens around town and at the Festival Theatre.
  • Our delicious slow food market is on! If you’re coming for the weekend, be sure to visit the market on Sunday mornings and take local flavours to take home with you!
  • There are new menus for many of our restaurants, along with a couple of new places to look out for downtown!
  • The Festival Exhibition will be opening! Kick-off your season by taking a tour of this brand new space created by our Archives Department. Step back in time and see what the backstage of the original tent looked like, as well as special props, costumes, set pieces, photos and more from our sixty-year history. This should be fabulous!
  • Inspired by our Chocolate Trail, Stratfordwill be introducing “The Bacon and Ale Trail” this June!  Taste some of the best pork in the region, accompanied by Stratford Brewing Company beer.  Could you ask for a better pairing? To participate, please contact Danielle Brodhagen at

New life, new productions, new restaurants, new menus, new Festival activities and a ton of local events – what more could you ask for?!

Share your favourite springtime activity with us!

Happy Birthday, Frederic!

By: Lisa Middleton

If any of you know the story of The Pirates of Penzance, you’ll know that February 29 is a very important date in the show! Frederic, one of the title characters, was apprenticed as a child to a band of tenderhearted pirates. Upon turning 21, Frederic rejoices that he has finally fulfilled his indentures and is now free to return to respectable society. But it turns out that he was born on February 29 – a leap year – and he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday. What will poor Frederic do?

To celebrate leap day, we have a special one-(and a bit)-day deal for you!

We’re offering $29 tickets to any performance on the 29th day of any month of the season. Hurry, though – this promotion is only available for 29 hours from February 28, 2012 at 7 p.m. to February 29, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.!* To redeem this online promotion, log in to our website using promotion code 42603.

What’s playing on the 29th? 
May 29: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Cymbeline and 42nd Street
June 29: 42nd Street (PROMO PRICE SOLD OUT), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Matchmaker, Wanderlust and Hirsch
July 29: Much Ado About Nothing, Elektra and Hirsch
August 29: Much Ado About Nothing, The Pirates of Penzance (PROMO PRICE SOLD OUT), Hirsch, Cymbeline and The Best Brothers
September 29: 42nd Street, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Elektra, Henry V and The Pirates of Penzance (PROMO PRICE SOLD OUT)

Find out more about our 2012 playbill and take a look behind the scenes on our YouTube channel and our Flickr page!

Fun fact: Did you know that 2012 will be the fourth time that The Pirates of Penzance will appear at the Festival?  Take a look at some photos of past productions of this much-loved Gilbert and Sullivan show!

*Promotion is not available on special 60th season performances, including A Word or Two and The War of 1812. Promotion is not available on already discounted tickets, including Family Experience, TiXX and PlayOn. Tickets are non-refundable, subject to availability and only available online in A, B and C seating zones.

Planning your visit to Stratford!

Christi Rutledge

There is a lot going on in Stratford beyond the doors of the theatre. While you’re here, discover what makes us  Canada’s premier arts town and why we have been named one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2012. As you plan your visit to the Festival, these are some great events and destinations to check out while you’re here!

· Slow Food Perth CountyYear-Round
Slow Food Perth County is a convivium whose main goals are to connect food producers with consumers and to support and advocate for food choices that are good, clean and fair. Every Sunday, visit the Slow Food Market to shop and taste local flavours.

· Gallery StratfordYear-Round
Gallery Stratford showcases the unique stories of Perth Huron and Canadian artists to the community and visiting audience. Visit them Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. during the summer season and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the winter.

· Stratford Art in the ParkJune – September
This outdoor show featuring regional artists has been presented since 1968.  Take a stroll down Lakeside Drive every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from June to September to browse or purchase unique pieces of art.

· Stratford Blues and Ribfest:  June 22 – 24, 2012
Ribbers from all around North America come to tempt you with their delectable creations. Pair that with the sweet and soulful sounds of the blues and you have a perfect evening or afternoon excursion.

· Stratford Summer MusicJuly 16 – August 26, 2012
This multi-week music festival boasts over 100 events featuring more than 300 artists performing jazz, classical, opera, folk, organ and world music, set in indoor and outdoor venues throughout Stratford. This year a special focus will be placed on the music of Glen Gould and Bach. Don’t forget to check out the free concerts by the river every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

· Savour StratfordSeptember 22 – 23, 2012
The Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival has been awarded Ontario’s best culinary experience for good reason! Every year this outdoor festival takes over the city, offering people the chance to eat and sip their way though some of the best food and drink available. With a tasting tent, celebrity chef demonstrations, a farmers market and live music, you’re bound to have a blast.

These are just a few of the festivals and events that take place in Stratford. For a full list, visit the Stratford Tourism Alliance website.

P.S.-  We’ll be giving away tickets to the Stratford Garden Festival, which takes place from March 1-4.  Watch for more information on our Facebook wall and Twitter feed!

Some things you may not know about Stratford – #QinStratford

By: Claire Mastrangelo

I started my job at the Festival a little over a year ago, and one of the things that really surprised me about Stratford was the level to which the city got involved in Culture Days. The city can boast not only that Festival General Director Antoni Cimolino is the Chair of the movement’s National Steering Committee, but also that its participation in Culture Days rivals that of some of our country’s largest urban centres.

In both 2010 and 2011, Stratfordand the surrounding area (Listowel, Milverton, Mitchell and St. Marys) hosted more than 50 free events for members of the community. People could join in jam sessions, go to documentary screenings, get a lesson in stilt walking or learn to create creature costumes. The Stratford Public Library let you “check out” real people, and the Festival put on family events with performances, face painting and costume try-ons (we have some great photos here). The festivities have been hugely successful, bringing the community together to play, try new things and just enjoy each other’s company.

Soon after Culture Days wrapped up I realized that, in Stratford, these sorts of celebrations don’t just happen over one weekend in the fall: they continue all year round. Right now, for example, the Festival’s hosting a concert by Gordon Lightfoot, Factory 163 is housing Playmakers! Theatre School and the Children’s Choral Project, and Perth Arts Connect is pointing people to a whole slew of holiday activities, including a scotch and chocolate tasting at Foster’s Inn. (I need no other reason to love this time of year!)

And, of course, Stratford’s exporting its culture through Artistic Director Des McAnuff’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which is on now at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse and moving on to Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre next March.

But as much as culture is about pleasure and entertainment, it is also about nurturing a population.Stratford’s community, which has benefitted so much from the arts, in turn conducts outreach both for and through its artists.Stratfordis home to a Chapter of Performing Arts Lodge, or PAL, an organization that supports members of the theatre community who have retired and now struggle with low incomes and isolation. Some of our younger actors help out by putting on a yearly benefit cabaret, which is a widely popular event here.

Further afield, Festival artists, artisans and teachers volunteer in Suchitoto, El Salvador. They’re working to help a community that’s been fractured by civil war rebuild their economy and turn the town into a major theatre centre – just likeStratforddid in the early 1950s. (Antoni Cimolinois involved in this project, too; I should ask him what kind of coffee he drinks.)

In other words, celebrating culture is integral to the way of life in Stratford. Culture is the city’s entertainment, its economy, its community and its charity. I’m still amazed by how fully the people here embrace it – it’s the metaphorical equivalent of those boisterous greetings from your uncle at Thanksgiving. So, Jian, share in the love and bring Q to Stratford. After all, you’re part of the family.

Stratford readers, what cultural activity’s going on near you? Let us know in the posts and with your tweets using #QinStratford or “like” us on our Facebook campaign page and share there too!