Press Release | Shakespeare Theatre Association international conference starts next week at the Stratford Festival

January 15, 2014… As Shakespeare lovers everywhere prepare to mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of the world’s greatest dramatist, members of the Shakespeare Theatre Association gather at the Stratford Festival for their annual conference.

“We are extremely proud to have this prestigious gathering in Stratford during this year of celebration,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, who will deliver the keynote address. “We’ll be joined by theatre professionals from all over this continent and beyond. It’s wonderful to be reminded of the extent and variety of work being undertaken by companies that specialize in Shakespeare. We’re looking forward immensely to this gathering of friends, old and new.”

STA conferences have been a valuable resource to Stratford Festival staff from various departments for almost 25 years.

“Having attended two previous STA conferences, hosted by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney, “I know how illuminating and inspiring it can be to share this time with our counterparts at other theatres: fellow artists and staff who share our love of Shakespeare and our passion for bringing his plays to the stage and into people’s lives.”

The theme for this year’s conference, which runs from January 22 to 25 and will be attended by 120 delegates, is “Speak the Speech: The Power of Words.” It will focus on what Shakespeare’s words mean to us today, how they can best be brought alive for new generations, and how their enduring power still shapes and enriches our lives.

Sessions will explore various topics, including:

  • Cross-gender and non-traditional casting.
  • Stage to Screen.
  • Shakespeare’s use of rhyme and prose at different periods of his career.
  • How the Affordable Care Act will affect the way in which U.S. theatres create art.
  • Shakespeare and accessibility.
  • Balancing creativity with restrictions such as time, union regulations and resources.
  • Original Practices.
  • Festival-University partnerships.
  • Romancing the Board.
  • Education and social media.

The conference will also feature a much-anticipated session with members of the cast and creative team of Slings and Arrows.

In the three days immediately preceding the conference, the Festival will host an education practicum. This component gives education staff from STA member theatres an opportunity to train intensively with their colleagues from around the world. It will feature sessions on such topics as:

  • The journey from engagement to comprehension to empowerment.
  • Shakespeare in the classroom.
  • Physical theatre.
  • Hip Hop Shakespeare.
  • Voice.
  • Clowning.
  • Original Practices.
  • Directing Shakespeare.

Since its founding in 1991, the Shakespeare Theatre Association has held its annual conference at member theatres across North America, as well as in the U.K. It was last held in Canada in 2005. The Stratford Festival hosted the event once before, in 1996.




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.

Developmental Services Family Day at the Festival

by Christi Rutledge

We’re excited to be partnering with the Community Living Association of Ontario for a special Developmental Services Family Day on Saturday, June 2. At 2 p.m., we’ll be getting together to enjoy a performance of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!

Here’s a little bit from Community Living Ontario’s website to help you get to know them:

Community Living Ontario is a non-profit, provincial association that advocates for people who have an intellectual disability to be fully included in all aspects of community life.

The goal of Community Living Ontario is:

That all persons live in a state of dignity, share in all elements of living in the community, and have the opportunity to participate effectively.

Community Living Ontario envisions a society where people who have an intellectual disability belong and feel respected.

For more information, you can visit Community Living Ontario online or call 1.800.278.8025.

If you or someone you know would benefit from attending the Festival’s Developmental Services Family Day, please join us on June 2! We are dedicated to making the theatre a space for all people to enjoy.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a funny and touching story that can be appreciated by people of all ages and experiences. A fabulous cast, dancing, music, colourful sets and costumes, projection screens and even a jet-powered dog house help bring this production to life!

Here are a few insights into the show from director and choreographer Donna Feore.

Happiness is… sharing the gift of theatre!

Tickets to our Developmental Services Family Day are just $30 and can be purchased through our Box Office at 1.800.567.1600. Simply quote promotion code 41597 when you call.*

*Not available online.

It’s almost time for our Easter egg hunt – with a twist!

By: Lisa Middleton

It’s about that time of year… Time for our annual Easter egg hunt – with a twist! The Easter Bunny has taken a vacation and our Easter Beagle, Snoopy, will be hiding eggs all over the city of Stratford on Saturday, April 7, 2012.

Now, you might be wondering what types of things an Easter Beagle hides inside of eggs. The answer? Tickets to You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, of course! Inside of each Easter egg you’ll find a voucher for a pair of tickets to see Charlie Brown.* Just take your voucher to the Festival Theatre Box Office to redeem your tickets, only one voucher per household! All 50 eggs will be hidden by 10 a.m. and the Box Office is open until 5 p.m., so that gives you, your family and friends seven hours to search the city! But remember: this special offer is on for one day only, so you must redeem your vouchers by 5 p.m. 

We’ll be leaving you hints as to where the tickets are hidden; on April 7, watch our Facebook page and our Twitter feeds @stratfest and @stratfestchris to help you in your search (use the hashtag #ssfCharlie). Let us know what you find! Share photos of your hunt on our Facebook page or on our Twitter feeds… and see if you can catch our Easter Beagle!

We’re so excited to share this special event with you! Before you hit the streets, find out a bit more about You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, directed by the wonderful Donna Feore!

About the musical:
It’s a typically challenging day in the life of Charlie Brown, from trying to get his kite to fly to trying to find the nerve to talk to that cute little red-headed girl. Meanwhile, Charlie’s friends – and even his dog, Snoopy – face challenges of their own in their pursuit of that fleeting thing called happiness.

Meet the cast:

Check out some of the set pieces for Charlie Brown!

*Tickets will be available for performances of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown on May, 15, 18, 22, 24, 26 and 29. Each voucher can be redeemed for two free tickets, only one per house hold. Vouchers must be redeemed before 5 p.m. on April 7, 2012, or else they become null and void.

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.

Stratford Garden Festival giveaway!

By: Christi Rutledge

The Stratford Garden Festival is fast approaching!  This year, the theme of the festival is “Celebrating our Roots” – a perfect fit for the Festival as we celebrate 60 seasons of theatre in Stratford!  If you’ve never been toStratford before, or haven’t taken the time to view some of the spectacular horticulture in our city, you need to!

This four-day festival from March 1 to 4 features a ton of activities and beautiful displays. Landscapers will create gardens inspired by their choice of Canadian music as they interpret the 2012 theme, “Celebrating our Roots.”  The Festival will be creating a display that you won’t want to miss, as will seven other landscapers and groups. Every day there will be guest speakers talking about everything from growing your own food to the algae in your pond. (Click here for a complete list of guest speakers.) Other special events at the festival include a seniors’ day, a garden party and a family fun night.

We’re giving away six pairs of day pass tickets for you to come and enjoy the Garden Festival.  Be one of the first six people to comment below and name a flower or plant that Shakespeare refers to in his plays or poems, and you could win a ticket for yourself and a friend! We’ll announce the winners on Monday, February 27, on our blog, Facebook and Twitter. Winners will be able to pick up their tickets at the Festival Theatre Box Office.

Event times and location:
Thursday, March 1, 2012, noon to 5 p.m.
Friday, March 2, 2012, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 3, 2012, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, March 4, 2012, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stratford Rotary Complex
353 McCarthy Road

Check back next week for a special promotion you’re going to want to take advantage of!

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!