June at The Forum

Our festival within the Festival is bustling with activity and June is jam-packed with a ton of amazing events that you won’t want to miss. We’ve designated the second week of each month as a “Forum Foray,” which features a concentrated number of events. June’s Foray showcases an amazing line-up of comics, concerts, film screenings and speakers.

Here are some events you won’t want to miss!


Jordan Peterson: The Necessity of Virtue
Festival Theatre Lobby | Wednesday, June 12, at 11 a.m.
Regular contributor to TVO’s Big Ideas, University of Toronto professor and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson examines the necessity of virtue as evidenced in the story of Measure for Measure. Admission: $10.

Stand Off
Studio Theatre, Thursday  | June 13, at 11 p.m.
Using themes of the season and audience suggestions, stand-up comics including Chris Gibbs, Albert Howell, Sabrina Jalees, Elvira Kurt, Sharron Matthews and Matt Watts compete to write the best stand-up sets in under 15 minutes. Hosted by Joanne O’Sullivan. Admission: $25.
*May contain mature content and language*

Dark Lullabies
University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street  | Friday, June 14, at 5:30 p.m.
Canadian filmmaker Irene Lilienheim Angelico reaches for comprehension of the Holocaust through interviews with survivors and their children in Montreal and Israel – and with their contemporaries in Germany. Winner of six international awards, and selected as one of the 50 greatest documentaries of all time at the international Salute to the Documentary, the film will be followed by a chat with Angelico. Admission: $20.

Take a sneak peek of this film! 

Sally Armstrong: Ascent of Women: A Remarkable Story of World-Wide Change 
Studio Theatre  |  Sunday, June 16, at 10 a.m. 
Journalist, author and human rights activist Sally Armstrong is a three-time winner of the Amnesty International Media Award and a Member of the Order of Canada. Her latest book, Ascent of Women, came out in March 2013. Admission: $20.

SallyArmstrong ARC Ensemble | Tradition and the Jewish Composer 
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 25 St. Andrew Street |  Sunday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. 
The ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) presents a concert of rare Jewish art music with readings from the work of Sholem Aleichem performed by Alon Nashman.  Admission: $35.

Listen to the ARC Ensemble on their YouTube channel. 

This is That: A Conversation with the Nation
Studio Theatre | Sunday, June 16, at 8 p.m.
Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring, of CBC’s This is That, bring Stratford audiences a live rendition of the award-winning satirical radio show. Nothing is off limits – politics, culture, justice, religion; if it’s relevant to Canadians, This Is That finds a way to fabricate a story. Subject matter: totally Canadian. Truth factor: totally questionable. Admission: $29.

Check out This is That on their YouTube Channel!

To buy tickets to any of these Forum event or to browse through other June Forum events, visit our website at www.stratfordfestival.ca/forum
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Live from The Forum this June

If you’re not able to join us in Stratford, you can still access The Forum on the go with our exciting livestream events at new.livestream.com/stratfordfestival! This month we’ll be streaming three sessions for you to enjoy in the comfort of your living room, on your laptop or even on the bus using your mobile phone. If you’re not able to tune in for the real-time streaming, you can always catch the archived recording after the event.

For the Love of Godot | Join the livestream event!
Wednesday, June 12, at 5:30 p.m.
Brian Dennehy, who plays Pozzo in this season’s Waiting for Godot, discusses all things Beckett with the production’s director, Jennifer Tarver.

Today’s Youth: Driving Social Change | Join the livestream event!
Thursday, June 13, at 10:30 a.m.
Egyptian Ambassador Wael Ahmed Kamal Aboul-Magd, Idle No More organizer Tori Cress, Outside the March Theatre’s Mitchell Cushman and Manifesto Community Projects’ Stephanie Perrin explore how the next generation is shaping society through art and political activism. Four talks, with an audience Q&A to follow.

John de Chastelain: Ancient Grudges and New Mutinies | Join the livestream event!
Saturday, June 15, at 10 a.m. 
Canada’s former Chief of the Defence Staff and former ambassador to the U.S. reflects on the Prince of Verona’s role as peacekeeper in Romeo and Juliet and relates it to his own experiences in the military and through the United Nations.

Support for the appearance of John de Chastelain is generously provided in memory of Dr. W. Philip Hayman.

Join the conversation online using hashtag #sfForum.

New Forum continues to grow with the addition of more workshops, comedy, panels, debates

April 3, 2013… The Stratford Festival is pleased to announce that comedians Albert Howell, Elvira Kurt and Matt Watts will be part of this season’s Forum, joining the impressive lineup of comics already confirmed for June 13’s Stand Off, featuring Seán Cullen, Chris Gibbs and Sharon Matthews.

The Forum, the new festival within the Festival, continues to expand with such newly confirmed events as Tales Under the Tent, a weekly family offering presented free of charge in partnership with the Stratford Public Library.

“A festival is all about variety,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “With a dozen plays in our season and more than 150 events, the Stratford Festival offers more to choose from than ever before. I am delighted to see some of Canada’s funniest comedians join our roster, and equally pleased that our programmers are developing creative activities that allow our theatregoers to interact with the plays and each other in wonderful new ways.”

Tales Under the Tent, which is scheduled on Wednesdays from July 10 to August 21 in a tent on the Festival grounds before the afternoon performance, invites families with children aged 6 to 12 to gather for stories and activities related to the day’s play. The 2013 season offers a number of titles with appeal to families this season, including The Three Musketeers, Fiddler on the Roof and Romeo and Juliet.

It’s one of a number of interactive activities in the Forum, including these newly confirmed events:

  • Shylock Revisited, a participatory exploration of the co-mingling of anti-Semitism, sexism and The Merchant of Venice, asking: What if Shylock was a she?
    • Tuesday, August 13, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Factory 163, 163 King Street. Admission $20.
    • Storytelling Workshop. 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.
      • Wednesday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Factory 163, 163 King Street. $50 pre-registration necessary.

Other new additions to the Forum lineup include:

  • 2013 Symposium: Honest Villains and Noble Killers: The Iago/Othello Character Dynamic, with Ellen Geer, Artistic Director of the Theatricum Botanicum in Los Angeles, and Dr. Caroline Bicks of Boston College, as well as members of the Festival company.
    • Saturday, September 14, at 9:30 a.m. in the Studio Theatre. Admission $20; $10 for students.
  • The Necessity of Virtue, with University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and regular contributor to TVO’s Big Ideas. He will examine the necessity of virtue as evidenced in the story of Measure for Measure.
    • Wednesday, June 12, at 11 a.m. in the Festival Lobby. Admission $10.
  • A screening of the film An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill and the Jews. This powerful documentary examines 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 featuring Churchill family members, Lord Conrad Black, Alan Dershowitz and others, the film explores the origins, implications and results of this world leader’s commitment to his generation’s most vulnerable people. The film will be followed by a discussion with director Barry Avrich and producer Michael Levine.
    • Wednesday, July 10, at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street. Admission $20.
  • The Power of the Pen, a panel of 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), who will discuss the drive to write and the theatrical forum.
    • Saturday, July 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Festival Theatre lobby. Admission $10.
  • Beckett: Longing and Belonging with Beckett expert Sean Kennedy of St. Mary’s University in Halifax, who will look at the themes of identity and belonging in Samuel Beckett’s work, particularly Waiting for Godot.
    • Wednesday, August 14, at 11 a.m. in the Festival Theatre lobby. Free.
  • Othello vs. Otello. Verdi aficionado John Zaretti of the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan and Othello director Chris Abraham discuss the play and its operatic adaptation and their respective strengths and genius, pitting aria against soliloquy in this face-off of masterpieces. Date to be confirmed.

Geraint Wyn Davies to present reading of Shakespeare’s lost play, Cardenio

Titles have been confirmed for Geraint Wyn Davies’s series, Wordplay, in which he and members of the company will present readings of plays in the Studio Theatre. They are:

  • Becket by Jean Anouilh, which centres on the conflict between Thomas Becket and Henry II of England leading to Becket’s assassination in 1170. June 14, 8 p.m. Admission $25.
  • Cardenio, Shakespeare’s lost play. Based on an episode in Cervantes’ Don Quixote, this thrilling story of a friendship betrayed, disguise, dishonour and deceit plays out in the heat and dust of Andalusia in seventeenth-century Spain. July 9 at 8 p.m. Admission $25.
  • Shylock by Arnold Wesker, which tells the story of The Merchant of Venice from Shylock’s point of view. August 24 at 8 p.m. Admission $25.
  • Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, about a day in the life of a small Welsh fishing village. August 29 at 8 p.m. Admission $25.

Dates set for This Is That and Lloyd Robertson interview

Dates have been set for these previously announced and highly anticipated events:

  • This Is That. Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring, of CBC’s This Is That, bring Stratford audiences a live rendition of the award-winning satirical radio show. Nothing is off limits – politics, culture, justice, religion; if it’s relevant to Canadians, This Is That finds a way to fabricate a story. Subject matter: totally Canadian. Truth factor: totally questionable.
    • Sunday, June 16, at 8 p.m. in the Studio Theatre. Admission $25.
  • The Kind of Life It’s Been. Lloyd Robertson speaks to CTV’s Seamus O’Regan, one journalist to another, about his life behind the headlines, and the world as he sees it now.
    • Saturday, July 13, at 10 a.m. in the Tom Patterson Theatre. Admission $20.

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. Phil Hayman. The 2013 Symposium is generously sponsored by Dr. Jules and Josephine Harris.

The 2013 season begins on April 23 and 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.


You’re invited to our Forum launch – the Shakespeare Slam!

The Stratford Festival invites you to see Shakespeare in a whole new light, channelled through the remarkable perspectives of some of Canada’s most provocative thinkers and performers, Torquil CampbellAdam Gopnik and Rufus Wainwright.



On April 23 (Shakespeare’s birthday) the Festival will be in Toronto to present the Shakespeare Slam, a thought-provoking and irreverent event to mark the launch of the Festival’s newest initiative, The Forum. This celebration of culture – both classical and pop – will look at how Shakespeare continues to entertain and inspire in today’s world. Like The Forum itself, the evening will offer insightful debate, along with music and other entertaining explorations.


New Yorker staff writer and acclaimed essayist ADAM GOPNIK will face off against indie rocker  TORQUIL CAMPBELL of Stars in the debate “Pop Culture vs. Classical Culture: Which has the reigning impact on our world?”

TORQUIL CAMPBELL and multi-instrumentalist JULIAN BROWN will perform songs from the work that Mr. Campbell is developing at the Festival with playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald and director Alisa Palmer.

Read more about this new collaboration here!

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, singer, songwriter and composer extraordinaire, takes the evening to new heights with a performance of some of his own songs set to Shakespeare’s words. LUCY PEACOCK joins him with relevant readings from the Bard.

The evening will be filled out by original Shakespeare-inspired haikus by company member ROY LEWIS, accompanied by GEORGE MEANWELL, original screenings and other entertainment.

Listen to Rufus Wainwright sing Sonnet no. 29

Plus, we’ll be looking at some of the ways in which Shakespeare has infiltrated contemporary pop culture:


Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 (Shakespeare’s birthday)

Time: 8:00 – 9:45 p.m.

Location: Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Tickets:  $30 to $45 and $20 for students


To order your tickets, contact the Stratford Festival Box Office at 1.800.567.1600, the Koerner Hall’s Weston Family Box Office at 416.408.0208 or online.

On Facebook? Join our Shakespeare Slam event page and watch for updates – or invite a friend of family member who would be interested in attending this one-time event!

For more information on upcoming Forum events and activities, click here.

Community is the reason for the season

by Lisa Middleton

Our Artistic Director, Antoni Cimolino, has focused his inaugural season around themes of community and belonging. As our lives become increasingly individualistic, the theatre is one of the few spaces left where we gather as a community. As you plan your visit to the Festival this year, we hope that you’ll take a few moments to contemplate the value of community. Mr. Cimolino has said that from “collective experience comes empathetic understanding,” and we sincerely hope that this is true for you as you enter our theatres this season.

Watch here as Antoni discusses our 2013 season:

Many productions in our 2013 playbill explore the position of people on the fringes of society — the “other.” Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and Othello are certainly deemed as cultural and ethnic outsiders in their communities; this idea of outsiders also extends to characters like Tommy and like Elora in The Thrill, who are physically set apart. The playbill also considers how communities and individuals relate to governing bodies – family, church, state – all of which play a fundamental role in shaping the cultural landscape. Certainly in Romeo and Juliet, Mary Stuart, Measure for MeasureThe Merchant of Venice, Fiddler on the Roof and even The Three Musketeers, we see the dynamics of communities at play. There are elements of community in all twelve productions being offered this season, from the comedic to the tragic. We hope that our productions will give you opportunities to connect to, understand and contemplate the communities in your life.

An important feature of our 2013 season is The Forum. The Forum will provide Festival fans and community members with a platform to further explore the themes that are prevalent in our productions and in the world around us. We have an exciting line-up of speakers, concerts, discussions, classes, film screenings, exhibitions, panels, debates and even meals planned for you! To top things off, we have an amazing roster of special guests joining us including John de Chastelain, Canada’s former Chief of the Defence Staff; comedian Colin Mochrie; former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson; your favourite Festival actors and many more! We hope that these events will be fun, but also thought-provoking, and will challenge our assumptions about the stories we watch unfold on our stages, in the news and in our own communities. For a full list of Forum events, please visit our website!

Remember, booking your tickets before January 31 ensures that you’ll enjoy the lowest regular prices of the season (up to 25% less than our in-season rates), and also gives you the benefit of being able to exchange your tickets at a later date without paying any fees! In addition, if you book your tickets online, you’ll be saving 50% on handling fees!