Celebrate 60 at the Festival one more time!

by Lisa Middleton

We can’t believe that there are only ten days left in our 2012 season – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to join us for one or two last hoorahs! With 25 performances left, you can enjoy one of these brilliant 60th season productions: The Matchmaker, Much Ado About Nothing, 42nd Street, The Pirates of Penzance and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

There’s always something special about the final performances of a run – the energy is great. I love coming to these performances to see how a show matures over the season, and I am always pleasantly surprised. Since it will be five long months until I see another production on the Festival’s stages, I always make sure I soak up every last second of the fun!

Here are a few of the moments I am excited to experience one last time before we bid our 60th season adieu on October 28.

  1. Taking my daughter to see You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown one last time!  We’ve become Peanuts-obsessed at chez Middleton this season!

  2. Enjoying a performance of The Matchmaker on October 25 with our fabulous social media followers. Want to join us? Click here to get $20.12 tickets and to join me and our Social Marketing Coordinator, Christi Rutledge, at our pre-show reception – good food, good friends and lots of laughs thanks to The Matchmaker!

  3. Getting to meet those “dancing feet” again! I love a good musical and I love tap dancing, and the cast of 42nd Street deliver both amazingly well.

  4. Watching real-life married couple Ben Carlson and Deb Hay fall in love on stage as the feuding foes Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

  5. Listening to the wonderfully funny songs of The Pirates of Penzance ! I’ll be there tomorrow with my daughter – if you’re in the audience I’d love to meet you at intermission, just tweet to me at @stratfest!

There’s still time before the curtain closes, folks! I’ll see you at the theatre!

p.s. If you’re not able to make it, you still have 10 days to enjoy all of the wonderful production footage we have posted on our YouTube channel!

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A big $20.12 thank you!

We’ve had a fabulous time celebrating our 60th season with all of our social media followers, and we want to mark the season’s end with a special “thank you” event. We love engaging with you on a daily basis – listening to your reviews and suggestions, talking about theatre with you, and sharing unique and interesting Festival content. Your involvement with us has helped to make this season a spectacular success.

Join us on October 25, from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., in the Festival Theatre Marquee for a special end-of-season reception hosted by our Director of Marketing and Audience Development, Lisa Middleton (@stratfest), and our Social Marketing Coordinator, Christi Rutledge (@stratfestchris). We’ll have delicious desserts, made by our Greenroom chef, for you to enjoy along with coffee and tea – and there’ll be a cash bar too. After the reception, enjoy a performance of our critically acclaimed production of The Matchmaker for only $20.12!*

We’d love to see you in person one last time before the season closes and the snow falls – and at this price you can afford to bring a friend or two as well. If you’d like to attend and get a final Festival fix before 2013, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Log into our website (or create an account and log in) with promotion code 46255.
  2. Select the October 25 performance of The Matchmaker from the calendar.
  3. Select Social Media Thank You Night as the price type.
  4. Select your own seats and complete your checkout.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you, reminiscing about our 2012 season and sharing a bit of information about 2013!

Pssst – don’t forget that Seana McKenna will be joining us for a Facebook Q&A on October 12 from 10 a.m. until noon!

View more photos from The Matchmaker here!

*Price covers admission to the pre-show reception as well as your theatre ticket. Valid only for the October 25 performance of The Matchmaker in A, B or C seating categories. Available online and through Stratford Social Ticketing only. Some conditions apply.

Backstage at the Festival – Part II!

by Lisa Middleton

AHOY, MATEY!  Cap’n Lisa Middleton here fer’yer backstage voyage – part two!

Earlier this season we took you on a backstage tour of the Festival Theatre, if you missed the first part of the tour catch up here. It’s time to finish the tour, so let’s pick up where we left off…

The bijoux room! We have an incredibly talented group of people working to create all of the beautiful jewelry and ornamentation that you see on stage – from earrings, to rings, to necklaces, to the fine details that you see on hats, gloves and hairpieces!

And we have just about everything a girl could wish for when it comes to earrings!

Gigantic ring, anyone? And believe me, there are lots more!

Sorry. Button break! Let’s move on!

One of my favourite places backstage is the millinery room! When we say that we do it all here in Stratford, we really mean it! From the heels of the boots to the feathers on top of the hats, we’re making it all in-house – sized to fit!

Do you recognize these hats from Pirates and 42nd Street ?

I tried my hand in the dye room – a vat of vino? Nope, we’re cooking t-shirts today!

And the finished product:

 See if you can recognize any of the shoes from our 2012 season in the photos below:

I thought I would try making a pair of shoes… they kicked me out pretty quickly!

Gorgeous…  When can they custom-make me a pair?

Let’s move back to the prop shop!

So lifelike – and yet, no odour!

Served on a silver platter twice weekly at the Harmonia Gardens Hotel, on the set of The Matchmaker!
 If only this were made of actual silver.  Then I’d be in the money!

Our properties assistants are amazing at making something that looks very heavy feel very light! Ahhh, the magic of theatre!

The ladies of 42nd Street are oh-so syncrohnized in the “Dames” scene!  Me, not so much.
Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “a pat on the back.”

These shields from Cymbeline are built for battle – and they’re heavy. Kudos to the actors who carry them!

One of my favourite props from the season is this steampunk-inspired “boat” from The Pirates of Penzance!

And that brings us to end of the tour – and the end for this unfortunate fellow, as well!
Thanks for joining me backstage at the Festival! Don’t forget to come see all of these amazing pieces on stage before they’re gone forever!

Have you been backstage at the Festival before?

Festival Theatre magic – for just $35!

by Lisa Middleton

One of the (many) amazing things about the Festival is the variety of shows that theatregoers get to experience.  In the span of two days, you can see four different productions on the very same stage – where else does that happen?! This season, 42nd Street (a splashy tap musical), Henry V (a powerful Shakespearean history play), The Matchmaker (a delicious farcical romp) and Much Ado About Nothing (one of Shakespeare’s  high comedies) can all been seen on the Festival stage within a span of forty-eight hours!

I love seeing the stage transform from

This…  To this…

To this…

To this…

With every changeover, you step into another world!

Join us between August 19 and September 1 and see any show at the Festival Theatre (or all of them) for just $35!* Hurry, this great offer expires on September 1!

To order tickets, follow these simple instructions:

1) Log into our website or Stratford Social Ticketing on our Facebook page with promotion code 45461 (or create an account and log in with the same promotion code)
2)  Select any performance of 42nd Street, Henry V, The Matchmaker or Much Ado About Nothing between August 19 and September 1, 2012
3) Choose “$35 Festival Theatre” as the price type and select your seats in A, B or C seating zones
4) Check out
5) Enjoy the show!

*Offer may expire without notice. Not valid on MMP performances or in conjunction with any other promotion, including SSP, Family Experience, TiXX and PlayOn. Promotion is available online through our website or Stratford Social Ticketing on the Festival’s Facebook page. Offer is only valid for productions on the Festival Theatre stage from August 19 to September 1.  Promotion ends on September 1. Some conditions apply.

Beat the heat with our midsummer sale!

by Lisa Middleton

“My Oberon! what visions have I seen!/ Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.” — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Does this hot weather have you seeing crazy things? Then it’s time to get out of the sun with the Festival’s midsummer sale! What better way to beat this heat than with $39 tickets* to selected shows between now and August 4!

Join us on any of the dates below at this special summer rate!

 Here’s how to place your order!
  1. Log into our website with promotion code 44972
  2. Select any performance from the list above on our calendar
  3. Once you’ve selected a date, ensure you have the “promotion” price type selected from the drop-down menu
  4. Select your seats
  5. Complete your orderOR

Purchase your tickets using Stratford Social Ticketing on our Facebook page!

*Offer may expire without notice. Not valid on MMP performances or in conjunction with any other promotion, including SSP, Family Experience, TiXX and PlayOn. Promotion is available through our website and through Stratford Social Ticketing on the Festival’s Facebook page. Some conditions apply.

Festival marks anniversary with opening of Henry V

July 9, 2012… The Stratford Shakespeare Festival continues to mark its 60th season this week with the world premières of three Canadian plays and the opening of Artistic Director Des McAnuff’s production of Henry V. The Festival has been heralded recently throughout North America as a top destination for travel and culture, giving it even more reason to celebrate.

Henry V, featuring Aaron Krohn in the title role, will open on Friday, July 13, the Festival’s anniversary. Wednesday sees the opening of Wanderlust, a new musical commissioned by the Festival from Morris Panych and Marek Norman, based on the poetry of Robert Service. Daniel MacIvor’s new play The Best Brothers, workshopped at the Festival and directed by Associate Artistic Director Dean Gabourie, opens Thursday afternoon, followed that evening by Hirsch, which celebrates the life and career of former Artistic Director John Hirsch. Developed at Stratford over the past three years, Hirsch was created and conceived by Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson.

“One of my proudest achievements at the Festival is to have mounted a celebratory 60th season that features Canadian works in such abundance,” says Mr. McAnuff, who concludes his tenure as Artistic Director at the end of 2012 and was recently appointed to the Order of Canada. “Fully 50 per cent of the productions on our playbill this year are written by Canadians. They represent an enormous range of dramatic genres, showcasing the talent that has developed in Canada’s rich theatrical landscape since the founding of the Festival 60 years ago.”

“This second round of openings heralds the beginning of the summer season in Stratford,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino, who has been named the Festival’s next Artistic Director. “We have recently been showcased as a top destination by a number of influential media outlets, establishing even further the appeal of this idyllic city. We hope people recognize what an ideal vacation spot Stratford is and include a visit to the Festival in their holiday plans. This year’s productions have won critical acclaim across the board and have been delighting audiences since the season began in April.”

Inspired by the success of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, The New York Times visited Stratford this spring and trumpeted the joys of the city and the Festival in its travel section in June. NPR (National Public Radio) in the U.S. has chosen to include Stratford in a feature of five significant cultural destinations in North America, the only one in Canada. Frommer’s included Stratford as a Top 10 Canadian Summer Vacation Destination; Reader’s Digest featured Stratford in its Top 10 Canadian Road Trips; and Trip Advisor named Stratford one of Canada’s Top 10 Cultural Destinations. Stratford has also been chosen as an iconic Canadian experience for travel writer Robin Esrock’s upcoming book The Great Canadian Bucket List.

Next to open this season is A Word or Two, written, arranged and performed by Christopher Plummer, which is being presented as a special 60th season event. Directed by Mr. McAnuff, the production, which begins previews on July 25 and opens August 2, is an autobiographical journey through the literature that has stirred the actor’s imagination since youth. Mr. Plummer, who this year won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his performance in the film Beginners, is one of the Festival’s most lauded alumni, first appearing at Stratford in 1956 in the title role of Henry V. This will be the third collaboration between Mr. Plummer and Mr. McAnuff at the Festival; their first two projects, Caesar and Cleopatra, in which Mr. Plummer played Julius Caesar, and The Tempest, in which he played Prospero, have also been captured on film for cinematic release.

The season’s final offering, Sophokles’ Elektra, translated by Canadian poet Anne Carson, will open August 11, featuring Yanna McIntosh in the title role and Seana McKenna as Clytemestra.

In addition to Henry V, the season features two other Shakespeares – Cymbeline, directed by Mr. Cimolino, which is being praised as one of the finest ever productions of this challenging classic, and Much Ado About Nothing. Three musicals are also on stage – 42nd Street, The Pirates of Penzance, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown – as well as Thornton Wilder’s comedy The Matchmaker, which is being hailed as the feel-good show of the year. The War of 1812, by Canadian playwright Michael Hollingsworth, opened on Canada Day, and MacHomer, created and performed by Rick Miller, enjoyed a limited engagement at Stratford in May.

The Festival marked its 60th season by publishing Stratford Behind the Scenes, a full-colour book that reveals the complexities of season planning and captures the superb artistry carried out by the Festival’s costumes, props, sets and wigs departments. An ebook of Stratford Behind the Scenes will be launched this summer.

An archival exhibition, Most Rare Visions: 60 Years of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, is open to the public daily at 104 Downie Street, across from the Avon Theatre. It features costumes, unique artefacts and props, plus rare footage and new interviews with key players in the Festival’s history

Since its founding 60 years ago, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival has welcomed more than 25 million visitors. Originally conceived as an economic stimulus for the community, the Festival now generates about $140 million in economic activity annually. It employs 1,000 people and creates 3,000 full-year jobs.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s 2012 season runs until October 28. To purchase tickets, visit www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com or call 1.800.567.1600.

Introducing Stratford Social Ticketing on our Facebook page!

by Christi Rutledge

We’re excited to announce a new ticketing feature on our Facebook page! Booking your seats has never been so social. Make your Festival visit a Facebook event, see where your friends are sitting in the theatre, book single tickets or arrange a group trip, all from the comfort of home – and without having to collect the money for the tickets.

Here are some key features that you’ll be able to take advantage of when using the Festival’s new Facebook Social Ticketing application!

  • Book single tickets without ever navigating away from Facebook;
  • Organize a  Facebook event that’s visible to private or public groups;
  • Propose multiple shows and dates and get feedback on your event page before making a final decision;
  • See where your Facebook friends are sitting in the theatre and join them… or don’t! 😉
  • Create a private account so that only you can see where you’re sitting, or create one that allows your Facebook friends to see you.

Here are some benefits of using Stratford Social Ticketing:

  • If you’re creating an event for a group, everyone can book individually, so no one has the responsibility of collecting money!
  • It’s safe! We use the same security measures on our Facebook page that we do on our website.

Here’s how to get started. (Steps 1-3 are only necessary the first time you use Stratford Social Ticketing!)

1. Sign into your Facebook account, visit the Festival’s Facebook page and click on “BUY TICKETS” to access Stratford Social Ticketing.

2. Once you’ve selected our app, you’ll get to choose who you want to share your Festival-going information with from the drop-down menu (as pictured below). After you’ve done that, click “Go to App.”

3. Select your permissions and click “Allow.”


4.  Now you’re ready to buy tickets! If you’re booking just for yourself, simply click “Buy Tickets” under the production that you’d like to see. But the really exciting thing about this app is that it allows you to create events for you and your friends – so let’s see how that’s done!

To create an event, select “Create Event” under the production you’d like to book with a group of your friends, co-workers, students, family… etc. (You get the picture!)


5. I’ve selected Cymbeline because I am in love with this show! Once you’re on the individual production page you’ll be able to select dates from the calendar that will appear in your “Suggested Show Times.”  Then you’ll be ready to invite friends!
*PLEASE NOTE- only one show time will be allowed to be suggested moving forward. 

5. You can type a personal message in the “Add more info to message” box, and from there you can either select friends from your personal list or make the event public by selecting “Anyone can view or RSVP (public event).”  To select a friend, simply click on their picture so that it’s highlighted. Then you’re ready to click “Create Event.”

6.  You’ll be redirected to the Stratford Social Ticketing homepage, where you’ll see your event under “Upcoming Events.” Click “Event Wall” to view the details and chat with your friends about your trip – or click “Finalize Event” if you’ve gotten everyone’s feedback or if you’ve already decided on a date. If you need to, you can delete your event by selecting – you guessed it! – “Delete Event.”

 7.  Your event wall will look exactly like any other event created in Facebook. You can add a picture, like I did, and discuss dates, times, restaurants, life, love… whatever!

8. Once you’ve settled on a date with your friends, you’ll be able to confirm the date either through the link provided on the page or on the Stratford Social Ticketing homepage. Only group organizers can finalize the date! Select your preference from “Your Original Choices” and it will appear in the box labelled “Your Selected Date and Time.” You can then click “Finalize Event.” If your final date isn’t one of your original choices, simply select “Choose a different date/time” from the bottom left corner and you’ll be able to pick another performance.


9. From there you’ll be redirected to the Stratford Social Ticketing homepage. You can either purchase tickets there by selecting “Purchase Tickets!” under your “Upcoming Events,” or you can order through your event wall. There will be a link there that your friends can click to book their seats, too!


10. The rest of the process is exactly like purchasing tickets through our website, with one really cool exception – you’ll be able to see where your friends are sitting in the theatre once they’ve purchased their tickets! Their Facebook profile picture will appear over their seat, so you can choose to sit beside them. (If you’ve set your account to “Me,” your picture will never be displayed to others.)

After you’ve selected your seats and are ready to check out, we’ll prompt you to sign into your Stratford Shakespeare Festival account. If it’s under the same e-mail address as your Facebook account, you can simply click “Continue,” as long as the right account number appears on the screen for you (take a moment to check!). If you’re a first-time user, you’ll need to set up an account before you complete your transaction.

Follow the prompts and complete your checkout, and you’re all set to come to the Festival!

We’re thrilled to be sharing this new app with you! And here’s a treat – get $20 tickets to The Matchmakeron June 9, 15 or 17, 2012,* when you purchase them using Stratford Social Ticketing! On the “Select Your Own Seat” page, enter promotion code 44146 in the box labelled “Have a promo code?” (shown below) and then click “Go”. You’ll be able to select the price type from the drop-down menu.

Take advantage of this cool social ticketing feature and let us know about your experience using our app! If you have any questions, please contact socialmedia@stratfordfestival.ca.

*This promotion is only available through the Stratford Social Ticketing application on our Facebook page. Tickets are non-refundable, not available with any other promotion and are subject to applicable taxes and handling fees. Tickets are only available in A, B and C seating zones. Promotion expires on June 17, 2012.