Press Release: Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction welcomes new participants for 2014 session

February 14, 2014… The Stratford Festival welcomes five new directors to the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction, along with three directors returning to the program for a second year.

New to the workshop are Christine Brubaker, Jessica Carmichael, Brett Christopher, Krista Jackson and Rona Waddington. Returning for a second season are Kevin Bennett, Mitchell Cushman and Birgit Schreyer Duarte.

The workshop, now in its fifth year, is intended for directors in the early and middle stages of their careers who have had some experience working with the classics, but not at a theatre of the complexity and scope of the Festival.

Participants will serve as assistant directors and are given the opportunity to showcase their work by presenting a classical piece of their own choosing to an invited audience later in the season. They will also participate in classes in text, voice, movement and other disciplines held by the Festival’s Coaching Department.

“I am delighted with the quality of the participants this year,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “They come from across Canada and have diverse backgrounds. What unites them is their love for theatre and a record of early accomplishments, which promises much for the future. I welcome them to Stratford.”

The workshop is overseen by Mr. Cimolino and Theatre Training Consultant David Latham. Associate Producer Bonnie Green is the coordinator of the program.

The Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction is generously supported by Johanna Metcalf, the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation and The Philip and Berthe Morton Foundation. The workshop is sponsored by the RBC Emerging Artist Project.

Participants’ Biographies

Kevin Bennett

Second season: Assistant director of King John. Stratford: The Three Musketeers (assistant director), Macbeth (Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction Directors’ Workshop Presentation). Vancouver: Directing: Measure for Measure (Pacific Theatre); King Lear, Hamlet (The Honest Fishmongers); Fallout, Treasure Island (Studio 58); The Loudest Silence, 7 Stories (Templeton Secondary School); Cold Comfort, The Woman in Black (Yogurt Theatre); The Priory (United Players of Vancouver); Macbeth, Pet Stories (Limbo Circus Theatre); To Sea, or Not to Sea (Burnaby Summer Theatre); Paper Boats (Walking Fish Festival). Assistant director: She Stoops to Conquer (Arts Club); Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing (Bard on the Beach); NiX (The Only Animal, Cultural Olympiad); The Merchant of Venice, Heptademic, The Winter’s Tale, Lot’s Wife (Studio 58). Training: Graduate of Studio 58; RADA’s How to Rehearse directing course.

Christine Brubaker

Stratford debut: Assistant director of Alice Through the Looking-Glass. Elsewhere: An award-winning actor, director and teacher, Christine has performed nationally and internationally. She just completed a season in the National Arts Centre’s acting ensemble: Tartuffe, The Sound of Music and Enron. Acting: Fear of Flight (Artistic Fraud); The Vaudevilles of Chekhov (NAC); The Penelopiad (Dora Award) and The Danish Play (Nightwood Theatre); The Comedy of Errors (Canadian Stage); The Trials of John Demjanjuk (Theatre Asylum); The Babysitter (Theatre Direct – Dora Award); Schoolhouse (Festival Players PEC). Directing: Much Ado About Nothing (Nightwood Theatre); Madhouse Variations and Doc Wuthergloom’s Haunted Medicine Show (Eldritch Theatre – resident director); Elle (Lab Cab). Assistant Director: Cinderella (YPT), Measure for Measure (Ryerson), Metamorphoses (NAC). Training: National Theatre School, University of Waterloo, MFA Interdisciplinary Arts, Goddard College. Awards: Fox Fellow. Et cetera: Christine is a regular instructor at Humber and Sheridan colleges.

Jessica Carmichael

Stratford debut: Assistant director of Christina, The Girl King. Elsewhere: Selected directing: Good Grief (Weesageechak Festival-26 – Native Earth Performing Arts); girls!girls!girls! (co-director, SummerWorks); The Ghost Sonata – an adaptation (Studio Theatre); Juliet – an adaptation, Skylight (UofA); The Sophocles Project (RADA). Assistant directing: Yellow Moon: The Ballad of Leila and Lee (Studio Theatre); Edward the Second (Jerwood Vanbrugh Studio, U.K.). Has acted with such companies as Theatre Junction, ATP, The Only Animal, Suitcase In Point, Northern Light Theatre. Film/TV: The Reporter, I Think I Do, Heart of the Sun. Recordings: The voice of Tiger Lily on The New Adventures of Peter Pan. Training: MFA in Directing (University of Alberta), MA in Text & Performance Studies (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art/King’s College London), three-year Acting Program (The National Theatre School of Canada). Et cetera: Artistic Associate with Native Earth Performing Arts.

Brett Christopher

Stratford debut: Assistant director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Elsewhere: Direction: The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare on Love (Theatre by the Bay); The Grandkid, Rat Snake (Theatre Kingston); Munschapalooza (Thousand Islands Playhouse). Performance: Boeing Boeing, The Clockmaker (TIP); Vigil (Theatre Kingston); I Am My Own Wife, Dangerous Liaisons (Segal Theatre); Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare in the Rough); Much Ado About Nothing (Canadian Stage); Family Stories: Belgrade, The Sea (ARC); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It (Theatre by the Bay); The Gladstone Variations, Autoshow (Convergence Theatre); Mary’s Wedding (Theatre & Co.). Training: Queen’s University, George Brown College. Awards: Masques Award and a MECCA Award for his performance in I Am My Own Wife, Segal Centre (Montreal). Et cetera: Brett is the Artistic Producer of Theatre Kingston.

Mitchell Cushman

Second season: Assistant director of The Beaux’ Stratagem. Stratford: Assistant director, The Merchant of Venice. Elsewhere: Directing: Vitals, Terminus, Mr. Marmalade, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Oh the Humanity and Other Good Intentions (Outside the March); New Jerusalem (Harold Green Jewish Theatre); The Last of Romeo and Juliet, Possible Worlds (Talk Is Free Theatre); The Cripple of Inishmaan (Studio Theatre, Edmonton); Oh My Irma (Edmonton Fringe); Seeds (touring director, Crow’s Theatre). Training: MFA in Directing, University of Alberta. Awards: Siminovitch Protégé Award; Dora Award for Outstanding Production (Mr. Marmalade); Toronto Theatre Critics’ Award for Best Director; Ken McDougal Award; SummerWorks Prize for Production (Terminus). Online: www.outsidethemarch.ca. Et cetera: Founding Co-Artistic Director of Outside the March; Associate Artistic Director of Crow’s Theatre; resident artist at Theatre Passe Muraille; faculty member at Act 2 Studio at Ryerson.

Krista Jackson

Stratford debut: Assistant director of Mother Courage and Her Children. Elsewhere: Directing: The Seagull, The Seafarer (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre); Dying to be Thin (Manitoba Theatre for Young People); The Miser of Middlegate (zone41 theatre/Theatre Projects Manitoba); If Men Played Cards as Women Do, Overtones (Shaw Festival); Village Wooing (zone41 theatre). Assistant directing: Hedda Gabler, Misalliance, His Girl Friday (Shaw Festival); The Wizard of Oz (Globe Theatre). Training: Shaw Festival’s Neil Munro Intern Directors Project 2012, Rumble Directors Lab 2013 (Peter Hinton), Ryerson Theatre School. Awards: Gina Wilkinson Prize (2013). Nominated for: John Hirsch Prize (2014), Winnipeg Arts Council’s RBC On the Rise Award (2012). Online: www.zone41.ca. Et cetera: Founding artistic director of zone41 theatre.

Birgit Schreyer Duarte

Second season: Assistant director of King Lear. Stratford: Assistant director, Mary Stuart (2013). Elsewhere: Most recently: Director/translator, Purgatory in Ingleton (Toronto SummerWorks Festival). Upcoming: Assistant director/dramaturge, To a Flame (Swedish/Finnish/Canadian co-production). Director, Little Pea’s Revolution (United Solo, New York); translator, The Test (Company Theatre), Life of Galileo (Small Wooden Shoe); director/translator, Kaspar & the Sea of Houses (SummerWorks); assistant director, The Cosmonaut’s Last Message, intern director, Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter (Canadian Stage). Training: Theatre Ontario Professional Training Program Directing (mentor Josette Bushell-Mingo); University of Toronto (PhD, drama); Munich University (MA, dramaturgy). Awards: SummerWorks Festival Prize for Outstanding Production; nomination, Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize; Government of Canada Research Award. Online: www.birgitschreyerduarte.com. Et cetera: Literary associate, Shaw Festival. Currently: Artistic and dramaturgical consultant, Canadian Stage. Originally from Munich, Germany.

Rona Waddington

Stratford debut: Assistant director of Antony and Cleopatra. Elsewhere: Director: Hamlet (St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival); The Tempest, King Lear (upcoming) (New Open Space Company, Paris); Trying (Centaur Theatre); A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Mousetrap, Steel Magnolias (Drayton Entertainment); Dry Streak (Grand Theatre); Apollo of Bellac (Shaw Festival Director’s Project); Oleanna (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Orson’s Shadow (Pilot Group); Chekhov’s The Bear, The SantaLand Diaries, Power Lunch (Lunchbox Theatre); Driving Miss Daisy (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); The Godot Cycle (Toronto Fringe); The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (American Conservatory Theatre, MFA program). Assistant Director: Age of Arousal, The Women (Shaw Festival); Night and Day (American Conservatory Theatre). Resident director: The Railway Children (Marquis/Mirvish). Awards: Ottawa Critic’s Circle Award, Best Director, Hamlet, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival.

Press Release | Stratford Festival dedicates productions to the memory of Jean-Louis Roux, Suzanne Turnbull and Jack Merigold

January 20, 2014… In the past few months, Canadian theatre has lost some champions, each of whom made a vital contribution to their discipline. The Stratford Festival will commemorate the lives of three of these people, who had close ties to Stratford, through a series of dedications in the 2014 season.

King Lear dedicated to Jean-Louis Roux

King Lear will be dedicated to actor and director Jean-Louis Roux.

“Jean-Louis Roux was a pioneer, creating companies, leading institutions and promoting the critical importance of the arts in our society,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, who will direct the production. “He was a valued member of the Stratford company over many years as an actor as well as a director. I last worked with him at the Festival Theatre along with Colm Feore in Coriolanus. Therefore it is with affection that we dedicate this season’s production of King Lear to Jean-Louis, who was ‘every inch a king.’”

M. Roux turned to acting when he was three years into medical school. He worked and trained in France and on his return to Montreal founded Le Théâtre du Nouveau Monde with a group including Jean Gascon, who would later become Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival. M. Roux served as Secretary General of TNM from 1952 to 1963 and then as Artistic Director from 1966 to 1982. He was involved in the creation of the National Theatre School, where he was Director General from 1982 to 1987. He was a member of the Canadian Senate, Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, Chairman of the Canada Council and a Companion of the Order of Canada.

He was a member of the Stratford Festival company for six seasons between 1956 and 2006, playing Orleans in the famous bilingual Stratford Festival-TNM co-production of Henry V in 1956 and Burgundy in the re-mount of that production in 1966. In addition to playing the First Roman Senator in Coriolanus in 2006, he also played Don Louis in Don Juan, another Stratford Festival-TNM co-production, which was performed in both French and English. The previous year, he directed The Measure of Love, sharing a lifetime of theatre experience with then-new playwright Nicolas Billon, winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Award for Drama.

King John dedicated to Suzanne Turnbull

King John will be dedicated to acting coach Suzanne Turnbull.

“Suzy Turnbull was an acting coach who had a special gift in developing talent,” says Mr. Cimolino. “She worked in theatres and schools across Canada. Her intelligence, compassion and love for acting made her a great force for good in our art form. Along with Michael Mawson and Richard Monette, Suzy was a driving force in the creation of our Birmingham Conservatory. Suzy’s last production at Stratford was Titus Andronicus at the Tom Patterson Theatre. We dedicate our production of King John in that theatre to her memory.”

A multi-talented theatre artist, Ms Turnbull was a beloved member of the Festival’s coaching staff for many years. She was also the dramaturge for Titus Andronicus in 2011 and The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 2010, as well as the assistant director of The Taming of the Shrew in 2008. Her warmth, generosity and intelligence made her a great resource for the Festival company.

Suzie also worked as an acting coach at major training institutions across Canada, including Western University and the University of Windsor, and she herself had a BFA from the University of Alberta. She was a founding member of the NDWT Company, director of education at Kaleidoscope Theatre in Victoria, and a member of the Kam Theatre cooperative in Thunder Bay.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream dedicated to Jack Merigold

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be dedicated to stage manager Jack Merigold.

“Jack Merigold was a multi-talented man of the theatre,” says Mr. Cimolino. “He worked as an actor and director but made his greatest contribution as a stage manager. His work in the early years at Stratford with Tyrone Guthrie and Michael Langham brought discipline as well as joy to our creative process. Over many years, his boundless energy and puck-like spirit enlivened our theatres. It is no surprise that he played Puck in a production that toured Ontario early in his career. Therefore it is a great pleasure to dedicate our Festival Theatre production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Jack.”

Mr. Merigold was hired as an assistant stage manager by Tyrone Guthrie for the Festival’s inaugural season in 1953. He soon became Dr. Guthrie’s stage manager and their working relationship stretched beyond Stratford to include 12 productions in New York and four in London.

Mr. Merigold was with the Festival for 16 seasons between 1953 and 1976, in a variety of roles. He was the production stage manager for the Avon Theatre and for opera, and later served as the purchasing agent. He was the assistant to the director on 1960’s HMS Pinafore and 1961’s The Pirates of Penzance, a production in which he also appeared as an actor. In 1974 he directed This Is the Rill Speaking at the Third Stage (now the Tom Patterson Theatre). His acting career included a recurring role on CBC TV’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and appearances on the Wayne and Shuster TV specials.

King Lear opens on May 26, King John opens on May 28, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens on May 31.

 -30-

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.

#2014sta

-30-

Three Job Opportunities | Chef | Graphic Designer | Major Gift Manager-GTA

Would you like to play a meaningful role with North America’s leading classical repertory theatre? At the Stratford Festival, we attract the world’s finest talent, offering a unique experience for staff, artists and actors alike. If you would like to be a part of this exciting organization, we are looking for someone to fill the role of…

Graphic Designer

We are currently looking for a junior-level graphic designer to join the Festival’s graphic design team, for a one-year contract position. The ideal candidate will have a sound understanding of current Macintosh equipment and Adobe software workflow, using InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat, as well as a working knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite. Applications should have a strong design portfolio as well as experience in a fast-paced electronic studio environment.

Successful candidates will provide creative designs with strong typographic skills and accuracy and be capable of managing multiple projects simultaneously in both an independent and team environment. A proven ability to work within tight schedules and deadlines will be expected, as well as a clear understanding of PDF art files for proofing and print production.

This Stratford position will begin mid-February, 2014.

We recognize that diversity- in our workplace, in our audiences and on our stages- fosters a rich and creative environment. We are actively engaged in building a more diverse workplace and encourage all qualified applicants to apply by January 15, 2014 to;

Human Resources
Stratford Festival
55 Queen Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2
E-mail: resumes@stratfordfestival.ca
Subject: Graphic Designer
_________________________________________________________________________

Would you like to play a meaningful role with North America’s leading classical repertory theatre? At the Stratford Festival, we attract the world’s finest talent, offering a unique experience for staff, artists, and actors alike. If you would like to be a part of this exciting organization, we are looking for someone to fill the role of…

Chef-Food and Beverage department

Reporting to the Food and Beverage Manager, you are responsible for leading the Stratford Festival kitchen team in all food service capacities. You must have a solid understanding of all kitchen areas including health and safety, daily food preparation as well as pastries.  A background and interest in banquets of all types, including plated, buffet and reception style events is imperative.  You strive to maintain appropriate food costs and budget control, all while maintaining a friendly, positive atmosphere.

You will be an excellent communicator and have the ability to build and maintain a highly efficient and successful kitchen. Exceptional organizational skills and the ability to work effectively in a unique food service environment are required. Previous kitchen experience in a leadership role is essential.  You have the ability to both direct and motivate your staff in a positive manor.  You are flexible and able to work a variety of shifts including weekends, holidays and evenings.

This seasonal position will start January 2014 and end in October 2014. Successful candidates must be able to fulfill the entire contract period.

We recognize that diversity – in our workplace, in our audiences and on our stages- fosters a rich and creative environment. We are actively engaged in building a more diverse workplace and encourage all qualified applicants to apply by January 23, 2014 to:

Human Resources
Stratford Festival
55 Queen Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2
E-mail: resumes@stratfordfestival.ca
Subject: Chef
_________________________________________________________________________

Would you like to play a meaningful role with North America’s leading classical repertory theatre? At the Stratford Festival, we attract the world’s finest talent, offering a unique experience for staff, artists and actors alike. If you would like to be a part of this exciting organization, we are looking for someone to fill the role of ….

Major Gift Manager-GTA 

Reporting to the Director of Advancement this position will play an integral role in the achievement of the organization’s strategic plan through participation in the development and implementation of revenue generation programs, including campaigns, membership and other major gift fundraising initiatives. You will assist with the development, formulation and execution of these goals through effective prospect identification; cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major gift prospects; overseeing and acting as liaison for formal volunteer committees and individual volunteer activities and facilitating personal meetings, telephone and written correspondence with all potential prospects and current donors.

This position is a full time position based in Toronto but you must have the ability to travel to Stratford as required.

You will have advanced knowledge of fundraising, communications and marketing acquired through the completion of a graduate degree in Philanthropy, Communications or Marketing; the work involved the mastery of concepts and theories in the fundraising and marketing field, with at least five years of directly related experience with a proven track record in development with experience in managing Annual Giving Programs ( or components) and Major Gifts; knowledge of professional fundraising theory and practice; excellent communication skills both written and verbal, and effective public speaking experience; ability to develop relationships quickly and sound judgment and diplomacy. Familiarity with or an interest in theatre or the arts is essential.

We recognize that diversity- in our workplace, in our audiences and on our stages- fosters a rich and creative environment. We are actively engaged in building a more diverse workplace and encourage all qualified applicants to apply by January 15, 2014 to;

Human Resources
Stratford Festival
55 Queen Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2
E-mail: resumes@stratfordfestival.ca
Subject: Major Gift Manager

Crazy Composition Competition – Winners!

We asked you to write us a poem no more than 20 lines, musing on our 2014 season theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge, and the results were incredible.

If you haven’t had a chance to read all of the poems we received, please click here!

We want to thank you for all of your fabulous entries to our Crazy Composition Competition – at moments like this, we’re reminded of just how intelligent and madly creative our group of fans can be!

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… our winning poet, who will take home the grand prize of a pair of opening night tickets to King Lear along with Shakespeare-lover’s journals and two copies of King Lear!

In first place: congratulations to Kylene Walker!

Alone

‘Nothing will come of nothing’ is what the old man said,
But perhaps the ‘nothing’ that he spoke of was all inside his head.
Staring blankly at the strangers searching, hoping for the traces
Of the people he once saw among the sea of angry faces.
And a hush falls over the crowd as he stands a man alone.

Surrounded by his books the pages slowly come alive,
Wand’ring, tortured, there is one way for a hero to survive:
Beneath the armour of a knight (with a limping horse and mule)
To stand before the giants and all at once become the fool.
And a hush falls over the crowd as the hero stands alone.

Peeling paper, dusty curtains in a large abandoned room
A girl’s reflection changes to reveal an uffish plume.
Trapped beneath the surface of an ever-changing world,
Crying, screaming, and repeating with the hopes of being heard.
And a hush falls over the crowd as the young girl stands alone.

Return now to the old man whose past friends are gone or blind,
Does he teach us of the dangers of a storm-beguiled mind?
Or the hero and the young girl bravely walking hand-in-hand
Is there only so much madness that we’re able to withstand?
And a hush falls over the stage as the crowd now stands alone.

But that’s not all! Since we received SO many beautiful and funny poems, we’ll also be giving away a pair of tickets to each of our 2ndplace, 3rd place and honorable mention winners to any preview performance in April or May.

In second place: congratulations to Meg Cormack!

MMXIV

Thou, the stage, art my goddess as it seems,
Eternity given into our eyes,
Swift as shadows where words become our dreams.

To dream the impossible is what deems,
Beggary in love reckoned through the cries:
Thou, the stage, art my goddess as it seems.

While through the looking-glass surely redeems,
A life of sweet, sweet, sweet poison and lies,
Swift as shadows where words become our dreams.

Through salad days and midsummer night schemes,
The world confesses its everyday ties,
Thou, the stage, art my goddess as it seems.

From queens of hearts to the girl king extremes,
Crazy to fever to courage that flies,
Swift as shadows where words become our dreams.

With lyric and sonnet this season beams,
Themed mortality awaiting reprise,
Thou, the stage, art my goddess as it seems,
Swift as shadows where words become our dreams.

In third place: congratulations to Jeremy Gretton!

Seasoning of madness, you say?  Sounds like trouble brewing, but here’s something to stew over:
An a-salt to the senses, peppered with
King Lear’s mind gone, power gone, daughters gone – ril… but no tarra-gon.  Everything gone, or at least not all there.
Gone. Gone.  Another king, John. And a Queen, Christina – with such power to… bare,
making even Toronto politics seem tame.
Next step in this seasoning game – add just a dash of Antony, and Cleopatra, his flame.
But don’t add too much – she might be hot, but is a pain in the asp.
And Shakespeare’s Bottom, really such an ass.  But enough about Shakespeare’s bottom…
Not enough kick?  The answer?  A dancer!  They’ve got rhythm.  And don’t forget Mother Courage and Her Daughters, by Brecht.  Brecht had rhythm.  Arrhythmia, in fact.
STILL not enough kick?  We already have a donkey!  But Bottom is a bit asinine.
How about Donkey Hoté?  I mean, Don Quixote.  The Man of la Mancha is a true giant of literature.  Or perhaps a windmill, after all.
Add a pitchfork-ful of Hay … Fever.  Nothing to sneeze at, though the playwright’s a bit of a Coward.  Or at least not in his wright mind.
Add Alice to the mix, and see if you can add the March Hare to the stew … but no one could eat the entire hare!  In other words, I’ve never seen someone down the rabbit whole.
Seasoning of madness.  A recipe for disaster.
What’s that?  “Season” of madness?  I misheard?   HAHAHAHAHA. HAHA. HA.
Sorry, but I simply don’t know what a season of madness looks like.  I am play-ful, but not insane.

And our honorable mention goes to: David Rose – congratulations!

I’ve heard that at Stratford next year
Colm Feore will be playing King Lear.
And also it seems
There’ll be two separate “Dreams”
An inspiring season of Shakespeare.

It’s billed as the year of the loony.
But the “Man” being played by Tom Rooney,
King John, Tony and Cleo,
Fever, Alice and The Beaux,
Will be surely worth more than a twoney.
_________________________________________________________________________

Thank you, once again, to all of the contestants! Each and every one of you deserves praise for your poetical odes: in fact, you made choosing a winner a very tricky task. We can’t wait to welcome all of you to the Festival in 2014!

Crazy Composition Competition – the entries are rolling in!

We’ve received some amazing entries for our Crazy Composition Competition and there’s still time to submit a poem of your own for a chance to win a pair of opening night tickets for King Lear starring Colm Feore!

Shakespeare-Contest-Image

Here’s what you need to take home this amazing prize!*

In an e-mail to socialmedia@stratfordfestival.ca, please include:

  • A poem of no more than 20 lines about the Festival’s 2014 season playbill and themes. It can take the form of a Shakespearean sonnet, a haiku, a limerick, free verse – you name it!
  • Your first and last name.
  • Your mailing address, e-mail address and phone number.

Check out the amazing line-up of poems entered so far for our Crazy Composition Competition! Don’t forget that that the final day to submit an entry is December 17, 2013 at midnight!
_________________________________________________________________________

Written by: Diane Haggerty

This cold night we are all turning into fools and madmen
Life is short; we’re growing older. “Shall we dance, dear King?” said I, or tiptoe out…
In midsummer we have impossible dreams of Red Kings and Bastards and monks with their poison cups
But now we see only mirrors tilting, and kittens.
Load the bountiful cheeses and cherries on the wagon and count to eleven, striking the donkey that jabbers
While four lovers in a closet are dreaming of asps and swords
Perhaps I am a man, perhaps I am a woman – perhaps I am mad
And so, shaking my spear, I end with the overture.

Written by: Aidan Ware

From ancient empire Egypt to the stars of La Mancha’s past
We gaze through our looking glass

Minds in madness run, their turmoil cast

To crowds waiting in the darkness for a King

As flickering foes in the distance sing

A dream will dance upon a midsummer night stage
And rage

Like a wild soul in the blindness of fate
Blistering lovers’ lust lost
Thrones tossed

To a vortex of voices vying

In crazed confusion crying
At the edges of reason

Ragged treason

Carried with a snake or knife

Through the empty words of life
From great Egypt to La Mancha
We gaze
Where madness forces back the curtain

And plays

Written by: Dana Sorensen

“A Poet’s Madness”

With breathe of wind and dark of evening cast
Shrouds a bard as he whispers and writes
Amidst a sea of paper, blank and vast
The cause of many a sleepless night

His thoughts are fleeting, his heart is beating
Grabs at the pool of ideas in his mind
Memory fickle, his body begins heating
And madness overcomes, turns his senses blind

Calm breeze turns storm of storms, nature rages
And sweet release comes in the form of skill
He thought of the crowd, he thought of the stage
As madness seeps through body and pours through quill

He picks up page, with dawn comes mind so clear
A whisper so soft “Here resides King Leer”

Written by: Yvonne Hord

Festival madness
abounds in twenty fourteen.
Who will escape here?

Written by: Tom Valcke

I fear
King Lear
Is near.
Oh dear!

Written by: Monica Reid

Roses are red
violets are blue
bill hut was my 1st Lear
want to see number 2

Really.

Written by: David Rose

I’ve heard that at Stratford next year
Colm Feore will be playing King Lear.
And also it seems
There’ll be two separate “Dreams”
An inspiring season of Shakespeare.

It’s billed as the year of the loony.
But the “Man” being played by Tom Rooney,
King John, Tony and Cleo,
Fever, Alice and The Beaux,
Will be surely worth more than a twoney.

Written by: Robin Bennett

Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge – Young love:
“How do I love you?
Take this Earth
And drop it into the night sky.
Wait…for a billion years.
Gather all the starlight
The Earth has seen on its journey;
Collect that starlight in a kiss;
Place that kiss upon your lips.
That is how much I love you.”

Written by: Doug Ironside

Twas Anthony danced with an Egyptian queen,
Playbills extolling an Impossible Dream
Madness of Lear offset by the mildest Colm
More Crazy for You, ‘twixt long legs and… lip balm

And there on the boards, we’ll see the courage of mothers
A tyrannical Rex, obsessed with his druthers…
The fever of Hay, Christina, the King !
On a Mid-Summer’s Night, the play’s indeed, the thing.

And speaking of Queens, we’ll have one crimson red
Calling for Alice and others to lose their dear heads
Stratagems, scheming, love, daring, piety
This new year before us, simply bursting with variety

It’s at Stratford!, kind folks, where you’ll come quite undone
For this season, there’s magic for each, everyone.

Written by: Paul Knowles

The Bard is buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity…
And equally so, deep in our consciousness
In the infinity of idea and dream,
Where life is not at all as it seems it should be,
Unless… life is to be lived as a lunacy,
And we should be watchful for questing souls
And rabbit holes
And cabbages and things that go off in the night.
Ah, then, it would be entirely right
To embrace the strange
And posture as kings
To love to excess;
To discover the range
Of impossible things
Revealed in a jest
To rage at each stage
Of our lunatic lives,
Lived larger than life
On the brightest edge of the brightest knife
That cuts clean through the madness.

Written by: Gary Nichols

A Tender Leaf

Tumbling leaf a rolling along
What a proud tree you are from
Now the breeze indeed determines you must dance
traveling beyond this worldly scene
Oh how angels show up sometimes
in the fall gusts that blow a prancing leaf

Once  two brave and splendid lovers sat under your tree
The cold and rain a coming
They cared not

Cupid’s dart was set

The forest shrouded the ensconced ones

There true love radiant among the verdure

But that was from another long ago age
And the love of my life is gone
The gods have swept you up and turned you to the wind
a gentle leaf a dancing and prancing in the falling gusts
reminds me of our Fall in Stratford where lovers swoon

Written by: Anastasia K. Nakis

If love be merely a madness
Then Stratford be thy true north
In coming year fast approaching
Be one with kings, sprites and ghosts.
Their pain is real as you and I
Their vast expressions never lie
With passion, sex and dreams alike
Their follies do blanket the night.
Though courtship may not be as it seems
The mirror proves illusory
Through eyes of young girl in love
A boy will capture but a dove.
So come be one with heroes and foes
Walk the plank and smell the rose
Though it be madness I must see
How it shapes and animates thee.

Written by: Sheila Brown

The Madness of Driving

The madness of driving
On a Tuesday night
To Stratford with
The Boy and the Girl
Teaching them to love the theatre
The beautiful noise
An enchanted night and then.
Return to home
The same Tuesday night
Richer by far
I roll down the windows
On the highway
The wind takes us home.

Written by: Sookie Mei

Stratford Fest productions in the year twenty fourteen
Will be amongst the CRAZIEST the town has ever seen
The theme of Madness will prevail, with Minds Pushed to the Edge
As if all sanity has gone and jumped off of a ledge!

The Shakespeare fans will marvel at the madness of King Lear
and how the love-mad Antony holds Cleopatra dear
King John will see the lunacy of fam’ly bickering
And “Dream” just makes insanity of every one and thing!

The title says it all in Stratford’s show Crazy For You
La Mancha’s Don Quixote feels the pull of madness, too
The Beaux’ Strategem brings some Restoration lunacy
And Alice, Through the Looking Glass is nuts as she can be!

Remaining characters who feel their minds have gone awry
Are Mother Courage and her kids – with chaos they will lie
Christina tips convention on its head with manic ease
And Hay Fever will drive you mad with efforts not to sneeze!

So, all in all, the newest plays include insanity
Which makes them quite appealing to a crazy girl like me!!
I’m sure the crowds will love the shows, if only just to see
Compared to these mad people, they’re as sane as sane can be!

Written by: Shannon Murray

What common thread unites the varied stories Of lovers, lunatics, and fairy kings, Of greatness lost and falls from former glories, Minds on the edge, the shocks betrayal brings?

Misguided lovers wander through the wood; Youth disappointed, age cut off from aid, The public peace is lost for private good, Monsters disguised as windmills, plots well laid, Eyes gouged, snake bites, and bestial transformation— Some clarity when mind and nature stormed — A ruler’s failings make a failing nation:

All blinded, all misguided, all transformed.

But madmen, lovers, dreamers meet in this:

Through suffering alone we catch at bliss.

Written by: Vince Kennedy

EmmEmmExeEyeVee

White swans will loose their relevance admist the crowds
Pushing forward to see Sullen get pursued
The Church will shudder from the froth of gossip
As Aldonza is assaulted and Alice’s transformation takes a twist
Of the knife, gritty as the bent emotions of Cordelia, daughter
And Polly better have rhythm, and the Blisses a nor’easter bluster
For in Christina who dallies with those she should not
Will be found the bittersweet  of Balzac’s  creamy croc
While Constance continues to tilt for son and pope
The old Man’s accused, he witnessed Hermia elope,
Heard Courage damn her fate and felt the ripples of the Nile
As Cleo stepped onto that royal bark, taking risk sublime
Stratford festoons with senses divine
And burghers sit back, and watch from behind.
All the while, the rivulet runs on, looking for the sea
And the pigeons regret not seeing the toss
Of the last crumbling piece from the Prune’s cake boss.
Infirmity of the mind is the only escape
From present’s tyranny,
And only the mad and the dead are truly ever free.

Written by: Shadi Hanna

The stage lights low, a tale foretold.
A story of a king who once ruled with heart.
A man once rich in bounties and gold.
Three daughters, now each being given a part.
Plot unaware of the dangers ahead.
As our characters strive to live life at its best.
Emotionally scarred, leaving a man’s sanity for dead.
A body remains, God takes all the rest.
A soul-searching journey to find memories gone by.
Tip-toeing a path on the brink of despair.
Sorting through history, the truth and the lie.
Finding place in the world, a glory so rare.
A struggle so common, but historically placed.
The life of King Lear, now truly being faced.

Written by: Michelle Ecker

When, in disgrace with the state of movies, I at home beweep my theatreless state And trouble Shakespeare up in Heaven with my bootless cries And look upon my Elizabethan abridged set and curse my theatreless fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in sophisticated entertainment, Featured like the Avon theatre proscenium stage, like her with Man of La Mancha tickets possess’d, Desiring this man’s money and that woman’s car, With silly comedies and lame comic book movies contented least; Yet in the movie theatre myself almost despising, Happily I think on seeing King Lear at Stratford, and then my state, Like at the first glimpse of a Stratford swan at break of day arising From right here north of Toronto, recites soliloquies at the thought of entering Stratford’s gate; For Colm Feore’s acting remember’d such wealth brings That then I await the thought of sharing the theatre with kings.

Written by: Anne Sigrist

Madness is the theme this year
and will include a king named Lear.

Each play will be its own illusion
of love and lust and self delusion.

So rich a subject to explore,
psychosis, rage and so much more

that’s out of sync, beyond control,
that takes you down the rabbit hole

to question what is dream or true
and analyze all that you knew.

Obsessive thoughts, compulsive deeds.
In spite of you, you know it leads

to mysteries of minds and hearts,
where reason ends and madness starts.

Written by: Donna Latham

CRAZY FOR YOU, FESTIVAL

I’m Crazy for You, Festival.
I’m mad about the plays.
So Fever’d for you, Festival,
I’ll theatre-hop for days.

I’m dotty for both A and C,
A loon for Looking Glass,
Demented for Beaux’ Strategem,
And dream I love an ass.

I’m simply gaga for King John,
Cuckoo for Christina,
Just screaming mad for Shakespeare’s Lear—
You know what I mean-a.

I’m so loco for LaMancha,
Mental for Ma Courage,
Besotted with you, Festival—
Look! There’s Richard Burbage!

I’m Crazy for You, Festival.
I’m howling at the moon.
They’re coming to take me away
To hear your fanfare soon.

Written by: Daniel Coo

Come sit, amidst the swirl of Flibberdigibits and
A giant’s windmilling limbs.
How fearful and dizzy to cast one’s eyes about-
One dame is carting about, another is taking delivery
Of a basket of worms.
I can trust not those cunning waters of mine eyes,
The midway air choked by song
Or carpenters and kings, and
Half way down hangs one who gathers
Muskrose and eglantine.
Those who walk the Avon shore appear like mice
And yond barge soundeth a brassy tune.
I’ll look long, should even my brain turn
And admit not deficient sight nor stopped ears,
But a love resting crazy for thou.

Written by: Meg Cormack

MMXIV

Thou, the stage, art my goddess as it seems,
Eternity given into our eyes,
Swift as shadows where words become our dreams.

To dream the impossible is what deems,
Beggary in love reckoned through the cries:
Thou, the stage, art my goddess as it seems.

While through the looking-glass surely redeems,
A life of sweet, sweet, sweet poison and lies,
Swift as shadows where words become our dreams.

Through salad days and midsummer night schemes,
The world confesses its everyday ties,
Thou, the stage, art my goddess as it seems.

From queens of hearts to the girl king extremes,
Crazy to fever to courage that flies,
Swift as shadows where words become our dreams.

With lyric and sonnet this season beams,
Themed mortality awaiting reprise,
Thou, the stage, art my goddess as it seems,
Swift as shadows where words become our dreams.

Written by: Kylene Walker

Alone

‘Nothing will come of nothing’ is what the old man said,
But perhaps the ‘nothing’ that he spoke of was all inside his head.
Staring blankly at the strangers searching, hoping for the traces
Of the people he once saw among the sea of angry faces.
And a hush falls over the crowd as he stands a man alone.

Surrounded by his books the pages slowly come alive,
Wand’ring, tortured, there is one way for a hero to survive:
Beneath the armour of a knight (with a limping horse and mule)
To stand before the giants and all at once become the fool.
And a hush falls over the crowd as the hero stands alone.

Peeling paper, dusty curtains in a large abandoned room
A girl’s reflection changes to reveal an uffish plume.
Trapped beneath the surface of an ever-changing world,
Crying, screaming, and repeating with the hopes of being heard.
And a hush falls over the crowd as the young girl stands alone.

Return now to the old man whose past friends are gone or blind,
Does he teach us of the dangers of a storm-beguiled mind?
Or the hero and the young girl bravely walking hand-in-hand
Is there only so much madness that we’re able to withstand?
And a hush falls over the stage as the crowd now stands alone.

Written by: Jeremy Gretton

Seasoning of madness, you say?  Sounds like trouble brewing, but here’s something to stew over:
An a-salt to the senses, peppered with
King Lear’s mind gone, power gone, daughters gone – ril… but no tarra-gon.  Everything gone, or at least not all there.
Gone. Gone.  Another king, John. And a Queen, Christina – with such power to… bare,
making even Toronto politics seem tame.
Next step in this seasoning game – add just a dash of Antony, and Cleopatra, his flame.
But don’t add too much – she might be hot, but is a pain in the asp.
And Shakespeare’s Bottom, really such an ass.  But enough about Shakespeare’s bottom…
Not enough kick?  The answer?  A dancer!  They’ve got rhythm.  And don’t forget Mother Courage and Her Daughters, by Brecht.  Brecht had rhythm.  Arrhythmia, in fact.
STILL not enough kick?  We already have a donkey!  But Bottom is a bit asinine.
How about Donkey Hoté?  I mean, Don Quixote.  The Man of la Mancha is a true giant of literature.  Or perhaps a windmill, after all.
Add a pitchfork-ful of Hay … Fever.  Nothing to sneeze at, though the playwright’s a bit of a Coward.  Or at least not in his wright mind.
Add Alice to the mix, and see if you can add the March Hare to the stew … but no one could eat the entire hare!  In other words, I’ve never seen someone down the rabbit whole.
Seasoning of madness.  A recipe for disaster.
What’s that?  “Season” of madness?  I misheard?   HAHAHAHAHA. HAHA. HA.
Sorry, but I simply don’t know what a season of madness looks like.  I am play-ful, but not insane.

Written by: E. Gay Gretton

It’s a season of madness, minds pushed to the edge
Some comic, some fantasy, tragic
Twelve plays and musicals, souls to engage
And experience Stratford’s fine magic.

There are kings, Lear and John, and Girl King Christina
And Queen Cleopatra from far
Mother Courage and children where virtue brought death
And the Man of La Mancha’s a star.

Come raise a cheer to impossible dreams,
Of men like Bob Child, Don Quixote,
You will see I’ve got rhythm, they’re crazy for you
As long as they don’t think we’re dotty!

Come and dream in midsummer or peer through the glass
Of Alice to see what is there
Or laugh at the folly of Archer and Aimwell
And the Bliss family if you dare.

And you may find this madness has wisdom beneath
And lessons to teach us, each one.
For we are all human with flaws of our own
But it’s perfectly clear – we’ll have fun!

Written by: Janine Marley

A Sonnet for Stratford 2014

The mind plays tricks only our eyes can see,
Blind is the rest of the world to that sight.
How real it seems, how high the cliffs may be,
Or castle walls from which young boys take flight.
The precipice, the void lie straight ahead.
The darkness, all consuming, it calls for
One final victim. For one to be dead
Is for one to need to suffer no more.
But oh! to feel the pangs of true love!
To blush and sigh and sing as lovers do.
To praise the Gods who bless us from above,
And dance with faeries in the morning dew.
Though a merry madness may take us far,
Not all are mad, but the best people are!

Written by: Danielle Eyer

Consume Me, Madness

Consume me, madness, in thy holy flames
that I may rest awhile in thy restraint
and dream Egyptian queens to deadly dames
that they may perish fools, and I, a saint.
Though through the looking glass we drift,
though Cupid prick us with its potent bud,
our mind must be aware, and our feet swift
that madness may not sweep us in its flood.
When th’oceans pale my lips to sickly shade,
or fire flush the iv’ry from my cheek,
avenge me with thy cruel and vorpal blade
that I may flee by cover of mystique.
Though madness may be nigh, a storm to come,
escape reports to others, not to some.

Written by: Jessica Seguin

Theatre life, a form of madness is,
With gowns of seeming silk and backward days;
Despite the changing scene of all show biz,
T’is still a voice for those with things to say.
Within this stagéd world, the lies speak truth;
Behind the gilded curtain of love feigned,
A glimpse of heart and soul for aged and youth;
A mad world, yes, but that’s what makes it sane.
My clouds of acting madness here amassed,
My eyes a-fixed to Stratford’s faméd stage
Where dwell mad Kings and Spanish knights and Glass
Through which a wond’rous land of chess doth rage.
This life of joys and woes, madness may be -
To Stratford, thanks. Such madness is for me.

Written by: Laurie Blackley

Let Madness Reign

First we shall sing about theatre and Polly,
an Impossible Dream that appears as sheer folly.

Now comes the family of wails and kisses;
It may seem like chaos but surely is Blisses.

Next through the glass for an odd game of chess;
Twas brillag with mimsy and strange backwardness.

Now madness for money, woman adored,
Seems tumult of passion but all is Restored.

Ah, here are the fairies magically playing,
confounding the forest with giddily braying.

Desire and lust do unhinge the mind;
destruction of both; in death now entwined.

And where do ambition and fear make rest?
In a cup of poison and a life undressed.

How dare this girl Queen be reckless and bold?
The freedom she seeks only time will unfold.

We see fever of war where children do die;
So grinds away life as unceasing sigh.

And last, behold the madding of his heart:
Lear cradles Cordelia as worlds come apart.

Written by: Nikki McQueen

Abyss

The essence of life becomes fleeting, emotive, ever changing
The illusion becomes a raving, rampant monster of addled lunacy

Our inferno paths burn bright with turbulent, frenzied and wild abandonment

Our dreams of reality become extinguished through the eternal windmills of time

Infinite, chaotic

Extinguish the maddening and intermittent pathos

Temper the raging beast within.

Written by: Hannah Hoogendam

There lies a great town on the Avon
That every summer puts plays on.
I go every year
with friends who are dear
And we share in the joy as we rave on (about how great the plays are).

Written by: Dallas Gow

There once was a girl named Cordelia,
Who refused to expound her regphilia.
She was treated like heck,
‘Til she swung from her neck.
Poor girl had it worse than Ophelia!

There once was an earl from Gloucester,
Whose second son was nearly a foster.
His way smelled to Dover,
To throw himself over,
Lo his first son had been an imposter!

There once was a king of old England,
Who split in two parts his fine kingdom.
He wasn’t so bad,
‘Til he went barking mad,
Then he tore off his clothes and it killed ‘im.

There once was a cruel duke named Cornwall,
Whose ambition did drive him to conquer all.
He gouged out two eyes,
Was stabbed; then he died.
And his widow was knocked off by Goneril.

Written by: Emma Smith

Now let us find the point of connection

A dazzling love affair with the stage
A courage that reaches across the lines
Ambition resonates on the offbeat

Illusion is too quick to be outpaced
Genius dwells among the doomed and the lost
And the redness follows, not far behind

The giddiest heights are reached in the dark
Hilarity diverts the eccentrics
Still, a dream might drown whatever remains

What is it really, if not delusion?

Written by: Jacob Bildy

Next year, you’ll see at Stratford’s Festival,
Tragedies and histories, and some more -
Dramas, comedies here to enthrall,
All those listeners who do adore
Crazy men in suits of gilded armour,
And quaint white rabbits wearing monocles,
Battles and tricks and deceptions and more -
And flittering fairies quite magical.
So different and yet so similar
Are Alice, Antony and Alonso.
All dreamers, all wishers, these titular
Characters, who have goals which, to their woe
Aren’t always easy, but their journey
Is put to words – to script – for all to see.
_________________________________________________________________________

*Please note that your poem will be shared on our social channels for others to read. Failure to include any of the information requested above will render your submission null and void. Current Festival staff members are ineligible to submit an entry.

The Perfect Present: The Gift of Stratford

Sometimes it’s a challenge to find the perfect item for everyone on your list. Why not give them a Festival gift certificate and let them open up a present full of possibility?

Holiday_certificates

Here are our top five reasons to give someone a Festival gift certificate:

#1: Choice – and lots of it!
Festival gift certificates come in any denomination, giving complete freedom on how your dollars can be spent. You can even purchase a gift certificate online and have it delivered straight to your home! For guaranteed holiday delivery by standard mail, please order by December 12. You may also purchase in person at the Festival Box Office until December 24 at 2 p.m.

#2: Experience the ‘Madness’ of 2014’s season
With a gift certificate, you can give the theatre lovers on your list their own special piece of our next season. With shows like Crazy for YouA Midsummer Night’s Dreamand Alice through the Looking-Glass, your loved one will be brimming with excitement at the thought of planning their next trip to the theatre! Click here for our entire 2014 Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge season playbill.

#3: You’ll be able to give back with this gift
Did you know our gift certificates can even be used to purchase a Festival Membership? Donating to the Festival on another person’s behalf shows how much you care – both for them and for world-class theatre! It’s a splendid way to acknowledge that special someone who has touched your life.

#4: Give the gift of exploration
At the Stratford Festival, we operate four different guided tours to give you a taste of life at the theatre. Buy your loved one a gift certificate and they can use it to spend a fun day touring the iconic Festival Theatre, our costume and props warehouse, intriguing archives, or beautiful gardens.

#5: Memories for keeps
Shop anytime at our online Theatre Store and use a gift certificate to purchase any item in stock! You’ll find perfect mementos and goodies to complement your theatre-going experience.

Finish checking off your holiday shopping list with these lovely items that we’ve specially hand picked from The Theatre Store!

Costume ornaments
This is the perfect gift that allows the theatre enthusiast in your life to preserve the memory of a favourite performance. Each unique glass ornament contains actual fabrics and trims gathered from our Costume Wardrobe workshop from productions like Fiddler on the Roof and Tommy.

Stuffed white swan
Purchase this adorable Webkinz white swan for your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew. They’re bound to get along swimmingly! Friendly and loveable, each one carries a secret code and invitation to a virtual world of online fun and adventure at www.webkinz.com.

Waterglobe
Celebrate sixty years of theatre on the thrust stage designed by Tanya Moiseiwitsch. This beautiful glass water globe features a pair of actors on the famous Festival stage, and makes a splendid keepsake for any theatre lover. Every time you shake the globe, the ‘spotlights’ come on in the form of gold glitter –mimicking the performance lights that play over the stage.

Order your keepsakes online at www.stratfordfestival.ca/store!

While online you can also buy your gift certificates in any denomination a twww.stratfordfestival.ca/giftcertificates or contact our Box Office at 1.800.567.1600. For guaranteed holiday delivery by standard mail, please order by December 12, or purchase in person at the Festival Box Office until December 24 at 2 p.m.

Press Release | Playwrights arrive for Stratford Festival’s sixth annual Playwrights Retreat

September 9, 2013… The Stratford Festival’s sixth annual Playwrights Retreat begins today and runs through September 29. The Festival is delighted to welcome eight Canadian playwrights this year: Keith Barker, Trina Davies, Erin Fleck, Amiel Gladstone, Don Hannah, Amy Lee Lavoie, Tracey Power and Bobby Theodore.

The Playwrights Retreat offers support to Canadian artists through writing residencies that give them time to work on writing projects of their own choosing away from the distractions of everyday life. Since its establishment in 2008, 74 playwrights have participated in the Retreat and individual residency programs. Several attending playwrights’ work has been produced by the Festival including John Murrell’s Taking Shakespeare, Judith Thompson’s The Thrill and Daniel MacIvor’s Best Brothers. The 2014 season will feature two past Retreat participants: Michel Marc Bouchard and Linda Gabouriau who wrote and translated Christina, The Girl King respectively.

“A vital part of our programming is the inclusion of new plays from contemporary theatre’s most distinguished playwrights that can sit alongside and complement our classical offerings,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Before a new play can make its debut on stage, however, it requires endless attention. The Playwrights Retreat provides the conditions for new work to thrive and for writers to immerse themselves in their creative process. I am thrilled to host such illustrious playwrights in a program that expands the opportunities Stratford offers Canadian artists.”

Participants are given a stipend and provided with housing, transportation to and from Stratford and a workspace at the theatre for the duration of the retreat. They attend Festival productions and are given the opportunity to meet Festival artists and staff. The Playwrights Retreat is hosted by Bob White, the Festival’s Director of New Plays.

“The presence of playwrights is central to the vitality of any theatre company,” says Mr. White. “They serve as constant reminders that theatre is a live, breathing, human-made activity and that tomorrow’s classics must be nurtured today to ensure the health of our institutions in the years to come”

2013 PLAYWRIGHT BIOGRAPHIES

Keith Barker is a Métis artist from Northwestern Ontario.  A graduate of the George Brown Theatre School, he was the Playwright in Residence for Native Earth Performing Arts in 2012. His play The Hours That Remain was recently nominated for five Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards including Best New Play, and Best New Production. The Hours That Remain is published through Playwrights Canada Press. His most recent play, This Is How We Got To Here received its first public reading at Stratford’s own Spring Works Festival. Currently Keith is hard at work writing his wedding vows for his upcoming wedding to the lovely and beautiful Catherine Butler. He will be premiering this new piece in front of friends and family on October 14, 2013.

Trina Davies is a Vancouver-based writer. Her award-winning plays include Multi User Dungeon, Shatter, The Auction and Waxworks. Her plays have been read and/or performed across Canada, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and every province in-between. Her last play, The Romeo Initiative, was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Drama 2012. She is currently a member of the Alberta Playwrights Network, the Playwrights Theatre Centre and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. For more information on Trina and her work, check out: www.trinadavies.com.

Erin Fleck is a graduate of York University’s Theatre program in Toronto as a member of the Creative Ensemble, with a focus in collective creation, performance and playwriting. Erin has written and performed her original work in Victoria B.C. with Intrepid Theatre’s UNO Fest, in Toronto with Theatre Passe Muraille (Those Who Can’t Do…), Mixed Company Theatre (Plastico: The Green Show), Theatre Passe Muraille’s BUZZ Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s HYSTERIA Festival (Tinker, Those Who Can’t Do…), the Toronto FRINGE! Festival (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Abortion), and the Tarragon Spring Arts Fair (Connect Four). As a playwright, Erin is an alumna of Factory Theatre’s Natural Resources, Theatre Passe Muraille’s Upstarts, TheatreKairos’ Writer’s Circle and Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip program.

Amiel Gladstone is a West Coast writer whose plays have been produced by Alberta Theatre Projects, the Belfry Theatre, Touchstone Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, the National Arts Centre, Rumble Productions, Solo Collective, and Theatre SKAM. His plays have been done in the U.S., France and Romania.  A collection of his work, Hippies and Bolsheviks and other plays, was published by Coach House Books. He is also a director at Arts Club, Vancouver Playhouse, Vancouver Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Theatre Replacement, Theatre Conspiracy, Acting Up Stage, Factory Theatre and others.

Don Hannah is an award winning playwright and novelist. His pair of one person shows, The Cave Painter & The Woodcutter, were recently published by Playwrights Canada Press, and The Cave Painter received the 2012 Carol Bolt Award. He was the inaugural Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta where he wrote While We’re Young, which has been produced across the country. He has also had residencies at Tarragon Theatre, Canadian Stage, UBC’s Green College, UNB, the Yukon Public Library, and is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony. He has worked as a dramaturge at Playwrights Theatre Centre, the Banff Playwrights Colony, and Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre, of which he is a founding member. His books include Shoreline, a collection of his plays, and the novels, The Wise and Foolish Virgins, and Ragged Islands, both published by Knopf. Ragged Islands was awarded the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award.

Amy Lee Lavoie Recent Theatre Credits: Stopheart (Factory Theatre); Rabbit Rabbit (Infinitheatre); Rabbit Rabbit, Me Happy (SummerWorks); Tuning Venus (Montreal Fringe). Upcoming: Memento Mori is currently in development through the Tarragon Playwriting Unit. Amy Lee is a contributing writer for Ronnie Burkett’s latest project, The Daisy Theatre. Other: Rabbit Rabbit received two MECCA’S for Best text and the Revelation Award. Tuning Venus was the Best Text award recipient at the Montreal Fringe sponsored by Chapters. Amy Lee was a Canada Council Playwright-in-Residence at The Factory theatre in 2011-12 and was part of their Natural Resources Creation Group. Amy Lee has since participated in Cahoots Playwright’s Hothouse with her play Pacific and the Citadel Playwriting Forum developing her latest piece, Red Engine 5. Amy Lee is a graduate of the Playwriting Program at the National Theatre School of Canada. @amyleelavoie.

Tracey Power is an actor, playwright, choreographer and director. Tracey recently conceived, directed and choreographed Chelsea Hotel, featuring the songs of Leonard Cohen for The Firehall Arts Centre. As an actor credits include: UBUNTU The Cape Town Project (WCT, Theatre Calgary, TheatreFront), La Cage Aux Folles (Vancouver Playhouse), Blackbird (Citadel Theatre), Urinetown and The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (The Firehall), The Back Kitchen (Arts Club), The One That Got Away (Electric Co.), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry V (River City Shakespeare Festival). As a playwright her produced plays include The Great Mountain, Back to You, a bilingual play Garage Alec, The Big Sneeze, Living Shadows; A Story of Mary Pickford and an adaptation of The Jungle Book. Tracey has been the recipient of the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes and Jessie Richardson Awards for her work.

Bobby Theodore is a screenwriter, playwright, and translator.  Since completing the Canadian Film Centre’s TV Residency Program, Bobby’s worked on several TV shows, including Murdoch Mysteries, Cra$h & Burn, and Flashpoint. He’s also written episodes of the acclaimed CBC radio drama, Afghanada and webseries for The Listener and Played. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, Bobby was nominated for a Governor General Award in 1999 for his translation of 15 Seconds by Francois Archambault. He has now translated over 20 plays from French to English and in March 2014, Bobby’s translation of Francois Archambault’s latest play, You Will Remember Me, premieres at Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary. Bobby also co-created 300 Tapes, a devised performance that premiered in 2011 at ATP and more recently, he wrote Swallow, a play set in the drama-filled world of minor hockey. Bobby never refuses a dinner invitation and he shoots right.

-30-

Press Release | Stratford Festival unveils 2014 season | Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge

August 20, 2013… Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino is delighted to announce the 2014 season, in which, through the prism of a dozen plays, the Stratford Festival will explore the theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

“What excites me about this playbill is it contains plays in which the protagonists are driven to extraordinary places,” says Mr. Cimolino. “Extreme stakes lead to great drama.”

“These plays explore minds that are driven out of balance by a variety of forces: love, war, poverty, age, sexuality. In today’s fast-paced global community, we are becoming ever more acutely aware of the consequences of such pressures. The issues behind them are interesting in themselves, but what they do to the human mind – to us – is ultimately the most fascinating thing. When the pressures of life become great enough, our minds give way to other realities. The result is often heartbreakingly tragic, but can also be a trigger for comedy.”

The season coincides with the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, and to mark that occasion, Mr. Cimolino has programmed five Shakespeare productions, including two versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a play that revolves around the madness of young love.

“For the first time in our history, we will examine a Shakespeare play in two different productions within the same season,” says Mr. Cimolino. “The first will be directed by one of Canada’s most exciting young directors, Chris Abraham; the second by one of the most highly regarded, internationally acclaimed directors of Shakespeare, Peter Sellars: two very different approaches to Shakespeare’s text.”

The season will also feature King Lear; Antony and Cleopatra; King John; The Beaux’ Stratagem; Mother Courage; Hay Fever; Alice Through the Looking-Glass; Christina, The Girl King; and the musicals Crazy for You and Man of La Mancha.

“I’m very excited about the creative teams who’ll be working on this season with me,” says Mr. Cimolino. “In addition to Chris and Peter, our lineup of directors includes the great Martha Henry and others whose work has captivated Festival audiences in recent seasons: Donna Feore, Tim Carroll and Gary Griffin. I’m also looking forward tremendously to the Stratford debuts of artistic leaders from other major Canadian cultural institutions – Jillian Keiley from the National Arts Centre, Alisa Palmer from the National Theatre School and Vanessa Porteous from Alberta Theatre Projects – as well as Robert McQueen, whose work in opera and musical theatre has been acclaimed internationally.”

King Lear | By William Shakespeare | Directed by Antoni Cimolino | Festival Theatre #sfKingLear

The season will open at the Festival Theatre with the Shakespearean masterpiece King Lear, directed by Mr. Cimolino, whose sold-out production of Mary Stuart has been the runaway hit of 2013.

King Lear is the ultimate example of a mind pushed to the edge. When the aging king decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, requiring each in turn to publicly profess how much she loves him, he sets in motion a train of events that will rob him of his home, his status and his sanity – everything except the honest love and loyalty of his youngest daughter, Cordelia. Meanwhile, the Earl of Gloucester is falsely persuaded by his illegitimate son, Edmund, that his other son, Edgar, is conspiring against him. Both these fathers pay for their misjudgements by being driven to the very limits of human endurance.

King Lear speaks to the simple, naked humanity shared by everyone from a monarch to the poorest of the poor,” says Mr. Cimolino. “It’s from that essential humanity, not the trappings of wealth or power, that we claim our right to exist. After Lear loses everything, he finds that he is no longer who he thought he was. This loss is a liberation. In his subsequent madness he sees his own folly, awakens to empathy and discovers his soul.”

Like Mary Stuart this season, Mr. Cimolino’s 2012 production of Cymbeline caught the public’s imagination, and was twice extended to meet demand for tickets. His production of The Merchant of Venice opened last week to unanimous acclaim. Mr. Cimolino’s other Shakespeare credits at Stratford include Coriolanus with Colm Feore and Martha Henry in 2006, As You Like It with Graham Abbey, Stephen Ouimette and Sara Topham in 2005, King John with Peter Donaldson and Stephen Ouimette in 2004, Love’s Labour’s Lost with Graham Abbey and Brian Bedford in 2003 and Twelfth Night with Domini Blythe, Peter Donaldson and William Hutt in 2001.

Crazy for You | Music by George Gershwin | Lyrics by Ira Gershwin | Book by Ken Ludwig | Directed and Choreographed by Donna Feore | Festival Theatre
#sfCrazy

Never before produced by the Festival, Crazy for You will be directed and choreographed at the Festival Theatre by Donna Feore, the force behind a growing list of hit musicals at the Festival, including one of this season’s hottest tickets, Fiddler on the Roof, as well as 2012’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, 2007’s Oklahoma! and 2006’s Oliver!

Set in the 1930s, Crazy for You is the story of Bobby Child, the scion of a wealthy banking family, whose dream in life is to be a Broadway dancer. Sent by his mother to foreclose on a struggling theatre, he faces a dilemma when he falls in love with a local girl whose affections he will lose if he carries out his mother’s commission. His solution: put on a show and pay off the theatre’s mortgage.

This high-energy romantic comedy – replete with mistaken identities, plot twists and stunning dance numbers – is packed with beloved Gershwin songs, including “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Embraceable You” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Crazy for You presents a joyous view of love and madness,” says Mr. Cimolino. “But the story is secondary to the powerful force of the Gershwins’ music. The bedrock of their work is the music of the Russian and Ukrainian steppes, which led the brothers to write brilliant, entertaining, lively music, with an energy and madness of its own. It is the music of adversity now finding itself in the new world, in what should be the land of milk and honey.”

Next year, Ms Feore will celebrate her 20th season with the Festival. To her musical credits, Ms Feore adds the choreography of more than 20 productions here, as well as the direction of the captivating production of Cyrano de Bergerac in 2009. Ms Feore’s other credits include directing The Very, Very Best of Broadway with Martin Short and Marvin Hamlisch; the Canadian Stage productions of Rock ’n’ Roll and It’s a Wonderful Life; the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Lecture on the Weather and A Soldier’s Tale with F. Murray Abraham; and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Mozart: A Life in Letters. Her film credits include Politics Is Cruel, Mean Girls, Eloise, Martin and Lewis, Stormy Weather and the opera films Romeo and Juliette and Don Giovanni Unmasked.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream | By William Shakespeare | Directed by Chris Abraham | Festival Theatre
#sfDream

Chris Abraham, hot off his spell-binding production of Othello, will direct his first Shakespeare on the Festival Stage, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This delightful Shakespearean comedy of unrequited desire is imbued with the same life force that permeates Crazy for You. The madness of love runs riot as Hermia flees to the woods with her lover, Lysander, to escape her father’s command that she marry Demetrius. Demetrius follows, pursued by Helena, whose love he spurns. Their romantic problems intensify when the fairy world intervenes.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream explores the madness of young love – intemperate, powerful, blind, rash,” says Mr. Cimolino. “It is Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending. This young love, however, exists in a male-dominated world where parents want to control their children’s natural desires, causing a series of metamorphoses. Even the natural world revolts at man’s determination to subvert these desires, putting the climate in disarray.”

Mr. Abraham, who is Artistic Director of Crow’s Theatre in Toronto, will mark his fifth season at Stratford, where he has quickly established himself as a director of note with stellar productions of The Matchmaker, The Little Years and For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again to his credit. He has won numerous awards in his career, including a Dora for The Little Years, which he directed at Tarragon after its Stratford run. He also has received Doras for Eternal Hydra and Easy Lenny Lazmon, and a Gemini for I, Claudia, and was the recipient of the Siminovitch Protégé Award in 2002. His other credits include Someone Else, Seeds and BOXHEAD at Crow’s Theatre; The Patient Hour at Tarragon; Blue/Orange at Canadian Stage; Antigone and The Lesson at Soulpepper; and Hedda Gabler, The Glass Menagerie and Salt-Water Moon at the Saidye Bronfman Centre.

The Beaux’ Stratagem | By George Farquhar | Directed by Antoni Cimolino | Festival Theatre
#sfStratagem

Opening later in the season at the Festival Theatre is George Farquhar’s brilliant Restoration comedy The Beaux’ Stratagem, directed by Mr. Cimolino. It is the first Restoration comedy produced in Stratford since The Country Wife in 1995.

Written in 1707, The Beaux’ Stratagem follows the madly comic antics of two impoverished rakes, who, disguising their identities, arrive in the town of Lichfield seeking to restore their fortunes by wooing wealthy women. As the two connive to relieve ladies of their wealth, they must contend with a suspicious local innkeeper and his band of highwaymen, and with an acquaintance privy to their true identity.

“In The Beaux’ Stratagem, the necessity of coping with the realities of marriage and personal finance give way to a romp,” says Mr. Cimolino. “One of the last of the Restoration comedies, it was written by the amazing George Farquhar, who himself was dying and hoped the play would finance his family after his death. It is very funny and I look forward enormously to directing it.”

Hay Fever | By Noël Coward | Directed by Alisa Palmer | Avon Theatre
#sfHayFever

Alisa Palmer, Artistic Director of the National Theatre School English Section, makes her Festival debut at the Avon Theatre as the director of Noël Coward’s celebrated comedy Hay Fever.

As stylish as it is intoxicatingly absurd, Hay Fever introduces audiences to the Bliss family: a retired actress mother, novelist father and two children, all prone to their own outrageous eccentricities. The family’s self-absorbed antics astound and ultimately exasperate the various guests that each of them has invited to their country house for the weekend. Driven to distraction by a comic maelstrom of rousing fights, fevered flirtations and histrionic role-playing, the guests eventually flee, leaving the Blisses happily playing and bickering amongst themselves.

“This is one of the great opportunities for energetic comedy within the theme of madness,” says Mr. Cimolino. “Theatre is about taking ordinary situations and pushing them to the extreme – and what could be more delightful than experiencing this through the lives of a theatre family? These people pretend to have an interest in conventional living, in entertaining at their country property. But as we can see by the end, they really are in a world all their own. It’s as if they lived only on the stage – sheer madness!”

Ms Palmer is currently collaborating with Ann-Marie MacDonald and Torquil Campbell on a Festival commission to develop a musical reflection on Hamlet. An internationally award-winning director, playwright and producer, Ms Palmer has worked in a range of genres, including classics, contemporary plays, creation projects, musicals and operas. A former Artistic Director of Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre and long-time director at the Shaw Festival, Ms Palmer has directed across Canada, winning seven Dora Awards for her work, as well as two Chalmers Awards for her plays i.d. and A Play About the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Her Shaw credits include Pal Joey, The Philanderer, The Women, Belle Moral: A Natural History, Sunday in the Park with George and Diana of Dobson’s. Her other credits include The Children’s Republic and East of Berlin at Tarragon, Cloud 9 for Mirvish Productions, the acclaimed Top Girls at Soulpepper, and Mrs. Warren’s Profession and The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

Man of La Mancha | Music by Mitch Leigh | Lyrics by Joe Darion | Book by Dale Wasserman | Directed by Robert McQueen | Choreographed by Marc Kimelman | Avon Theatre
#sfLaMancha

Robert McQueen, whose work in musical theatre and opera has been recognized both nationally and internationally, will make his Stratford debut at the helm of Man of La Mancha, to be staged at the Avon Theatre.

Featuring the timeless anthem “The Impossible Dream,” Man of La Mancha follows the saga of the aging Miguel de Cervantes, playwright, poet and tax collector, who finds himself in a dungeon in Seville awaiting trial by the Inquisition for an offence against the Church. When his fellow prisoners try to confiscate his few possessions, including the uncompleted manuscript of his most famous work, the novel Don Quixote, Cervantes defends his masterpiece by proposing that he present it to them as a play. To this end, Cervantes and his manservant transform themselves into Don Quixote and his fiercely loyal servant, Sancho Panza, recruiting prisoners to take on the roles of other characters. What follows is the stirring tale of the mad Quixote and his obsessive quest to attain the impossible dream. It is the lunatic who sees most clearly in Man of La Mancha, as in King Lear.

Man of La Mancha is a beautiful contrast to Crazy for You,” says Mr. Cimolino. “The source material, Don Quixote, is from the Spanish Golden Age, and you can see that period’s theatrical influence on Shakespeare in the Romance plays. Man of La Mancha takes that source material and puts it through the lens of American musical theatre. It depicts a pure, chaste, romantic and mature love – love that elevates the beloved. It is an extraordinary musical because of the story and the characters. Despite dark content, it manages to be inspiring, making us question what is actually the saner choice: to live in filth and despair, or to pursue the romantic ideal.”

Mr. McQueen directed Caroline, or Change, the Acting Up Stage musical that took Toronto by storm in 2012. His recent work includes the direction and dramaturgy of the new musical theatre piece Where Elephants Weep, at the Cambodian Living Arts centre in Phnom Pehn, The Light in the Piazza and Strauss’s final opera, Capriccio, for Pacific Opera in Victoria. In 2009 he directed a Tokyo-based creative team and acting company in a Japanese-language production of Carousel at the Galaxy Theatre in Tokyo. For the Vancouver Opera he served as director and dramaturge for The Magic Flute. The project, for which he also adapted the libretto, was a collaboration with a 15-member creative team of Canadian aboriginal and non-native visual artists and theatre-makers. His other work includes directing La Bohème for the Canadian Opera Company and serving as associate director of the Broadway and national touring productions of Mamma Mia, as well as the direction of the Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires productions.

Alice Through the Looking-Glass | Adapted by James Reaney | Directed by Jillian Keiley | Avon Theatre
#sfAlice

Twenty years after its Stratford première, the Festival is pleased to present Lewis Carroll’s wildly inventive fantasy Alice Through the Looking-Glass, in an adaptation commissioned by the Festival from nationally renowned playwright and poet James Reaney, a native son of Stratford. So popular was the 1994 production that it was re-mounted in 1996 to the great delight of audiences of all ages.

Jillian Keiley, Artistic Director of English Theatre at the National Arts Centre, will bring her remarkable creative vision to the piece, to be staged at the Avon Theatre and produced in association with the National Arts Centre.

“The underlying material for Alice Through the Looking-Glass is, of course, iconic and examines a fantasy world filled with some of the greatest and most familiar nonsense verse,” says Mr. Cimolino. “The characters – the Walrus and the Carpenter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty and the Jabberwock – are the inhabitants of the farthest reaches of a child’s imagination.”

Deciding to explore the alternative world she sees inside her living-room mirror, Alice finds a place that in some aspects resembles her home yet differs from it in ways as delightful as they are surreal.

Ms Keiley won the 2004 Siminovitch Prize for her “startlingly original and radically imaginative” directing style, making her an ideal candidate to take on the sublime nonsense of both Lewis Carroll and James Reaney. She is also the recipient of the Canada Council’s John Hirsch Award. Her credits include Tempting Providence, which she created in collaboration with playwright Robert Chafe, and which, over a 10-year run, toured across Canada and abroad, as did Afterimage. She and Mr. Chafe, the co-founders of Newfoundland’s Artistic Fraud, also collaborated on Oil and Water, at Factory Theatre. Ms Keiley made a big splash with her first project as Artistic Director of the NAC, Metamorphoses, a play by Mary Zimmerman, which re-imagines 10 classical myths. Set around a giant swimming pool, this theatrical event allowed audiences to experience the consequences of humanity’s deepest desires. Ms Keiley’s Stratford connection dates back to 2008, when she was selected as a participant in the International Master Directors Summit.

Mother Courage | By Bertolt Brecht | Directed by Martha Henry | Tom Patterson Theatre
#sfCourage

Considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century – and perhaps the greatest anti-war play of all time – Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage will be directed by one of the Festival’s most celebrated artists, Martha Henry, returning for a remarkable 40th season with the Stratford Festival in 2014. Ms Henry’s contributions to the Festival include the direction of numerous critically acclaimed productions, including this season’s Measure for Measure, 2009’s Three Sisters, 2007’s Of Mice and Men and 2002’s Elizabeth Rex.

Mother Courage was written in 1939 as a response to the Nazi invasion of Poland. Set in 17th-century Europe and spanning 12 years, the story follows Mother Courage as she struggles to make a living and to protect her three children during the Thirty Years’ War. By the end of the play, having lost everyone she loves and almost everything she owns, she has truly been driven to the edge – yet somehow she finds the will to carry on.

“Mother Courage presents a world in which the madness of war becomes not only day-to-day but something that the people can’t live without,” says Mr. Cimolino. “It represents profit. It represents the new normal. In that respect it is like our world today. As the characters cynically take advantage of the opportunities for commercial gain that the war provides, they lose anything of real worth, including their souls. They lose their children, they lose their freedom, they lose their self-respect and eventually they lose their lives.”

A Companion of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Ms Henry boasts a career without parallel in this country. Her work opposite the great William Hutt was truly the stuff of dreams, beginning with her portrayal of Miranda to his Prospero and also including Mary to his James Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night. Her Shakespearean roles include Titania, Lady Macduff, Helena, Luciana, Cressida, Viola, the Countess of Rossillion, Cymbeline’s Queen, Lady Anne, Queen Eleanor, Cordelia, Goneril, Rosaline, the Princess of France, Thaisa, Desdemona, Lady Macbeth, Queen Margaret, Isabella, Beatrice, Paulina and Volumnia. As Director of the Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory, Ms Henry is training a whole new generation of classical actors.

King John | By William Shakespeare | Directed by Tim Carroll | Tom Patterson Theatre
#sfKingJohn

King John, the story of a monarch trying desperately to maintain his grip on power, will be presented at the Tom Patterson Theatre in a production directed by Tim Carroll.

King John looks at a mind driven by the dangerous combination of ambition and insecurity,” says Mr. Cimolino. “John commits horrible acts to secure a position he rightly holds. There is a wonderful range of characters in this play who navigate, with varying degrees of success, the pressures of politics, ambition, legitimacy and loss. From Hubert the mercenary, asked to commit an atrocity, to Constance, who wishes she were mad to escape the pain of her child’s murder, it is the Bastard (a very different bastard from Edmund in King Lear) who comes through the play with the most honour and integrity.”

Tim Carroll, who this season gave audiences the opportunity to see a Romeo and Juliet as Shakespeare might have presented it at the Globe Theatre, will transport audiences to the Blackfriars Theatre in a candlelit production of King John.

Mr. Carroll, former Associate Director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, directed a sold-out production of Twelfth Night, starring Mark Rylance, which transferred from the Globe to London’s West End, garnering four Olivier nominations this year, and which will open on Broadway in the fall. Mr. Carroll is one of the world’s most respected directors of Shakespeare. His Globe credits also include Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Two Noble Kinsmen, The Tempest and The Golden Ass. For the RSC he directed The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His international credits include Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards, The Duchess of Malfi and Victory for the Barka Theatre in Budapest; All’s Well That Ends Well for the National Theatre in Craiova, Romania; Amadeus for the National Theatre in Portugal; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Sydney Opera House. He is a founding member of The Factory, in London, for which he directed three theatre experiments: Hamlet, The Seagull and The Odyssey. Mr. Carroll made his Stratford debut as director of the wildly popular Peter Pan in 2010.

Antony and Cleopatra | By William Shakespeare | Directed by Gary Griffin | Tom Patterson Theatre
#sfAntony

Gary Griffin, Associate Artistic Director of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, will return for a fifth season to direct Antony and Cleopatra at the Tom Patterson Theatre.

The play, produced just four times before at Stratford, follows the relationship of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, with Mark Antony, who, having defeated Brutus and Cassius, the assassins of Julius Caesar, is now one of the three rulers of the Roman republic. Criticized for neglecting his political and military responsibilities – and his wife in Rome – as he dallies in Alexandria with Cleopatra, Antony attempts to break free of Cleopatra’s spell, and returns to Rome to help crush an incipient rebellion. Once there, his wife having died, he agrees to a political marriage, enraging Cleopatra. But Antony cannot long endure his separation from the bewitching Egyptian queen: when war breaks out, he abandons his new wife and returns to Egypt, a choice that leads to his own and Cleopatra’s tragic ends.

Antony and Cleopatra examines older love and the pressures of being madly in love when you know better,” says Mr. Cimolino. “This play has some of the most incredibly lyrical and intense love poetry ever written, along with beautiful observations on life that speak to us today, in a world where second and third marriages have never been more common.”

Mr. Griffin has a string of hit productions to his credit at Stratford, including 42nd Street, Camelot, Evita and West Side Story. He won an Olivier Award for outstanding musical for his production of Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse in London. On Broadway, he was the director of Oprah Winfrey’s production of The Color Purple and of The Apple Tree. His Off-Broadway credits include Music in the Air, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English and The New Moon for City Center Encores!, Saved at Playwrights Horizons; and Beautiful Thing at the Cherry Lane. He has won numerous awards for his work at Chicago Shakespeare, where his credits include Amadeus, Passion, A Flea in Her Ear, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George and Pacific Overtures.

Christina, The Girl King | By Michel Marc Bouchard | Translated by Linda Gaboriau | Directed by Vanessa Porteous | Studio Theatre
#sfChristina

The Festival is delighted to present Linda Gaboriau’s translation of Michel Marc Bouchard’s Christina, The Girl King. Written by one of Quebec’s most celebrated playwrights, the play will make its English-language première at the Studio Theatre, directed by Vanessa Porteous, Artistic Director of Alberta Theatre Projects.

Commissioned as a translation by the Festival in 2010, the play is the story of Christina of Sweden, an extraordinarily modern character who was born just 10 years after Shakespeare’s death. Hers is a story of bringing sanity to an insane world. The enigmatic ruler showed a passion for philosophy, literature and the arts but her lifestyle and refusal to marry proved sources of great concern at court. Rather than bow to pressure to conform to the expectations of others, the 26-year-old queen abdicates in order to be free to pursue her own aspirations. Is this an act of madness? Or is Christina’s the story of a modern woman born out of her time – one whom the 17th century simply couldn’t contain?

“Michel Marc Bouchard has such a great gift for helping us understand the situation of the person who does not fit in,” says Mr. Cimolino. “In Christina, The Girl King, he has beautifully brought to life the story of a historical figure who had the courage to step outside of the society that attempted to bind her in. As the daughter of a Protestant warrior king – himself one of the driving forces of the Thirty Years’ War depicted in Mother Courage – she was expected to get married, have children and adhere to the spartan values of the Swedish nation as it was then. Instead she introduced foreign, and then radical scientific and philosophical ideas, and strained to remain unmarried and independent.

“Bouchard examines the pressures inherent in her sexual and personal self-discovery in a highly compelling play. The pressures in her life push her to the edge. Rather than give over to madness, which would be the only outcome of staying on as queen, she leaves her throne and her country, moving to Rome where she is free to live outside of marriage as a patron of the arts.”

Ms Porteous makes her Festival debut with this production.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream | By William Shakespeare | A Chamber Play Directed by Peter Sellars
#sfChamber

Peter Sellars, renowned for his transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces, comes to the Festival for the first time to stage his reimagined version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With a cast of four actors playing all of the roles, this staging will offer an intensely focused approach to Shakespeare’s examination of the role-playing, mercurial mood swings, delusional fantasy, deep hurt, and forgiveness and release at the heart of human relationships.

“What is extraordinary about Stratford is not that we do 12 plays in one year, but that we do them all at the same time, giving theatre-goers an opportunity to experience one play in light of another. Next season, for the first time ever, we will offer a chance for audiences to experience the same title in two very different productions, along with further opportunities for exploration in The Forum,” says Mr. Cimolino.

“I look forward to welcoming Peter to the Stratford Festival,” he adds. “I have greatly enjoyed his work in opera and Shakespeare for its beauty, vulnerability and intelligence. When Peter spoke to me about his ideas for Dream, I sensed an opportunity to create not only an exploration but a celebration of this great play.”

Mr. Sellars has worked with an extraordinary range of creative artists over the past three decades. His landmark staging of Sophocles’ Ajax, set at the Pentagon, was invited to tour Europe and ignited his international career. Other noteworthy theatre projects include a 1994 staging of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice set in southern California with a cast of black, white, Latino and Asian-American actors; a production of Euripides’ The Children of Herakles, focusing on contemporary immigration and refugee issues and experience; and, in 2009, Othello, inspired by and set in the America of newly elected President Barack Obama. Desdemona, Sellars’s recent collaboration with the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and Malian composer and singer Rokia Traore, has been performed in Vienna, Brussels, Paris, Berkeley, New York, Berlin, Amsterdam and Naples, and was presented in London as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Tickets for the 2014 season of the Stratford Festival go on sale to Members on November 11, 2013, and to the general public on January 4, 2014, with a special advance sale on Facebook beginning January 2.

-30-

PHOTOGRAPHY: www.stratfordfestival.ca/imagegallery

 2014 Playbill Post 2