Skip to main content
Casey and Diana Digital Study Guide.



Casey and Diana


Casey & Diana
By Nick Green
Directed by Andrew Kushnir

House Program for Casey and Diana

Grade Recommendation 7+

Content Advisory

Please see the show page for a detailed audience advisory.


As the Toronto AIDS hospice, Casey House, prepares for the historic visit of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1991, residents and staff are inspired to beat the odds as a plague continues to ravage a generation. This potent and moving drama by Nick Green, commissioned by the Stratford Festival and premiering at the Studio Theatre, vividly captures the moment when a rebel Princess, alongside less famous caregivers and advocates, reshaped the course of a pandemic.  

When Casey House opened in 1988 in Toronto, it was the first hospice in the world to provide palliative care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. The opening was long overdue. Researchers had isolated a deadly virus as early as 1981, but the disease was considered a threat solely to gay men. Because of its association with homosexuality, most authorities were reluctant to endorse public health campaigns targeting the virus. The social stigma attached to AIDS, coupled with fears of contamination and transmission, meant that many victims were even denied proper funerals.

It's easy to forgot how far we've come in the struggle for full 2SLGBTQIA+ rights. At the time of Princess Diana's visit, most of those rights were still a dream. Homophobia was such a toxic, potent cultural force that most people simply didn't know-or care about-HIV/AIDS. A wave of grassroots activism was slowly bringing the plight of those living with the virus to the public eye. The first AIDS Awareness Week was held in San Francisco in 1984 and the AIDS Memorial Quilt was displayed on the Mall in Washington in 1987. And yet when Diana made her Casey House visit in 1991, her decision to shake hands with the residents was still considered a dangerous, subversive act.  

Casey and Diana brings that historical moment to life with a series of dramatic vignettes as the princess tours the hospice greeting staff and residents, including Thomas, who has long fantasized about meeting the world's most beloved Royal. Although those original Casey House residents have since passed, their heartaches, humour and grit live on in a dramatic and witty homage to the lives behind the famous photos. From them we learn how those stricken by the virus found hard-won dignity, community and love in the face of astonishing hardship. 

Curriculum Connections

  • Global Competencies:
    • Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Metacognition, Self-Awareness
  • Grade 7-8
    • The Arts (Drama, Music, Visual Arts)
    • Language
    • Social Studies
  • Grade 9-12
    • The Arts (Drama, Music, Visual Arts)
    • English
    • Canadian and World Studies
  • Grades 11-12
    • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • 2SLGBTQIA+ Love and Life
  • Acceptance and Rejection
  • Advocacy
  • Care and Community
  • Chosen Family
  • Compassion
  • Death, Dignity and Dying
  • Expectations
  • Hope
  • Humanity
  • Illness
  • Judgment and Stigma
  • Rebellion and Resilience
  • Tradition




  • Have you ever heard of Casey House? If so, what do you already know? If you have not yet heard about Casey House, what questions do you have?
  • What do you already know about HIV/AIDS? What myths are there about HIV/AIDS? What questions do you have about HIV/AIDS?
  • The "About" section of the Casey House website begins with: "Often, it's the stigma that hurts the most". Why do you think stigma is so damaging? What do you think can be done to stop stigma?
  • What do you know about Princess Diana?
  • How would you define activism? Where have you seen examples of activism throughout history and today? Can you think of any examples of activism in your school and/or community?
  • Think of a time when you had to apologize for hurting someone you cared about. Was it difficult or easy to approach the situation? Why? How did the other person respond?
  • In you opinion, what is the role of theatre in exploring social issues?


  • What did you find most meaningful about the play? Why?
  • How does the play depict the impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of the characters? How do the characters cope with the challenges and stigma brought on by this condition? What did you learn about HIV/AIDS that you didn't already know?
  • What does it mean to live and die with dignity? How might people change how they live when they know they are dying?
  • What role do love and relationships play in this piece? How do the different types of love depicted in the play impact the characters and their choices?
  • What is the role of community in the play? How do the characters support each other and navigate the challenges they face together?
  • What thoughts do you have about Princess Diana after seeing Casey and Diana? What is the relationship between learning and activism?
  • What are three concrete steps that you could take in your community to contribute to addressing issues of stigma or discrimination facing your community?
  • Are there any unintentional harms that might be caused through the production of this play? If so, what are they and what might be done to take care of the artists and audience members participating in the work?


Objective: Students will research the history of Casey House and learn about their work today. They will also explore how theatre can be meaningful way to explore social issues.

Materials: Computer/access to the Internet, writing utensils, sticky notes, art materials and chart paper


  1. Using sticky notes, facilitate a "KWL" format (What We Already Know, What We Want to Learn, And What We Have Learned) groupthink about Casey House.
  2. Then, provide time for students to explore the Casey House website independently or in small groups. Students may also peruse other resources. As students learn more information, invite them to jot down key points on a sticky note to bring to the front of the classroom and add to the KWL chart.
  3. After students have had time to research, debrief as a full class and make connections between students' research on Casey House to the play Casey and Diana.
  • Possible Extensions:
    • Art as Reflection: Invite student to express their thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas and reflections by creating a collage. They may choose to use any medium of art or writing for their project. Ensure that there is time for sharing, discussion and debrief.
    • The Heart: The symbol of Casey House is a heart. Invite student to crate artwork, poetry or a piece of theatre inspired by Casey House's heart symbol and what it means to them.
  • Debriefing Questions:
    • Did anything surprise you or strongly resonate with you as you were researching? What are some significant takeaways from your research on Casey House?
    • How does your learning about Casey House inform your understanding of the events and context for Casey and Diana
    • What kind of research do you think the writer, director, cast and creative teams would have engaged in while developing, rehearsing performing the play?
    • In your opinion, what is the impact of a play like Casey and Diana? Can theatre like this change the world? Why or why not?
    • Think about a time when you wanted to peruse someone with whom you were speaking. Which tactics do you think you used in your language to accomplish your goal? Did the tactics work? What do you think the reason was for them to work or not work?




In 1992, company members of the Stratford Festival started A Night for Life: a fundraising evening of pro-bono dance performances meant to pay tribute to fellow company members who had died, some of AIDS-related causes. Proceeds from the performance were given to three charitable organizations including Equity Fights Aids. Today, the Stratford Festival continues to support fundraising performances and other community and social justice initiatives. 

What is the relationship between activism and theatre? Do you think theatre can change the world? Why or why not?


A Night for Life poster, 1993

Poster for A Night for Life, 1992. Hosted by the Stratford Festival. Presented at the Avon Theatre. Artwork by Martin Murphy.
Stratford Festival Archives, Performance Poster Collection.


The Stratford Festival's Archives maintains, conserves and protects records about the Festival and makes those materials available to people around the world. Their collection contains material ranging from 1952 right up to the present and includes administrative documents, production records, photographs, design artwork, scores, audio-visual recordings, promotional materials, costumes, props, set decorations and much more. These materials are collected and preserved with the aim of documenting the history of the Festival, preserving the page-to-stage process, and capturing the creative processes involved in numerous other activities that contribute to the Festival each season. 


TrailerCasey and Diana
House Program - Casey and Diana
Study Guide PDF - Casey and Diana

Study Guides

View past Study Guides and Study Guides for all 2023 plays, available free of charge on our website.


Casey House

Casey House releases Others, a horror film to help smash HIV stigma (Casey House, GlobeNewswire)

The Casey House Story (Toronto & East York Community Preservation Panel)

Flashback: Diana, Princess of Wales visits Toronto's Casey House, October 25, 1991 (IN Magazine)

How Casey House has improved access to harm reduction services during the pandemic (Myna Kota, Ontario Hospital Association)

June's: An HIV + Eatery

Positively Speaking Podcast (Casey House)

The True Story of Princess Diana's Groundbreaking AIDS Advocacy (Emma Dibdin, Elle)

Stratford Public Library Suggested Reading List for Casey and Diana


Booking Information: Tickets, Workshops, Chats and Tours

Student Matinées

You may book any available date, but selected student matinée performances for this show are at 2:00 p.m. on the following dates:

2:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, May 25th
  • Friday, May 26th
  • Tuesday, May 30th
  • Wednesday, May 31st
  • Tuesday, June 6th
  • Thursday, June 8th
  • Friday, June 9th
  • Tuesday, June 13th
  • Thursday, June 15th
  • Friday, June 16th 

Workshop & Chats

Pre or Post-Show Workshops and Post-Show Chats (virtual, onsite or at your school/centre) can be booked by calling the Box Office at 1.800.567.1600.








Tools for Teachers include Prologues, Study Guides and Stratford Shorts.       


2019_BMO_White            RBC_White(1)