JANUARY 2016 ISSUE
The wait is finally over: online general sales for the Stratford Festival's 2016 season begin Friday, January 8. If you prefer to buy your tickets in person at our Festival Theatre Box Office, or by phone at 1.800.567.1600, those sales begin at 9 a.m. the next day: Saturday, January 9.Don't delay
With the blustery winter weather outside, it may seem like the theatre season is a long way off - but booking well in advance of the start of the season means that you have a greater selection of the best seats on the performance dates that you want the most! And remember: once the reviews are out, many performances of our hottest productions can sell out very quickly. Be sure to grab your tickets fast!
We look forward to welcoming you to our theatres in 2016!
2016 Season Partners: BMO Financial Group, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and Union Gas Limited
Early Bird Price Guarantee
Book your tickets before February 9, and you save up to 25% off regular in-season prices on all of our incredible 2016 productions. 2-for-1 Evenings
Back by popular demand, our 2-for-1 Evenings mean big savings. It's easy to treat a friend when you take advantage of this great deal: simply purchase one regular-priced ticket for a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday evening performance at any theatre, and you'll get one more ticket FREE!
Be sure to book early so that you don't miss out on the shows you want to see the most.Sundays with the Bard
If you love Shakespeare, you'll love Sundays with the Bard! Join us for any Sunday matinée performance of our magnificent Shakespeare productions, and you can grab A, B or C seating for just $45 - all season long.
The earlier you book, the better your choice of great seats.
Senior Matinée Savings
If you're 65 or older, you'll love our extra-special Senior Matinée Savings deal: enjoy big savings when you join us for any 2 p.m. performance from Monday to Friday, except for those between July 12 and August 29. Ordering online is easy - just click here. $39 Kids' Tickets
Do you have young theatre lovers in your life? You'll cheer for our $39 Kids' Tickets! Young people 18 and under can enjoy the thrill of live performance at any of our fantastic productions - including musicals - for an incredible price. Check out the details and book here!
Fireworks Deal - Explosive new discounts
Celebrate exciting theatrical savings with our online-only Fireworks Deal! Choose a performance from May 20 to 23 or June 30 to July 3 (except for 2-for-1 Evenings) and you'll save 30% on A, B and C seats. Visit our website now and grab this deal while the hottest seats are still available.
Come together with 10 or more theatre lovers and save up to 25%, receive one complimentary ticket for every 20 booked and we will set up a flexible payment plan for your order.
Our amazing season-long series of engaging events, talks, performances and hands-on activities offers endless ways to engage and inspire theatre lovers of all ages as we explore our season's themes, plays, playwrights and ideas. Purchase your Forum tickets early, and you can save a bundle. The more Forum events you book, the more you save: buy before February 9 to expand your experience - and your savings!
• Buy 6 tickets - save 30%
• Buy 10 tickets - save 40%
• Buy 15 tickets - save 50%
Q: How does it feel to be returning to the Festival, and what are you most looking forward to about the upcoming season?Luke Humphrey: I'm so excited to be returning to the Festival. I started my professional journey here [studying at the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, and most notably appearing in 2013 as D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers and Murph in Taking Shakespeare], and so the Festival will always feel like my artistic home. It really is an exceptional place, and being away has only strengthened my appreciation for it.Shannon Taylor: I am very much looking forward to returning to the Festival for 2016! If the audition process for Shakespeare in Love was any indication, I think we are in for an adventurous and playful rehearsal period. But first, I am off to backpack around Southeast Asia to refuel my creative tank!Q:For those who may be unfamiliar with your backgrounds, tell us a little about where you're from, your training and some of your favourite past roles.LH: I grew up in California and studied acting at the Stella Adler Studio in NYC while attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. It's hard to choose a favourite role because each one comes with its own set of lessons and rewards, but I would have to say Murph in Taking Shakespeare with Martha Henry, and Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate.ST: I grew up in Barrie, Ontario, and I went to high school at Etobicoke School of the Arts where I majored in musical theatre. After that, I spent four years training at Ryerson University, where I earned my BFA in theatre performance. My favourite roles in the past include Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, Jo March in Little Women, the Musical and Margot Frank last season in The Diary of Anne Frank.
Q: When did you first get bitten by the acting bug?LH: I think I knew at an early age that this was something I wanted to do, but it wasn't until I played Romeo in a high school production of Romeo and Juliet that I first really knew that this was my true calling. From that point on, I was totally hooked.ST: My passion for performing started when I was quite young, and was developed in a musical theatre troupe called the Strolling Youth Players in Barrie when I was 10 years old. That experience led me to play the role of Liesl in The Sound of Music at the Stratford Festival in 2001 - when I was literally "sixteen going on seventeen."
It was during that same season that I was part of the chorus in the play Inherit the Wind, directed by Richard Monette and starring William Hutt. It was while observing Mr. Hutt during every performance when something hit me hard, and I thought, "I still want to sing and dance, but what if I could act like that?" From then on, I pursued performing as a career. I will add that William Hutt was over 80 years old at the time of that production!Q:It is very early days in the process, but you both must be studying the script over the winter and delving into your characters. Luke, what do you find most appealing about the role of Will?LH: I'm going to be honest with you: this role scares me. It's a little bit daunting trying to play the Bard, let alone trying to play the Bard at a place like the Stratford Festival. When I received the sides [excerpts from the script, used for audition purposes], I gave them a quick once-over before I had to run off on an errand - and I realized that the sides simply would not leave my head. I kept going over them in my mind, and thinking about them until I just had to rush back to read the whole script. I was hooked.
I am a huge Tom Stoppard fan, and I really love the writing; I find it so engaging. I am so excited to share this play! Stoppard creates this strong-willed, passionate young writer struggling to find the inspiration to create, and gives him a beautiful, fun and complicated love story with Viola. I love the way that Will comes to life after meeting her. I'm excited to try and capture the passion that inspired such important writing.
Q: Shannon, what is most intriguing to you so far about the part of Viola?ST: I'll be doing much of my preliminary script work while I'm away on my backpacking adventure. At this early stage, I am intrigued by Viola's curiosity, her courage, and her sense of adventure - something I can definitely relate to while I'm abroad exploring new things.Q: What do you anticipate will be some of the fun challenges to your parts?LH: Right now, it is all a little intimidating - but I like that. I find that being a bit scared going into a project is actually a good thing. Stoppard's character of Shakespeare is so fiery and dynamic, and I'm excited about trying that on. I am also really looking forward to working with this particular creative team and the amazing cast we have. It really is a dream project.ST: I am looking forward to the challenge of exploring the masculinity and complexity of Viola when she is dressed up in disguise as Thomas Kent.Q:This play shows us how love can inspire and transform a person. Has love inspired and/or transformed you in real life?LH: My loving and supportive partner provides a lot of the motivation for me. As clichéd as it might sound, she really has transformed me into a better person. Feeling that transformation in my own life helps me to better understand the way in which Viola radically changes Will's life. It's rare and wonderful to have someone who awakens and brings out the best in you, and this play really highlights that - it truly celebrates the profoundly uplifting power of love.ST: I remember working out west about five years ago, playing a dream role at a beautiful theatre. I was in a successful show with great people and loving life. Unfortunately, that gig meant that I was away from my partner for five months. I had the realization that, despite my current career happiness and satisfaction, that wasn't enough: without my partner, the art didn't have the same meaning. It was a re-awakening about my life's priorities. That's not to say that I've sorted it all out. But ever since then, I have become much more aware of finding my overall proper balance and perspective.
Production support for Shakespeare in Love is generously provided by Martie & Bob Sachs
Have you ever wondered what our amazing teams of artisans do over the winter months? Watch our exclusive behind-the-scenes video for a taste of the tremendous amount of work that goes into crafting just one of our magnificent custom-built costumes - all the way from sketch to stage!
To play the leading couple at the brutal heart of Macbeth, Antoni Cimolino has chosen a younger pairing than is usually seen in this dark and dangerous world.
Ian Lake, after seven seasons at the Festival and fresh from his success as the heartbroken singer-songwriter Guy in the hit musical Once, will play Macbeth. Among other memorable Festival performances, he gave a fiery portrayal of Mortimer in Mr. Cimolino's wildly successful 2013 production of Mary Stuart. Lady Macbeth will be played by Krystin Pellerin, who made her striking Stratford debut as Joyce in last season's Possible Worlds.
"I decided to cast younger performers than is traditionally seen in Macbeth because, quite simply, this is a play about raw ambition," says Mr. Cimolino. "In my mind, the young are more hungry and far more energetic."
A ruthless couple in love"I see Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as a young married couple still very much in love with one another. They have great fire and passion in their verbal exchanges. In the text, Lady Macbeth makes a reference to their recently lost child, so they are still in their childbearing years and have known and shared a deeply personal tragedy."
Referred to as a "gentle lady," Lady Macbeth belongs to a world where women and children are viewed as precious. But although she may seem like the innocent flower, she is the serpent under it. "I think she underestimates her own vulnerability," says Mr. Cimolino. "During the audition, Krystin was incredibly moving in the sleepwalking scene - that pivotal point when the queen's mask has completely slipped and she shows herself to be entirely vulnerable.
"It seems to me that the Macbeths' mutual passion is at the very heart of the tragedy," he adds. "There is a lot of loyalty and love in their marriage, yet it is put to perverse purposes. Their love is real, but it becomes inextricably wound up with murder.
" 'All is the fear, and nothing is the love,' says Lady Macduff, just before she and her children are murdered. Fear is mentioned a lot in the play. But love seems to be mentioned only in the context of murder. It's like an inversion of the biblical words in the First Epistle of John (4:18): 'Perfect love casteth out fear.' Here, by contrast, fear casts out love and the Macbeths grow apart.
"These are two people who utterly destroy themselves by desperately trying to give one another what they think the other person wants, spilling innocent blood along the way. All of their joint effort and determination to succeed only brings about total disaster."
Father figures betrayed
As a contrast to the ambitious youth of Ian Lake's Macbeth, Joseph Ziegler's Duncan will be a man exuding a different kind of strength. "I see him almost as a Prospero type," says Mr. Cimolino. "He is a deeply religious and good man, with a great sense of humility and integrity - perhaps the wrong type of king for this warrior society. He is far too trusting and open in this harsh world of civil war."
As Banquo, Festival favourite Scott Wentworth will be a mentor to the young Macbeth. "In my mind, Banquo will be very much a father figure. So when Macbeth ultimately turns on him and betrays him, it will be all that much more hard-hitting and poignant. Shakespeare felt that civil war brings out the very worst in human nature: fatally pitting fathers and sons against each other."
Macbeth runs at the Festival Theatre from May 3 until October 23. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit our website or call our Box Office at 1.800.567.1600.
Production support for Macbeth is generously provided by Jane Petersen Burfield & family, Barbara & John Schubert, the Tremain Family, and by Chip & Barbara Vallis