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Who’s Playing What in 2017

Brent Carver, returning after five years to play Feste in Twelfth Night, joins a stellar line-up of familiar faces and Festival newcomers.

Much of our casting for 2017 is now in place, bringing back to our company many of your favourite artists - along with several, such as Indian-born singer-songwriter Kiran Ahluwalia, who are new to Stratford.
 
Twelfth Night | Directed by MARTHA HENRY

Sarah Afful as Viola
Rod Beattie as Malvolio
Brent Carver as Feste
Lucy Peacock as Maria
Geraint Wyn Davies as Sir Toby Belch
Tom Rooney as Sir Andrew Aguecheek
E.B. Smith as Orsino
Shannon Taylor as Olivia 

Guys and Dolls | Directed and choreographed by DONNA FEORE

Sean Arbuckle as Nathan Detroit
Evan Buliung as Sky Masterson
Alexis Gordon as Sarah Brown
Blythe Wilson as Miss Adelaide
Lisa Horner as General Matilda B. Cartwright
Laurie Murdoch as Arvide Abernathy
Steve Ross as Nicely-Nicely Johnson 
 
Romeo and Juliet | Directed by SCOTT WENTWORTH

Sara Farb as Juliet
Antoine Yared as Romeo
Seana McKenna as Nurse
Marion Adler as Lady Capulet
Wayne Best as Friar Laurence
Evan Buliung as Mercutio
Randy Hughson as Capulet

Tartuffe | Directed by CHRIS ABRAHAM

Tom Rooney as Tartuffe
Graham Abbey as Orgon
Maev Beaty as Elmire
Michael Blake as Cleante
Rosemary Dunsmore as Mme Pernelle
Anusree Roy as Dorine 

Treasure Island | Directed by MITCHELL CUSHMAN

Thomas Mitchell Barnet as Jim Hawkins
Juan Chioran as Long John Silver!
 
HMS Pinafore | Directed by LEZLIE WADE 

Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Josephine
Mark Uhre as Ralph Rackstraw
Lisa Horner as Little Buttercup
Laurie Murdoch as Sir Joseph Porter
Steve Ross as Captain Corcoran

The School for Scandal | Directed by ANTONI CIMOLINO

Shannon Taylor as Lady Teazle
Geraint Wyn Davies as Sir Peter Teazle
Joseph Ziegler as Sir Oliver Surface
Maev Beaty as Lady Sneerwell
Brent Carver as Rowley
Sébastien Heins as Charles Surface
Tyrone Savage as Joseph Surface
Brigit Wilson as Mrs. Candour
 
Timon of Athens | Directed by STEPHEN OUIMETTE

Joseph Ziegler as Timon
Tim Campbell as Alcibiades
Ben Carlson as Apemantus
Michael Spencer-Davis as Flavius
 
The Changeling | Directed by JACKIE MAXWELL

Ben Carlson as De Flores
Mikaela Davies as Beatrice-Joanna
Cyrus Lane as Alsemero

Bakkhai | Directed by JILLIAN KEILEY

Mac Fyfe as Dionysos
Lucy Peacock as Agave
Graham Abbey as Teiresias
Gordon S. Miller as Pentheus

The Madwoman of Chaillot | Directed by DONNA FEORE

Seana McKenna as Aurélie, The Madwoman of Chaillot
Wayne Best as The Prospector
Ben Carlson as The President
Yanna McIntosh as Josephine, The Madwoman of Concorde
Scott Wentworth as The Ragman
 
The Virgin Trial | Directed by ALAN DILWORTH

World Première: A Stratford Festival Commission

Bahia Watson as Bess
Nigel Bennett as Ted
Laura Condlln as Ashley
Sara Farb as Mary
Brad Hodder as Thom
Yanna McIntosh as Eleanor
André Morin as Parry
 
The Breathing Hole | Directed by RENELTTA ARLUK

World Première: A Stratford Festival Commission

Randy Hughson as Sir John Franklin
Jani Lauzon as Aga
 
The Komagata Maru Incident | Directed by KEIRA LOUGHRAN

Quelemia Sparrow as T.S.
Kiran Ahluwalia as Woman

Tickets for the 2017 season go on sale to Festival Members beginning November 28 and to the public on January 6.

 

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2017 Season Partners: BMO Financial Group, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, Union Gas Limited

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So You Think You Know Romeo and Juliet?

Director Scott Wentworth prepares to sandblast away complacent assumptions about one of Shakespeare’s most familiar plays.

Fans of the Stratford Festival need no introduction to Scott Wentworth. In this past season, he was seen as Banquo in Macbeth, Duke Frederick in As You Like It and the title role of the rarely staged John Gabriel Borkman.

Over his 22 years with the Festival, Mr. Wentworth has portrayed such other memorable roles as Gloucester in King Lear, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Iago in Othello and the title role in Macbeth.

He is also a seasoned director of classical theatre productions throughout the United States, as well as the 2001 Stratford Festival productions of Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, and last season's The Adventures of Pericles.

"I am thrilled to be making my Festival Stage directorial debut in 2017," he says "It's a great honour."

Having appeared in productions of Romeo and Juliet, over the years, Mr. Wentworth is no stranger to the play - which he has also directed before, at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in 2012. He can't wait to take on the task of working on it anew.

"One of the biggest challenges of presenting Romeo and Juliet is that it is perceived as being too familiar by audiences," he says. "It is a play that has become so ingrained in our cultural consciousness that there is almost a kind of complacency about it whenever it is staged. 

"Our task ahead will be to remind people of the great power of the piece. After all, there is a reason it is still so beloved to this day - it continues to speak to us and have a rich life."

Over the coming months, there will be a great deal of preparation to do ahead of the start of rehearsals, beginning with in-depth work on the text.

"In our production, we really want to question and challenge our assumptions about the play and its language. Over the centuries, we have built up and accumulated so many perceptions about it that we almost don't see the real story at the core. We want to actively sandblast the play to its very bones so that we can discover just what William Shakespeare did with his original source material."

It is too early to say much about the production's design, other than that the play will be set in the Elizabethan era, when it was written. Again, Mr. Wentworth warns against any complacency that audiences might be tempted to feel about this choice of period.

"It will be contemporary to Shakespeare's time," he says. "But I am hesitant to call it simply a 'period piece' with lovely costumes. This is not meant to be in any way museum-like: we want it to look like these people actually wear these clothes, and truly inhabit the world the audience will see on stage. It will not be emotionally remote - it will be vital and still speak directly to today's audience in their own world."

Mr. Wentworth disagrees with those who perceive Romeo and Juliet as a lesser tragedy than Hamlet or King Lear; he considers it every bit as poignant and hard-hitting as those later plays.

"There is this weird reverse snobbery: the idea that it's just a play about fickle youth," he says. "But it is as profound in its exploration of young people's tragedy as King Lear is for the old.

"The story is a series of escalating events with truly devastating repercussions. It is very much about Verona and its corrupt culture - about a particular class of people and how they run their lives, and what happens when Romeo and Juliet bump up against it and try to re-identify themselves on their own terms.

"It is a way of life and economic structure that cannot be sustained. As the social fabric tears and rips, the children are sacrificed for the sake of security and wealth and an outmoded way of being.

"What can be more tragic than the fact that the dominant class have caused the deaths of their own children and destroyed their future hopes? As we see around us in the world today, youth suicides are not unconnected to the larger issues in the cultures where they occur. It is the ultimate inversion of how a healthy society functions, and the reverberations go well beyond private and personal issues."

In short, even if you think you already know Romeo and Juliet inside out, you won't want to miss this opportunity to gain fresh insights into one of Shakespeare's most popular plays.

"Make no mistake, this is a very rich story that can still be mined for new information. We want to turn aside the predictable expectations people may have about the play, and show them that this is not at all what Romeo and Juliet can be. It's so much more than swordfights, courtly dances and moonlit gardens.

"We want to introduce the play to audiences anew so that they say, 'Now, this is a story I have to see again.' "

 

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Production support is generously provided by Barbara & John Schubert

Support for the 2017 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein & Claire Foerster

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Book ahead of the crowd!

Become a Member and start booking your 2017 tickets in less than three weeks.

2017 season tickets will be available to the general public online on Friday, January 6. Starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 7, you can buy your tickets in person at our Festival Theatre Box Office, or by phone at 1.800.567.1600.

But why wait?
Become a Stratford Festival Member right now and be able to book your 2017 tickets weeks before the general public - as early as November 28! There are membership options to suit every budget, and as a Member you enjoy special perks all year long including… 

» Early access to the best seats, at up to 25% off in-season rates
» First opportunity to book in-demand performances, including 2-for-1 dates
» A wide range of Member ticket discounts and exclusive benefits

Find out more on our website, or contact our Membership Manager, Ceairy Free, at cfree@stratfordfestival.ca or 1.800.567.1600, extension 5501.

We can't wait to welcome you back to our theatres next season!

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Holiday Gift-Giving Made Simple!

Wrap up your holiday shopping today.

Avoid the mad rush at the mall and enjoy stress-free holiday gift buying with Stratford Festival Gift Certificates. They're a perfect solution for theatre lovers of all ages: great for a favourite teacher, a special young person, kind neighbours, valued colleagues, your parents or even your sweetheart. Everyone is sure to love the endless possibilities presented by our Gift Certificates!

Gift Certificates can be redeemed for:

• Theatre tickets
• Forum Events 
• Memberships
• Stratford Festival Shop Merchandise

Get a head start on your gift list and order yours today.

For guaranteed holiday delivery by standard mail, please order online at stratfordfestival.ca/giftcertificates or call 1.800.567.1600 by December 8. You may also purchase in person at the Festival Theatre Box Office until December 24 at 2 p.m.

Shop in person!
If you happen to be in the Stratford area, why not stop by our downtown Stratford Festival Shop? Located next to the Avon Theatre at 99 Downie Street, it's a delightful place in which to browse through our large selection of wonderful books, DVDs, theatrical goodies, T-shirts, jewellery, toys and quality gift ideas! Our friendly staff can help you choose that perfect something for your special someone.

If you can't make it to town, please explore our virtual shop online

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Stratford Festival HD Anywhere, Anytime!

Enjoy Stratford Festival HD in the comfort of your home – on DVD, Blu-ray or online.

A must-have for any theatre lover, the second set of films in our exciting HD series is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Our magnificent 2015 productions of Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew and The Adventures of Pericles are ready to purchase in person from our beautiful Stratford Festival Shop or online at stratfordfestival.ca/shop. Add to your existing 2014 collection, or start building your personal library of Stratford Festival HD films today! They also make the perfect holiday gift for all the theatre fans in your life.

Want to experience HD on the go? Select titles are also available on iTunes , Amazon and Google Play.



Stratford Festival HD is sponsored by Sun Life Financial as part of their Making the Arts More Accessible™ program.

Support for Stratford Festival HD is generously provided by Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, the Jenkins Family Foundation, the Henry White Kinnear Foundation, Ophelia & Mike Lazaridis, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Sandra & Jim Pitblado, the Slaight Family Foundation, Robert & Jacqueline Sperandio, and an anonymous donor.

The Festival also acknowledges the generous support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Canadian distribution is through Cineplex Events, which specializes in bringing world-class events and performances to the big screen. Cinema screenings are followed by a broadcast window on CBC-TV, Canada's national public broadcaster.

U.S. and international distribution is through SpectiCast, the fastest-growing event cinema marketing and distribution company in the world.

 

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Bright Particular Stars of Canadian Culture

Author Martin Hunter’s new book is the perfect gift for theatre lovers – and you’ll want a copy for yourself!

Martin Hunter, author of the 2002 coffee-table book Romancing the Bard: Stratford at Fifty, has a new book coming out that reflects his passion for theatre and other performing arts. Bright Particular Stars is a comprehensive and fully illustrated history of more than thirty of the greatest Canadian performers in theatre, on screen and in popular music.

Stage stars celebrated include Stratford Festival greats Colm Feore, Christopher Plummer and William Hutt. Film and television are represented by chapters on Sarah Polley, Robert Lepage and many more, while celebrities from the music world include Leonard Cohen, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Joni Mitchell.

Martin Hunter has worked in theatre since boyhood, as actor, director, writer and producer. Former artistic director of Hart House Theatre, he has also been a university teacher and arts journalist. He has written several plays and CBC Radio dramas and documentaries, and has published two collections of his essays.

Lavishly illustrated with over 250 images, Bright Particular Stars is available at the Stratford Festival Shop next door to the Avon Theatre at 99 Downie Street, or online