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Member Tickets On-Sale from November 12!

Mark your calendar and get ready to book for our fabulous 2018 season.

With such great productions as The Tempest, Coriolanus, To Kill a Mockingbird, Long Day's Journey Into Night, An Ideal Husband, The Music Man and The Rocky Horror Show - to name just a few - we hope you're looking forward to next year with great anticipation! Starting on November 12, valued Members like you will be able to purchase tickets and be guaranteed the very best seats in the house - weeks ahead of the general public on-sale date of January 5!

Don't miss your exclusive opportunity to order well in advance and book the best selection of tickets at great pre-season prices. That includes priority access to 2-for-1 Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday performances, and to our Musical Ticket Offer and Shakespeare Ticket Offer - enabling you to save up to 50%!

 

On-Sale Dates
Membership Level | Online at noon | By phone or in person at 9 a.m.

Playwright's Circle | November 12 | November 13
Sustainer/Prospero Society | November 13 | November 14
Associate | November 14 | November 15
Benefactor | November 15 | November 16
Ambassador | November 16 | November 17
Friend | November 17 | November 18

 

For more information about next season's line-up, and to plan your personal playbill, visit our website.

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Closing the Gender Gap: Your First Look at Julius Caesar!

Director Scott Wentworth shares insights into his gender-parity casting of this timely play.

Casting a female actor in a male leading role is not a new concept to productions of Shakespeare's plays. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the famed stage performers Charlotte Cushman and Sarah Bernhardt both famously took on "breeches" roles such as Hamlet.

The idea is not a new one here at the Festival either: over the past decade, the growing trend of cross-gender casting has been seen in such productions as Breath of Kings and As You Like It, and in 2011, Seana McKenna took on the title role of Richard III to the great excitement of critics and fans alike. In Shakespeare's own time, of course, all female roles were portrayed by boys, so gender-bending in the other direction is not such a stretch as some might think.

This season, the Stratford Festival is showcasing women in some of Shakespeare's most compelling male roles, including Martha Henry's Prospero in The Tempest and Ms McKenna in the title role of Julius Caesar, alongside Michelle Giroux as Mark Antony and Irene Poole as Cassius.

"The gender parity casting in Julius Caesar goes from the top on down," says director Scott Wentworth. "We've seen women playing male roles here at the Festival before, but this production takes it another step further by having an equal number of male and female players taking on traditionally male parts.

"It was a joint decision with [Artistic Director] Antoni Cimolino to approach the play in this manner, and I was very interested in the experiment. We've been trying it out here for a number of seasons, but this is our first major production to be done with the leads and the ensemble parts being a 50/50 split between men and women. This way, both genders will be speaking without one voice dominating the other for too long."

 


In Mr. Wentworth's view, there are a couple of different angles from which to approach this exploration. One way is to create a world - either one wholly imagined, or one based in reality, like Margaret Thatcher's England - where women would be in a natural position to assume those strong roles. The other way is to see the entire concept of gender as a trapping of the 19th century and simply accept that these are actors taking on roles, in the same way that cross-cultural casting has become more and more the norm.

"The more I read and re-read the play, the more interested I became in this approach to it," says Mr. Wentworth. "Next to Timon of Athens, it's the play with the least number of female roles in it, and they never even get a chance to speak to one another. Knowing the casting, I keep hearing things differently as I read, and the more I think the poetry strongly reverberates with the culture that we're living in now. There are so many parallels to what is going on in the world.

"Take Rome and the way it extols the so-called masculine virtues of individuality and aggression to the point of fetishism - making them the only ones worthy of public discourse. At the same time, the feminine energy is banished to private rooms, becoming silent and silenced. It begs the pertinent questions, 'What does that do to the idea of a democracy? In that sort of atmosphere, does a dictatorship become inevitable? What do you do with a Julius Caesar when tyranny seems the only direction?'

"Donald Trump postures the aforementioned 'great' masculine qualities, and in so doing defeated Hilary Clinton, who was also posturing them. Putting female actors into these larger parts will give an insight to the dangers of male behaviour in ways of which a male actor may not be quite so aware - and that will also greatly affect the audience's perceptions."

One of Shakespeare's shortest plays, Julius Caesar fits well with a modern sensibility. Its language is terse and concise and lacks the soaring imagery found in his other plays of that time, such as As You Like It and Henry V.

"We seem to be in an altogether different language world," says Mr. Wentworth. "Again, there is a timely connection in the way that Julius Caesar speaks like he expects everything he says to be written down. Everything feels like a sound bite, like it belongs on YouTube or Twitter or Google tracking. Young audiences can relate well to this sort of thing: they have very different perceptions about gender relations and living life out in public without any real concern for their privacy rights.

"People may generally think that Julius Caesar is a stodgy, straightforward glimpse of history, but with its tight and considered use of language, the play has the voice to engage in the conversations we have today. It shows that politics is anything but intellectual - that it is all emotionally based and rife with explosive volatility. One minute citizens can think someone's a hero, and the next minute they want to lock him up or tear him to pieces."

Casting women in traditionally male roles also hugely expands the acting opportunities for gifted female performers.

"Barring her gender, an actor of Seana's range and experience would have played Julius Caesar already," says Mr. Wentworth. "This gives really extraordinary actors the chance to play the great roles and close that gap of time in their careers between playing Juliet and Queen Margaret. Beyond that, it will blow the dust off the play and give us a new way in - both as a creative company and as an audience - so that we can ask questions about what this play says to us in the here and now.

"The core idea behind presenting classical plays is that as a society we need to re-experience them every so often so we can ask ourselves those big questions, and actively conjure up and listen to the answers."

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Who's Who on Stage in 2018

With such exciting casting announced for our fabulous productions, next season is one not to be missed!

Key casting is now in place for 2018, including Martha Henry as Prospero, Seana McKenna as Julius Caesar, André Sills as Coriolanus and Daren A. Herbert as Harold Hill in The Music Man. Here's a look at what some of your Festival favourites will be up to, along with some familiar returning faces and welcome newcomers to the Stratford stages.

MUSICALS

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show | Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore

Dan Chameroy as Dr. Frank N. Furter
Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Janet
Sayer Roberts as Brad
Robert Markus as Riff Raff
Erica Peck as Magenta
Steve Ross as the Narrator
Kimberly-Ann Truong as Columbia

Meredith Willson's The Music Man | Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore

Daren A. Herbert as Harold Hill
Danielle Wade as Marion Paroo
Denise Oucharek as Mrs. Paroo
Steve Ross as Mayor Shinn
Mark Uhre as Marcellus Washburn
Blythe Wilson as Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn

 

SHAKESPEARE

The Tempest | Directed by Antoni Cimolino

Martha Henry as Prospero
Graham Abbey as Antonio
Michael Blake as Caliban
Tom McCamus as Stephano
Stephen Ouimette as Trinculo
André Sills as Sebastian

Julius Caesar | Directed by Scott Wentworth

Seana McKenna as Julius Caesar
Michelle Giroux as Mark Antony
Jonathan Goad as Brutus
Irene Poole as Cassius
Monice Peter as Portia
Joseph Ziegler as Caska

Coriolanus | Directed by Robert Lepage

André Sills as Coriolanus
Graham Abbey as Tullus Aufidius
Michael Blake as Cominius
Tom McCamus as Menenius Agrippa
Stephen Ouimette as Junius Brutus
Lucy Peacock as Volumnia
Tom Rooney as Sicinius Velutus

The Comedy of Errors | Directed by Keira Loughran

Beryl Bain as Dromio of Syracuse
Josue Laboucane as Dromio of Ephesus
Jessica B. Hill as Antipholus of Syracuse
Qasim Khan as Antipholus of Ephesus

CLASSICS

To Kill a Mockingbird | Directed by Nigel Shawn Williams

Jonathan Goad as Atticus Finch
Irene Poole as Jean Louise, the Narrator
Matthew C. Brown as Tom Robinson
Tim Campbell as Heck Tate
Jonelle Gunderson as Mayella Ewell
Randy Hughson as Bob Ewell
Joseph Ziegler as Judge Taylor

An Ideal Husband | Directed by Lezlie Wade

Tim Campbell as Sir Robert Chiltern
Brad Hodder as Lord Arthur Goring
Joseph Ziegler as Lord Caversham
Bahareh Yaraghi as Mrs. Laura Cheveley
Sophia Walker as Lady Gertrude Chiltern

Napoli Milionaria! | Directed by Antoni Cimolino

Tom McCamus as Gennaro Iovine
Brigit Wilson as Amalia
Michael Blake as Errico
Tom Rooney as Riccardo Spasiano
Johnathan Sousa as Amedeo
 
Long Day's Journey Into Night | Directed by Miles Potter

Seana McKenna as Mary Tyrone
Scott Wentworth as James Tyrone
Gordon S. Miller as James Tyrone Jr.

 

WORLD PREMIÈRES

OF STRATFORD FESTIVAL COMMISSIONS

Brontë | Directed by Vanessa Porteous

Beryl Bain as Charlotte
Andrea Rankin as Anne
Jessica B. Hill as Emily

Paradise Lost | Directed by Jackie Maxwell

Lucy Peacock as Satan
Qasim Khan as Adam
Amelia Sargisson as Eve



Support for the 2018 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein and Claire Foerster.

Support for the 2018 season of the Avon Theatre is generously provided by the Birmingham Family.

Support for the 2018 season of the Studio Theatre is generously provided by Sandra & Jim Pitblado.

 

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Get Ready for Holiday Gift-giving!

Winter’s coming – and it’s time to start your seasonal shopping. Make it simple with Stratford Festival Gift Certificates!

Do you hate long lines in shops and crowded mall parking lots? So do we! This year, avoid the madness 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 beloved young person, kind neighbours, valued colleagues, your parents or your special sweetheart.

Our Gift Certificates are available in any denomination, making them a great one-size-fits-all present. Just enter the amount and quantity of each certificate you'd like to buy. Both mail and email delivery options are available - perfect for last-minute gift-giving!

Stratford Festival Gift Certificates can be redeemed for:

- Theatre tickets
- Membership donations
- Warehouse, garden and backstage tours
- Specialty items from our Stratford Festival Shops

 

For guaranteed holiday delivery of physical Gift Certificates by standard mail, please order online or call 1.800.567.1600 by December 8. You can also purchase in person at the Festival Theatre Box Office until December 24 at 2 p.m. Get your Gift Certificates any time online and have them delivered to you electronically - available 24 hours a day, seven days a week - including December 25!

Shop in person!
If you find yourself in the Stratford area, why not stop by our wonderful 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 extra-special someone. 

And if you can't make it to town, you can explore our virtual shop online.

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Enjoy Stratford Festival HD Anytime, Anywhere!

Macbeth and Love’s Labour’s Lost now available On Demand

 

Beginning this month, our stunning HD film productions of Macbeth and Love's Labour's Lost  will be available to rent or buy online, along with six other titles from our acclaimed Shakespeare series: King Lear, King John, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew and The Adventures of Pericles.

The films can be accessed through iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. Visit http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/OnDemand for details.

 

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 The John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation, 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.

Support for Stratford Festival HD has also been provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Canadian distribution is through Cineplex, which specializes in bringing world-class events and performances to the big screen.

Screenings are followed by a broadcast window on CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster.