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2019 Season Presale!

Here’s your chance to book your Festival tickets ahead of the crowd!

Calling all Festival fans: we have a special December treat in store for you! For one week only - December 8 to 14 - you can book your tickets now for fantastic early bird prices! Prices rise by up to 25% on February 1, so take advantage of this offer today.

Our spectacular 2019 season goes on sale to the general public on January 4 - but why wait? Member tickets have been on sale since November 11, but booking now with our Season Presale means you can still access the best seats to our shows nearly a month in advance! This sale is a great opportunity to select the seats and shows you want. Remember: shows in our Studio Theatre fill up fast due to limited seating, so there's no better time to buy.

Best of all, this amazing 2019 Season Presale is available for ALL of our 2019 plays and musicals!

Great Gifts
Tickets make the perfect holiday present for the special theatre lovers in your life - and to avoid Canada Post delays, we can send Festival tickets instantly by email. So you can rest easy knowing your thoughtful gift will get there in time.

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Our Playbill in a Nutshell: Part One

In a three-part series, we’ll take a closer look at our 2019 productions and explore what each one is all about!

Over this and the next two editions of SceneNotes, we'll offer a quick peek at each of our 2019 plays and musicals to give you a better idea of what each production has in store, who the key players are, and why you should rush to book your tickets now! With such an amazing and varied line-up of theatrical offerings - together with stellar direction, spectacular choreography and guaranteed powerhouse performances - we're sure you won't want to miss a single one!

Billy Elliot the Musical
Music by Elton John
Book and lyrics by Lee Hall
Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore
Festival Theatre: April 6 to November 3

Lee Hall (who co-wrote the stage version of Shakespeare in Love) turned his own screenplay for the hit 2000 film Billy Elliot into this acclaimed stage musical. With a glorious score by Elton John, the show won four Laurence Olivier Awards, ten Tony Awards and ten Drama Desk Awards when it debuted in London and New York.

In a hardscrabble mining town, riven by a bitter national strike, motherless eleven-year-old Billy happens upon a dance class (when he is meant to be at boxing!) and discovers a passion that will transform his life. In his male-dominated household, both his father and older brother forbid him to continue. Billy must depend on his best friend, Michael, and his dedicated dance instructor, Mrs. Wilkinson, to help him push back against his family's expectations and achieve his goals - but his path is anything but an easy one.

Nolen Dubuc, a powerhouse young performer from B.C., joins the company in the title role. Dan Chameroy, last seen as Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, returns to play Dad. Perennial audience favourite Blythe Wilson plays Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy's devoted teacher.

Your heart will alternately break and soar as you witness Billy's trials and tribulations in his quest to follow his bliss. The production is directed by Donna Feore, who also brings Billy's touching story to life with all-new choreography.

Private Lives
By Noël Coward
Directed by Carey Perloff
Avon Theatre: April 24 to October 26

Divorced for five years, former spouses Elyot and Amanda are reunited by a chance encounter in a hotel on the French Riviera. Theirs was a tempestuous relationship, but the chemistry between them remains undeniable. The old flame of desire ignites once more - but unfortunately this happens while they are each honeymooning with their new partners! Succumbing to their mutual irresistible attraction, they run off together to Paris, only to discover all over again - hilariously - that although they can't seem to live without each other, they can't live with each other either.

This witty and uproarious romantic comedy from the ingenious mind of Noël Coward will transport you into a sparklingly stylish world of charm, wit and unparalleled elegance, served up with generous doses of side-splitting laughter. Directed by Carey Perloff, whose last production at the Festival was 2016's John Gabriel Borkman, it features a truly glorious quartet of Festival favourites in the leading roles: Lucy Peacock as Amanda, Geraint Wyn Davies as Elyot, Mike Shara as Victor and Sophia Walker as Sybil, with Sarah Dodd as Louise, Amanda's maid. A dream cast to be sure!

Little Shop of Horrors
Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman
Music by Alan Menken
Based on the film by Roger Corman
Screenplay by Charles Griffith
Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore
Avon Theatre: April 26 to November 1

Like 2018's The Rocky Horror Show, this deliciously campy sci-fi spoof has its roots in the B-movies of the past - specifically, a 1960 horror-comedy film directed by Roger Corman. Skid Row florist's clerk Seymour Krelborn is too shy to declare his love for his co-worker Audrey - until a mysterious exotic plant (which Seymour names Audrey II) brings him unexpected fame and fortune. There's just one problem: the plant has big ambitions of its own, and it thrives on only one food - human blood.

Wacky and off-beat it may certainly be, but at its heart Little Shop tells a touching love story. Audrey, whose desire for a family sees her stuck in an abusive relationship, longs for love and, like the smitten Seymour, dreams of a new life beyond Skid Row, "somewhere that's green."

In the leading romantic roles will be the delightful duo of Gabi Epstein in her Stratford debut as Audrey and André Morin, returning as Seymour after playing Ariel in 2018's The TempestDan Chameroy will play the part of the sadomasochistic dentist whom Audrey II finds oh-so-delicious. Steve Ross (last season's Mayor Shinn in The Music Man and the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show) will play Seymour's boss, Mr. Mushnik.

With director-choreographer Donna Feore at the helm, this company of top talents is guaranteed to deliver weird hilarity, incredible singing and eye-popping dance moves. The show has a fabulous score that evokes the musical styles of the 1950s and '60s - R&B, doo-wop and Motown - and also calls for some truly spectacular special effects, which our artists and artisans will deliver in spades. It'll be a real monster hit!

Othello
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Nigel Shawn Williams
Festival Theatre: May 3 to October 27

Together with Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear, Othello is one of the four great masterpieces that represent Shakespeare's highest and best-known achievements in the genre of tragedy.

Othello is a military man, a respected general, who wins the love of Desdemona despite their different backgrounds and life experiences - and the prejudices of her father. Their love is passionate and true, and their marriage should be a happy one. But they have an enemy they little suspect: Othello's trusted comrade and confidant, Iago, secretly hates him, with a bitter malevolence that even he himself seems not to wholly understand. In a calculated, drawn-out mind game, Iago begins to steadily drip poison in Othello's ear: unwarranted insinuations about his new bride's fidelity that gradually drive Othello into a jealous rage.

Festival favourite Michael Blake takes on the dynamic titular role opposite Amelia Sargisson, returning as Desdemona after her impressive 2018 Stratford debut as Eve in Paradise Lost. The malignant manipulator Iago will be played by Gordon S. Miller, and Laura Condlln will play his spirited wife, Emilia, with Johnathan Sousa as Cassio, Othello's faithful lieutenant. Returning to direct after his powerfully moving production of To Kill a Mockingbird in 2018, Nigel Shawn Williams will be sure to bring a passionate and exciting Othello to Festival audiences. 


Production Co-Sponsors for Billy Elliot The Musical: RBC Royal Bank and Union Gas Limited 

Production support for Billy Elliot The Musical is generously provided by the Harkins & Manning families in memory of Jim & Susan Harkins and by Riki Turofsky & Charles Petersen.

Production support for Private Lives is generously provided by M. Fainer.

Production support for The Little Shop of Horrors is generously provided by Mary Ann & Robert Gorlin.

Production Sponsor for Othello: BMO Financial Group

Production support for Othello is generously provided by The Westaway Charitable Foundation.

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Fabulous Forum for You in 2019!

Here are just a few highlights from next season’s line-up of Forum events.

When you come to see our wonderful plays and musicals in 2019, don't forget to check out the Forum. Our ever-popular series has something for everyone of all ages and interests. There are scores of unique individual events all season long, including concerts, talks, themed meals, workshops, play readings, guest speakers, fun children's events - and so much more!

Here are just a few highlights you won't want to miss:

Art of Time: 'S Wonderful
July 6
George and Ira Gershwin are cornerstones in the pantheon of the Great American Songbook, joining contemporaries Noël Coward and Cole Porter among the songwriters who defined nearly a half-century of popular music. Art of Time Ensemble returns to the Avon Theatre stage with this new concert, featuring Jackie Richardson, Thom Allison, Sarah Slean, Gregory Hoskins and John Southworth, accompanied by exquisite arrangements of the Gershwin hits that span the genres of Broadway, jazz, classical and popular music.

NY Times Week
July 10 - July 14
Journalists from the world-renowned New York Times join us all week for a series of exciting conversations. You won't want to miss it! Check our website for times and locations, and to book your seats for what is sure to be a popular week of fascinating and insightful conversations - see list below:

Changing Traditions in Musical Theatre
Using Little Shop of Horrors and Billy Elliot the Musical as examples, New York Times co-chief theatre critic Jesse Green and director and choreographer Donna Feore discuss where musical theatre has been and where it is going.

Lobby Talk: Who Is Othello today?
New York Times co-chief theatre critic Jesse Green and Festival Literary and Editorial Director David Prosser in conversation.

The Crucible and #MeToo
New York Times culture reporter Cara Buckley and others discuss The Crucible through the lens of the #MeToo movement.

Politicizing Theatre Coverage
A look at gender, diversity and other topics at play in contemporary theatre coverage with three members of the New York Times Culture department: theatre editor Scott Heller, co-chief theatre critic Jesse Green and culture reporter Cara Buckley.

Celebrated Speakers: David Goldbloom & Friends
Various dates
In a series of candid conversations among old friends, David Goldbloom, former Chair of the Stratford Festival Board of Governors and Senior Medical Advisor of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, sits down with some leading advocates of our time to discuss their work and their lives, and maybe to reminisce a little about their university years. A variety of dates and speakers, including:

In Conversation with Michael Bromwich
July 28
Michael R. Bromwich has been a federal prosecutor, a special prosecutor and Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, among many other prominent positions. He has been called on countless times - by public corporations, private companies and senior government executives, including President Obama - to deal with issues and problems of the greatest private and public significance. He recently served as one of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers in the confirmation hearing of Justice Kavanaugh. His greatest achievement may have been surviving David as a roommate.

In Conversation with Harold Koh
October 6
Harold Hongju Koh is a former Legal Adviser of the U.S. State Department, nominated to the position by President Obama, and was also Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights under President Clinton; he is the Sterling Professor and former Dean of Yale Law School. David and Harold sit down to discuss global politics, the White House and their shared love of musicals. This talk will be followed by a signing of Mr. Koh's latest book, The Trump Administration and International Law.

Trust: The Rt. Hon. David Johnston
September 14
Former Governor General David Johnston joins us in conversation to discuss life, our democratic institutions and his book Trust: Twenty Ways to Build a Better Country. The talk will be followed by a book signing.

The House of Martin Guerre in Concert
October 30
This condensed concert of Leslie Arden's award-winning musical follows the journey of Bertrande, a peasant woman who suffers eight years of abusive marriage to Martin Guerre, only to be abandoned with their infant son. Years later, a stranger arrives, claiming to be Martin - completely transformed. Though Bertrande accepts her new loving husband, their happiness is threatened by the jealousy and greed of others. Set in the tumultuous times of sixteenth-century France, when the strict doctrines of the Middle Ages were finally giving way to the freer thought of the early modern period, this story, based on true events, epitomizes the personal and social costs of breaking boundaries.

Don't miss the fabulous Forum Deal*!
Buy before January 31 to expand your experience - and your savings!

  • Buy 6 tickets - save 30%
  • Buy 10 tickets - save 40%
  • Buy 15 tickets - save 50%

Log in using promotion code FORUMDEAL to take advantage of this offer.

Once logged in, simply add the Forum events of your choice to the shopping cart while ordering your tickets.

To see a full list of Forum events, visit What's On.

*The Forum Deal excludes all "Special Meal" and "Free Forum" events. To get this great deal, all Forum tickets must be booked in the same order. Discount will be applied automatically at checkout.


Support for the Forum is generously provided by Kelly & Michael Meighen and The T.R. Meighen Family Foundation.

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Stratford Films for the Holidays

Give the gift of Shakespeare this season with our spectacular DVDs!

The Stratford Festival Shop has the perfect presents for all of the theatre lovers on your list!

For a double dose of Shakespeare, we suggest this fantastic 2018 two-pack set of Timon of Athens and Romeo and Juliet - the latest releases in our Stratford Festival On Film series (formerly Stratford Festival HD) of Shakespeare plays captured in glorious high-definition in front of a live Festival audience. Only $44.95 - a tidy saving of $5 when you buy as a pair!

The very special Shakespeare fan in your life will love The Ultimate Stratford HD Collection! This set comprises all of our stunning Shakespeare films to date:

Macbeth
Hamlet
King Lear
The Taming of the Shrew
The Adventures of Pericles
Antony and Cleopatra
King John
Love's Labour's Lost
Romeo and Juliet 
- NEW
Timon of Athens - NEW

This entire collection of 10 productions is only $179.95 - a saving of $69.55 over buying each title individually!

We also have a great bundle deal: buy any three or more Stratford Festival On Film DVDs or Blu-rays, and get 20% off when you use promo code HDBundle. Check out our website for our two-pack 2017 and three-pack 2016 sets (as well as the individual DVDs or Blu-rays), or shop in person at the Stratford Festival Shop at 99 Downie Street in Stratford, right next to the Avon Theatre. We have a fantastic selection of theatre-related gifts! From stocking stuffers to big-ticket items, you'll be sure to find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list!

We wish you all the very best for this holiday season, and a very happy 2019! 


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

Support for Stratford Festival On Film 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 On Film 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.

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Theatre Arts Camp: What’s In a Name?

Our beloved summer drama programs have a new name – and some exciting changes in store!

Starting in 2019, our popular Shakespeare School will be known by its new name, Theatre Arts Camp.

This unique suite of programs has always provided challenging, collaborative and fun learning experiences for young people, giving them the opportunity to work with and learn from Festival coaches and artists. That'll still be the case - but we've added some new features and changed the name to better reflect the nature and diversity of what we offer.

Participants needn't focus only on Shakespeare; they can also delve into the world of musical theatre. No audition or previous experience is needed to be accepted into any of our camps. All are interest-based; they're for anyone who's interested in learning and open to exploring the creative process with a community of peers. The only stipulation to note is that our overnight camps are especially rigorous and do require a high level of commitment and enthusiasm from the participants.

What's it all about?

 

Our Theatre Arts Camp includes year-round programming intended to give participants the chance to learn collaboratively and experientially alongside their peers - with an emphasis on having fun and creative playmaking. Taught by professional teaching artists, participants enjoy a variety of classes, workshops, discussion, rehearsal and theatre-going. Those who've attended in the past tell us that the experience has helped them increase their self-confidence, develop their skills as theatre artists and make new friends.

People come from across Canada and around the world to take part, and we have something perfect for everyone, including sessions for Grades 1 to 12 as well as adult and family camps. Our summer overnight camps focus on either Shakespeare or musical theatre. We also offer PA Day and March Break day camps for the local community.

Theatre Arts Camp is a fun and exciting way to meet new fellow enthusiasts from far-flung places while learning new theatre skills from the very best instructors. You'll be sure to make memories to last a lifetime - and perhaps spark interest in pursuing a career in professional theatre!

Register early - and save!
Don't delay: registration for Theatre Arts Camp starts soon, and these popular programs can sell out quickly. Early bird pricing is in effect until February 1, 2019. Space is limited, and will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.

To further explore what's new this year, and for details on how to attend, see our website.

You can also learn more by contacting Katherine Laing, Education Administrative Manager, at educate@stratfordfestival.ca or 519.271.4040, ext. 2293.

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Scared Scriptless

Armed with only their wits, Whose Line is it Anyway? stars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are returning to Stratford and they are Scared Scriptless! Prepare to laugh yourself senseless as these improv comedy masterminds create original scenes, songs and more from whatever you, the fans, suggest! You just might also get to join in on the fun on stage. It's an hilarious comedic high wire act… just like a live version of Whose Line…! How the heck do they do it? We don't know either! And why are mice everywhere rejoicing? Don't miss the best duo in improv, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, for a wildly entertaining "Evening with Colin and Brad".
 
When: January 5, 2019, 7.30 pm
Where: Avon Theatre
Why: Fundraising event to support the Stratford Arts and Culture Collective
Tickets: $29 - $67, at stratfordfestival.ca/colinandbrad
 
PS: Come early and take advantage of Stratford's wonderful downtown restaurants. With a reservation, some are offering special deals when you show your tickets.