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2018 Season Tickets On Sale Now

Buy early and enjoy great perks with our Pre-Season Promise – and more!

We can't wait to welcome you back to the Stratford Festival for another year of spectacular live theatre! And there's no time like the present to plan your visit and get your tickets in advance.

Book now to take advantage of early-bird savings and our Pre-Season Promise, which allows early purchasers to exchange their tickets later without incurring additional costs. If you order before January 31, you get tickets at pre-season prices - and those prices still hold good on exchanges, provided they're for the same performance type and seating zone. Nor do you pay exchange fees!

Early booking also opens the doors to a number of great deals:

  • Up to 25% off in-season pricing when purchasing tickets before January 31
  • 2-for-1 offers on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings all season long
  • Forum bundle deals

- and much, much more! 

Order your tickets today!

Booking well in advance gives you a greater selection of the very best seats on the performance dates you want. Some shows at the Studio Theatre have already sold out - so by ordering now you can avoid disappointment.

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Your First Look at An Ideal Husband

Director Lezlie Wade shares her love of Oscar Wilde in her witty and gorgeous production.

Q: Is this the first time you have directed a play by Oscar Wilde? What about his work most appeals to you as a director?

Lezlie Wade: It's the first time I've directed an Oscar Wilde play, but I've directed quite a few plays by his contemporaries. I also directed a musical called A Man of No Importance, which was a story based on a character who identified with Oscar Wilde and who was trying to direct a production of Salome. When I was working on that show, I did a lot of research on Oscar, so it's very nice to be returning to what feels a bit like an old friend.

I love Oscar Wilde's keen perceptions on society. He understands the hypocrisy, the rules, and the consequences of breaking those rules. It's wonderful to explore the relationships between men and women in Victorian society. On top of all that, I absolutely love immersing myself in period research. There isn't enough time in the day for me to read everything I want to read. It's compelling stuff!

Q: Will this production be firmly set in Wilde's own era? Which themes do you think will resonate most strongly with a contemporary audience?

LW: We are absolutely setting the production in the time period in which it was written, but the themes of political imbroglios, sexual inequality, marriage, and the nature of good versus evil are all as relevant as ever. In fact, with all of the recent news events and social discussions about sexual misconduct and political lies, this play couldn't be more timely.

Q: Tell us a bit about your casting process, and the sorts of dynamics and interplay the audiences can look forward to between these richly interesting characters.

LW: Whenever I'm casting a play, I simply want the best actors for the parts, and I absolutely lucked out this season. Tim Campbell and Sophia Walker are beautifully matched as husband and wife. They are both smart, intuitive actors who are genuinely likeable and honest on stage. Brad Hodder is the perfect Lord Goring: he's delightfully enigmatic and witty and alluring, which are all great qualities of the character. Pairing him with Bahareh Yaraghi is just fantastic - she's someone whose work I've admired. I think she and Brad are going to sizzle on stage.

I've always wanted to work with Marion Adler, who is playing Lady Markby, and I'm over the moon about the chance to work with Joseph Ziegler as Lord Caversham. I remember seeing Joe work on the Stratford stage when I was just a teenager. He also taught me a directing class when I was still green, so it's particularly nice to be working with him on this show. I feel honoured to have the cast I have: this show sparkles with wit, and with sexual tension, and this cast is going to excel.

 

Q: It's very early in the process, but do you have any favourite bits in the script? And what do you think will be some of the fun challenges ahead?

LW: That's a tough question! I really love this play. Whenever I read it, I'm sorry it ends and I want to start it all over again. I do love the women characters: Mabel, Gertrude and Lady Cheveley are all so complex. Any scene they are in just crackles. The female roles are the fuel for the piece, and each one represents a different aspect of the Victorian woman: the Saint, the Sinner and the New Woman. This play would have no engine without them.

The challenges will be negotiating the ending. This play was written when Oscar was perilously close to being blackmailed and exposed. He takes a step back from his usual proactive stance on women rights, and suddenly makes a statement that women are at their best serving the men they love: it's almost like a The Taming of the Shrew ending. We are going to have to walk the fine line of making Oscar's sentiments clear without alienating the audience. Thankfully, there have been some famous productions in the past that have managed to successfully straddle these issues. It's going to be my job to make sure the actors and the audience fully understand the environment in which these contentious statements are made. The truth is that both Robert and Gertrude Chiltern ultimately make sacrifices in this play for the sake of their marriage - and that fact is what needs to come across.

Q: An opulent period deserves opulent staging. What has the design team come up with to dazzle the viewers?

LW: Our set designer, Douglas Paraschuk, has come up with a number of things that are going to be exciting to see. We are placing Act I (the party scene) partly outside on a patio with a wall of windows behind, so people can come and go from the main hall and escape for private conversations outside: it's going to be just beautiful, especially with the lighting designed by Louise Guinand. Lord Goring's residence is going to resemble the famous Peacock Room designed by James McNeil Whistler. Whistler was first a great friend - and, later on, a great enemy - of Oscar Wilde. He had a huge influence on Oscar. And we have the extraordinary skills of Patrick Clark behind the costume design, so you can be sure everything on stage is going to be visually gorgeous.

 

An Ideal Husband runs at the Avon Theatre from May 11 to October 28.

 

Production Co-Sponsor: Stratford Bard's Market Square

Production support is generously provided by Nona Macdonald Heaslip and by Dr. Robert & Roberta Sokol.

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To Kill A Mockingbird: A Play for Our Times

Nigel Shawn Williams directs this classic American story of moral courage in the face of bigotry.

Q: We're living in a time when our news and our politics seem dominated by hatred and lies, making questions of race relations, morality and justice particularly timely and imperative. How do you hope to underscore To Kill A Mockingbird's resonances with contemporary headlines and struggles?

Nigel Shawn Williams: I have always believed that audiences are incredibly astute and perceptive, and in this time that we are living I don't think it's going to be very difficult to see the terrifying parallels. I believe staging To Kill A Mockingbird in 2018 is going to remind us that many people still hold negative attitudes towards race, equality and decency, and we all have to search within ourselves to be active participants for that change to really take hold.

Q: How will you approach the telling of this story and perhaps find new meanings and insights relevant to today's audiences?

NSW: I plan on telling this story honestly, without pretending that it isn't about a black man who was wrongfully accused in Alabama in 1935, then subsequently killed in prison because of the verdict. A young girl, now grown, has to look back at those events to make sense of that trauma and try to find a way for it all to have meaning. That's what I'll be trying to bring out in this play.

 

Q: What messages do you hope that you as a director, and the cast you have chosen, will bring to the staging of this iconic masterpiece on the Festival Theatre stage?

NSW: That we must all see every person around us as a human being. Not a race, not a gender, not a colour, not a type - but as a fellow neighbour in this world. A fellow human being.

Q: It is early in the process, but what have you been doing by way of preparation in terms of research? Have any books or historical events been of particular influence? Are there any recent events that you feel ring most true next to the script?

NSW: I've been researching the period of the Great Depression, I've been researching Harper Lee, and I've been researching Jim Crow's Law and Equality Rights in Alabama in contrast to the rest of the United States. The book The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills has been insightful. The recent film Mudbound has put a lot of things into perspective with regards to understanding the South. Every painful day that I watch the news and hear what horrible statements are coming out of the White House, I feel afraid as Tom Robinson must have been afraid; that, unfortunately, rings all too true next to the script.


To Kill A Mockingbird runs at the Festival Theatre from May 4 to November 4.

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Napoli Milionaria!: Morals Versus Monetization

Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino takes the helm of this brilliant play about the effects of greed on human dignity and community.

Though perhaps not as widely familiar as some other great 20th-century plays, Napoli Milionaria! is a seminal work by the prolific Italian playwright and screenwriter Eduardo De Filippo. And as part of the 2018 season in which the theme of Free Will is being explored, this poignant comedy - in a new English-language version commissioned by the Festival from Canadian playwright John Murrell, based on a literal translation by Donato Santeramo - fits the bill perfectly on many levels.

 "This is a very careful translation from the original Neapolitan," says director Antoni Cimolino. "Napoli Milionaria! is a beautiful, important play for our times. It is very much like Chekhov in some ways, but is far more an absurdist piece in that it draws directly from an Italian vaudevillian background. [An actor himself, De Filippo was the son of a playwright and a theatrical seamstress, so the traditions are literally in his blood.] This translation keeps us very close to the roots of the play. It is deeply moral in its exploration of what happens to a society and democracy when corruption seeps in and takes hold." 

The play concerns a Neapolitan family headed by Gennaro Iovine, who disapproves of (but reluctantly participates in) the black-market activities of his wife, Amalia. It was first staged in 1945, when people in post-Fascist Italy felt disempowered not only by the devastation of the war but also by the increase in systemic corruption that arose after the Allies locally defeated the Fascists in Naples in 1943. Theft from the military occupiers became commonplace: anything and everything was stolen and sold on the black market. As hunger and illness became more prevalent, prices for food and medicines soared. Penicillin became such a sought-after commodity that often the military itself had no ready supply.

Comparing such conditions to those that provoked the Arab Spring, Mr. Cimolino says that Napoli Milionaria! will resonate powerfully with anyone who has followed current events in such war-torn countries as Syria and Ukraine.

"In the world of the play," he says, "you can't afford to be honest if you want dignity - the two things simply cannot co-exist. Amalia's dogged resourcefulness is born of this, and Gennaro's objections act to underscore the truth behind the situation. Amalia makes use of the black market and becomes rich in a time of famine - making her own children into employees, and her friends and neighbours into mere clients and prey.

 

"The story wonderfully illustrates what happens when commodity becomes more important than community - when the almighty dollar overrides everything else, including the most basic human morals - and the effects of this on overall society are certainly something we are witnessing again in our own times."

The comedy is gentle, but there are manic moments throughout. "It is brilliantly written in that the comedy comes from the tragedy, and the tragedy comes from the comedy," says Mr. Cimolino. "For example, there's the way Amalia's black market goods are stored in the mattress, and how Gennaro pretends to be dead so the police won't be able to search the bed - and then the air raid begins, and there's a ridiculous stand-off as bombs are going off all around. It's a wacky and absurdist universe - and there is also a kind of deep learning that stems from the tragedy."

Mr. Cimolino made a recent visit to Naples in order to research and better understand the cultural backdrop of the play. "It is a beautiful place with a long and very complicated history," he observes. "The people's spirit is incredible - there is widespread poverty, with something like 40 per cent unemployment at times. The trick to coping for a lot of people is to just stay out of doors. Life spills over into the streets. They leave their tiny warrens of apartments - identical to those seen in the play - and walk around, and try not to spend any money.

"And yet these people still have a deep passion for art. I mentioned to a cab driver that I would be directing the play, and he quoted whole passages of Napoli Milionaria! to me. Naples is often a city that is made fun of as a place of thieves, but it has an incredible heart. Remember: these are the people who were awarded Italy's Gold Medal of Military Valour for rising up against the Nazis. They essentially invented urban guerrilla warfare. There is a special kind of resilience to be found in this place. They are survivors."

The character of Gennaro himself, who will be played by returning Festival favourite Tom McCamus, is the very personification of Naples, says Mr. Cimolino. "Gennaro is damaged, and he is always the butt of everyone's joke. But though people constantly make fun of him, he is the steadfast moral compass, and the heart and soul of the play, and of Naples itself. He reminds us of what is truly important in the face of corruption, and his character stands for hope in troubled times."


Napoli Milionaria! runs at the Avon Theatre from August 2 to October 20.

 

Production support is generously provided by Bob & Martie Sachs.

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Enjoy Fabulous Forum Events – and Save!

Build a bundle of your favourite Forum events, and you’ll save 50%.

Our Forum series of unique presentations, illuminating guest speakers, interactive workshops, music and more has something to thrill and inspire everyone. Best of all, if you bundle a few of these fantastic events, you can save with our special 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 deal. Once logged in, simply add the Forum events of your choice to your shopping cart while ordering your tickets.

Here are just a few of the 2018 upcoming offerings that you won't want to miss!

Speaking to the Season | June 20
Antoni Cimolino discusses the 2018 playbill - and how he homed in on the season's selections.

Taking on the Bard | July 7
Antoni Cimolino is joined by directors Scott Wentworth and Keira Loughran to discuss directing Shakespeare in 2018.

 

Ideas at Stratford: Freedom to Believe | July 14
There are facts, and then there are beliefs, which may be more influential on our values - who we think we are and how we move forward. Paul Kennedy, host of CBC's Ideas, Toronto Star journalist and editor Haroon Siddiqui and Monia Mazigh, writer and National Coordinator for the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, discuss facts versus beliefs and ask: how will we save ourselves?

Ideas at Stratford: Freedom to Speak | July 21
Fanned by the Internet, the war over one's right to speak freely has created silos of intolerance. Fewer people are listening to differing points of view - and with less dialogue, nothing changes. But are there things that should not be said? Join Sheila Copps, former Deputy Prime Minister, and Micheal Vonn, Policy Director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, for this uncensored panel discussion with CBC's Ideas host, Paul Kennedy.

In Conversation with Margaret Atwood | September 8
Margaret Atwood's latest book, Hag-Seed (a modern retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest), and the hit television adaptations of her novels Alias Grace and The Handmaid's Tale both affirm her place in the Canadian literary canon and illustrate the continuing relevance of her work to our modern world. The award-winning Canadian author, essayist, poet and activist returns to the Forum for a candid conversation with Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino

*The Forum Deal excludes some concerts, all Special Meals and Free Forum events. To get this great deal, all Forum tickets must be booked in a single order. Discount will be applied automatically at checkout.

 

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Come Learn with Us!

We offer fabulous educational programs for all - book now!

There's lots to rave about with our wonderful theatre courses, workshops and camps! If you book before January 31, you'll enjoy some extra-special early bird pricing. Check out what we have in store for you in 2018, including these great new options:

  • Starting in February: PD day theatre day camps for Grades 1 to 6
  • March break camps: a full week for Grades 4 to 6 and a two-day program for Grades 7 to 10
  • Summer acting camp for adults: July 2 to 6
  • Reading week residential program for post-secondary students, running October 9 to 13

For details of these and other events, visit the Learn section on our website and explore under Student and Artist Training.

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Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre and Sulong Theatre present Calpurnia

Need great theatre to get through the winter? Here’s a world première – and a deal!

A hilarious and provocative look at class, race and appropriation, Calpurnia invites us into an outrageous and unexpected evening at the home of a wealthy Jamaican-Canadian family. As screenwriter Julie seeks to redress To Kill a Mockingbird through the perspective of Calpurnia - the Finch family maid - her tactics meet with explosive results at an important family dinner. A brave, insightful, and outrageous new play from Nightwood Theatre, Canada's flagship feminist theatre since 1979.

Written and directed by Audrey Dwyer, Calpurnia stars Don Allison, Matthew G. Brown, Carolyn Fe, Natasha Greenblatt, Andrew Moodie and Meghan Swaby.

"Audrey Dwyer's direction pulls no punches." - Torontoist

January 14 - February 4
Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street, Toronto)
Tickets are $35 and are available at www.buddiesinbadtimes.com/show/calpurnia or by calling 416.975.8555.

An exclusive deal for Stratford Festival SceneNotes subscribers!
Use promo code STRATFORD to access $30 tickets when you order over the phone at 416.975.8555.