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Exploring our season’s theme with Antoni Cimolino

The 2019 season looks at the lines we draw that define us – and what happens when we cross them.

"In planning next year's season, I began to think about breaking through boundaries - in terms of faith, identity or culture," says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino.

"Boundaries help define who we are; they can either protect or confine us. Whether they're imposed on us by others or we draw them ourselves, they represent the limits of what we think is acceptable, advisable or even possible.

"We need to know where they're set in order to navigate our way in the world, but we also need to be able to break through them in order to realize our full potential. Sometimes we find worlds outside our boundaries - whether those boundaries be personal, political or familial - in which we feel even more at home."

The theme of Breaking Boundaries, explored throughout our 2019 season, is particularly evident in two plays, widely separated by time and place, that will be paired at the Studio Theatre: Nathan the Wise, by 18th-century German dramatist and philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, and the contemporary drama Birds of a Kind, by Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad.

"Both of these pieces deal with personal origins," says Mr. Cimolino. "All of us have origins - be they cultural, religious, traditional or family-based - and these things may not ring true with who we really are at our core. Nathan the Wise in particular poses complex questions about such boundaries. Are you made up of traditions, language and symbols - or are you human and sentient, and able to make decisions in pursuit of happiness?"

The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story

Some characters in our 2019 productions may have an innate hunger to grow, change and aspire beyond their personal boundaries. Others may find that the world around them has changed, causing them to redefine themselves and their relationships with the people they know and the society in which they live.

"A question that comes up time and time again is, 'Do we have the courage to follow our dreams?' " says Mr. Cimolino. "That's clearly the case for the young hero of Billy Elliot the Musical. As we all do, he hopes for support from the people he loves and the society around him. But change is threatening. Pushing and breaking boundaries may seem like you're denying the relationship you have with loved ones, when all you really want is acceptance of your true self."

The same idea informs two strongly contrasting Shakespeare productions. "In Othello, Desdemona dares to fall in love with 'the other' - running away from her father in defiance of him and of societal approval. Meanwhile, the women of The Merry Wives of Windsor take big risks in putting an upper-class seducer in his place, using their wit and liveliness to teach him a lesson. The whole community around them benefits from their pushing of boundaries; it becomes more human and resilient."

In next season's family show, The Neverending Story, a young boy finds refuge from bullies through the power of literature and storytelling. "The theme of this play is central to the very act of theatre and creativity," says Mr. Cimolino. "Here is a way to imagine, to survive and to transcend your boundaries - and to find true validation."

Many of next season's productions will resonate with current headlines. "The world of The Crucible is a highly puritanical, rigid and incredibly fearful one. That fear fuels all sorts of horrors - and the man at its centre, John Proctor, is no saint. He is a man in power who has transgressed the sexual moral code in having an extramarital affair with someone in his employ, and resists confessing in the face of the pressure brought on by the actions of the girls.

Nathan the Wise

Nathan the Wise

"Meanwhile Hildy - the seasoned star reporter at the heart of The Front Page - finds himself the only thing standing between us and corrupt politicians. After all of his tawdry ambulance-chasing pursuit of headlines, he rediscovers the value in what he does."

The season also contains another Studio Theatre pairing - one that will focus strongly on the roles of women in the kind of boundary-breaking that can shape history.

"In Shakespeare's Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon comes from a long line of royals," says Mr. Cimolino. "Henry truly loves her, as the bride of his youth, but he needs to take the world in another direction in order to achieve his goals. Her influence over Henry and the future of England was monumental - and her influence is also strongly felt in the highly anticipated final instalment of Kate Hennig's Tudor trilogy, Mother's Daughter, in which we will see Katherine's child, Mary, breaking boundaries in her own ways."

On the lighter side, pushing boundaries and societal expectations is never so hilarious as in Noël Coward's sparkling and witty comedy Private Lives, in which a chance meeting between Elyot and Amanda - five years divorced - finds them drawn back together while honeymooning with their new spouses.

And what of the 2019 season's other musical? Well, it too features characters who want to break out of their limited worlds into better lives - and as a sci-fi spoof, the musical itself is definitely out of this world. As Mr. Cimolino puts it:

"The central message in Nathan the Wise is that, in breaking boundaries, we must find the courage to do good works, be true to our own talents, and pursue happiness - not only in ourselves, but for the benefit of others. And failing that? You can always follow the example of Little Shop of Horrors by feeding your enemies to a giant, man-eating plant!"


2019 Season Partners: BMO Bank of Montreal, RBC Royal Bank, Union Gas Limited

Support for the 2019 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein and Claire Foerster

Support for the 2019 season of the Avon Theatre is generously provided by the Birmingham family

Support for the 2019 season of the Studio Theatre is generously provided by Sandra & Jim Pitblado 


The Rocky Horror Show Extended until December 2

Suffering from end-of-season blues? Don’t worry – come back and do the Time Warp again!

As our fantastic 2018 season comes to a close, there's no reason to be sad. Due to continuing popular demand, The Rocky Horror Show will now keep the party going until December 2!

Grab your platform heels, boa and fishnets and join in the wildest party in town for another few weeks. Go on. You know you want to!

"The fact that The Rocky Horror Show has become the longest-running show at Stratford is a unique experience for all of us in the cast," say Dan Chameroy, who plays Frank N. Furter. "It's a great night - or afternoon - in the theatre. It's wild. It's crazy. It's a lot of fun. It's rock music. It celebrates diversity, uniqueness and individuality so it's a great thing."

Grab Our…Goodie Bags!
Get into Rocky groove with your very own Partici…pation Kit. Get your kit from the Theatre Store before the show and enjoy fun props and surprises to help you engage with the fun on stage.

And we have lots more Rocky-themed delights for you in the Theatre Store - adjacent to the Avon Theatre at 99 Downie Street. Be sure to take a browse and find something perfect for whoever is naughty or nice on your holiday gift-giving list!

Don't leave yourself wanting more - book today!



New for You in 2019

Great ticket deals, terrific kids’ fun for everyone – and more!

We're excited to share some brand-new ways for you to enjoy the very best of the Festival next season! Here are a few fabulous highlights of what we have in store:  

  • Spring Savings! From April 16 to June 24, you'll enjoy dramatic savings. Prices start at $41 including fees! 
  • Stratford Direct Bus: New Routes! Our ever-popular Stratford Direct buses take you right to our theatres and pick you up after the show. We are pleased to offer new routes from Vaughan ($29) and Kitchener/Waterloo ($19). On Friday, Saturday and Sunday only.
  • Early Start Matinées: On selected Thursdays in May, June, September and October, we'll offer 12:30 p.m. matinées. These have been scheduled for school audiences, but everyone is welcome! (Please note: the Stratford Direct bus is not guaranteed to arrive in time for these special performances).
  • Family Fun Days!The Neverending Story - May 20 and 25. Special days for the young and the young at heart. Everyone gets kids' prices! Enjoy fun pre-show activities in the Avon Theatre lobby.  

Be sure to check out our website for the latest ticket deals, special performances - and much, much more! We can't wait to welcome you back for our 2019 season. 


Member Tickets On Sale Now

Become a Member and get access to our exclusive priority booking period.

Tickets for next season go on sale to the general public on January 4, 2019 - but why wait? Become a Festival Member today, and you could buy your tickets at early-booking prices as early as November 11! Now's your chance to book the very best seats and enjoy the perks of Festival membership all season long.

Each level of membership has its privileges! Here's your guide to the on-sale dates for every level:

Playwright's Circle
November 11 at noon (online)
November 12 at 9 a.m. (phone, in-person)

Sustainer/Prospero Society
November 12 at noon (online)
November 13 at 9 a.m. (phone, in-person)

November 13 at noon (online)
November 14 at 9 a.m. (phone, in-person)

November 14 at noon (online)
November 15 at 9 a.m. (phone, in-person)

November 15 at noon (online)
November 16 at 9 a.m. (phone, in-person)

November 16 at noon (online)
November 17 at 9 a.m. (phone, in-person)

Benefits and Perks
Our valued Members enjoy other exclusive advantages too, including:  

  • Priority access to our Shakespeare Ticket Offer. Purchase two tickets to selected Shakespeare productions at 50% off!
  • Musical Ticket Offer: Members can save 40%!
  • Members' rush tickets: purchase up to four tickets starting at 9 a.m., well in advance of the general public.
  • Complimentary tickets.
  • Tax receipt/acknowledgement.
  • Special events, exclusive invitations, private lounge access  

- and much, much more!
Just call or visit our website to compare the benefits of our various levels of membership.

Your generous gift can be made either as an individual or as a family. We assure you it will be gratefully received and carefully used. Please call our Box Office at 1.800.567.1600, or visit our website and fill out our handy online Membership form.


2019 Cast

Festival favourites share the boards with outstanding new talent in next year’s not-to-be-missed productions.

Key casting is now in place for 2019! Here's a look at which roles some of your Festival favourites will be taking on, alongside some welcome newcomers to our stages.


Billy Elliot
Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore

Nolen Dubuc as Billy Elliot
Dan Chameroy as his Dad
Blythe Wilson as Mrs. Wilkinson
Marion Adler as Grandma
Robert Markus as Tony
Steve Ross as George

The cast also includes Eric Abel, Gabriel Antonacci, Devon Michael Brown, Matthew G. Brown, Zoë Brown, Colton Curtis, Starr Domingue, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Gabi Epstein, Henry Firmston, Emerson Gamble, Oliver Gamble, Mark Harapiak, Galen Johnson, Bonnie Jordan, Evangelia Kambites, Evan Kearns, Jordan Mah, Chad McFadden, Wyatt Moss, Marcus Nance, Oliver Neudorf, Denise Oucharek, Trevor Patt, Vanessa Sears, Jason Sermonia, Isabella Steubing and Callum Thompson.

Little Shop of Horrors
Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore

André Morin as Seymour
Gabi Epstein as Audrey
Dan Chameroy as Orin, the Dentist
Steve Ross as Mr. Mushnik

The cast also includes Matthew G. Brown, Starr Domingue, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Henry Firmston, Evangelia Kambites, Jordan Mah, Robert Markus, Marcus Nance, Antonette Rudder, Vanessa Sears, Jason Sermonia and Blythe Wilson.


Directed by Nigel Shawn Williams

Michael Blake as Othello
Amelia Sargisson as Desdemona
Gordon S. Miller as Iago
Laura Condlln as Emilia

The cast also includes Juan Chioran, David Collins, Farhang Ghajar, Michelle Giroux, Randy Hughson, John Kirkpatrick, Shruti Kothari, Josue Laboucane, Jamie Mac, Michael Spencer-Davis and Brigit Wilson.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Directed by Antoni Cimolino

Geraint Wyn Davies as Falstaff
Sophia Walker as Mrs. Ford
Brigit Wilson as Mrs. Page
Graham Abbey as Mr. Ford
Michael Blake as Mr. Page
Lucy Peacock as Miss Quickly
Sarah Dodd as the Hostess of The Garter

The cast also includes Ben Carlson, David Collins, Farhang Ghajar, Randy Hughson, John Kirkpatrick, Shruti Kothari, Josue Laboucane, Jamie Mac, Gordon S. Miller, Amelia Sargisson, Mike Shara, Johnathan Sousa and Michael Spencer-Davis.

Henry VIII
Directed by Martha Henry

Jonathan Goad as Henry VIII
Irene Poole as Katharine of Aragon
Alexandra Lainfiesta as Anne Bullen
Rod Beattie as Cardinal Wolsey

The cast also includes Tim Campbell, Kim Horsman, Qasim Khan, Jake Runeckles and Scott Wentworth.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Other Classics

The Crucible
Directed by Jonathan Goad

Tim Campbell as John Proctor
Scott Wentworth as Reverend Parris

The cast also includes Rod Beattie, Kim Horsman, Qasim Khan, Alexandra Lainfiesta and Maria Vacratsis.

Private Lives
Directed by Carey Perloff

Lucy Peacock as Amanda
Geraint Wyn Dvies as Elyot
Mike Shara as Victor
Sophia Walker as Sybil
Sarah Dodd as Louise

The Front Page
Directed by Graham Abbey

Ben Carlson as Hildy Johnson
Maev Beaty as Penelope Burns
Michelle Giroux as McCue
Randy Hughson as Murphy

The cast also includes Michael Blake, Juan Chioran, David Collins, Sarah Dodd, Farhang Ghajar, Randy Hughson, John Kirkpatrick, Shruti Kothari, Josue Laboucane, Jamie Mac, Gordon S. Miller, Amelia Sargisson, Mike Shara, Johnathan Sousa, Michael Spencer-Davis, Sophia Walker and Brigit Wilson.

Nathan the Wise
Directed by Birgit Schreyer Duarte

Sarah Orenstein as Daya


Mother's Daughter

Mother's Daughter

The 2019 Schulich Children's Play

The Neverending Story
Directed by Jillian Keiley

Jake Runeckles as Bastian
Quasim Khan as Atreyu

The cast also includes Tim Campbell, Laura Condlln and Kim Horsman.


Mother's Daughter
World première, directed by Alan Dilworth

Irene Poole as Catalina
Maria Vacratsis as Susan

Birds of a Kind
English-language première, directed by Antoni Cimolino

Alon Nashman as David
Sarah Orenstein as Nora

For more information about our 2019 season productions, please visit our website


Simplify Your Holiday Gift-giving!

Stratford Festival gift certificates make your seasonal shopping easy.

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.

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! Holiday shopping really doesn't get any easier than that!

Gift Certificates can be redeemed for:  

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

For guaranteed holiday delivery by standard mail, please order online by December 9, or call 1.800.567.1600. You can 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 wonderful 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 - and we're open until December 24! And if you can't make it to town, just explore our virtual shop online.


Every Brilliant Thing at Canadian Stage

Exclusive ticket offer for Stratford patrons

"Heart-wrenching, hilarious" - Every Brilliant Thing at Canadian Stage Directed by Brendan Healy, Starring Kristen Thomson NOV 27 - DEC 16

Ice cream, rollercoasters, the smell of old books - as a mother battles chronic depression, a child creates a list of everything that makes life worth living. As time passes and the list grows, what began as a naive attempt to deal with tragedy becomes an epic chronicle of life's small joys. Staged in an in-the-round setting, this touching, funny and intimate solo piece charts the lengths we will go for those we love.

"Possibly one of the funniest plays you'll ever see, full stop" - THE GUARDIAN

Exclusive for Stratford patrons: Get 2 for 1 tickets with the promo code STRATFORD241*  

*Subject to availability. A&B seating only. Offer expires Nov 23.


Photo Credit: Kristen Thomson by Alejandro Santiago.