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2019 Playbill Announced!

The new season is built around the theme of Breaking Boundaries

We're thrilled to announce the Festival's exciting 2019 line-up! Twelve exciting productions, together with more than 150 thought-provoking and entertaining events at the Forum, will explore the season's theme of Breaking Boundaries.

"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."

Billy Elliot the Musical
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Front Page 


Private Lives
Little Shop of Horrors
The Neverending Story
The Crucible

Henry VIII
Mother's Daughter
Nathan the Wise
Birds of a Kind


Members Beginning - November 11, 2018
General Public - January 4, 2019 

To learn more about the 2019 season, visit our website.






See It All This Fall!

Our 2018 season will be over before you know it – don’t miss these spectacular productions before they close!

Fall is in the air, making September and October the perfect time to visit the Stratford Festival. All twelve of our productions have now had their official openings, so the season is in full swing!

But time is of the essence. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to see everything - or want to revisit some of this season's firm favourites again - you'll need to book your seats now before nine of our fabulous offerings must close.

The clock is ticking on all the productions listed below, but remember: those at the intimate Studio Theatre have the fewest seats left. So to avoid disappointment, order your tickets today!

The countdown is on!

Brontë: The World Without - at the Studio Theatre until October 13

Long Day's Journey Into Night - at the Studio Theatre until October 13

Coriolanus - at the Avon Theatre until November 3

The Comedy of Errors - at the Studio Theatre until October 28

Paradise Lost - at the Studio Theatre until October 27

The Tempest - at the Festival Theatre until October 23

Julius Caesar - at the Festival Theatre until October 27

Napoli Milionaria! - at the Avon Theatre until October 27



Designing the “Ideal” Costumes

Did you know it can take a team of five cutters and sewers between 92 and 124 hours to make just one gown? We chatted with designer Patrick Clark about costuming An Ideal Husband

Q: What was the inspiration behind the colour palette and overall look of your costume designs? Did Douglas Paraschuk's set design inform some of these choices?

Patrick Clark: Colour is always one of the first things that an audience notices, so it is important in defining character. Colour, shape, and then details. Some colours are a simple result of period. Men's clothing from the period was quite uniformly dark in tone - blacks and greys, mostly. There was little variation in colour; just in the fineness of tailoring and details.

Women's clothing was allowed more range of colours - but again, all within a proscribed set of rules. What you wore was dictated by time of day and the season. The set design dictates a lot in the sense of colours. Knowing the colour palette of each scene and the decor was essential in making sure costumes and set worked as a unit.

Q: At what point in the process do you draw up your sketches, and when are these handed over to the Wardrobe department?

PC: Preliminary sketches are given to Wardrobe to budget the show. The director also gets the same sketches, so they can give notes and we can make changes. The full design sketches get handed out before the Wardrobe cutter meetings. These meetings happen about three to four weeks before the first rehearsal.

Q: What do you particularly love about the design of this show?

PC: My favourite part is less about my work and more about how the costumes develop, and how the cutters add their own touches to a design. I think pure design is about letting everyone have a say; even the actors add a lot to the costumes. My favourite moment in the entire process is when the cast and the director see the show in full costume for the first time.

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Q: Were there any particular challenges you faced in getting the designs from concept to reality?

PC: There is a line in the play where Lord Goring mentions that Mrs. Cheveley is wearing heliotrope. Finding just the right shade of fabric was a challenge. Because heliotrope is a purplish colour, I went for a more of a fuchsia purple than a blueish purple. I wanted some heat to add the allure of Mrs. Cheveley.

Finding any fabrics that move and hang like the original fabrics would have at the time is pretty well impossible now. The range available today is dictated by decorators and soft furnishings - not dress fabrics. So finding fabric that was soft, but not too soft - stiff, but not too stiff - was always a challenge.

An Ideal Husband is on stage at the Avon Theatre until October 28.


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

Production Co-Sponsor: Bard's on Market Square


Still More Stellar Reviews!

Our final three productions of 2018 open to great audience and critical acclaim

Julius Caesar
On stage at the Festival Theatre until October 27

"Thrilling production is sure to have audiences clamouring to come see it"

"Classic Shakespeare with powerful performances"

- Broadway World

"Seana McKenna is an entertaining presence"

"Sophia Walker is fierce"

- The Globe and Mail

"Seana McKenna shines as Julius Caesar at Stratford"

"Brilliantly staged"

"Thrilling but also thought-provoking theatre"

- Capital Critics Circle

Paradise Lost
On stage at the Studio Theatre until October 21

"★★★★" [out of 4 stars]

"This Satan sparkles in brilliant show"

"Lucy Peacock is a sly, cunning Satan - charming and sexy; cool and proud"

"Brilliant adaptation"

"Peacock is just one of many reasons to see the world première"

"Extremely funny and stingingly contemporary"

- Toronto Star

"Playwright Erin Shields managed to infuse enough levity and humour into her work to keep the audience laughing as we considered the very nature of what is good, what is evil, and what lies in between"

- Postmedia

"Sprawling and startling new play"

"Maxwell brings all the realms of Heaven, Hell and Earth to life"

"Paradise Lost is not just philosophical - it's fun, too, and a large, talented ensemble helps make it so"

"Peacock gives us that moment of edge-skirting acting that stays with you at the end, and makes you feel electricity in your brain even as you remember it after"

- The Globe and Mail

Napoli Milionaria!

On stage at the Avon Theatre until October 27

"Thought-provoking and hilarious"

"Tom McCamus and Brigit Wilson give this production its footing with outstanding performances"

"Played to perfection by Tom Rooney"


"An engrossing history lesson that remains as relevant today as it was when it was written more than 70 years ago"

- Postmedia

"Delivered with admiration"

"Played electrically by Tom Rooney"

- Toronto Star

"McCamus gives a complex, soulful performance"

"Truly moved by Tom Rooney"

"Visitors to the Stratford Festival will jump at the opportunity to see an international playwright off their beaten path"

- The Globe and Mail



The Tempest: Cloaked in History

The cloak worn by Martha Henry as Prospero in The Tempest is made up of historical materials – and a bit of magic! Designer Bretta Gerecke shares a few of the details

Q: For those who may not know, what's special about this particular incarnation of Prospero's magic cloak?

Bretta Gerecke: In our production, Prospero's cloak includes scraps of historic costume pieces from all of the Prosperos who have ever played on the Festival stage. There are also pieces of Martha's Miranda costume from her first ever role at the Festival, real flowers that bear special significance for Martha, pieces of the original tent that covered the original stage - and many other bits and pieces we have found together into which Martha has invested her super powers!

Q: Where did this idea come from?

BG: Director Antoni Cimolino and I developed the design together, and I presented Martha with the idea during our first collaboration meeting. She was very receptive and excited; we sat together for a few hours discussing modifications and how best to move forward with the concept. It was a joy to work with her - she has an incredible sense of humour, intellect and clarity. I checked in with her and with Antoni at every step of the process to be sure we were all heading in the right direction. It was a truly collaborative process of shifting and modifying as we found the right shapes, textures, colours, weight and impact of the garment. 

Q: Who actually built the cloak, and how long did it take to complete?

BG: The piece took a couple of months to build. It was drawn up and cut by the great Carol Miller in Wardrobe and sewn by members of her team. I pinned all of the fabric pieces, hemp, talismans, artifacts, flowers and special bits onto the cloak, and all of those were secured into place by Carol's team. It required a lot of time, patience, love and consideration both of the cloak and of the extraordinary woman who would be wearing it. Martha is one lady you do not want to disappoint!

Q: Can you tell us more about those other "talismans and artifacts"?

BG: There are far too many to mention - and, to be fair, I have promised Martha not to reveal too many of the cloak's secrets, lest it lose its own special magic!

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Q: There's something special, too, about Prospero's magic staff, isn't there?

BG: The wooden staff includes pieces of the original stage floor of the Stratford Festival, which were carefully carved into shape by Dylan Mundy, a member of our fabulous Props team.

Q: How did you source all these items?

BG: I would like to say a giant thank you to Liza Giffen from the Stratford Festival Archives, who provided us with the costume samples, pieces of the tent and pieces of the stage. I appreciate her generosity - I know how difficult it was for her to part with them!

Experience the magic of The Tempest at the Festival Theatre until October 26!

Production support is generously provided by Jane Petersen Burfield & family, by Dr. Desta Leavine in memory of Pauline Leavine, by Dr. M.L. Myers, by The Westaway Charitable Foundation, and by Jack Whiteside


The New York Times 2018 Reviews

After his recent visit to the Festival, New York Times theatre critic Jesse Green was full of praise for this season’s offerings. Here are just a few highlights from his reviews:

The Music Man
"Huge and thrilling production"
"Spectacular dance"
"Feel-good show"

The Tempest

"Elaborate production, with eye-popping costumes and plenty of magic"
"Real magic and grandeur come from Martha Henry as Prospero…she's a flawless technician"

To Kill a Mockingbird

"This 'Mockingbird' can sing"

An Ideal Husband

"Beautifully rendered"
"Makes Wilde's world one you don't want to leave"

The Rocky Horror Show

"Feel-good re-creation"
"Delicious nostalgia"
"Sexual transgression has become good, clean fun"


"Thrilling stagecraft"


Upcoming Forum Highlights

We’re excited about these two stand-out events – and you will be, too!

Don't miss these two extra-special October offerings from our ever-popular line-up of fabulous Forum events! Book your seats now to avoid disappointment.

An Undiscovered Shakespeare

October 9-10

One audience member. One love story. Ten beats per line.

When William Shakespeare finds himself with writer's block, his Muse delivers inspiration in the form of a surprise guest with a story to tell.... At each performance, a willing patron is invited on stage to sit down with the Bard and share their personal love story. Every life is Shakespearean!

Award-winning actor/improviser Rebecca Northan (creator of Blind Date) and a cast of some of Canada's top improv talent spontaneously create Shakespeare's "lost play," based on one person's real-life romantic adventures - in iambic pentameter. It's your life through the Bard's eyes!

One night only!

The Fantasticks in Concert with Eric McCormack

October 30

One of Stratford's most successful alumni returns to the Festival after nearly 30 years, in a concert version of the world's longest-running musical. Eric McCormack - last seen at Stratford in 1989 - will take a break from taping his Emmy Award-winning television series Will & Grace to appear at the Avon Theatre as El Gallo in The Fantasticks In Concert!

This heartwarming story of a young couple, their bickering parents, a pair of very veteran thespians and the dashing narrator who makes everything end happily has been a hit around the globe since its première in 1960 - with unforgettable songs like "Try To Remember" and "Soon It's Gonna Rain."

The show will be performed in concert by members of the company, directed by Richard Ouzounian (who directed Mr. McCormack as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1989), with musical supervision by Franklin Brasz, the Festival's Director of Music. A perfect outing for fans of Eric McCormack, magical musicals and the power of romance!

Note: Certain language and situations have been changed to reflect the evolving social awareness and attitudes of a 21st-century audience.

There's still much, much more to see, do, explore and enjoy at the Forum this September and October! Check out our full listing of events here - and expand your experience! 


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Seana McKenna Appointed to the Order of Canada

This past Canada Day brought double honours for one of our country’s most acclaimed theatre artists

Festival favourite Seana McKenna was named as a member of the Order of Canada on the same day - Canada Day, July 1 - that a City of Stratford bronze sidewalk star was unveiled in her honour.

"Seana McKenna is a national treasure whose work over the years has been as rich as it has been varied," says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. "She has been a tireless advocate for the Actors Fund of Canada and for other good causes. As a proud Canadian, she has been a committed member of our theatre community, performing across this entire country. We are grateful that Seana has made the Stratford Festival her artistic home."

In this, her 27th Festival season, Ms McKenna - whose other honours include three Dora Mavor Moore Awards (two for acting and one for directing), a Jessie Award, a Genie Award for her role in the film The Hanging Garden and two honorary degrees - is giving a heartbreaking performance as Mary Tyrone in Long Day's Journey Into Night. She's also playing the title role in Julius Caesar, adding another traditionally male role to her Shakespeare credits - which also include almost all of his leading ladies.

Don't miss your chance to see one of Canada's most beloved and respected artists on stage at the Festival this season!

Long Day's Journey Into Night runs at the Studio Theatre until October 13.

Julius Caesar runs at the Festival Theatre until October 27.

Production support for Long Day's Journey Into Night is generously provided by Alice & Tim Thornton 

Production support for Julius Caesar is generously provided by Barbara & John Schubert and by the Tremain family 


Lights, Camera… Action! Stratford Festival HD Filming in October

Join in the fun as we capture two of our spectacular 2018 Shakespeare productions

The next filming sessions for our acclaimed Stratford Festival HD series are coming up soon! This season's riveting and eye-popping productions of William Shakespeare's Coriolanus and The Tempest will be captured on film in October for release in cinemas in early 2019 - and we'd love you to be a part of the action.

Filming takes place during the 2 p.m. performances on the following dates:

  • Coriolanus  - Tuesday, October 2, at the Avon Theatre
  • The Tempest - Tuesday, October 23, at the Festival Theatre

If you don't have tickets for those performances yet, now's the time to buy them! And whether or not you attend those matinées, you can join us in the evening of October 23 as we film selected scenes* from The Tempest:

Tickets for this additional filming sessions are free, but must be booked in advance.

We look forward to welcoming you to this rare and fascinating behind-the-scenes view of the filmmaking process!

*Please note that the extra scene filming session is not a complete performance: its purpose is to capture specific shots that can't be achieved during a regular performance. The evening filming will consist of isolated passages from the play that may be repeated and/or presented out of sequence, with pauses between shots to allow for technical preparations.Please also note that audience reaction shots will be captured on film.

Want even more Stratford Festival HD?

Building a personal Shakespeare film collection? Pre-order your very own copies of Romeo and Juliet and Timon of Athens on DVD or Blu-ray at the Stratford Festival Shops or online at


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. 





Exclusive Pre-Sale Offer!

Buy Nutcracker Tickets Before Public On Sale

The National Ballet of Canada's The Nutcracker is Toronto's favourite holiday tradition. You have the exclusive opportunity to secure the best seats at the lowest price before tickets go on sale to the public on September 18. The Nutcracker completely sold out the last three years, so book now and avoid disappointment!

The Nutcracker is onstage December 8 - 30, 2018. Tickets start at only $45. Prices vary and increase closer to performance dates.

Use your exclusive promo code STRATFORD and order now. For personal assistance call 416 345 9595.

Images & Photo Credits: Jillian Vanstone in The Nutcracker. Photo by Karolina Kuras.