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Tom Patterson Theatre
May 30 – September 24 |
Opens June 22


by William Shakespeare
Conceived and adapted by Graham Abbey 
Directors Weyni Mengesha Mitchell Cushman

Richard II and Henry IV Part 1

Lust for power leads to political turmoil in this fast-paced new distillation of Shakespeare’s epic histories of a nation and its rulers – their lives, their battles and their deaths.

Enjoy this epic drama on its own – or follow its exciting sequel in Breath of Kings: Redemption.


Sponsor for the 2016 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre

Production support is generously provided by The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and by Martie & Bob Sachs.

Support for the 2016 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Richard Rooney & Laura Dinner.



    Portrait of Graham Abbey
    Graham Abbey
    Bolingbroke/Henry IV
    2016: Bolingbroke/Henry IV in Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Henry IV, Bates in Breath of Kings: Redemption and conceiver, adaptor and associate director of Breath of Kings. 17th season. Stratford: Philip the Bastard (King John), Iago (Othello), Posthumus (Cymbeline), Henry V, Macbeth, Romeo, Henry VIII, Jaques, Prince Hal (Henry IV), D'Artagnan (The Three Musketeers), Petruchio (Shrew), Aufidius (Coriolanus), Berowne (Love's Labour's Lost), Algernon (Earnest), Hap Loman (Death of a Salesman). Elsewhere: Hamlet (Resurgence); Jeff Skilling (Enron) (Theatre Calgary); Sam Byck (Assassins) (Talk Is Free/Birdland); Charles (The School for Scandal), Valère (The Molière Comedies) (Chicago Shakespeare). TV: Series lead: The Border (CBC). Recurring: Degrassi, Murdoch Mysteries, Covert Affairs, Republic of Doyle. Guest star: Flashpoint, Lost Girl, Rookie Blue, Warehouse 13, Bomb Girls. Recent: Remedy (Global). Film: Take This Waltz, Casino Jack, 388 Arletta Avenue, Defendor, Stealing Paradise, Angels and Ornaments. Recent: Milton's Secret, Frontier. Radio: Afghanada (CBC). Awards: Dora Award, Monte Carlo Television Festival nomination. Directing: The Winter's Tale (Groundling Theatre). Et cetera: Artistic Director, Groundling Theatre.
    Portrait of Araya Mengesha
    Araya Mengesha
    Prince Hal
     2016: Prince Hal in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Prince Hal/King Henry V in Breath of Kings: Redemption. Second season. Stratford: Rice Boy, Macbeth and Julius Caesar. Elsewhere: Rifles (Praxis Theatre), War Horse (National Theatre/Mirvish), The Africa Trilogy/Another Africa (Volcano/Canadian Stage), Aneemah's Spot (MotionLive), The Lion King (Disney/Mirvish). Film: Jean of the Joneses, Nurse.Fighter.Boy. TV: Shoot the Messenger, Man Seeking Woman, Hemlock Grove, Rogue, Saving Hope, Degrassi, Nikita, Mystery Hunters. Training: Ryerson Theatre School. Awards: Gemini Award (2009). Et cetera: The Family, the Friends, the Life, the Love.
    Portrait of Tom Rooney
    Tom Rooney
    King Richard II
    2016: King Richard II in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Justice Shallow, Chorus in Breath of Kings: Redemption. Ninth season. Stratford: Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, Crazy for You, Man of La Mancha, Measure for Measure, Waiting for Godot, Wanderlust, Henry V, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Winter's Tale, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet and All's Well That Ends Well. Elsewhere: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Citadel); The Seagull, Someone Else (Crow's Theatre); Homechild, Beckett: Feck It! (Canadian Stage); My Mother's Feet (Munich); Hairspray (Toronto and Broadway); Benevolence, Courageous (Tarragon); Hamlet (NAC); Roméo et Juliette (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan). Film/TV: Three seasons on CBC's This Is Wonderland; The Gilda Radner Story; The Day After Tomorrow; Everest '82 (CBC miniseries) and Flash of Genius. Awards: Two Gemini nominations and a Dora Award for Outstanding Actor, 2013.
    Portrait of Geraint Wyn Davies
    Geraint Wyn Davies
    Old Gardener, Sir John Falstaff

    2016: Old Gardener, Sir John Falstaff in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Sir John Falstaff, Captain Fluellen in Breath of Kings: Redemption. 13th season. Stratford (selected): Cook (Mother Courage), Antony, Duke Vincentio, Leicester, Cymbeline, Malachi Stack, King Arthur, Falstaff, Stephano, Dylan Thomas, Julius Caesar, Bottom, Polonius, Henry Higgins, Henry V, Bassanio, Tom Fashion, D'Artagnan, Richmond, Edward IV, Hortensio, Antipholus of Syracuse, Pericles. Elsewhere: New York: King Lear (Lincoln Center); Poetic License (The Directors Company); Do Not Go Gentle (Clurman Theatre); Women Beware Women (Red Bull Theater). Canadian Stage's The Elephant Man; Shaw Festival, five seasons; Prospero, Richard III, Cyrano (Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.); Love's Labour's Lost (RSC); Hamlet, Henry VIII (Chichester Festival); An Enemy of the People (Lyric Hammersmith, London); two seasons as Theatr Clwyd's artistic associate (Welsh National Company). Film/TV (selected): ReGenesis, Murdoch Mysteries, 24, Slings and Arrows, Black Harbour, Airwolf, Forever Knight, American Psycho II, Hypercube, One of the Hollywood Ten, Conspiracy of Fear.

    Portrait of Michelle Giroux
    Michelle Giroux
    Queen to King Richard, Doll Tearsheet, Nothumberland Messinger
     2016: Queen to King Richard, Doll Tearsheet, Northumberland Messinger in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Doll Tearsheet, Montjoy in Breath of Kings: Redemption. 11th season. Stratford (selected): Portia (The Merchant of Venice), Elvira (Blithe Spirit), Rosaline (Love's Labour's Lost), Queen Isabella (Edward II), Helena (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Lydia (Pride and Prejudice), Gwendolen (The Importance of Being Earnest), Nina (The Seagull), Joan (Henry VI), Emilia (The Two Noble Kinsmen), Olivia (Twelfth Night), Phoebe (As You Like It), Mary Robinson (The Swanne, part 3), Katerina (The Brothers Karamazov), Jean Louise (To Kill a Mockingbird); Elise in Stratford's The Miser, New York City Center, and Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal, Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Elsewhere: Groundling Theatre, Factory Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Theatre Aquarius, Segal Centre. Film/TV: Includes Saving Hope, Sensitive Skin, Rookie Blue, The Listener, Flashpoint, L.A. Complex, King, Murdoch Mysteries, John A: The Rivals, Blood Pressure. Training: National Theatre School, Birmingham Conservatory, Canadian Film Centre Actors' Conservatory.
    Portrait of Kate Hennig
    Kate Hennig
    Duchess of Gloucester, Bishop of Carlisle, Mistress Quickly
     2016: Duchess of Gloucester, Bishop of Carlisle, Mistress Quickly in Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Mistress Quickly, Captain Gower in Breath of Kings: Redemption and understudy in John Gabriel Borkman. Fifth season. Stratford: Playwright of The Last Wife. Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. Elsewhere: Hedda Gabler (Necessary Angel); The December Man (National Arts Centre); Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot (Broadway/Toronto); The Penelopiad (RSC/NAC); Emma Goldman in Ragtime, When We Are Married, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (Shaw Festival); The Danish Play (Nightwood Theatre); Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Theatre Calgary); The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Leni Riefenstahl in The Blue Light (Alberta Theatre Projects). Film/TV: Rachel Lynde in Anne of Green Gables (2016), Saving Hope, Bomb Girls, Flashpoint, 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould. Training: MA in Voice Studies, Central School of Speech and Drama. Awards: 2015 Christopher Plummer Fellowship Award of Excellence; two Dora Awards; Toronto Theatre Critics' Award; three Betty Mitchell Awards.
    Portrait of Johnathan Sousa
    Johnathan Sousa
     2016: Hotspur in Breath of Kings: Rebellion Prince Thomas of Clarence, Williams in Breath of Kings: Redemption  and understudy in John Gabriel Borkman Stratford debut. Film/TV: Rookie Blue (Global TV), The Animal Project (principal), Relative Happiness (lead), What We Have (lead), Kidnap Capital (lead). Radio: The Passionate Eye - CBC. Training: Ryerson Theatre School (2010), Norman Jewison Canadian Film Centre Actors Conservatory. Awards:  Lou Taube Memorial Award, 2013 Toronto International Film Festival Rising Star. Online: Twitter/Instagram: @jsous29.
    Portrait of Nigel Shawn Williams
    Nigel Shawn Williams
    Earl of Northumberland, Bardolph
     2016: Earl of Northumberland, Bardolph in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Duke of Exeter, Earl of Northumberland, Bardolph in Breath of Kings: Redemption. Fifth season. Stratford: Fuente Ovejuna, Palmer Park, The Odyssey, Harlem Duet, Twelfth Night, Our Town, Treasure Island. Elsewhere: Agamemnon (NextStage Festival); Saint Joan (Arts Club); Race (Canadian Stage); Topdog/Underdog (Obsidian Theatre - Dora Award: Best Actor); Stuff Happens (Studio 180); The Ventriloquist (Factory Theatre); Salieri in Amadeus (Alberta Theatre Projects); Hedda Gabler (Volcano); Love's Labour's Lost (NAC); Variété (Volcano - Dora nomination); Two Words for Snow (Volcano - Dora Award: Best Actor); four seasons at the Shaw Festival; Belle (Factory Theatre); Harlem Duet (Nightwood/Canadian Stage); Angels in America (Canadian première, RMTC); Six Degrees of Separation (Canadian première, Alberta Theatre Projects and Canadian Stage - Dora Award: Best Actor). Film/TV: Brown Girl in the Ring, Heroes Reborn, John Q, The Jane Show, The City, The Famous Jett Jackson.
    Portrait of Wayne Best
    Wayne Best
    Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Worcester
    2016: Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Worcester in Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Archbishop of Canterbury, King Charles VI of France in Breath of Kings: Redemption  and understudy in John Gabriel Borkman. 21st season. Stratford: Last year Wayne appeared as Antiochus, Simonides in The Adventures of Pericles and Surly in The Alchemist. Previously, Wayne has played Capulet (Romeo and Juliet), Axel Oxenstierna (Christina, The Girl King), Hubert (King John), Caliban (The Tempest), Don John (Much Ado About Nothing), Buckingham (Richard III), Macduff (Macbeth), Fluellen (Henry V), Gratiano (The Merchant of Venice), Cornwall (King Lear), Leontes (The Winter's Tale), Grumio (The Taming of the Shrew), Agamemnon (Troilus and Cressida) and Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet). Elsewhere: Brutus (Julius Caesar), Antonio (The Tempest), Captain Keller (The Miracle Worker), Karl (Heaven), Abbott (Inexpressible Island), Anderson (Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme), Quinn (The Affections of May), Phil (The Motor Trade), Johnny (Balconville), Jacob Mercer (Salt-Water Moon), Taylor (K2) and Billy (The Collected Works of Billy the Kid).
    Portrait of Shane Carty
    Shane Carty
    Sir William Bagot, Sir Richard Vernon, Nym
     2016: Sir William Bagot, Sir Richard Vernon, Nym in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Nym, Peter Bullcalf, Duke of Orleans in Breath of Kings: Redemption. 11th season. Stratford (selected): The Sound of Music, Carousel, Crazy for You, Man of La Mancha, Love's Labour's Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, The Duchess of Malfi, The Brothers Karamazov, Richard III, Peter Pan, Present Laughter, Measure for Measure, My Fair Lady, The Threepenny Opera,  A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Swanne. Elsewhere: Sunday in the Park with George (TIFT); Venus in Fur (Theatre Kingston); Assassins (MTC/TIFT); Tom's A-Cold (NextStage); This Is How It Goes, Frog and Toad, Sweeney Todd (Neptune); Wizard of Oz, Gatsby, Einstein's Gift (Grand); Joseph..., Christmas Story, Les Misérables (WCT); Treasure Island (TNB); Othello (SLSF); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Touchmark); Sweeney Todd, Frog and Toad (STC); Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad, Hay Fever, The Red Priest (Thousand Islands); Sticks and Stones, The Mikado (NAC); Beauty and the Beast (Citadel/Theatre Calgary); Romeo and Juliet (Resurgence). Training: Queen's University, Birmingham Conservatory.
    Portrait of Mikaela Davies
    Mikaela Davies
    Earl of Salisbury, Lady Attending the Queen, Servant to William Bagot, Servant to Hotspur
    2016: Earl of Salisbury, Lady Attending the Queen, Servant to William Bagot, Servant to Hotspur in Breath of Kings: Rebellion Young Mowbray, Simon Shadow, Dauphin, Katherine in Breath of Kings: Redemption  and understudy in John Gabriel Borkman Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Nurse Jane/Faith Matheny in Spoon River (Dora nomination for Best Ensemble), Rossignol in Marat/Sade, Gittel in The Dybbuk, Mary Warren in The Crucible, Flipote in Tartuffe, Mrs. Cherry in Idiot's Delight (Soulpepper Theatre Company); Natasha in The Thirst of Hearts, Molly Ivors in The Dead (Soulpepper Studio Series); Sandra/Sue in The Exonerated, Mary in The Red Coat (Third Eye Ensemble). Other: Director and co-developer of How We Are, director of Seams (SummerWorks); associate director of Blackbird (Artscape Youngplace); assistant director of The Dead (Soulpepper Studio Series). Training: Soulpepper Academy, Dome Theatre. Awards: Brian Cloutte Memorial Bursary. Online: @MikaelaLily. Et cetera: "Thank you to my parents, mentors, friends and you for seeing this show!"
    Portrait of Sébastien Heins
    Sébastien Heins
    Aumerle, Prince John of Lancaster
     2016: Aumerle, Prince John of Lancaster in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Prince John of Lancaster, Ralph Mouldy, Monsieur Le Fer in Breath of Kings: Redemption.  Stratford debut. Elsewhere (selected): Full cast in Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera (b current/represented by FOX Entertainment Agency); Sam/Scratchy in Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Outside the March/Crow's/Starvox); Bradley in Mr. Marmalade (Outside the March); Young Simba in The Lion King (Mirvish). Film/TV: CTV's The Listener, SuperChannel's Darknet, CBC's Cracked. Training: National Theatre School of Canada. Awards: Tullio Cedraschi Award at NTS, Toronto Urban Film Festival's City Stories Award for Her Chance to Dream, Best Emerging Artist Award at United Solo Festival in N.Y.C. Online: @sebastienheins; Et cetera: Sébastien dedicates this season to the pursuit of innovation. He points to his family, friends, colleagues and amazing partner, Dasha, for their support and belief in helping him re-imagine what is possible in the theatre.
    Portrait of Randy Hughson
    Randy Hughson
    Duke of York, Constable
    2016: Duke of York, Constable in Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Ancient Pistol in Breath of Kings: Redemption and understudy in John Gabriel Borkman. Ninth season. Stratford (selected roles): Lucky (Waiting for Godot), Pompey (Measure for Measure), Uncle John (The Grapes of Wrath), Antigonus (The Winter's Tale), Senex (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Richard Voss (The Physicists), Hortensio (The Taming of the Shrew). Elsewhere: Leading roles at the Belfry Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse, Citadel Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Canadian Stage, Segal Centre, Neptune Theatre, Soulpepper, Tarragon, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Alberta Theatre Projects, Centaur Theatre, Blyth Festival, National Arts Centre and many others. Film/TV: Randy has worked extensively in television, film and radio. Awards: Nominated for eight Dora Mavor Moore Awards, three Edmonton Sterlings, one Calgary Betty Mitchell, three Vancouver Jessies and one Gemini. Randy has won one of each award. Et cetera: "Gratitude and love to Melissa, Georgina and Harvey."
    Portrait of Gordon S. Miller
    Gordon S. Miller
    Sir Henry Green, Ned Poins

    2016: Sir Henry Green, Ned Poins in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Prince Humphrey, Ned Poins, Constable of France, Francis Feeble in Breath of Kings: Redemption. 10th season. Stratford (selected): Biondello in The Taming of the Shrew, Williams in Possible Worlds, Scrub in The Beaux' Stratagem, Andrei in Three Sisters, Apollodorus in Caesar and Cleopatra, Roderigo in Othello and Flaminius in Timon of Athens. Elsewhere: Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood (Globe Theatre); Krogstad in A Doll's House (Montgomery/TNB). Film/TV: Dmitri in award-winning miniseries Fargo (season 1; Best Miniseries: Emmy, Golden Globe), Suits, Republic of Doyle, The Ron James Show, Warehouse 13, Lost Girl. Training: National Theatre School of Canada; Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre. Awards: Tyrone Guthrie Award (2003, 2007), John Hirsch Award (2004) and the inaugural recipient of the Richard Monette Travel Grant (2009).


    Portrait of Irene Poole
    Irene Poole
    Sir Stephen Scroop, Sheriff, Blunt

     2016: Sir Stephen Scroop, Sherriff, Blunt in Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Lord Chief Justice, Lady Northumberland, Alice in Breath of Kings: Redemption and understudy in John Gabriel Borkman. Fourth season. Stratford: Kate in The Little Years, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, Olga in Three Sisters. Elsewhere: Happy Place, The Gigli Concert (Soulpepper); How Do I Love Thee? (Canadian Rep); The Bakelite Masterpiece, The Little Years (Tarragon Theatre); Manon, Sandra and the Virgin Mary (Buddies in Bad Times); Escape from Happiness, Better Living, Fighting Words, The Glace Bay Miners' Museum (Factory Theatre); Age of Arousal (Alberta Theatre Projects); Possible Worlds, directed by Yoshi Oida (Canadian Rep). Film/TV: Cardinal, Rookie Blue, Reign (CTV); Murdoch Mysteries, Republic of Doyle (CBC); Carrie (MGM); Breakout Kings with Academy Award-winning director Gavin Hood (A&E). Awards: Dora Awards for Outstanding Performance in The Little Years (Tarragon), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Birdland Theatre), The Leisure Society (Factory Theatre). Dora nomination for How Do I Love Thee?



    Portrait of Anusree Roy
    Anusree Roy
    Duchess of York, Sir John Bushy
    2016: Duchess of York, Sir John Bushy in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Beadle, Lord Hastings, Queen Isabel in Breath of Kings: Redemption. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Anusree's plays and performances include Pyaasa, Letters to My Grandma, Roshni (TPM); Brothel #9 (Factory Theatre); Sultans of the Street (YPT); Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, ensemble in The Golden Dragon (Tarragon Theatre); Padma in Bombay Black (Factory Theatre). She has a Masters from The University of Toronto and is a published playwright. TV: She was a series regular and story editor for Remedy (Global TV). Awards: Anusree's plays and performances have won her four Dora Awards, the K.M. Hunter Award, RBC Emerging Artist Award and the Carol Bolt Award. She is a Siminovitch Protégé prize-winner and Governor General's-finalist writer. Et cetera: "A huge thank you to everyone involved in the Festival, my family, agent Nancy LeFeaver, Lina Marques and Ryan Tiwari."
    Portrait of Stephen Russell
    Stephen Russell
    John of Gaunt, Earl of Westmoreland

    2016: John of Gaunt, Earl of Westmoreland in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Earl of Westmoreland, Justice Silence in Breath of Kings: Redemption. 34th season. Stratford: Helicanus (The Adventures of Pericles), Doc (West Side Story), Slim (Of Mice and Men), Mr. Brownlow (Oliver!), Chorus Leader (Oedipus Rex), Cornwall (King Lear) at the Lincoln Center in New York and the title roles in Julius Caesar, Richard II and Henry VI. Elsewhere: He has appeared in theatres across Canada, most recently as Dr. Meade in the world première of Gone With the Wind at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (2013). Film/TV: His most recent film project is the part of Pontius Pilate in The Gospel of John. Et cetera: He lives in Stratford with his wife, Astrid.

    Portrait of Carly Street
    Carly Street
    Thomas Mowbray, Archbishop of York, Young Gardener, Lady Percy, Earl of Douglas
     2016: Thomas Mowbray, Archbishop of York, Young Gardener, Lady Percy, Earl of Douglas in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Archbishop of York, Lady Percy in Breath of Kings: Redemption  and understudy in John Gabriel Borkman Third season. Elsewhere: Old Times, Clybourne Park, Brief Encounter (Broadway); Tovarich (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Dead Accounts (Cincinnati Playhouse - world première); The Nest (Denver Center - world première); Intimate Apparel (Canadian Stage/Citadel); Educating Rita (Segal Centre); The Lord of the Rings (Mirvish - Dora nomination); Company, Bloodless (Theatre 20 - Dora nomination); Fire (Theatre Calgary); Much Ado About Nothing (Resurgence); The Drowning Girls (Thousand Islands). Various favourites: Vanda in Venus in Fur (Canadian Stage/Centaur); Nancy in Oliver! (Theatre Aquarius); Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Geva Theatre); Portia in The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare in the Rough); Masha in The Three Sisters (Atlantic Theatre Festival). Film/TV: The Good Wife, Bitten (recurring), Warehouse 13, Backstage. Awards: Dora Award, Theatre Critics Award: Venus in Fur. Training: National Theatre School of Canada.


    William Shakespeare

    Playwright: Macbeth, As You Like It and Breath of Kings

    Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, William Shakespeare was the eldest son of John Shakespeare, a glover and tanner who rose to become an alderman and bailiff of the town, and Mary Arden, the daughter of a wealthy farmer. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but there is a record of his baptism at Stratford's Holy Trinity Church on April 26. Since an interval of two or three days between birth and baptism would have been quite common, tradition has it that he was born on April 23 - the same date as his death 52 years later.

    The young Shakespeare is assumed to have attended what is now King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, where he would have studied rhetoric, grammar and ancient Roman literature in its original Latin. In 1582, when he was 18, he married Anne Hathaway, a farmer's daughter who was eight years his senior. Anne was pregnant at the time, and the couple's first daughter, Susanna, was born a few months afterwards in 1583. Twins followed two years later: a son, Hamnet, who died at the age of 11, and a second daughter, Judith.

    Nothing further is known of Shakespeare's life until 1592, by which time he was sufficiently established as an actor and writer in London to be the target of a literary attack by a jealous fellow playwright, Robert Greene. Soon afterwards, an outbreak of plague forced the temporary closure of the theatres, and Shakespeare turned his attention instead to his long narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He also began writing the Sonnets, a series of 154 complex and often ambiguous poems on themes of love, jealousy and mortality.

    By 1595, Shakespeare was back in the theatre, writing and acting for the Lord Chamberlain's Men. His income as one of London's most successful dramatists enabled him in 1597 to buy what was then Stratford's second-largest house, called New Place, and in 1599 he became a shareholder in London's newly built Globe Theatre.

    In 1603, when James I had succeeded Elizabeth on the throne, Shakespeare's company was awarded a royal patent, becoming known as the King's Men. Meanwhile, the playwright continued his business dealings in Stratford and in London, where in 1613 he bought a property known as the Blackfriars Gatehouse. He is believed to have spent increasing amounts of his time in Stratford from around 1609 until his death on April 23, 1616. He is buried in the town's Holy Trinity Church.


    Graham Abbey
    Conceiver, adaptor and associate director

    Conceiver, adaptor and associate director of Breath of Kings.

     Graham has been a member of the Stratford Festival acting Company for 18 seasons. He served as an assistant director on last season's production of The Alchemist and is a graduate of the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction.  

    He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Groundling Theatre Company, based in Toronto, and this past winter directed the company's inaugural production of The Winter's Tale at The Coalmine Theatre. 

    As a writer/creator, Graham has developed two television series with CBC and is currently working on an adaptation of Shakespeare's history cycle for a scripted television series.  

    Graham would like to dedicate this production to the memory of a great friend and mentor, Douglas Campbell, who led him through the streets of Eastcheap many moons ago. 

    Weyni Mengesha
     2016: Director of Breath of Kings. Second season. Stratford: Director of Hosanna. Elsewhere: Director: Butcher (Why Not Theatre/The Theatre Centre); Lungs (Toronto Critics Award - Best Production), The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs (Toronto Critics Award, Best Director and Best Production) (Tarragon Theatre); Kim's Convenience (Soulpepper Theatre); A Raisin in the Sun (Soulpepper/Theatre Calgary - Dora nomination); Yellowman (Nightwood Theatre/Obsidian Theatre); blood.claat (Theatre Passe Muraille - Dora nomination); 'da Kink in My Hair (Theatre Passe Muraille/Mirvish Productions - Dora nomination). Upcoming: Father Comes Home From the Wars (Soulpepper Theatre), Butcher (Why Not/Mirvish Productions). Training: BFA in directing (York University), Soulpepper Academy. Online: Et cetera: Weyni would like to thank her family for their incredible support, especially her mother for watching the boys through this process. Love you E. 


    Mitchell Cushman
    2016: Director of Breath of Kings. Fourth season. Stratford: Director: Possible Worlds. Assistant director: The Beaux' Stratagem, The Merchant of Venice. Elsewhere: Co-creator of Brantwood, Canada's largest immersive musical theatre experience. Founding Artistic Director of Outside the March. Directing: Mr. Burns, Vitals, Passion Play, Terminus, Mr. Marmalade (Outside the March); New Jerusalem (Harold Green Jewish Theatre); I'm Doing This For You, Oh My Irma (Haley McGee/Never Mind the Noise); I, Claudia, The Last of Romeo and Juliet, Possible Worlds (Talk Is Free Theatre); The Suicide (George Brown); Lion in the Streets (Dalhousie University). Training: MFA in Directing, University of Alberta. Awards: Siminovitch Protégé Award; two Dora Awards for Outstanding Production; Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best Director; Ken McDougal Award; SummerWorks Prize for Production. Online: Et cetera: Love to Amy, Arlene, Robert, Chloe and Anthony.
    Anahita Dehbonehie
    Set Designer
     2016: Set designer of Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. Second season. Stratford:Possible Worlds. Elsewhere: Anahita has created shows in Norway, Iceland, Russia, the United States and the Czech Republic, and her work has been featured at the Prague Quadrennial, the Vilnius Capital of Culture 2012 and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. Canadian credits (selected): Costume design - Marat/Sade (Soulpepper), Mary Stuart (George Brown Theatre); scenography - Stupidhead! A Musical (SummerWorks), Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera (b current/Buddies in Bad Times), Vitals (Outside the March/Theatre Passe Muraille - Dora nomination), Blue/Orange (Kingston Players), Possible Worlds (TIFT/BeMe Theatre Munich), The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (Outside the March); set design - The Lesson (Modern Times - Dora nomination); assistant set design - Human Bondage, Tartuffe, Twelve Angry Men, Idiot's Delight (Soulpepper), Synonym for Love (Volcano); assistant set and costume design - Seeds (Crow's Theatre); art direction - Molly Maxwell; production design - Pearl was Here, Homebody.
    Yannik Larivee
    Costume designer
     2016: Costume designer of Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. Second season.
    Kimberly Purtell
    Lighting designer
     2016: Lighting designer of Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Breath of Kings: Redemption and Bunny. Eighth season. Stratford: The Taming of the Shrew, Possible Worlds, The Last Wife, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Man of La Mancha, Christina, The Girl King, Waiting for Godot, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Little Years, The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead. Elsewhere: Eurydice, Happy Place (Soulpepper), Hedda Gabler (Necessary Angel), Alice Through the Looking-Glass (Citadel, RMTC, Charlottetown Festival, NAC), The Watershed (Pan Am, Porte Parole), The Wild Party (Acting Up Stage), The Seagull (Crow's Theatre), Peter Pan (Ross Petty Productions), The Barber of Seville, Ariadne auf Naxos (Pacific Opera Victoria), Svadba (Opera Philadelphia). Awards: Pauline McGibbon Award, three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and a META.
    Debashis Sinha
    Composer and sound designer
     2016: Composer and sound designer for Breath of Kings: Rebellion  and Breath of Kings: Redemption and sound designer of The Aeneid. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Numerous sound and music credits for Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Soulpepper Theatre, Volcano Theatre, Theatre Centre, Pleiades, Project Humanity, Tribal Crackling Wind, inDance and others; appearances at Madrid Abierto, Banff Centre, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Guelph Jazz Festival, Sound Symposium, ISEA, Music Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario and other venues. Radio/Recordings: Radio works broadcast on Deutschlandradio Kultur, ORF Kunstradio, Radio National España, Banff New Media Institute, NAISA; numerous solo recordings, audio artworks, and audiovisual and live cinema projects. Awards: Dora Award for Original Music and Sound for Crash (Theatre Passe Muraille), XIV Radio Works Prize (Centro para la Difusión de la Música Contemporanea). Online:
    John Stead
    Fight director
     2016: Head of Stage Combat. Fight Director of Macbeth, All My SonsThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, As You Like It, A Little Night MusicBreath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. 23rd season. Stratford: Fight director, 200+ productions. Elsewhere: 500+ productions, including 15 seasons with Shaw Festival. Film director: Cyborg Soldier, Troubled Waters, Good Morning Tomorrow, The Waking, The Hot Flash, End Game, Charon's Obal. TV director: Dark Matter, Bitten, The Bobby Buck Show, XIII, Lost Girl, Earth: Final Conflict, Tracker, Mutant X, The Dresden Files, The Adventures of Sinbad. 400+ film/TV credits as stunt coordinator/action director. Teaching: Numerous universities and colleges, including NTS; master instructor, Academy of Dramatic Combat. Awards: Award of Excellence (Canadian International Film Festival); Genre Award for Best Suspense (BNFF); Derek F. Mitchell Artistic Director's Award, Tyrone Guthrie Award (Stratford); Judges' Choice Award (15 Minutes of Fame International Film Festival); Best Short First Runner-Up (Ticket to Hollywood International Film and Screenplay Festival); Best Short Award nominee (Directors' Guild of Canada). Online:; IMDB:
    Bronwyn Steinberg
    Assistant director
     2016: Assistant director of Breath of Kings: Rebellion. Second season. Stratford: Assistant director of Hamlet. Elsewhere: Director: Anton in Show Business, Marion Bridge (Three Sisters Theatre Company); Corpus (Counterpoint Players); In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (Same Day/Counterpoint Players/Plosive); My Name is Asher Lev (9th Hour); Blood Relations (Unicorn Theatre). Assistant director: Circle Mirror Transformation (GCTC). Directing intern: A Christmas Carol, Mother Courage (NAC English Theatre). Actor: OCCUPY ME (Counterpoint Players); Private Lives, The Importance of Being Earnest (Plosive). Training: University of Ottawa (MFA), University of Pittsburgh (BA). Awards: Rideau Award for Outstanding Production and nomination for Outstanding Director (Vibrator Play). Finalist for Ottawa Arts Council RBC Emerging Artist Award and Ontario Arts Council John Hirsch Director's Award. Et cetera: Founding Artistic Director and series curator of TACTICS, Ottawa's independent theatre series.
    Caitlin Luxford
    Assistant costume designer
     2016: Assistant costume designer of A Chorus Line, Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption Ninth season. Stratford: Wardrobe apprentice (2008); seamstress (2009); five seasons as assistant wardrobe buyer; one season as interim wardrobe buyer. Elsewhere: Caitlin is a member of IATSE Local 822, working as a dresser, seamstress and craftsperson for the past 10 years. Head of Creative for Canada's Wonderland Haunt event 2007. Design assistant: Theatre Athena inaugural season, 2006-07. Training: Diploma in Technical Production for Theatrical Arts, Sheridan Institute. Awards: 2006 Sheridan Scholar; Fabricland Creative Design Award, 2005 and 2006. Et cetera: Caitlin feels blessed to continually develop her professional skills within her many roles at the Stratford Festival. Many thanks to family and loved ones for their constant love and support, both here and above.
    Francesca Callow
    Assistant costume designer
     2016: Assistant costume designer of Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. Ninth season.
    C.J. Astronomo
    Assistant lighting designer
     2016: Assistant lighting designer of All My Sons, Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Breath of Kings: Redemption and John Gabriel Borkman. Fifth season. Stratford: She Stoops to Conquer, Carousel (2015); Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Man of La Mancha (2014); Blithe Spirit (2013); 42nd Street, …Charlie Brown, Wanderlust (2012). Elsewhere: Selected lighting design: the marquise of O (the red light district); The Rocky Horror Show, Another Home Invasion (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Impulse Festival (Soulpepper); Post Eden (Suburban Beast); Obeah Opera (b current); Oh, the Humanity… (Outside the March); Serious Money (Nightwood Theatre/Ryerson Theatre School). Associate lighting designer: Alice Through the Looking-Glass (Charlottetown Festival); Gimme Shelter (Why Not Theatre); HER2 (Nightwood Theatre); HOMEbody (Shannon Litzenberger). Training: BFA - Ryerson Theatre School. Awards: 2015 SummerWorks Award for Design; T.H.E.A.T.R.E. Award (RTS 2009); Paul Eck Award (RTS 2008); Audit Stub Award (RTS 2008); C.J. has also been nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award. Et cetera: "Mahal kita, Nanay."


    Geoff Scovell
    Associate fight director
    2016: Associate fight director of Macbeth, All My SonsThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, As You Like It, Shakespeare in Love, A Little Night MusicBreath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. Sixth season. Stratford: Associate fight director (selected): Hamlet, The Physicists, Pericles, The Taming of the Shrew, Oedipus Rex, King Lear, Crazy for You, King John, Man of La Mancha, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Three Musketeers, Othello. Assistant fight director: Fiddler on the Roof, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Count of Monte Cristo. Elsewhere: Fight director: Peter and the Starcatcher, Sweet Charity (Shaw); Don Giovanni, War and Peace (COC); The Godot Cycle (Yes Let's Go); Mirandolina (Soulpepper); Romeo and Juliet (ShakespeareWorks). Film/TV: Stunt performer (selected): Suicide Squad, Dark Matter, Killjoys, 12 Monkeys, Bitten, The Strain, Covert Affairs, Pompeii, Robocop, Reign, Orphan Black, Assassins Creed: Unity, Carrie, Total Recall, Lost Girl. Training: BFA, Ryerson University. Awards: Paddy Crean: excellence in stage combat. Online: @GeoffScovell. Et cetera: This season is dedicated to the memory of Joel Harris.
    Maxwell T. Wilson
    Stage manager
    2016: Production stage manager of the Tom Patterson Theatre and stage manager of Breath of Kings: Rebellion. 18th season. Stratford: Productions of Carousel, Man of La Mancha, The Three Musketeers, Taking Shakespeare, Henry V, Hosanna, Peter Pan, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Avon Theatre, 2009; Canon Theatre, 2010-11), Cabaret, South Pacific, My One and Only, The Winter's Tale and Death of a Salesman. Elsewhere: Max's career spans over 25 years, including work with Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Opera, Opera Ontario, Opera Atelier, the Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Stage, Young People's Theatre and Mirvish Productions on The Who's Tommy (director Des McAnuff). Training: BA, University of Lethbridge. Awards: 2012 Guthrie Award. Et cetera: Venues coordinator for the Toronto International Film Festival, 2002 to 2004. He is also a freelance web developer (,
    Katherine Arcus
    Assistant stage manager
    2016: Assistant stage manager of Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. Seventh season. Stratford: She Stoops to Conquer, The Last Wife, Mother Courage, Antony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline, Elektra, The Winter's Tale, Three Sisters, Bartholomew Fair, production assistant for the Tom Patterson Theatre's 2008 season. Elsewhere: Blue Remembered Hills U.K. tour (Northern Stage); Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, The Full Monty (Charlottetown Festival); The Sound of Music (Mirvish); Cinderella (Ross Petty Productions); Homebody/Kabul (Berkeley Street Theatre); Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth (Classical Theatre Project). Film/TV: Writers' assistant for Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town (CBC), story coordinator for Less Than Kind (HBO Canada), Picnicface (Comedy Network), Zerby Derby (TVO). Training: Technical theatre program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Et cetera: Katherine is delighted to return to the Stratford Festival for the 2016 season.
    Zeph Williams
    Assistant stage manager
    2016: Assistant stage manager of Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. 11th season. Stratford: The Diary of Anne Frank, Carousel, Crazy for You, Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, The Three Musketeers, 42nd Street, Camelot, Twelfth Night, Kiss Me, Kate, The Music Man, Moby Dick, Oklahoma!, King Lear, Richard III, The Threepenny Opera, The Trials of Ezra Pound. Elsewhere: A Christmas Carol (Citadel); Jersey Boys (Dancap); Oliver!, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Goat (Neptune Theatre); The Lion King, Mamma Mia! (Mirvish); Hair, Homechild (Canadian Stage); Das Rheingold (COC); The Nutcracker (RWB/NAC). Senior production manager: Golden Princess, Caribbean Princess and Cunard's QE2 World Cruise. Supervisor: 2010 Olympics; Pope John Paul's visit, 2002. Film/TV: Director's assistant, A Christmas Wedding (Lifetime). Training: National Theatre School of Canada. Awards: 2001 Tyrone Guthrie. Et cetera: "Much love to my parents, my wife, Maria, and our little girl, Bella."
    Gregory McLaughlin
    Apprentice stage manager
    2016: Apprentice stage manager of Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. Second season. Stratford: Production assistant for the Tom Patterson Theatre. Elsewhere: Apprentice stage manager: Bombay Black (Factory Theatre); Our Eliza, By the Dark of the Moon, Making Contact, Diligent River Daughter (Ship's Company Theatre). Stage manager: Oleanna (Matchstick Theatre); All for Love,Pith! (Windsor Theatre); Willy Wonka (Garnet & Gold Musical Theatre Society). Film/TV: This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Training: Mount Allison University.
    Judy Farthing
    Production stage manager
    2016: Production stage manager of the Tom Patterson Theatre and stage manager of Breath of Kings: Redemption. Second season. Stratford: Stage manager of Oedipus Rex. Elsewhere: 17 seasons with the Shaw Festival, production stage manager from 2003 to 2011. Favourite productions with the Shaw Festival include My Fair Lady, Gypsy, You Can't Take It With You, Detective Story, All My Sons, Chaplin, The Madras House, Man and Superman, Peter Pan and Lady Windermere's Fan. Numerous productions with The Grand Theatre including The Addams Family: A New Musical, Legally Blonde, The Passion of Narcisse Mondoux, Yankee Tavern, Calendar Girls, The Great Gatsby, Kingfisher Days, The Last Five Years, A Christmas Carol, Anne of Green Gables, She Stoops to Conquer, The Wind in the Willows and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Productions with Drayton Entertainment, Canadian Stage, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Mirvish Productions, National Arts Centre, Blyth Festival, Factory Theatre, Tarragon Theatre.
    Janine Ralph
    Production stage manager
    2016: Production stage manager of the Tom Patterson Theatre and stage manager of John Gabriel Borkman. 26th season. Stratford: Last season Janine was production stage manager of The Adventures of Pericles, The Physicists, Oedipus Rex and The Alchemist, and also stage managed Love's Labour's Lost at the Festival Theatre. Past credits include stage manager of A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Chamber Play, Waiting for Godot, Elektra, Richard III, The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance, Gypsy, Carousel, Henry V, An Enemy of the People and Henry VIII. Elsewhere: Janine recently stage-managed Sunday in the Park with George and The Sneeze for Talk Is Free Theatre, Barrie. She stage-managed Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore and production-managed for Singapore Repertory Theatre. She has worked on the Asian Games' ceremonies in Qatar; in various theatres in Ontario, including Young People's Theatre; and for CBC TV in Toronto and BBC TV in England.


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  • SceneNotes Article: There's Royal Blood in Breath of Kings
  • Directors' Note: The Head That Wears A Crown
  • House Program: Symphony in the Cathedral


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