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FESTIVAL THEATRE CANOPY
August 12 – September 26
Shakespeare

R + J

By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Ravi Jain, Christine Horne and Alex Bulmer
Directed by Ravi Jain  

THERE'S MORE TO LOVE THAN MEETS THE EYE

They say that love is blind – and with blindness comes the freedom to open the mind’s eye to a world of limitless possibility. Likewise, the challenge of staging the world’s most famous love story, Romeo and Juliet, in a time of physical distancing brings with it the opportunity to explore modes of theatrical presentation that are both unexpectedly novel and as old as the art of storytelling itself.

Intended for blind, low-vision and sighted audiences alike, this radically reimagined version of Shakespeare’s beloved romantic tragedy invites you into an up-to-the-minute modern world of sound and music, a world that challenges the identities we construct when we use only our eyes, a world in which the entrenched hostilities of an older generation are challenged by the passions of young people who only want to love.

 R+J is accessible to blind and low-vision audiences through an integrated audio description.

Approximate Runtime: One hour and 30 minutes no intermission.


Production support is generously provided by Dr. M. Lee Myers and by Catherine & David Wilkes.


Produced in collaboration with
  Why Not Theatre

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CAST & CREATIVE

    Alex Bulmer
    Friar
    2021: Friar in and co-adaptor and creative consultant for R + J. Stratford debut. Named one of the most influential disabled artists by UK's Power Magazine, Alex Bulmer has worked internationally across theatre, film, television, radio and education for thirty years. She is fuelled by a curiosity of the improbable, committed to collaborative art practice, and deeply informed by her experience of becoming blind. Alex is artistic director of Common Boots Theatre, co-founder of Cripping The Stage, lead curator of CoMotionFestival 2022 with Harbourfront Centre, and has worked with numerous companies in Canada and the UK. She is a mentor for Deaf and disabled artists, emboldens others to imagine beyond the assumed, and celebrates that disability is good for art.
    Eponine Lee
    Juliet
    2021: Juliet in R + J. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Meghan in The Fixing Girl, Carrie in The Girl, Her Mum and The Raccoon With No Name (Young People's Theatre); Fan/Belinda Cratchit in A Christmas Carol (Soulpepper Theatre Company); Mamillius in A Winter's Tale (Shakespeare in the Ruff); Lorna in The Full Light of Day (Luminato Festival/Electric Company); Billie in Tails from the City (Common Boots Theatre); various characters in carried away on the crest of a wave (Tarragon Theatre). Film: Mona in Queen of the Morning Calm (QOTMC Productions). Awards: Canadian Film Festival Best Breakout Performance, 2020; NOW Magazine Breakthrough Toronto Stage Artists, 2019. Et cetera: Creator and performer of We Will Be: Rising as a Community, SummerWorks Performance Festival, 2020; dramaturge for Child-Ish (Sunny Drake and The CHILD-ISH Collective).
    Dante Jemmott
    Romeo
    2021: Romeo in R + J. Stratford debut. Dante Jemmott is an actor and recording artist who is eager to offer his gifts during this pivotal stage in the performing arts industry. Dante has appeared in the York University Department of Theatre's productions of William Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Charles Mee's Iphigenia 2.0, Suzan-Lori Parks's 365 Days/365 Plays and Amy Rutherford's Mortified. Training: York University's Acting Conservatory. Instagram: @dantejemmott. Et cetera: Dante is thrilled to be a part of such an amazing team, and is excited to be part of sharing this new world of Romeo and Juliet with you.
    Beck Lloyd
    Lady Capulet, Tybalt

    2021: Lady Capulet, Tybalt in R + J. Second season. 2020: Richard III, All's Well That Ends Well and The Miser. Stratford (would-be) debut. Elsewhere (selected): Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Marina in Pericles, Phaedra in Hippolytus, Maybe Jane in The Yellow Wallpaper (York University); Bluebeard's Bride in The gruesome terror & most brave triumph of Bluebeard's Bride, Irma in The Madwoman of Chaillot (The Lunar Stratagem); Mary Anne Shad in Portraits Patterns Possibilities (Culchahworks); Fabiana Cunningham in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Lower Ossington Theatre). Training: MFA York University, Factory Mechanicals, Claude Watson Arts Program, Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre. Awards: Edith Zacks Millman for Extraordinary Achievement in Performance (Queen's University). Online: @beckklloyd. Et cetera: Thanks, Mum.

    Lisa Nasson
    Benvolio

    2021: Benvolio in R + J. Second season. Elsewhere: Thriving Tree in SCANNER (Factory Theatre Wired); Angelina in Spirit Horse (Roseneath Theatre); Temina in Munschtime! (Young People's Theatre); Margaret in Fatty Legs (Xara Choral Theatre); Genevieve in Lullaby: Inside the Halifax Explosion (Eastern Front Theatre); Christine in Offensive Fouls (Neptune Theatre); Katarina in Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery (Neptune Theatre). Training: Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, George Brown Theatre School, Neptune Theatre Acting Conservatory. Online: lisanasson@gmail.com, Instagram @lisanasson. Et cetera: Lisa would like to thank her family for encouraging her imagination.

    Sepehr Reybod
    Mercutio
    2021: Mercutio in R + J. Stratford debut. Sepehr Reybod (he/him) is an Iranian-Canadian actor and playwright based in Toronto. He has worked with such companies as Canadian Stage, Factory Theatre, fu-GEN Theatre and Geordie Theatre in Montreal. Sepehr received training at York University's Acting Conservatory and further training as a member of Factory Theatre's Mechanicals 2018-2019, part of their Training Enhancement Programs. He was a member of Factory's playwright's training unit, the Foundry 2019-2020, where he began developing his second play, The Karkhaneh. As part of their groundbreaking Bedrock Creators' Initiative, The Karkhaneh was in residency at Factory throughout the 2020-2021 season.
    Rick Roberts
    Capulet
    2021: Capulet in R + J. Second season. Stratford: Zastrozzi in Zastrozzi. Elsewhere: Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre); Animal Farm, Waiting for Godot and Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Soulpepper); Enemy of the People, Within the Glass, The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs, Molière, John and Beatrice and Rune Arlidge (Tarragon Theatre); Proud (Belfry Theatre); Julius Caesar (Citadel Theatre). Film/TV: Jack, Fortunate Son, This Life, Frankie Drake, Coroner (CBC), Still Mine, North of Albany, All My Puny Sorrows, FarCry 6 (Ubisoft). Director: Miss Caledonia, Person of Interest, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Soulpepper). Playwright: Orestes (Tarragon Theatre), Fish/Wife, Kite, co-wrote the musical Mimi with Melody Johnson and Allan Cole (Tarragon). Awards: ACTRA and CSA award for Jack (CBC). Training: National Theatre School of Canada.
    Tom Rooney
    Nurse

    2021: Nurse in R + J. 13th season. Stratford: Coriolanus, Napoli Milionaria!, Twelfth Night, The School for Scandal, Tartuffe in Tartuffe, Breath of Kings, The Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, Crazy for You, Man of La Mancha, Measure for Measure, Waiting for Godot, Wanderlust, Winter's Tale, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream, All's Well That Ends Well. Elsewhere: Cyrano de Bergerac, Victory (Shaw Festival); The Wedding Party (Crow's Theatre/TIFT); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Citadel); The Seagull, Someone Else (Crow's); My Mother's Feet (Munich); Hairspray (Toronto, Broadway); Hamlet (NAC); Roméo et Juliette (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan). Film/TV: CBC's This Is Wonderland; The Gilda Radner Story; The Day After Tomorrow; Murdoch Mysteries; CoronerAwards: Two Gemini nominations; Dora Award, Outstanding Actor, 2013; Sterling Award, Best Actor, 2016.

    Ravi Jain
    Co-Adaptor and Director
    2021: Co-adaptor and director of R + J. Second season. Elsewhere: Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Why Not Theatre. Toronto-based stage director Ravi Jain is a multi-award-winning artist known for making politically bold and accessible theatrical experiences in both small indie productions and large theatres. Directing credits include The Mahabharata, Prince Hamlet, What you won't do for love (starring Drs. David Suzuki and Tara Cullis), A Brimful of Asha, Salt-Water Moon, Sea Sick (co-director Franco Boni), We are Proud to Present…, Like Mother Like Daughter. Training: NYU Tisch School for the Arts, École Jacques Lecoq. Awards: Canada Council John Hirsch Prize for Direction, Ontario Arts Council Pauline McGibbon Award for Direction, Dora Award/Toronto Theatre Critics Award/NOW Magazine show of the decade for Salt-Water Moon.
    Christine Horne
    Co-Adaptor and Assistant Director

    2021: Co-adaptor and assistant director of R + J. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Prince Hamlet, Iceland (Why Not Theatre); Portia's Julius Caesar (Shakespeare in the Ruff); Tom at the Farm (Buddies); The Seagull (Crow's); Belleville (Company Theatre); Vimy, Farther West (Soulpepper); Between the Sheets (Nightwood); Andromache (Necessary Angel); Romeo and Juliet (Canadian Stage); The Turn of the Screw (DVxT); Miss Julie: Sheh'mah (KICK Theatre); Gorey Story (Thistle Project). Audio: First Métis Man of Odessa (Factory). Film: Robin & Mark & Richard III, Hyena Road, The Captive, Stories We Tell, The Stone Angel. TV: Hey Lady!, Malory Towers, Hudson & Rex, Frankie Drake Mysteries, Murdoch Mysteries, Saving Hope, Remedy, Republic of Doyle, Rookie Blue, Othello. Awards: Dora Award, Canadian Screen Award, Birks Diamond Tribute to Women in Film. Et cetera: Christine is a member of Shakespeare in the Ruff's incoming Collective Artistic Leadership.

    Alex Bulmer
    Co-adaptor and Creative Consultant
    2021: Friar in and co-adaptor and creative consultant for R + J. Stratford debut. Named one of the most influential disabled artists by UK's Power Magazine, Alex Bulmer has worked internationally across theatre, film, television, radio and education for thirty years. She is fuelled by a curiosity of the improbable, committed to collaborative art practice, and deeply informed by her experience of becoming blind. Alex is artistic director of Common Boots Theatre, co-founder of Cripping The Stage, lead curator of CoMotionFestival 2022 with Harbourfront Centre, and has worked with numerous companies in Canada and the UK. She is a mentor for Deaf and disabled artists, emboldens others to imagine beyond the assumed, and celebrates that disability is good for art.
    Julie Fox
    Designer
    2021: Designer of R + J. 12th season. Stratford: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Napoli Milionaria!, Tartuffe, The School for Scandal, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, Best Brothers, The Little Years, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again. Elsewhere: Cyrano (Shaw Festival); The Wedding Party, The Watershed, The Seagull, Someone Else, Seeds, I, Claudia (Crow's Theatre); Arigato, Tokyo, The Maids, Blasted, Breakfast (Buddies in Bad Times); Within the Glass, The Patient Hour, Faust, The Designated Mourner, The Cryptogram (Tarragon); Electric Company, Why Not Theatre, Soulpepper, Canadian Stage, Necessary Angel, Theatre Passe Muraille, Segal Centre, MTC, Citadel. Opera: Volcano. Dance: adelheid, Susanna Hood, Chartier Danse. Training: National Theatre School. Awards: Four Dora Awards for set design; Virginia Cooper Award for costume design; META and Sterling Award nominations. Teaching: National Theatre School.
    André du Toit
    Lighting Designer
    2021: Lighting designer of R + J. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre); Getting Married, The Orchard (Shaw Festival); Now You See Her, Mouthpiece (Quote Unquote Collective); The Cave, Le Grand Continental (Luminato); Jerusalem (Outside the March/Company Theatre); Animal Farm, A Delicate Balance, Vimy, The 39 Steps (Soulpepper); This Was the World, Guarded Girls, Harlem Duet (Tarragon Theatre); Italian Mime Suicide, Paolozzapedia, Melancholiac, The Double (Bad New Days); Oraltorio (Obsidian/Soulpepper); Love and Information (Canadian Stage); The Assholes, As I Lay Dying (Theatre Smith-Gilmour). Awards: Three Dora Awards and twelve nominations for Outstanding Lighting Design.
    Thomas Ryder Payne
    Composer and Sound Designer
    2021: Composer and sound designer of R + J. 13th season. Stratford: Private Lives, Paradise Lost, The Tempest, Timon of Athens, Tartuffe, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, The Matchmaker, The Little Years. Elsewhere: Designs for Mirvish, BIBT, Soulpepper, Shaw, Canadian Stage, Tarragon, NAC, Blyth Festival, RMTC, Theatre Calgary, GCTC, Nightwood, Modern Times, Aluna, Crow's and many others. Film: Plain View, 7A, Blood Harvest, Hero.Traitor.Patriot, Alegra & Jim, Robert's Circle. Training: Studied composition with James Tenney, Honours BA, York University. Awards: 25 nominations and four Dora Awards for Sound Design and Composition. Et cetera: Started as a songwriter with a four-track tape machine and still endlessly fascinated with the storytelling possibilities of layered sound. Online: thomasryderpayne.bandcamp.com, xeno-canto.org/contributor/NWXCLJYBDK.
    Maggie Blake
    Youth Advocate and Equity Consultant
    Leah Cherniak
    Creative Enabler and Access Support for Alex Bulmer
    Kim Cunik
    Youth Supervisor for Eponine Lee
    Alice Ferreyra Galliani
    Stage Manager
    2021: Stage manager of R + J. Fifth season. Stratford: Hamlet, Henry VIII, Birds of a Kind, Bakkhai, Death and the King's Horseman workshop (2020), Langham Directors' Workshop Presentation (2019), Avon Theatre production assistant (2015). Elsewhere: Stage manager: Every Silver Lining (Next Stage Festival); Maggie & Pierre (Grand Theatre); Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls (Roseneath Theatre); The Drowsy Chaperone, Footloose, The Addams Family, Spring Awakening, Spelling Bee, Nine (Randolph College); Godspell (Theatre Sheridan); Anne of Green Gables, Evita, Shrek the Musical (LOT). Assistant stage manager: Tafelmusik; The Canadian (Thousand Islands Playhouse). Apprentice stage manager: Hamlet (Tarragon Theatre); The Magic Flute (Canadian Opera Company); City of Angels (Theatre by the Bay); The Story (Theatre Columbus); The Test (The Company Theatre). Training: Sheridan College (Technical Production). Et cetera: Gracias a todos los que me ayudaron a llegar hasta aquí.
    Neha Ross
    Assistant Stage Manager
    2021: Assistant stage manager of R + J. Stratford debut. Selected credits: Stage manager: Prince Hamlet, ICELAND (Why Not Theatre); We Are Proud to Present... (Theatre Centre); Animal Farm, 27 Club (Soulpepper Theatre); Other Side of the Game (Cahoots Theatre, Obsidian Theatre); One Thing Leads to Another (Young People's Theatre); Fare Game: A Life in Toronto's Taxis (Theatre Passe Muraille); Brown Balls (fu-GEN); People Power (Carlos Bulosan). Assistant stage manager: Kim's Convenience (Soulpepper Theatre); The Birds and the Bees, The Wilberforce Hotel, Mary's Wedding (Blyth Festival); Lady in the Red Dress (fu-GEN). Training: Technical Production, Theatre Sheridan College. Et cetera: Neha would like to send a special shout-out to her support team: Fam, Marcel, Jo, Pallavi, Sees Chantelle, Kev + Virgilia!
    Erin Cunningham
    Apprentice Stage Manager
    2021: Apprentice stage manager of R + J. Second season. Stratford: 2020 production assistant for the Tom Patterson Theatre prior to the provincial shutdown. Elsewhere: Apprentice stage manager - Trout Stanley (Factory Theatre); Lunenburg, Book Club (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); King Arthur The Panto (Port Hope Festival Theatre); Freaky Friday, Blackbird (Theatre Aquarius); The Snow Queen, The Monkiest King (Canadian Children's Opera Company); backstage technician at FLATO Markham Theatre. Training: University of Windsor School of Dramatic Art.
    Cynthia Toushan
    Production Stage Manager

    2021: Production stage manager of the Festival Theatre Canopy. 25th season. Stratford: Shows include Chicago (interrupted by COVID), Billy Elliot, A Chorus Line, Crazy for You, Fiddler on the Roof, Camelot, Oklahoma!, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, Hello, Dolly!, The King and I and others. Elsewhere: Over 40 years as a stage manager in live entertainment including gala events, music concerts, opening ceremonies and fundraising events including A Christmas Carol for the Stratford Hospice. Over 25 years with the Canadian Opera Company as a stage manager; production stage manager and resident director of Jersey Boys, Toronto; 25 years as a singer/dancer and choreographer in Canadian theatre; associate director/choreographer to her mentor, Alan Lund. Et cetera: Love to Paul, daughters Stephanie and Jennifer, son-in-law Andrew, and her grandchildren, Kennedy, Koston and Connor. I am so grateful to be back at work.

PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO

Showstarter video coming soon.

RESOURCES

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PLAY SCHEDULE


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R + J - Filmed Performance. Call for Waitlist
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