Text by Rébecca Déraspe
Music by Chloé Lacasse and Benoit Landry
English translation by Leanna Brodie
Directed by Esther Jun
HER BROTHER'S NO SHAKEPEARE – BUT SHE SURE IS
Margaret Shakespeare has a dazzling talent for writing, which she yearns to put to serious use. But in an age lethally suspicious of female intellect and literacy, how can she find a way to fulfill her authorial ambitions yet still survive? Fortunately, she has a brother, William, who isn’t much of a writer but who wants to make it as an actor – and friends in high places have just the role for him.
Tapping into our fascination with the enigma of William Shakespeare’s life and how he came to write those plays – and the seemingly endless speculation in some quarters about whether he really did – this lighthearted yet genuinely passionate interweaving of comedy, song and poetic fancy spins a playful and witty yarn that will delight younger audiences and adults alike.
House Program: I Am William
Virtual Runtime: One hour and 30 minutes
Study Guide: I Am William
2021: William in I Am William. Stratford debut. As Actor: Shazam! (New Line Cinema/DC Films), Murdoch Mysteries (CBC), Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan (Bad Hats Theatre/Soulpepper), A Woman of No Importance, Dance of Death (Shaw Festival), The Drawer Boy (Essential Collective Theatre), Life in a Box (Toronto Fringe). As Composer: Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan (Bad Hats Theatre/Soulpepper), Life in a Box (Bad Hats Theatre/Toronto Fringe), Romeo and Juliet (Old Flame Brewing Company), The Welland Canal Play (Essential Collective Theatre), Pippi! (Fourth Gorgon Theatre). Awards: Dora Awards for Peter Pan (Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Production), Life in a Box (Outstanding New Musical). Other: George Brown Theatre School graduate, Associate Artist of Bad Hats Theatre, RBC Apprentice with Musical Stage Company. Instagram: @landondoak.
2021: Mary, Queen Elizabeth I in I Am William. Sixth season. Stratford: Mother's Daughter (Mary), The Crucible (Elizabeth Proctor), Twelfth Night (Olivia), The School for Scandal (Lady Teazle), Shakespeare in Love (Viola), The Hypochondriac (Angélique), The Diary of Anne Frank (Margot Frank), Oedipus Rex (Priest), She Stoops to Conquer (Rose), The Sound of Music (Liesl), Inherit the Wind. Elsewhere (selected): Room (Grand Theatre/Mirvish); A Doll's House (RMTC); King Charles III (Mirvish/Studio 180); The Road to Mecca (Soulpepper); Pride and Prejudice (NAC/Theatre Calgary); The Jones Boy (Surface/Underground); Salt-Water Moon (Thousand Islands Playhouse); A Midsummer Night's Dream, Little Women: The Musical (Citadel Theatre); The Madonna Painter (Factory Theatre). Film/TV: Private Eyes, MayDay, Eloise. Training: Birmingham Conservatory; Ryerson Theatre School (BFA). Awards: Mary Savidge Award; Dora nomination for Outstanding Performance. Et cetera: Thank you for supporting live theatre.
2021: Cello, Trumpet in I Am William. 20th season. Elsewhere: Cello with Stratford's INNERchamber String Quartet and Ensemble; cello for Roy Lewis's Moments With You for Here for Now Festival; arranger, Dayna Manning's Morning Light.
2021: Percussion in I Am William. 12th season. Stratford: Orchestra: Little Shop of Horrors, The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, Crazy for You, Man of La Mancha, Wanderlust, Kiss Me, Kate, Evita, West Side Story, Forum. Onstage musician: As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, Henry V, Fuente Ovejuna. Elsewhere: Graham has performed professionally on four continents. Recordings: Several soundtracks for Stratford productions; two duo CDs with percussionist Nicholas Coulter, Reinventions and Theme and Evolutions; four CDs with the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan; also one CD, A440, with his band, Dan Stacey and the Black Swans. Training: Bachelors (UVic), Masters (U of T) in Percussion Performance. Awards: 2017 and 2019 All-Ireland Bones Championships - second place 2017, third place 2019; two Guthries; one Dora (2015).
Playwright of I Am William.
Rébecca Déraspe graduated from the playwriting program of the National Theatre School of Canada in May 2010. She is the author of several plays which have been translated and produced internationally, including Deux ans de votre vie (English title: You Are Happy); Gamètes (English title: Gametes); Je suis William (English title: I Am William); Faire la leçon (English title: The Lessons); Plus que toi; Peau d'ours; Nino; Le merveilleux voyage de Réal de Montréal; Partout ailleurs; Nos petits doigts; Ceux qui se sont évaporés; and Fanny. She is currently Playwright-in-Residence at Montréal's Théâtre la Licorne. Her work has been awarded the 2010 Prix BMO (for You Are Happy); the 2017 Montreal theatre critics' prize for Best New Play (Gametes); the 2018 Montreal theatre critics' prize for Best New Play for Young Audiences as well as the Prix Louise-Lahaye (I Am William); and most recently, the Prix Michel-Tremblay, for her new play Ceux qui se sont évaporés. She is also the writer and host of the web series Le lexique de la polémique, produced and distributed by Savoir Média.
Chloé Lacasse, an award-winning singer-songwriter in the Francophone music scene, creates contemporary alternative pop with lush arrangements drawing on pop, folk, classical music, and ambient rock. Winning the 2011 Francouvertes led to the release of her first, self-titled album, followed by LUNES in 2014. In 2015, she received the Dédé Fortin Prize and presented the critically acclaimed show Les Vies possibles. Ongoing collaborations include the English-language alternative group CHANCES (Traveler, 2018, and Connection, 2021) and the Nikamu Mamuitun collective, an artistic encounter between First Nations and settlers. A trained actor, singer, and classical pianist, Chloé Lacasse also works as a performer, accompanist, composer, producer, and sound designer. Her third solo album, Les eaux claires, drops in September 2021.
Music for I Am William.
Benoit Landry is a director, singer, musician, and actor. His work balances creation with interpretation in multiple fields: based in theatre and music, it encompasses circus and dance. He has been a performer or musical designer in some thirty productions, in both major Montreal theatres and international tours. Directing credits include: Serge Fiori - Seul ensemble (Cirque Éloize); Chansons pour filles et garçons perdus (Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui); and André Mathieu's Événement 50e (Francofolies, Maison symphonique). Most recently, he was the art director of the film Sept moments de joie (Cirque Éloize) and the immersive exhibition Sous les glaces with Mario Cyr (Éloize Expo). He also directs for television, notably the variety show En direct de l'univers (Ici Radio-Canada). He is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the multidisciplinary company Nord Nord Est.
Translator of I Am William.
Leanna Brodie is an award-winning playwright and librettist whose work has been performed from Halifax to Auckland. Schoolhouse just opened the 30th season of Two Planks and a Passion Theatre in Canning, NS; Ulla's Odyssey, composed by Anthony Young, recently toured the UK with OperaUpClose. Brodie is also a noted translator of Québécois playwrights. Last season alone saw four English-language premières: David Paquet's The Shoe (The Cherry Artspace, Ithaca, New York) and Wildfire (Upstream Theater, St. Louis, Missouri); Annie Brocoli's Stella and the Time Machine Journey (Lune Rouge, Arlington, Texas); and Joe Jack et John's Violette (Espace Libre, Montréal, Québec). Brodie is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Calgary, with multiple translation commissions and a Stratford Festival/Banff Centre commission to co-write Salesman in China with Jovanni Sy. leannabrodie.com.
2021: Choreographer of I Am William. Stratford debut. Stratford: peasantz (research process in the Laboratory). Choreography & Direction: Bin Chicken (Toronto Dance Theatre); hollow mountain, fantasylover, Dolphin, string quartet no. 14 in g major, MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS (Rock Bottom Movement); FUTUREDANCE (Rock Bottom Movement/Canadian Stage); STARSEED, that infinite feeling (Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre). Choreography for Theatre & Musicals: Pal Joey (Talk Is Free Theatre); Girls Like That (Tarragon Theatre); Nashville Stories, Cherry Corsage (David Bernstein). Film: Bin Chicken (Toronto Dance Theatre); sixty seven moo(n)s (Canadian Stage); Love from FARM to SummerWorks (SummerWorks); Stevie (Ante Kovak). Training: X University BFA Honours in Dance. Awards: Dora Award for Outstanding Production and Ensemble for hollow mountain; Canadian Stage Award for Direction for fantasylover; Jack McAllister Award for Alumni Achievement. Online: rockbottommovement.com, @rockbottommovement, @itsalyssamartin. Et cetera: Deepest thanks to Esther for bringing me along!
2021: Co-designer of I Am William. Fifth season. Stratford: HMS Pinafore (associate costume designer). Off-Broadway: Costume designer: A Four-Letter Word (Classic Stage Company). Designer: Richard III, King Lear, Macbeth (New York Classical Theatre); Orpheus (Next Wave Festival). Off-Off-Broadway: Costume designer: Displaced Wedding (New Worlds Theatre). Selected Regional: Designer: Could I Have This Dance? (Rebecca Cohn Auditorium). Costume designer: Jukebox Hero (Ed Mirvish Theatre); Measure for Measure (Canadian Stage); Theory (Tarragon); The Nether, Between Riverside & Crazy (Coal Mine); The New Canadian Curling Club (Blyth Festival); Amadeus, The Gamblers (Talk is Free); The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Kimberly Akimbo (Southern Rep); Coriolanus, Henry V (Shakespeare Festival at Tulane). Film/TV: Costume designer: Save Me, For the Record (CBC Gem); NOLA; The Red Thunder (short); Good Sister (short). Training: MFA (University of Missouri - Kansas City); BFA (Concordia University). Online: michellebohndesign.com.
2021: Lighting designer of I Am William. Second season. Stratford: Wendy & Peter Pan (2020). Theatre: Canadian Stage, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Cahoots Theatre Projects, Factory Theatre, The Globe Theatre and Expect Theatre. Dance: Desrosiers Dance Theatre, The Danny Grossman Dance Company, ProArteDanza, tiger princess dance projects, Tribal Crackling Wind, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Canada's National Ballet School, resident designer at Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre. Music: Art of Time Ensemble, Nagata Shachu. Training: York University Theatre Program. Teaching: York University, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo and The National Theatre School. Awards: Seven Dora Mavor Moore nominations for Outstanding Lighting Design in the dance and theatre categories. Et cetera: Arun is thrilled to return to Stratford for a second season.
2021: Sound designer of I Am William. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: TOKA (Theatre Passe Muraille); OIL (ARC); bug (Luminato); The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare in the Ruff); Eraser: A New Normal (Theatre Direct); Private Eyes (lemonTree Creations); Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers (b current); Through the Bamboo (Toronto Fringe). Original Work: Kersey Kamayan Gets Woke (fu-GEN Theatre); 4inXchange (xLq); Love You Wrong Time (Bad Muse Collective). Residencies/Training: NoteWorthy 2021 (The Musical Stage Company & Prime Mover Theatre); Humber College, Theatre Performance. Awards: Dora nomination for Eraser (RISER 2019); nominated for the 2020 Pauline McGibbon Award; recipient of the inaugural Walk the Walk Commission 2018. Online: maddiebautista.com, @bautistamaddie. Et cetera: For Ma, Pa, Anya, Douie, and John.
2021: Assistant director of I Am William. Second season. Elsewhere: As director: Eraser: A New Normal (Theatre Direct); Eraser (Why Not Theatre's Riser Project); Mamma Mia! (Nightwood Theatre's Lawyer Show); The Stray Sheep Cabaret (Nightwood Theatre, staged reading); Cleave (Theatre Direct, staged reading); Motherload (Rhubarb! Festival/Buddies in Bad Times); Tire Swing (Filament Incubator/Epigraph Collective). Literature: Spawning Generations: Rants and Reflections on Growing Up with LGBTQ+ Parents (editor/contributor, Demeter Press). Training: York University, playwriting and devised theatre. Awards: Eraser: nominated for five Dora Awards in the Theatre for Young Audience category: Outstanding Direction, New Play, Production, Ensemble and Design. Spawning Generation: nominated for a Lambda Literary Award (Anthology); two Forward Indie Awards (Anthology and LGBT Non-Fiction). Online: sadieepsteinfine.com. Et cetera: Sadie is the former intern artistic director at Nightwood Theatre.
2021: Production stage manager of the Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy. Eighth season. Stratford: Production stage manager, Festival Theatre, 2020. Assistant stage manager: Billy Elliot, Othello, The Music Man, To Kill a Mockingbird, Shakespeare in Love, The Hypochondriac, The Sound of Music, The Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It, King of Thieves. Elsewhere (selected): King Lear, Twelfth Night (SiHP); A City, Divisadero (Necessary Angel); Cracked: new light on dementia (UW/Collective Disruption); Comfort (Red Snow Collective); The Road to Paradise, Night (Human Cargo); Miracle on 34th Street (STC); Bella (HGJTC); Anne of Green Gables, Canada Rocks! (Charlottetown); Falling: A Wake (Blyth); The Barber of Seville (Soulpepper); Binti's Journey, Head à Tête, Old Man and the River (Theatre Direct); Danny, King of the Basement (Roseneath); Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, All's Well That Ends Well (SLSF).
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