By Wole Soyinka
Directed by Tawiah M'Carthy
THE GREATER THE HONOUR, THE DEEPER THE SHAME
In British-occupied Nigeria, a Yoruba king, the Alafin, has died, and it is the duty of his horseman, Elesin, to accompany him into the afterlife. While lustily enjoying the pleasures of this world, Elesin proudly anticipates his transition to the next – but the sacred ritual is interrupted, resulting in unforeseen tragedy. Inspired by a real-life incident, this masterpiece from Nobel Prize winner Soyinka celebrates a community striving to uphold its culture in the face of colonial power.
Production support is generously provided by Barbara & John Schubert.
Support for the 2022 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by
Image credits: Maev Beaty (left), Akosua Amo-Adem. Photography by David Hou.
Birmingham Conservatory, 2019/21
2022: Hamlet in Hamlet and Praise-Singer in Death and the King's Horseman. Second season. Stratford: Helena, Flute, Moth in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Elsewhere: 1851: 170 Years Later (Soulpepper); 00 in The Wolves (Howland/Crow's); Abigail in A Christmas Carol (Grand Theatre); Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare in High Park); Spiker in James and the Giant Peach (Young People's Theatre); Ariel in The Tempest (Hart House Theatre). Training: Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, Factory Theatre Mechanicals, Randolph Academy for Performing Arts. Awards: Dora Award for The Wolves; Toronto Fringe Patron's Pick Award for All Our Yesterdays (AnOther Theatre Company). Et cetera: To my Mum, sisters, Ututu Umunna, chosen family, The Talent House, Peter Pasyk, and Tawiah M'Carthy: thank you for everything.
Michael Langham Workshop, 2015/17
2022: Claudius in Hamlet and Simon Pilkings in Death and the King's Horseman. 23rd season. Stratford: Mr. Ford (Merry Wives of Windsor), Aufidius (Coriolanus), Orgon (Tartuffe), Bolingbroke/Henry IV, conceiver, adaptor (Breath of Kings), Philip the Bastard (King John), Posthumus (Cymbeline), Iago, Petruchio, Henry V, Macbeth, Romeo, Henry VIII, Jaques, Prince Hal, D'Artagnan. Elsewhere: Hamlet (Resurgence); Jeff Skilling (Enron); Sam Byck (Assassins); Charles (School for Scandal) (Chicago). TV: Series lead: The Border (CBC). Recent: Under the Banner of Heaven (Disney/Hulu), Diggstown (CBC) Recurring: Degrassi, Murdoch Mysteries, Covert Affairs, Republic of Doyle. Guest star: Flashpoint, Lost Girl, Rookie Blue, Bomb Girls, Remedy, Frontier, Ransom. Film: Delia's Gone, Take This Waltz, Casino Jack, Defendor, Stealing Paradise, Milton's Secret. Awards: Two Dora Awards, Monte Carlo Television nomination. Directing: Stratford: The Front Page (2019), associate director under Antoni Cimolino, Martha Henry; assistant under Tim Carroll; associate director, Breath of Kings. Director elsewhere: The Winter's Tale, Measure for Measure, Lear (Groundling), The Drawer Boy (Festival Players). Et cetera: Artistic Director, Groundling Theatre and Festival Players of Prince Edward County.
2022: Olunde in Death and the King's Horseman. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Mark in Calpurnia (Royal MTC/NAC); Eduard in Here are the Fragments (The Theatre Centre); Jean-Caleb in Les Frères (UC Follies); Phil in Canis Familiaris, Alex in My Friend's Best Friend's Boyfriend (Alumnae Theatre). Film/TV: Murdoch Mysteries (CBC), Ruby and the Well (BYUtv), Meet Me in New York, The Hot Zone: Anthrax (Hulu), Jump Darling, Mayday Air Crash Investigation (Cineflix), Rock and Roll Christmas, It's Nothing, Frankie Drake Mysteries (CBC). Animation: Superwish (Nelvana), Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe (Nelvana), Pinkalicious & Peterrific (Sixteen South/WGBH Kids), Total Dramarama (Fresh TV Inc.). Online: @kadupoku. Et cetera: Huge thanks to my family, friends, team and the Festival.
2022: Gertrude in Hamlet and Jane Pilkings in Death and the King's Horseman. Seventh season. Stratford: Cookie (The Front Page), Elmire (Tartuffe), Lady Sneerwell (The School for Scandal), Sorrel (Bunny), Kate (The Last Wife), Miep (The Diary of Anne Frank), Kate Hardcastle (She Stoops to Conquer), Goneril (King Lear). Elsewhere: August: Osage County, Little Menace: Pinter, Orlando, La Ronde, Parfumerie (Soulpepper); The De Chardin Project (Passe Muraille); Proud (Michael Healey), Terminus (Outside the March/Mirvish); Bunny, Wide Awake Hearts (Tarragon); Another Africa (Volcano); The Mill (Theatrefront); Tartuffe, Palace of the End (Canadian Stage). Awards: Multiple Dora Award winner and 14-time nominee; TTCA winner. Film/TV: Mouthpiece (TIFF, dir. Patricia Rozema), Disappointment Blvd (dir. Ari Aster), Nurses, Murdoch Mysteries. Online: maevbeaty.com. Et cetera: 21 world premières, including her co-creations Montparnasse, Goblin Market and Secret Life of a Mother (Playwrights Canada Press). For my muse, Esmé, thank you.
2022: Francisco, Lucianus in Hamlet and The Prince in Death and the King's Horseman. Ninth season. Josue is a Métis actor, teaching artist and mask maker from the traditional territory of the Dane-zaa, Treaty 8, Fort St. John, BC. Stratford: Merry Wives of Windsor, Front Page, Comedy of Errors, Napoli Milionaria!, Tempest, Timon of Athens, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Changeling, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Aeneid, The Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, King Lear, Midsummer Night's Dream, The Beaux' Stratagem, Mary Stuart, Measure for Measure, Othello. Vancouver: Henry VI: Wars of the Roses, Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Timon of Athens (Bard on the Beach); The Exquisite Hour (Relephant); The Wizard of Oz, Seussical (Carousel); The Emperor's New Threads (Axis). Training: Birmingham Conservatory under Director Martha Henry, Studio 58, Canadian National Voice Intensive. Twitter: @josuelaboucane.
2022: Sergeant Amusa in Death and the King's Horseman and appears in Hamlet. Second season. Film/TV: The Expanse,The Strain, Anne with an E, Pretty Hard Cases. Training: Ryerson University, The Birmingham Conservatory, The Factory Theatre Mechanicals. Online: @_nguapo.
2022: Woman in Death and the King's Horseman and understudy in Hamlet. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Fatima in The Container (SummerWorks); Petra in Petra (Theatre Direct); Woman in Death and the King's Horseman (Royal Exchange Manchester, UK); Miseyi in The Beatification of Area Boy (The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, UK); Jack in The Man in the Moon, Balthasar/Friar Frances in Much Ado About Nothing (The Everymans' Theatre, Liverpool, UK). Film/TV: Clarice (CBS), The Expanse (Syfy), Coroner (CW), Damien (A&E), Lucky Day (feature), 'Da Kink in my Hair (Global), Crown Prosecutor (BBC TV, UK). Radio/Recordings: Miseyi in The Beatification of Area Boy (BBC Radio); First Girl in Blood Wedding (BBC Radio); Alaba in Memories of a Distant Past (BBC Radio); Woman in Death and the King's Horseman (BBC Radio). Training: Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) London, UK. Online: imdb.com/name/nm2416924.
(she/her) Birmingham Conservatory, 2022/23
2022: Player Queen in Hamlet and Woman in Death and the King's Horseman. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: 16 characters in No Child (Arts Club); Ann Atwater in The Best of Enemies and Novelette in 'da Kink in My Hair (Pacific Theatre); Same Difference (Theatre Conspiracy); Catherine in The Numbers Game (Storefront Theatre). Film/TV: Corrective Measures (upcoming), Swan Song, Voir, The Baby-Sitters Club, Detour, Song Bird, Scared Lies, Sirens. Radio/Recordings: Aisha in Redbone Coonhound (Arts Club), Mama in Rishi & d Douen (Rumble Theatre and Carousel Theatre). Training: York University, Birmingham Conservatory. Awards: Jessie Award nomination; BC Arts Council Pivot grant recipient. Instagram: @celia.aloma.
(she/her) Birmingham Conservatory, 2015/16
2022: Guildenstern in Hamlet and Woman in Death and the King's Horseman. Seventh season. Stratford: Co-host of Showstarters, Maya in The Neverending Story, Tituba in The Crucible, Phebe in As You Like It, Maria in Love's Labour's Lost, Hay Fever, Timon of Athens, The Changeling, Alice Through the Looking-Glass. Elsewhere: Death and the King's Horseman Radio Play (Soulpepper); Romeo & Juliet (Spontaneous Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Theatre New Brunswick); five seasons with Shaw Festival including Major Barbara, Serious Money, Ragtime, The Devil's Disciple, Born Yesterday; Binti's Journey (Theatre Direct); The Aftermath (Nightwood Theatre); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare in High Park, Canadian Stage). Film/TV: Antony and Cleopatra, Love's Labour's Lost, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Timon of Athens (Stratford Festival on Film). Training: Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre; BFA, University of Windsor. Et cetera: All for the love of Jake and Z.
2022: Barnardo in Hamlet and The Resident in Death and the King's Horseman. Fifth season. Stratford: Undiscovered Sonnets; Michael, Moloch in Paradise Lost; Sir Thomas Cromwell and Bishop of Lincoln in Henry VIII. Elsewhere: 12 Angry Men, Death of a Salesman (Drayton Entertainment); The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Henry V (Bard on the Beach); Romeo and Juliet, The Glass Menagerie, Rough Crossing (Theatre Calgary); Death of a Salesman, The Wars (Playhouse); The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Red Priest (Globe Theatre); Hedda Gabler (Persephone); The Secret Annex, The Philadelphia Story (MTC); A Christmas Carol, The Drawer Boy, Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Belfry Theatre); Wit, Aberhart Summer, Respectable, that elusive spark (ATP); Boeing Boeing, The School for Scandal (Arts Club); The Woman in Black (CTF); Guys and Dolls (Gateway Theatre); Macbeth (theatre nomad - England/South Africa tour); Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) (BeMe Theatre - Munich, Germany).
2022: Ophelia in Hamlet and Companion to the Prince in Death and the King's Horseman. Fourth season. Stratford: Jane, Mother's Daughter; Anne, Brontë: The World Without; Astoreth, Paradise Lost; Hero, Much Ado About Nothing; Comedy of Errors; The Crucible; Wolf Hall. Elsewhere (selected): Cordelia, King Lear (Bard on the Beach/Theatre Calgary); Jane, Mother's Daughter (Soulpepper); Desdemona, Othello (Shakespeare Company); Luciana, Comedy of Errors (SBTB); Molly, Peter and The Starcatcher; Ginger Rogers, Make Mine Love; Fanny, Christmas Carol (Citadel); Apparition, Macbeth (Edmonton Opera), Crissy, Hair (Mayfield). Film/TV: Welcome to Zama, Algorithms, True Meaning of Girls, Snowflake, Walking the Line. Voiceover: Mass Effect 3 (EA Games). Original Recordings: Singer/songwriter/pianist, Tides (2020). Awards: Elizabeth Sterling Haynes, Dashy Goody. Training: Birmingham Conservatory, BFA (UofA), Musical Theatre Intensive (Banff Centre), Voice and Piano (Grade 9 RCM), Young Innovators (Nightwood), Young Playwrights Unit (Tarragon). Et cetera: With gratitude. Sending you love and peace.
2022: Percussion (onstage) in Death and the King's Horseman. Stratford debut. Musical Performance: Drumset player for Kunle Inc, BrigitFiddle, Gareth Bush, regular educator/guest speaker for Bluesfest School of Music and Art, Africa Day Festival (Hamburg, Germany), Taste of the Kingsway Festival, Navan Fair, Bluesfest, Lac Leamy Casino, Toronto Christmas Market, Hope Volleyball, among many others. Film/TV: Composer for Test Flight (short). Albums: The Only Flag Worth Burning - WeSurrender, Reborn - DnA (Diana and Andrew), Fired Up - Airliner Blues Band. Training: Bachelors of Music (drumset) Humber College 2019, Carleton University 2015. Online:@eriksdrums on all socials, www.eriksdrums.com. Et cetera: Session/studio musician and educator, multi-instrumentalist, professional game master and Twitch affiliate. Erik teaches drumset and theory at J with a K music.
2022: Rosencrantz in Hamlet and Constable in Death and the King's Horseman. Second season. Elsewhere: I Know I'm Supposed to Love You (Touchstone), Chimerica (Royal MTC/Canadian Stage), The Kite Runner (Theatre Calgary/Citadel), The Canadian (Thousand Islands Playhouse), Fugitives (Theatre Conspiracy), You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Gateway). Film/TV: Resident Evil: Afterlife, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Frankie Drake Mysteries, Murdoch Mysteries, Rookie Blue, King. Recent Activity: Playwright in Residence at Outside the March for Eunuch X Pirate; Crow's Theatre/Mongrel Media Loughborough Lake Writer's Retreat for Rowds; Stratford Festival Playwrights Retreat; Theory published by Playwrights Canada Press. Training: BFA Acting, UBC; BFA (Honours) Film, Ryerson University. Awards: The Voaden Prize for Theory, Carol Bolt Award nomination for Theory, Dora Award nomination for Pu-Erh. Online: normanyeung.com, @NormanYeung.
2022: Set designer of Death and the King's Horseman. Stratford debut. Set and Costume: Harlem Duet (Bard on the Beach); Home for the Holidays (Grand Theatre); Serving Elizabeth (TIP/WCT); Victory, 1837: The Farmers' Revolt (Shaw Festival); A Million Billion Pieces, Risky Phil (YPT). Set: Calpurnia (RMTC); Trouble in Mind (Shaw Festival); In The Abyss (Political Movement); School Girls (Obsidian Theatre). Costume: The Doctor's Dilemma (Shaw Festival); White Girls in Moccasins (Manidoons/Buddies in Bad Times); Toka (LemonTree/TPM); A Streetcar Named Desire (Soulpepper Theatre); Fences (Grand Theatre). Film/Hybrid: 1851 Spirit & Voice (Myseum/Soulpepper); New Monuments (Canadian Stage/Luminato), 21 Black Futures (Obsidian Theatre/CBC); The Mountaintop (RMTC); A Revolution of Love (New Awakenings); Body So Fluorescent (Madonnanera/Inside Out). Awards: Dora Award for Outstanding Costume Design for The Brothers Size; Merritt Award for Outstanding Set Design for The Bridge. Online: rachelforbesdesign.com.
2022: Costume designer of Death and the King's Horseman. Sarah is a Nigerian multi-disciplinary artist and theatre designer based in Calgary. Death and the King's Horseman is her Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Steel Magnolias (Theatre Calgary), The Mountaintop (Persephone Theatre), Scope (Lunchbox Theatre), Murder in the Studio (Vertigo Theatre), Gimme Chance Leh (Chromatic Theatre), Actually (Alberta Theatre Projects), The Sound of Music, Where Words Once Were (StoryBook Theatre). Online: sarahuwadiae.com, @sarahuwadiae. Dedication: Sarah dedicates Death and the King's Horseman to BOJA Arts Theatre and her undergraduate Theatre Art department at the Redeemer's University, Nigeria.
2022: Sound designer of Death and the King's Horseman. Sixth season. Stratford: Composer for Serving Elizabeth; composer and sound designer of The Crucible, Treasure Island, The Changeling, Breath of Kings; sound designer of Mother's Daughter, The Aeneid. Elsewhere: Music and sound for Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Soulpepper, Volcano Theatre, Theatre Centre, Tribal Crackling Wind and others; music coordinator, Station Eleven (HBO Max); appearances at MUTEK Japan, MOCA Toronto, Banff Centre, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Guelph Jazz Festival, Sound Symposium, 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 Awards for Original Music and Sound for Crash (Theatre Passe Muraille) and We Are Proud to Present… (Theatre Centre/Why Not); XIV Radio Works Prize (Centro para la Difusión de la Música Contemporanea).
2022: Associate set designer of Death and the King's Horseman. Stratford debut. Jawon is a Korean Canadian theatre designer based in Toronto and Montreal. Elsewhere: Costume design for Venus (NTS); costume design for 3..2..1 and Mother and Child (NTS); set design for Nell Gwynn (NTS); design assistance for Foxfinder (Imago Theatre); apprenticeship training (Tableau D'ôte); design assistance for 21 Black Futures (Obsidian Theatre). Training: National Theatre School of Canada, Interior Design School of Ryerson University. Online: jawonkang.myportfolio.com.
2022: Assistant lighting designer of Richard III, All's Well That Ends Well and Death and the King's Horseman. Second season. Stratford: Assistant lighting designer of Three Tall Women, R + J, Why We Tell the Story, You Can't Stop the Beat, Play On! and Freedom. Elsewhere: Lighting design for All the Sex I've Ever Had (Mammalian Diving Reflex; Tokyo, Kyoto and Seoul), Sex, Drugs and Criminality (Mammalian Diving Reflex; Riga), Bunk #7 (Raven Collective), Entrances and Exits (Howland Company), Kiviuq Returns (Qaggiavuut!/Banff Centre). Assistant lighting design for Fall for Dance North. Training: National Theatre School, Banff Centre, Queen's University. Et cetera: Much love and endless gratitude to Mom, Dad and Ryan.
2022: Stage manager of Death and the King's Horseman and assistant stage manager of Hamlet. 24th season. Stratford (selected): Finally There's Sun (cabaret), Nathan the Wise, An Ideal Husband, Treasure Island, The Breathing Hole, Breath of Kings: Rebellion, 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, Cabaret, South Pacific, My One and Only, The Winter's Tale and Death of a Salesman. Elsewhere: Max's career spans over 30 years, including work with Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Edmonton Opera, Opera Atelier, the Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Stage, Young People's Theatre and Mirvish Productions. Training: BA, University of Lethbridge. Awards: 2012 and 2017 Guthrie Awards. Et cetera: Max works with a leading purveyor of orchid growing supplies at ravenvision.ca.
2022: Assistant stage manager of Hamlet and Death and the King's Horseman. Sixth season. Stratford: R + J, Hamlet, Henry VIII, Birds of a Kind, Bakkhai. Elsewhere: Maanomaa, My Brother (Blue Bird Theatre Collective); 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); The Canadian (Thousand Islands Playhouse); 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: Originally from Lima, Peru. Loves food, music, dancing. Always looking for a good book recommendation.
2022: Assistant stage manager of All's Well That Ends Well and Death and the King's Horseman. Third season. Stratford: Little Shop of Horrors. Elsewhere: The Home Project, Casimir and Caroline, The Wolves, Lemons…, 52 Pick-Up, The Glass Menagerie (The Howland Company); Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Picture This, Parfumerie, Riverboat (Soulpepper); Jerusalem, Mr. Burns (Outside the March); Disgraced (Mirvish/Citadel/Hope & Hell); The Judas Kiss, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Into The Woods (Talk Is Free); Fall for Dance North (FFDN/TO Live); The Realistic Joneses, An Enemy of the People (Tarragon); Body Politic (Buddies in Bad Times/lemonTree Creations); The 39 Steps (3P Productions); My Fair Lady (Capitol Theatre); Here on the Flight Path, Hilda's Yard, Aunt Agnes for Christmas (Foster Festival). Sam has also worked for dance: made in canada, University of Toronto, TIFF and Hot Docs. Et cetera: Sam would like to thank his friends, family, mentors and Nic for all their love and support.
2022: Apprentice stage manager of Death and the King's Horseman. Second season. Stratford: Production assistant, Tom Patterson Theatre. Elsewhere: Assistant stage manager, Cabaret (National Theatre School of Canada); assistant production manager, carried away on the crest of a wave (University of Waterloo); stage manager, The Seagull (University of Waterloo); administrative assistant, SMArts: Stage Managing the Arts in Canada; administrative assistant, Green Light Arts. Training: National Theatre School of Canada; University of Waterloo.
2022: Production stage manager of the Tom Patterson Theatre. 22nd season. Stratford: In Meghan's 20+ seasons, she has served as production stage manager at all of the Festival's stages including the Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy (2021). She has worked on Paradise Lost, The Virgin Trial, The Tempest (2010), A Little Night Music, The Physicists, Jesus Christ Superstar and Tommy, among others. Training: Meghan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Production from York University. Elsewhere: Meghan has most recently stage-managed Light at Tarragon Theatre; and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia, and The Virgin Trial at Soulpepper Theatre. She has worked at the National Arts Centre, Citadel Theatre, toured New Brunswick with TNB, and stage-managed car and industrial trade shows and concerts. Respect and love to Beatrice, Ella & Peter.
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