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TOM PATTERSON THEATRE CANOPY
August 28 – September 26
Modern

SERVING ELIZABETH

By Marcia Johnson
Directed by Kimberley Rampersad

For details and tickets for the virtual performances, click here.

IN THE SCRIPT OF HISTORY, WHO GETS A SPEAKING ROLE?

In Kenya in 1952, Mercy, a restaurant proprietor, is hired to cater the impending visit of Princess Elizabeth, soon to be Queen. In 2015, another story unfolds in London, England, where a young Kenyan-born Canadian, Tia, is working as an intern on a TV drama series about the British royal family – while also pursuing a writing project of her own. These parallel narratives seem only coincidentally connected – until a surprising twist reveals a deeper relationship between the two. Audiences are certain to enjoy this ingenious contemporary drama that keeps us guessing as it explores issues of colonialism, nationalism and the question of who gets to have a voice.

House Program:  Serving Elizabeth

Runtime: One hour and 43 minutes no intermission.

Produced by special arrangement with Thousand Islands Playhouse.


Production support is generously provided by John & Therese Gardner and by the Tremain family.

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CAST & CREATIVE

    Sean Arbuckle
    Talbot, Maurice
    2021: Talbot, Maurice in Serving Elizabeth. 19th season. Stratford (selected): Here's What It Takes (2020, pre-COVID), Guys and Dolls, Julius Caesar, A Little Night Music, The Neverending Story, Pericles, King John, The Pirates of Penzance, 42nd Street, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Three Sisters, The Merchant of Venice, Cabaret, The Trojan Women, The Tempest, As You Like It, Timon of Athens, The Swanne: Princess Charlotte, London Assurance, Twelfth Night, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Elsewhere: The Immigrant (Harold Green), London Road (Canadian Stage), Othello (Segal Centre), The Winter's Tale (McCarter/Shakespeare Theatre), Humble Boy (Pioneer Theatre), Phèdre (ACT), The Spitfire Grill (George Street, world première), A Christmas Carol, The Turn of the Screw (Grand Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Roundabout), Copenhagen (national tour). Film/TV: 12 Monkeys, Murdoch Mysteries, Dark Matter, Reign, Defiance, Law & Order. Training: Juilliard.
    Arlene Duncan
    Mercy, Patricia
    2021: Mercy, Patricia in Serving Elizabeth. Stratford debut. Theatre: Alma in Up the Garden Path (Obsidian Theatre); Mama Euralie in Once on This Island (Acting Up Stage); Caroline in Caroline, or Change (Canadian Stage); Armelia in Ain't Misbehavin' (Theatre Aquarius). Film/TV: Series lead in Little Mosque on the Prairie (CBC), recurring roles in Diggstown (CBC), Spinning Out (Netflix), Suits (NBC) and Remedy (Global), supporting in Nostalgic Christmas (Hallmark). Radio/Recordings: Fatouma Coulibaly in Africa on the Move (CBC Radio); Muse in Eastcoasting (CBC Radio). Awards: Dora Award for Caroline, or Change (Canadian Stage).
    Cameron Grant
    Montague, Steven
    2021: Montague, Steven in Serving Elizabeth. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Getting Married, SEX, Henry V, Hound of the Baskervilles, The Madness of George III (Shaw Festival); world première of Happy Birthday Baby J (Shadow Theatre); guest artist in Clybourne Park (Theatre Erindale); Alice the Magnet (Theatre Animal); Troilus and Cressida (Secret Shakespeare Series); Tough! (Canadian Rep Theatre); Animal Nature (Clay and Paper Theatre). Directing: Assistant director of the cecil hotel (Theatre Erindale); assistant director of Through the Eyes (Factory Theatre). Training: University of Toronto Mississauga/Sheridan College.
    Virgilia Griffith
    Faith, Tia
    2021: Faith, Tia in Serving Elizabeth. Stratford debut. Recipient of the 2021 Jon Kaplan Legacy Fund Theatre Award for Canadian Stage Performer. Winner of the META Emerging Artist Award for Gas Girls by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. Winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance for Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. She was also a Dora Mavor Moore nominee for Outstanding Female in the Independent Theatre Division for her performance in Honesty, directed by Jordan Tannahill, and received a Dora nomination for Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land) (Saga Collectif) by Jeff Ho. Selected credits: Guarded Girls (Tarragon Theatre/Greenlight Arts); Betrayal, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Soulpepper Theatre); The Wedding Party (Crow's Theatre); Other Side of the Game (Cahoots/Obsidian Theatre); Up the Garden Path (Obsidian Theatre Company).
    Roy Lewis
    Radio Announcer
    2021: Radio Announcer in Serving Elizabeth. 16th season. Stratford: Sandys, Lord Chancellor (Henry VIII), Bookseller, Cairon (The Neverending Story), Judge Hathorne (The Crucible), Publius, Lepidus (Julius Caesar), Morocco (The Merchant of Venice), Capulet (Romeo and Juliet), Cyclops (The Odyssey). Elsewhere: The Storyteller (Moments With You), Lecturer, Nat Love (I See The Crimson Wave) (Here For Now Theatre); Stage Manager (Our Town) (Mercury Theatre); Abel Magwitch (Great Expectations) (Neptune); Mr. Potter (It's a Wonderful Life) (Theatre NorthWest, BC); Charley (Death of a Salesman) (Drayton); Camillo (The Winter's Tale) (Groundling). Roy is a playwright, has directed 10 plays, is a founding member of the Obsidian Theatre Company, and is a published poet.
    Sara Topham
    HRH Princess Elizabeth, Robin

    2021: HRH Princess Elizabeth, Robin in Serving Elizabeth. 14th season. Stratford: Shakespeare's Juliet, Rosalind, Olivia, Cordelia, Diana, Ann Boleyn, Jessica, Princess Katherine; Ruth (Blithe Spirit), Célimène (The Misanthrope), Tourvel (Dangerous Liaisons), Wendy (Peter Pan), Gwendolyn (The Importance of Being Earnest), Laurencia (Fuente Ovejuna), Mabel (An Ideal Husband), Laura (The Glass Menagerie), Grace (London Assurance), Brooke (Noises Off), Cassandra (Agamemnon). New York: Cecily in Tom Stoppard's Travesties (Broadway), Gwendolyn in The Importance Of Being Earnest (Broadway), Beatrice-Joanna in The Changeling (Off-Broadway). London: UK première of Intimate Apparel, world première of Love Me Do. Shaw Festival: Saint Joan (Joan), Man and Superman (Ann), Victory (Devonshire), Middletown (Tour Guide). Other (selected): Beatrice in Much Ado, Olivia in Twelfth Night (Old Globe), Ariel in The Tempest, Titania/Hippolyta in Midsummer (Shakespeare Theatre DC/Macau, China), Rachel Peabody in Disney's Eloise at Christmastime.

    Marcia Johnson
    Playwright

    Playwright of Serving Elizabeth   

    Marcia Johnson was born in Jamaica and has lived in and near Toronto (Tkaranto) since the age of six. Her five-minute play A Magical Place, written for Zoom, is available on YouTube as part of the National Transformations Project (National Arts Centre/Stratford Festival). She directed the two-hander, starring Kaleb Alexander and Amaka Umeh. 

    Marcia acted in Serving Elizabeth's world première at Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops in February 2020. It has been published by Scirocco Drama. The play was a co-production with Thousand Islands Playhouse, which will host its COVID-delayed production in October. More productions are in the works. 

    Other plays include Binti's Journey, an adaptation of the teen fiction novel The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis (Theatre Direct Canada/Manitoba Theatre for Young People/Black Theatre Workshop); Say Ginger Ale (SummerWorks Festival and adapted from her award-nominated CBC Radio drama); Courting Johanna (Blyth Festival), based on Alice Munro's "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage"; and Late, an original piece produced by Obsidian Theatre Company. 

    Marcia has participated in playwrights' groups at Thousand Islands Playhouse, Obsidian Theatre Company and Theatre Passe Muraille as well as Ontario Arts Council Playwright's Residencies at Blyth Festival and Roseneath Theatre. She also participated in Tapestry New Opera's Composer-Librettist Laboratory twice, which led to several productions of her short operas including the Dora-nominated My Mother's Ring with composer Stephen A. Taylor. 

    CBC Radio Drama writing credits include Wifely Duty and The Revival Meeting (Sounds Like Canada); Say Ginger Ale (The Round Up); and Perfect on Paper (Sunday Showcase and Monday Night Playhouse). Marcia was a member of Blyth Festival's 2018 acting company with lead roles in The New Canadian Curling Club and 1837: The Farmers' Revolt. She makes the odd appearance on TV and can be heard in the audio drama Every Minute of Every Day by Keith Barker as part of Factory Theatre's "You Can't Get There from Here" series. 

    Marcia started reading children's books online in April 2020 as a pandemic project. It transformed into the Facebook page "Hello, It's Marcia." As of this writing, she has read almost 400 books to children and adults alike.

    Kimberley Rampersad
    Director
    2021: Director of Serving Elizabeth. Second season. Stratford: Actor: Crazy for You, Man of La Mancha. Elsewhere: Director: Man and Superman, O'Flaherty, V.C. (Shaw), The Color Purple (Neptune and Citadel/RMTC), Intimate Apparel (WJT), How Black Mothers Say I Love You (GCTC), hang (with Philip Akin) (Obsidian). Choreographer: Matilda (RMTC/Citadel/Arts Club), Passing Strange (Musical Stage/Obsidian), Seussical (YPT). Actor: Nickie in Sweet Charity (Shaw), Helen in The Penelopiad (RMTC), Judy in White Christmas (RMTC). Film/TV: Director: Builder of Nations (CBC Gem/Obsidian). Actor: Journey Back to Christmas (Hallmark), Washed Away (Lifetime), Shall We Dance? (Miramax). Training: BA, University of Manitoba. Awards: Gina Wilkinson Prize; Evie, Prix Rideau, Merritt, Sterling awards; two Dora nominations. Et cetera: Kimberley is the Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival.
    Tamara Marie Kucheran
    Set Designer
    2021: Set designer of Serving Elizabeth. Seventh season. Stratford: The Two Gentlemen of Verona - costume; Fanny Kemble - set and costume. Assistant designer: Macbeth, Love's Labour's Lost, Caesar and Cleopatra, King Lear, London Assurance. Elsewhere: Tamara has had the privilege of working with some of the world's top theatre professionals on stages across Canada including the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, The Grand, RMTC, Obsidian, Citadel, Canadian Stage, Neptune, The Belfry, and YPT. Training: University of Victoria (BFA with Distinction), National Theatre School of Canada. Awards: Recipient of the 2017 Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design; Dora Award for Intimate Apparel (costume); Merritt Award for The Color Purple (costume); multiple award nominations across Canada. Teaching: National Theatre School, University of Winnipeg, University of Victoria. Tamara dedicates this season to science, perseverance, and joy. tamaramariekucheran.com.
    A.W. Nadine Grant
    Costume Designer
    2021: Costume designer of Serving Elizabeth. Second season. Stratford: Assistant costume designer: The Tempest, Two Gentlemen of Verona. Elsewhere: black odyssey boston (The Front Porch Arts Collective); Nat Turner in Jerusalem (Actors' Shakespeare Project); Between Riverside and Crazy (SpeakEasy Stage Company); 3/5ths: Trapped in a Travelling Minstrel Show (Sleeping Weasel); Kingdom Undone (Theatre for the Thirsty); Turn of the Screw (DVxT Theatre); 'da Kink in My Hair (Trey Anthony Studio); Ruined (Obsidian Theatre Company); Imprints (Theatre Gargantua); Borderlands, Broke-ology (Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Training: MFA Costume Design and Technology, University of Missouri - Kansas City. Awards: Ian & Molly Lindsay Young Designer Fellowship, USITT Costume Design & Technology Award 2009. Online: sidonie78.wixsite.com. Nadine dedicates this season to her teachers and mentors, past and present.
    Michel Charbonneau
    Lighting Designer
    2021: Lighting designer of Serving Elizabeth. Stratford debut. Michel has designed over 100 productions and has been nominated for eight Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Toronto), one Sterling Award (Edmonton) and one Leon Rabin Award (Dallas). His work has been seen or heard in France, Haiti, Brazil and throughout North America at the Teatro Peon Contreras, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theater, Dallas Theater Center, American Repertory Theater, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Network, Canadian Stage, Native Earth Performing Arts, Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Koerner Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, Centaur Theatre, National Arts Centre and many points in between. Michel also has an extensive teaching background and has worked at York, Laurentian and Bishop's universities and the Centre for Indigenous Theatre.
    Debashis Sinha
    Composer
    2021: Composer for Serving Elizabeth. Fifth season. Stratford: 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, Pleiades, Project:Humanity, Tribal Crackling Wind, and others; appearances at MUTEK Japan, Madrid Abierto, Banff Centre, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Guelph Jazz Festival, Sound Symposium, ISEA, 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).
    John Gzowski
    Sound Designer
    2021: Sound designer of Serving Elizabeth. Third season. Stratford: Composer, sound designer of The Front Page; sound designer of Alice Through the Looking-Glass. Elsewhere: The Hound of the Baskervilles, Dracula, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Shaw Festival); The Crucible, La Bête, Bed and Breakfast (Soulpepper); The Children, Helen Lawrence, Cruel and Tender (Canadian Stage); It's a Wonderful Life (MTC, Canadian Stage - live foley); Twelfth Night (NAC, Theatre Calgary); Theory, Other People's Children, The Vibrator Play (Tarragon); The War of the Worlds (Art of Time); Gziganes (Dancemakers). Recordings: Matador (Patricia O'Callaghan), Frey (Lenka Lichtenberg), Alchemy (Tasa). Awards: Six Dora Mavor Moore Awards for sound design, Juno nomination for Maza Meze. Online: johngzowski.com. Et cetera: As a musician/composer, John has performed at most of Canada's jazz and folk festivals and created music/sound for close to 200 shows.
    Mũkonzi Mũsyoki
    Dramaturge
    2021: Dramaturge for Serving Elizabeth and Associate, The Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program. Stratford debut. Mũkonzi is a theatre scholar, writer, director and dramaturge. He is currently a PhD student at the University of Alberta in Performance Studies. He has worked with Workshop West Playwrights' Theatre, Timms Centre Studio Theatre, the University of Alberta Drama Department, Northern Light Theatre, MAA and PAA Theatre, Concordia University of Edmonton, Concrete Theatre, Fringe Theatre Adventures, and The Citadel Theatre. Mũkonzi also continues to work as a dramaturge for Ignite Afrika Trust, where he participates in the OSNW (Old Stories in New Ways) Project and TIC (Theatrical Interactions for Change) back in Kenya, collaborating with local artists from Kisumu. His research is on Postcolonial Theatre and Performance, Dramaturgy, Urban Discourse and Identity Politics in contemporary East Africa and the Diaspora.
    Anita Nittoly
    Intimacy Director
    2021: Fight director of The Rez Sisters and intimacy director of Serving Elizabeth. Sixth season. Stratford: Fight director for the 2020 and 2019 seasons, and intimacy coach for Birds of a Kind. Elsewhere: Charlottetown Festival (2019 - Kronborg), Citadel Theatre (2019 - Fall on Your Knees), Centaur Theatre (2019 - The Last Wife; 2018 - Successions; 2017 - The 39 Steps), Carousel Players (2019 - Whole World), Blyth Festival (2018 season), Outside the March (2018 - Jerusalem), Canadian Opera Company (2014/15/16 - assistant fight master). Anita is the stage combat instructor and fight director at the National Theatre School in Montréal. She also works as a stunt performer and stunt actor in the film and TV industry - selected credits: See, Zeus, The Boys, Enhanced, Titans, Dark Matter. Et cetera: Supreme gratitude to Mom, Dad and Pat - you guys are everything to me.
    Francis Wambugu
    Gīkūyū Language Consultant and Dialect Coach
    2021: Gīkūyū Language Consultant and Dialect Coach for Serving Elizabeth. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: University of Alberta in Edmonton, Intercultural Training course instructor for Students Invested in Health Association (SIHA), Kiswahili language instructor as part of Kiswahili Learning Centre, 2015 to 2021. Radio/Recordings: Radio host, news broadcaster and DJ, Kiswahili FM (CJSR FM 88 Radio), 2016 to 2018. Training: University of Alberta MBA Program, Canadian Foreign Service Institute, Intercultural Effectiveness Course. Languages Spoken: Gīkūyū, Kiswahili, English, Setswana. Online: kilece.com.
    Brian Scott
    Stage Manager
    2021: Stage manager of Serving Elizabeth. 27th season. Stratford: 28 productions including the pandemic-interrupted Hamlet of 2020, Coriolanus, The Who's Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar (Stratford/La Jolla/Broadway), and the Miller-Plummer King Lear (Stratford, Lincoln Center).
    Corinne Richards
    Assistant Stage Manager
    2021: Assistant stage manager of Serving Elizabeth. 34th season. Stratford: Festival productions include 21 Shakespearean plays plus The Front Page, Napoli Milionaria!, The School for Scandal, All My Sons, The Physicists, The Beaux' Stratagem, The Thrill, Wanderlust, The Grapes of Wrath, The Homecoming, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Home, Memoir, Les Belles-Soeurs, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Amadeus, Little Women, The Country Wife, Pride and Prejudice, An Ideal Husband, Ghosts, The Lark and a 1998 transfer to New York City of Much Ado About Nothing and The Miser. Elsewhere: Corinne has also worked for the Grand Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, National Arts Centre, Red Barn Theatre, etc. Training: University of Waterloo. Et cetera: I am pleased to be a part of this unique Stratford Festival season when we are going back to our roots performing in tents.
    Farnoosh Talebpour
    Apprentice Stage Manager
    2021: Apprentice stage manager of Serving Elizabeth. Stratford debut. Elsewhere (selected): Apprentice stage manager: The Resurrection (Opera Atelier); Something Bubbled, Something Blue (Talk Is Free Theatre/Outside the March); Angelique (Black Theatre Workshop/Factory Theatre). Assistant stage manager: Through the Bamboo (Uwi Collective/Toronto Fringe); Mary Poppins (Lower Ossington Theatre). Stage manager: Iphigenia and the Furies (Saga Collectif); Don't Talk to Me Like I'm Your Wife, Better Angels: A Parable (Call Me Scotty Productions/SummerWorks). Film: Costumes for Tête à Tête, Lune, Queen of the Morning Calm. Training: York University, Fine Arts Cultural Studies. Et cetera: Farnoosh wants to thank the production and creative teams, and the cast for making her first season at Stratford a memorable one.
    Meghan Callan
    Production Stage Manager
    2021: Production stage manager of the Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy. 21st season. Stratford: In Meghan's 20 seasons she has served as production stage manager at all of the Festival's stages. Some of her favourite productions have been Paradise Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream (2014), The Tempest (2010), A Little Night Music, Jesus Christ Superstar and Tommy. Training: Meghan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Production from York University. Elsewhere: Meghan has most recently stage-managed 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 (twice), and stage-managed car and industrial trade shows and concerts. Not since her beginnings as a stage manager at Canada's Wonderland has she worked in an outdoor theatre under a canopy and she's grateful to be back.
    Elizabeth McDermott
    Production Stage Manager

    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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