The Lab Ensemble is a group of Festival company members who work with guest artists to help the Stratford Festival expand its horizons. We look at different creation models, bodies of work, and intercultural collaborations. This year the Lab Ensemble’s mission is to break through the boundaries of what we
think of as ‘canonical.’ From June to October, the Festival will welcome actors, directors, and creators from across Turtle Island and beyond to help us explore a selection of plays and stories from a range of cultures and communities. Working in mixed company with a wide array of visiting creators
and performers, we are looking to meet new stories and performance methods by exploring works from around the world and throughout the ages.
Please see below for more information about each of the units we will be exploring. Follow our journey on Twitter @stratfestLAB as the Laboratory experiments with the alchemy of combining disparate artists, cultures, and canons from around the world.
Approaching New Dramaturgies with Guillermo Verdecchia
Guillermo Verdecchia is a playwright, director, and dramaturge with a long history of creating dynamic new work. Currently the Head of New Plays at Soulpepper Theatre, Guillermo will lead a deep dive into one of his favourite challenging texts to help the Ensemble develop some common
vocabulary and techniques to interpret and discuss new plays and unconventional dramaturgy.
Indigenous Body of Work with Keith Barker
Keith Barker is an Algonquin Métis playwright, actor, and director, and is currently the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. His 2018 play This Is How We Got Here was shortlisted
for the Governor-General's Award. Keith will be bringing forward some large-scale Indigenous work from Turtle Island, both from Native Earth's past works and new texts by Indigenous writers.
Wole Soyinka with Tawiah M’Carthy
Tawiah M'Carthy is a Ghanian-Canadian director, creator, and performer, and currently a resident director at Canadian Stage. Tawiah will lead the group through a selection of works by Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, the Nobel-prize-winning
writer often referred to as "The African Shakespeare."
Toward A Trans Canon with Emma
Emma Frankland is an award-winning British theatre-maker and performer, and the Artistic Director of an internationally touring company focusing on gender and the politics of transition. Emma will be leading a unit exploring a selection of plays that "trans the canon,"
joined by a team of Trans and Non-Binary artists.
East Asian Plays with Jovanni Sy
Jovanni Sy is a Chinese/Filipino Canadian playwright and director from British Columbia, and the outgoing Artistic Director of the Gateway Theatre in Richmond B.C. Jovanni will lead a unit of plays from East Asia proper, as well as the East Asian-Canadian Diaspora.
Post-Colonial Latinx Perspectives with Carmen
Aguirre and Barbara Fuchs
Carmen Aguirre, a Chilean-Canadian writer, director, and performer, and UCLA scholar and translator Barbara Fuchs will explore a Latinx perspectives on classic texts, including contemporary adaptations of classical themes, and Barbara's new feminist translations of
Spanish Golden Age plays.
Black Canadian Voices with Mel Hague
Mel Hague, Artistic Associate at Buddies in Bad Times and in-demand dramaturge, will lead the Ensemble through a unit exploring large-scale works from Black Canadian playwrights and theatre makers.