Photograph of Festival Theatre exterior

STRATFEST@HOME FAQS

HAVE A QUESTION?

STRATFEST@HOME – The Stratford Festival’s Digital Subscription Service

 

STRATFEST@HOME is a paid subscription streaming service that allows you to watch the full catalogue of Stratford Festival On Film recordings, recordings of selected historical performances, a variety of supplementary content related to productions, selected educational and coaching content, and original artistic work that has been especially made for digital, all via a single, easy-to-navigate section on the Stratford Festival website.

From time to time we will release premium content for add-on purchase. This will include live streams of performances, Meighen Forum discussions and special events, and specially acquired content. Each piece of premium content will be priced individually.

How much is a subscription?
If you take out a STRATFEST@HOME subscription before the end of 2020, a special introductory price of $10/month will be available. If you take advantage of this offer, so long as you maintain your subscription without interruption, this introductory price will continue to roll over for 24 months from the date you took out your subscription or until the STRATFEST@HOME service ends, whichever is earlier.
In 2021, STRATFEST@HOME subscriptions will cost $15/month.

What is the subscription frequency?
Monthly. Subscriptions roll over automatically each month on the date your subscription was taken out. For instance, if you take out a subscription on October 15, its cost will be automatically charged to the method of payment on the 15th of each ensuing month until you cancel your subscription or the service is ended.

If the STRATFEST@HOME model continues for a longer term, yearly subscriptions and variable price for tiered-access subscriptions may be introduced.

Can I cancel my subscription?
You can cancel your subscription at any time by emailing orders@stratfordfestival.ca. We need at least two business days (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to process cancellations. You’ll be able to access STRATFEST@HOME content until midnight at the end of your current paid-up subscription period. A cancellation received within two days of the next billing cycle will be cancelled from the following month onward.

Is there a cancellation notice period?
Yes. We require two standard business days (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to process a cancellation. Please note that if you cancel within two business days of your renewal date, you may be automatically charged for that renewal, and your cancellation will take effect after the end of your next billing month.

How do I update my credit card information for monthly billing?
If your credit card expires while your subscription is current, you will receive an email from us requesting you to call the Stratford Festival to update your credit card details.

For your security, we will never include in that email a link to update your credit card details, nor will we provide a phone number. (If you don’t know our Call Centre phone number, you can find it on the “Contact Us” page of the “About Us” section of our website or in any copy of our Visitors Guide.)

We know this may be an inconvenience, but we take this measure solely to protect you. It’s a common ploy of scammers to fool unsuspecting customers by posing as a trusted business and providing a false phone number.

Is it possible to try before I buy?
When you visit the STRATFEST@HOME page, you’ll be able to view the subscription portal as a guest to get a taste of the large range of content that is available, but you’ll only be able to watch content labelled “Freeview.”

What content can I access as a STRATFEST@HOME subscriber?
By subscribing to STRATFEST@HOME you’ll enjoy immediate access to all available Stratford Festival On Film recordings, supplementary content and new work especially created for digital viewing as it is released. The catalogue of work will be ever growing.

The STRATFEST@HOME content will vary by region and may change over time, as we don’t hold global distribution rights for all content, and the rights to some content have been granted to us only for a limited period of time.

Will all Stratford Festival shows be available as live streams?
Sorry, no. We don’t hold the screen distribution rights to all productions and events that we present at the Festival. There can be many reasons for this, the two most common being that a film or television production company has purchased screen rights to a particular play or musical or that another theatre company holds the rights to present the show in their territory, which prohibits the Stratford Festival’s production being broadcast in that same territory.

Is all content available in all corners of the globe?
Most, but not all, of the content is available globally. In some cases, the distribution rights we hold may limit release to Canadian viewers. Such content will be identified by the words "Currently available in Canada only" in the description, along with a date for global release.

Is there still free content and video on YouTube?
Yes: selected works, episodes, trailers and other promotional content are available for free on both the Stratford Festival website and other streaming sites such as YouTube. The benefit of subscribing to STRATFEST@HOME is that all available Stratford Festival content has been gathered together into one easy-to-navigate section of the website.

You can also log in as a guest to STRATFEST@HOME to easily find and view the free content. Look out for “Freeview” superimposed on the content tiles to identify the content you can view for free.

Will there still be YouTube viewing parties?
Yes, you can participate in a viewing party on YouTube on Thursday evenings EST.

Will there be viewing parties inside the subscription?
To offer you live-event excitement within the subscription series, we aim to introduce appointment viewing – viewing parties – in the future.

What happens to on-demand purchases?
On-demand purchases remain valid in perpetuity. To access a film on demand, you will need to log into STRATFEST@HOME, where the film(s) you’ve purchased will be available for you to play. You can find those by clicking on “My On-Demand” in the navigation bar at the top of the STRATFEST@HOME service.

If you already have an on-demand video when you take out a subscription, and then cancel your subscription, your on-demand purchase will still be available for you to watch by logging in.

Why would I choose to subscribe rather than purchase a film on demand and vice versa?
By subscribing to STRATFEST@HOME, you can watch all our content while your subscription is current. That’s a lot of content, but access to it is time-bound.

If you purchased an on-demand version of a Stratford Festival On Film production, you have that film, and only that film, available to you in perpetuity.

Can I still purchase a single film on demand?
Yes: if you want to have permanent access to a specific title, you can purchase it on demand. Each film that is available for on-demand purchase will have a “Buy Now” button on its tile. DVD and Blu-ray copies of the films can also be purchased while stocks last.


Thursday Night Live Viewing Parties

How do I comment on the Thursday evening YouTube viewing parties?
At the bottom of the chat feed, you’ll see the words “Say something.” Simply type there, and when you press “Enter,” your comments will be added to the chat.

To comment, you need to have a Gmail account and be signed in. If you’re not signed in, hover over the space where you enter comments, and you’ll see the words “Sign in” appear. Click on that, and then, following the sign-in steps, YouTube will automatically return you to the viewing party.

If you’re not automatically returned to the viewing party, go to stratfordfestival.ca and click on the red “Watch” button on the viewing party banner on the homepage.

Can I still comment on the viewing party chat if I don't have a Gmail account?
YouTube is owned by Google, so to join the chat you have to have a Gmail account.

To create an account, hover over the space where you enter comments, and you’ll see the words “Sign in” appear. Click on the “Sign in” message, and you’ll be taken to a page where you’re asked to enter an email address or phone number. At the bottom of the sign-in box are the words “Create account.” Click on those, and you’ll be guided through the Gmail sign-up process.

Once you’ve created your account, you should be automatically returned to the viewing party. If for some reason you’re not, go to stratfordfestival.ca and click on the red “Watch” button on the film’s banner on the homepage.

How do I turn off the chat on the Thursday evening YouTube viewing parties?
You can do this in two ways:  

  1. Go to full-screen mode. Hover your mouse over the video, and a bar will appear at the bottom of the image. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a broken square. Click on that, and the video will enlarge to cover your full screen. To return to a small screen, follow those same steps, but this time the broken square will have reversed.
  2. At the bottom of the chat feed, click on the words “Hide chat” or “Hide chat replay.”


Will the film be available after the 12-hour free viewing party period? 
Yes, each film will be available on the STRATFEST@HOME subscription service. Visit the Stratford Festival website and click on STRATFEST@HOME on the navigation bar at the top of the page. This will take you to a page where you can sign up for a subscription. Subscriptions taken out in 2020 cost just $10 per month. You can cancel your subscription at any time.

Can I watch with closed captioning?
Yes, you can. If you plan to watch the live viewing party, follow the viewing party link from our website, and links to a closed-caption version of the film will appear below the video. Unfortunately, you won’t able to participate in the live comments while using a caption-friendly version.

To view the closed captioning when watching the film at a later time, hover your mouse over the video, and a bar will appear at the bottom of the image. On the right-hand side, click on the “CC” icon to access the closed-captioning settings.

How do I synchronize the video and sound?
There are two ways to fix this issue:

  1. In the address bar at the top of your browser, click on the refresh button that appears as a circle with an arrow at the right or left side of the bar. This should align your video and sound feeds.
  2. If you continue to have issues, you may need to reduce the resolution at which the video is playing. Hover your mouse over the video, and a bar will appear at the bottom of the image. On the right-hand side is a settings icon that looks like a cogwheel (or a flower): click on that, and a menu will pop up. This will enable you to choose the resolution at which you wish to play the video. Choose “Auto” to let the browser work out the optimum resolution for your Internet connection speed, or test options to find what works best for you.

Can I watch on my television, or does it have to be my computer?
If you have a smart TV that’s connected to the Internet, you’ll be able to watch on your television. Otherwise, you should connect through your desktop, tablet or mobile device. If you have a smart TV device, such as a Chromecast, Roku or Apple TV, you should be able to cast directly to this device from your laptop or tablet, allowing you to watch our material on your TV.

I am using Internet Explorer, and the video won’t load
Some features of YouTube don’t work on Internet Explorer. The best Internet browser to use for YouTube is Google Chrome. It is very easy to install. You can download Chrome from here: https://www.google.com/chrome/. You may be prompted for permissions and settings: accept the prompts and default settings, and Chrome will be installed on your computer.  

You’ll probably be asked if you wish to “launch” Chrome. Click “OK,” and Chrome will open. Enter stratfordfestival.ca in the address bar at the top of the page, as you would in Explorer, then click on the red “Watch” button on the King Lear banner on the homepage. YouTube will open in a new tab, and you can start watching.

The image is fuzzy
Hover your mouse over the video, and a bar will appear at the bottom of the image. On the right-hand side is a settings icon that looks like a cogwheel (or a flower): click on that, and a menu will pop up. This will enable you to choose the resolution at which you wish to play the video. If you select 1080HD, you’ll get the highest possible resolution, and that will resolve any fuzziness.

If your Internet connection is slow, the film may pause to buffer the stream frequently. If that happens, open the menu from the cog/flower again and choose the second-highest resolution available. Keep repeating that process until you have a continuous stream, which should still provide you with reasonable quality.

You can also choose “Auto” to let the browser work out the optimum resolution for your Internet connection speed.

Our shows are filmed in high definition, so if your issues are not resolved after taking these steps, it’s likely due to the speed of your Internet connection.

I can’t hear anything
There are two places where your sound may be muted: on the video player itself or on your computer. To check the sound on the video player, hover your mouse over the video, and a bar will appear at the bottom of the image. On the left-hand side, you’ll see a white play/pause icon, followed by a move-forward icon, and then a small speaker icon. Hover over the speaker, and a volume bar will appear. Slide the dot to the right to increase the volume.

If you still don’t have sound, your computer’s speakers may be muted. Locate the speaker icon on your computer.

For Windows computers, it’s on the taskbar at the bottom on the right-hand side. Move the slider to the right to increase the volume.

For Mac computers, it’s either on the top right corner of your keyboard or on the top right corner of your screen. If it’s on your keyboard, click the speaker icon on the far right. If it’s on your screen, click on the icon, and a volume bar will appear. Move the slider down to increase the volume.

How do I make the video full-screen?
Hover your mouse over the video, and a bar will appear at the bottom of the image. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a broken square. Click on that, and the video will enlarge to cover your entire screen.

To return to a small screen, follow those same steps, but this time the broken square will have reversed. Click on that, and the image will reduce to the normal YouTube page. You can also press the “Escape” button to go back to a small screen.

The video is paused
There are two reasons this could occur:

  1. If you see a still image of people on the video, you may have pressed “Pause.” Move your mouse over the video, and a bar will appear at the bottom of the image. On the left-hand side is a “play “triangle. Click on that, and the video will resume playing.
  2. If your issue is not resolved, your video may be buffering, so give it a few moments to catch up. If that happens frequently or is taking a long time, change the resolution to a lower setting by hovering your mouse over the video. A bar will appear at the bottom of the image. On the right-hand side is a settings icon that looks like a cogwheel (or a flower): click on that, and a menu will pop up. This will enable you to choose the resolution at which you wish to play the video. Choose a lower setting than you’re currently using, or choose “Auto” to let the browser work out the optimum resolution for your Internet connection speed. If the screen freezes, you’ll need to reload the YouTube page. Next to the address bar in your browser, you’ll see a circle with an arrow tip on it. Click on that, and the page will reload.


Tips on Casting and Connecting StratFest@Home

The Stratford Festival does not currently have a native streaming app to access StratFest@Home. The best way to watch is directly from an internet browser on your device and from our website. For Roku, Apple TV, Firestick or other Smart TV's, search the web browser app and go to our website. There are many types of Smart TV's and ways to stream. Here is a tutorial for many of the commonly used devices. 

Using a Chromecast? On your computer, open the Chrome browser. In the top right corner, click More (the three vertical dots) and select Cast. Choose the Chromecast device where you want to watch the content. Tip: make sure that your TV and tablet/laptop are on the same Wifi network! The names must match exactly, so if your tablet or laptop is on the 5G wifi, then your Chromecast must be as well.