NOVEMBER 2017 ISSUE
With such great productions as The Tempest, Coriolanus, To Kill a Mockingbird, Long Day's Journey Into Night, An Ideal Husband, The Music Man and The Rocky Horror Show - to name just a few - we hope you're looking forward to next year with great anticipation! Starting on November 12, valued Members like you will be able to purchase tickets and be guaranteed the very best seats in the house - weeks ahead of the general public on-sale date of January 5!
Don't miss your exclusive opportunity to order well in advance and book the best selection of tickets at great pre-season prices. That includes priority access to 2-for-1 Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday performances, and to our Musical Ticket Offer and Shakespeare Ticket Offer - enabling you to save up to 50%!
On-Sale DatesMembership Level | Online at noon | By phone or in person at 9 a.m.
Playwright's Circle | November 12 | November 13
Sustainer/Prospero Society | November 13 | November 14
Associate | November 14 | November 15
Benefactor | November 15 | November 16
Ambassador | November 16 | November 17
Friend | November 17 | November 18
For more information about next season's line-up, and to plan your personal playbill, visit our website.
Casting a female actor in a male
leading role is not a new concept to productions of Shakespeare's plays. In the
18th and 19th centuries, the famed stage performers Charlotte Cushman and
Sarah Bernhardt both famously took on "breeches" roles such as Hamlet.
The idea is not a new one here at the Festival either: over the past
decade, the growing trend of cross-gender casting has been seen in such
productions as Breath of Kings and As You Like It, and in
2011, Seana McKenna took on the title role of Richard III to the
great excitement of critics and fans alike. In Shakespeare's own time, of
course, all female roles were portrayed by boys, so gender-bending in the
other direction is not such a stretch as some might think.
season, the Stratford Festival is showcasing women in some of Shakespeare's
most compelling male roles, including Martha Henry's Prospero in The
Tempest and Ms McKenna in the title role of Julius Caesar,
alongside Michelle Giroux as Mark Antony and Irene Poole as Cassius.
"The gender parity casting in Julius Caesar goes from the top on
down," says director Scott Wentworth. "We've seen women playing male roles
here at the Festival before, but this production takes it another step
further by having an equal number of male and female players taking on
traditionally male parts.
"It was a joint decision with [Artistic
Director] Antoni Cimolino to approach the play in this manner, and I was very
interested in the experiment. We've been trying it out here for a number of
seasons, but this is our first major production to be done with the leads
and the ensemble parts being a 50/50 split between men and women. This way,
both genders will be speaking without one voice dominating the other for too
Wentworth's view, there are a couple of different angles from which to approach
this exploration. One way is to create a world - either one wholly imagined,
or one based in reality, like Margaret Thatcher's England - where women would
be in a natural position to assume those strong roles. The other way is to
see the entire concept of gender as a trapping of the 19th century and simply
accept that these are actors taking on roles, in the same way that
cross-cultural casting has become more and more the norm.
"The more I
read and re-read the play, the more interested I became in this approach to
it," says Mr. Wentworth. "Next to Timon of Athens, it's the play with
the least number of female roles in it, and they never even get a chance to
speak to one another. Knowing the casting, I keep hearing things differently
as I read, and the more I think the poetry strongly reverberates with the
culture that we're living in now. There are so many parallels to what is
going on in the world.
"Take Rome and the way it extols the so-called
masculine virtues of individuality and aggression to the point of fetishism
- making them the only ones worthy of public discourse. At the same time,
the feminine energy is banished to private rooms, becoming silent and
silenced. It begs the pertinent questions, 'What does that do to the idea of
a democracy? In that sort of atmosphere, does a dictatorship become
inevitable? What do you do with a Julius Caesar when tyranny seems the only
"Donald Trump postures the aforementioned 'great'
masculine qualities, and in so doing defeated Hilary Clinton, who was also
posturing them. Putting female actors into these larger parts will give an
insight to the dangers of male behaviour in ways of which a male actor may
not be quite so aware - and that will also greatly affect the audience's
Shakespeare's shortest plays, Julius Caesar fits well with a modern
sensibility. Its language is terse and concise and lacks the soaring imagery
found in his other plays of that time, such as As You Like It and
"We seem to be in an altogether different language
world," says Mr. Wentworth. "Again, there is a timely connection in the way that
Julius Caesar speaks like he expects everything he says to be written down.
Everything feels like a sound bite, like it belongs on YouTube or Twitter or
Google tracking. Young audiences can relate well to this sort of thing: they
have very different perceptions about gender relations and living life out in
public without any real concern for their privacy rights.
generally think that Julius Caesar is a stodgy, straightforward glimpse
of history, but with its tight and considered use of language, the play has the
voice to engage in the conversations we have today. It shows that politics is
anything but intellectual - that it is all emotionally based and rife with
explosive volatility. One minute citizens can think someone's a hero, and the
next minute they want to lock him up or tear him to pieces."
women in traditionally male roles also hugely expands the acting opportunities
for gifted female performers.
"Barring her gender, an actor of Seana's
range and experience would have played Julius Caesar already," says Mr.
Wentworth. "This gives really extraordinary actors the chance to play the great
roles and close that gap of time in their careers between playing Juliet and
Queen Margaret. Beyond that, it will blow the dust off the play and give us a
new way in - both as a creative company and as an audience - so that we can ask
questions about what this play says to us in the here and now.
idea behind presenting classical plays is that as a society we need to
re-experience them every so often so we can ask ourselves those big questions,
and actively conjure up and listen to the answers."
Key casting is now in place for 2018,
including Martha Henry as Prospero, Seana
McKenna as Julius Caesar, André Sills as Coriolanus
and Daren A. Herbert as Harold Hill in The Music
Man. Here's a look at what some of your Festival favourites will be up
to, along with some familiar returning faces and welcome newcomers to the
Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show | Directed
and choreographed by Donna Feore
Dan Chameroy as Dr. Frank N. Furter Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Janet Sayer Roberts as Brad Robert Markus
as Riff Raff Erica Peck as Magenta Steve Ross as the Narrator
Kimberly-Ann Truong as Columbia
Meredith Willson's The Music
Man | Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore
Herbert as Harold Hill Danielle Wade as Marion Paroo Denise
Oucharek as Mrs. Paroo Steve Ross as Mayor Shinn Mark Uhre as
Marcellus Washburn Blythe Wilson as Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn
| Directed by Antoni Cimolino Martha Henry as Prospero Graham Abbey as Antonio Michael Blake as Caliban Tom McCamus as
Stephano Stephen Ouimette as Trinculo André Sills as Sebastian
Julius Caesar | Directed by Scott Wentworth Seana McKenna as Julius Caesar Michelle Giroux as Mark Antony Jonathan Goad as Brutus Irene Poole as Cassius Monice Peter as
Portia Joseph Ziegler as Caska
| Directed by Robert Lepage André Sills as Coriolanus
Graham Abbey as Tullus Aufidius Michael Blake as Cominius Tom
McCamus as Menenius Agrippa Stephen Ouimette as Junius Brutus Lucy
Peacock as Volumnia Tom Rooney as Sicinius Velutus
Comedy of Errors | Directed by Keira Loughran Beryl
Bain as Dromio of Syracuse Josue Laboucane as Dromio of Ephesus
Jessica B. Hill as Antipholus of Syracuse Qasim Khan as Antipholus of
To Kill a Mockingbird | Directed by Nigel Shawn Williams
Jonathan Goad as Atticus Finch
Irene Poole as Jean Louise, the Narrator
Matthew C. Brown as Tom Robinson
Tim Campbell as Heck Tate
Jonelle Gunderson as Mayella Ewell
Randy Hughson as Bob Ewell
Joseph Ziegler as Judge Taylor
An Ideal Husband | Directed by Lezlie Wade
Tim Campbell as Sir Robert Chiltern
Brad Hodder as Lord Arthur Goring
Joseph Ziegler as Lord Caversham
Bahareh Yaraghi as Mrs. Laura Cheveley
Sophia Walker as Lady Gertrude Chiltern
Napoli Milionaria! | Directed by Antoni Cimolino
Tom McCamus as Gennaro Iovine
Brigit Wilson as Amalia
Michael Blake as Errico
Tom Rooney as Riccardo Spasiano
Johnathan Sousa as Amedeo
Long Day's Journey Into Night | Directed by Miles Potter
Seana McKenna as Mary Tyrone
Scott Wentworth as James Tyrone
Gordon S. Miller as James Tyrone Jr.
OF STRATFORD FESTIVAL COMMISSIONS
Brontë | Directed by Vanessa Porteous
Beryl Bain as Charlotte
Andrea Rankin as Anne
Jessica B. Hill as Emily
Paradise Lost | Directed by Jackie Maxwell
Lucy Peacock as Satan
Qasim Khan as Adam
Amelia Sargisson as Eve
Support for the 2018 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein and Claire Foerster.
Support for the 2018 season of the Avon Theatre is generously provided by the Birmingham Family.
Support for the 2018 season of the Studio Theatre is generously provided by Sandra & Jim Pitblado.
Do you hate long lines in shops and crowded mall parking lots? So do we! This year, avoid the madness and enjoy stress-free holiday gift buying with Stratford Festival Gift Certificates. They're a perfect solution for theatre lovers of all ages: great for a favourite teacher, a beloved young person, kind neighbours, valued colleagues, your parents or your special sweetheart.
Our Gift Certificates are available in any denomination, making them a great one-size-fits-all present. Just enter the amount and quantity of each certificate you'd like to buy. Both mail and email delivery options are available - perfect for last-minute gift-giving!
Stratford Festival Gift Certificates can be redeemed for:
- Theatre tickets
- Membership donations
- Warehouse, garden and backstage tours
- Specialty items from our Stratford Festival Shops
For guaranteed holiday delivery of physical Gift Certificates by standard mail, please order online or call 1.800.567.1600 by December 8. You can also purchase in person at the Festival Theatre Box Office until December 24 at 2 p.m. Get your Gift Certificates any time online and have them delivered to you electronically - available 24 hours a day, seven days a week - including December 25!
Shop in person!
If you find yourself in the Stratford area, why not stop by our wonderful downtown Stratford Festival Shop? Located next to the Avon Theatre at 99 Downie Street, it's a delightful place in which to browse through our large selection of wonderful books, DVDs, theatrical goodies, T-shirts, jewellery, toys and quality gift ideas! Our friendly staff can help you choose that perfect something for your extra-special someone.
And if you can't make it to town, you can explore our virtual shop online.
Beginning this month, our
stunning HD film productions of Macbeth and Love's Labour's
Lost will be available to rent or buy online, along with six other titles
from our acclaimed Shakespeare series: King Lear, King John, Antony and
Cleopatra, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew and The Adventures of
The films can be accessed through iTunes, Amazon, and
Google Play. Visit http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/OnDemand
Stratford Festival HD is sponsored by Sun Life
Financial as part of their Making the Arts More Accessible™ program.
Support for Stratford Festival HD is generously provided by The John and
Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, the
Jenkins Family Foundation, the Henry White Kinnear Foundation, Ophelia &
Mike Lazaridis, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Sandra & Jim
Pitblado, the Slaight Family Foundation, Robert & Jacqueline Sperandio,
and an anonymous donor.
Support for Stratford Festival HD has also been
provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
Canadian distribution is through Cineplex, which specializes in bringing
world-class events and performances to the big screen.
followed by a broadcast window on CBC, Canada's national public