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Stratford Festival Launches 2021 Season

68 years after its opening in 1953, The Stratford Festival opened it’s 2021 season the way it all began - on July 13th under a canopy tent.



The return to the festival’s roots has provided a way to reopen to live audiences as we all navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic.


This outdoor season will feature six plays and five cabarets centered around the theme of Metamorphosis.


I’ve attached more information about the shows being featured below, and more information and tickets can be found here:

www.stratfordfestival.ca


R&J

Festival Theatre Canopy

August 12th - September 26th

By William Shakespeare

Adapted by Ravi Jain, Christine Horne, and Alex Blumer

Directed by Ravi Jain

Produced in collaboration with Why Not Theatre


THERE'S MORE TO LOVE THAN MEETS THE EYE

They say that love is blind – and with blindness comes the freedom to open the mind’s eye to a world of limitless possibility. Likewise, the challenge of staging the world’s most famous love story, Romeo and Juliet, in a time of physical distancing brings with it the opportunity to explore modes of theatrical presentation that are both unexpectedly novel and as old as the art of storytelling itself.

Intended for blind, low-vision and sighted audiences alike, this radically reimagined version of Shakespeare’s beloved romantic tragedy invites you into an up-to-the-minute modern world of sound and music, a world that challenges the identities we construct when we use only our eyes, a world in which the entrenched hostilities of an older generation are challenged by the passions of young people who only want to love.

R+J is accessible to blind and low-vision audiences through an integrated audio description.


A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy

July 16th - August 1st

By Willliam Shakespeare

Directed by Peter Pasyk


WAKING UP TO THE UNREAL WORLD

Spellbound lovers, quarrelling fairies, tradesmen with a fervour for amateur theatricals: they’re all mixed up together in the surreal world of Shakespeare’s great comedy of dreaming and desire.

This deep dive into the sometimes unsettlingly dark and dangerous realms of the subconscious famously culminates in a play within the play: a hilariously inept performance by Nick Bottom and his fellow would-be actors. But even as we laugh at the ham-fisted efforts of these “rude mechanicals,” we are won over by their heartfelt belief in the power of the imagination.

Taking its cue from that insight, this production deploys the most fundamental techniques of theatrical art in a magically inventive staging of a play that is itself a celebration of the imagination at its most extreme.


*There is currently a waitlist for tickets to this production.


THREE TALL WOMEN

Studio Theatre

August 10th - October 9th

Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women

Directed by Diana LeBlanc


JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU KNOW SOMEONE . . .

By turns acerbic, anguished and sarcastically funny, an old woman known to us only as “A” lays bare her inner life in sometimes shocking detail to two others: a middle-aged caregiver identified only as “B” and a young legal professional, “C.”

Originally programmed for our 2020 season, Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, which he called an “exorcism” of his own troubled relationship with his adoptive mother, is a profound meditation on aging, death and the very nature of the self: who are we really, and how do we become who we are?

In keeping with our pandemic precautions, we present the play's two parts – the second of which brings a startlingly different take on its characters – as separate performances, scheduled to be seen on the same day.


*There is currently a waitlist for tickets to this production.

**One ticket provides access to both parts of the play on the same day.


THE REZ SISTERS

Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy

July 23rd - August 21st

By Tomson Highway

Directed by Jessica Carmichael


WIN OR LOSE, THE GAME WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES

They have their dreams and their difficulties, these seven women. One yearns for a singing career; another for white porcelain toilet. One grieves for her lover, killed in a motorcycle accident; another harbours the memory of a horrific sexual assault. The cancer that afflicts one of them is not the only malignancy they confront.

But one dream they hold in common is that of winning “the biggest bingo in the world” – and one day, accompanied by the transformative spirit guide Nanabush, they leave their Manitoulin Island reserve and set out for Toronto to do just that.

Ribald, harrowing and mystical, this seminal work of Indigenous drama celebrates the spirit of resilience and the powerful beauty these women bring to the tough world in which they live.


$5 from each ticket sold for The Rez Sisters will be donated to Native Women’s Association of Canada in support of justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.


*There is currently a waitlist for tickets to this production.


SERVING ELIZABETH

Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy

August 28th - September 26th

Produced by special arrangement with Thousand Islands Playhouse

By Marcia Johnson

Directed by Kimberley Rampersad


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.


*There is currently a waitlist for tickets to this production.


I AM WILLIAM

A Play With Music

Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy

August 10th - September 12th

Text by Rébecca Déraspe

Music by Chloé Lacasse and Benoit Landry

English translation by Leanna Brodie

Directed by Esther Jun


HER BROTHER'S NO SHAKEPEARE – BUT SHE SURE IS

Margaret Shakespeare has a dazzling talent for writing, which she yearns to put to serious use. But in an age lethally suspicious of female intellect and literacy, how can she find a way to fulfill her authorial ambitions yet still survive? Fortunately, she has a brother, William, who isn’t much of a writer but who wants to make it as an actor – and friends in high places have just the role for him.

Tapping into our fascination with the enigma of William Shakespeare’s life and how he came to write those plays – and the seemingly endless speculation in some quarters about whether he really did – this lighthearted yet genuinely passionate interweaving of comedy, song and poetic fancy spins a playful and witty yarn that will delight younger audiences and adults alike.


WHY WE TELL THE STORY

CABARET

Festival Theatre Canopy

July 10th - July 21st

Curated and Directed by Marcus Nance


A CELEBRATION OF BLACK MUSICAL THEATRE

Throughout the ages the African-American community has told stories of life, love, pain and hope through the glorious expressions of musical theatre and poetry. In this update of the sold-out 2019 Meighen Forum concert, Festival artists take you on a journey with the voices of legendary Black poets and the music of the African-American musical-theatre canon, including hits from Aida, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Color Purple, Hamilton, The Lion King, Once on This Island, Show Boat and many more. As Maya Angelou said, “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, / I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”


YOU CAN’T STOP THE BEAT

CABARET

Festival Theatre Canopy

July 15th - July 31st

Curated and Directed by Thom Allison


THE ENDURING POWER OF MUSICAL THEATRE

What is it about musical theatre that captures the hearts of millions of fans? Through wars, disasters, heartbreaks and triumphs, musicals have been there to give us a way to understand the human experience and flourish. Has there ever been a better way to represent our inner lives than in glorious Technicolor and song? We invite you on this tune-filled ride to celebrate why musicals have always been the ultimate tonic for the soul in good or troubled times.

*There is currently a waitlist for tickets to this production.


PLAY ON!

CABARET

Festival Theatre Canopy

July 29th - August 15th

Curated by Robert Markus, Julia Nish-Lapidus, and James Wallis

Directed by Julia Nish-Lapidus and James Wallis


A SHAKESPEARE-INSPIRED MIXTAPE

Shakespeare’s influence on Western culture extends even into your favourite pop hits. Whether it be direct lines from his plays appearing in Top 40 lyrics or whole songs inspired by his plots, whether the borrowers be Taylor Swift, Madonna, Elton John, The Beatles, Prince or Radiohead, Shakespeare is still there, lurking n the mainstream, as cool and as relevant as ever. This lively celebration of terrific tunes affords a great opportunity to introduce a younger audience to Shakespeare’s continuing role in popular culture.


FREEDOM

CABARET

Festival Theatre Canopy

August 19th - September 5th

Curated and Directed by Beau Dixon


SPIRIT AND LEGACY OF BLACK MUSIC

From the moment Black people landed on North American soil, their music took root and became the basis or much of the popular music we hear today. There is an endless list of exceptional Black musicians who have been lost to history while their white counterparts gained fame. From church hymnals to the blues, from jazz to rock ’n’ roll, R&B and rap, we owe much of our musical history to Black culture, and it’s time to give credit where it is due.


FINALLY THERE’S SUN

CABARET

Festival Theatre Canopy

September 9th - September 26th

Curated and Directed by Sara Farb and Steve Ross


A CABARET OF RESILIENCE

After their success with The Victory Cabaret and The New Cabaret, Sara Farb and Steve Ross return, along with Noah Beemer and Germaine Konji, to take us on a musical journey through a year of enormous change and growth. They explore the isolation, the loneliness, the upheaval and the unexpected silver linings that came out of a time like no other. Join us to reflect on this “great pause” as we move forward and get back to living freely.



Will you be attending The Stratford Festival this summer?

Let us know which shows you are looking forward to seeing!


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