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Stratford Festival’s work being showcased far beyond Stratford

People will have a number of opportunities to see the work of the Stratford Festival on stages in Toronto and Montreal, as well as on screens across Canada and internationally this year.

Posted on Thu, Jan 10th, 2019 9:43 am by joyoftravel.ca news services

“Over the next several months a wide cross-section of the Festival’s work is being presented in the world beyond Stratford,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Four productions will be on stage in Toronto and Montreal – a groundbreaking production of Shakespeare, a contemporary staging of a 17th-century comedy, and two gripping plays developed in our Laboratory. We’ll also have two new Shakespeare films premièring as part of our initiative to capture all of Shakespeare’s plays on film.”

The film of Cimolino’s production of The Tempest will première at Cineplex Theatres on April 13. The stage production was a true theatrical event, featuring the great Martha Henry as Prospero, more than five decades after she made her Stratford debut as Miranda in the 1962 production of the play. The New York Times called it “an elaborate production with eye-popping costumes,” adding: “real magic and grandeur come from Martha Henry as Prospero.” The Chicago Tribune called Henry “one of the true greats.” She gave a performance full of “passion and power,” said The Globe and Mail.

Coriolanus, which was a massive hit in Stratford this past season, will come to Cineplex Theatres on March 23. This spectacular production, directed by Robert Lepage, was included in the “Best Theatre of 2018” lists in both The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail. The New York Times called it “riveting” and “jaw-dropping.” The Globe and Mail described it as “a landmark production” and The Chicago Tribune’s critic said it was “the greatest contemporary staging of this play that I ever have seen.”

International distribution of both films will follow these dates.

Coriolanus will also have a French-language stage production at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in Montreal from January 15 to February 13. The show, directed by Lepage, is a recreation of the original Stratford production, using the same concept, direction and design, with a new francophone cast.

Another contemporary staging of a classic, this time the Molière comedy Tartuffe, directed by Chris Abraham for the 2017 Stratford season, is playing at Canadian Stage in Toronto from January 13 to 27. The Stratford Festival has partnered with Canadian Stage, Crow’s Theatre, Groundling Theatre Company and David Versus Goliath Productions to remount this production as part of the Canadian Stage season, using the original Stratford cast.

Back in Montreal, Kate Hennig’s The Last Wife, developed in the Stratford Festival’s Laboratory, will have a production at the Centaur Theatre from February 12 to March 3. The play premièred in Stratford in 2015 and was the wildly successful first installment of Hennig’s Queenmaker Trilogy, which explores women, power and the nature of leadership. This is an entirely new production, directed by Eda Holmes, using the script developed at the Festival.

Hennig’s second play in the trilogy, The Virgin Trial, commissioned by the Festival and developed in the Laboratory, will be on stage at Soulpepper in Toronto from January 19 to February 3. Directed by Alan Dilworth, this production premièred in Stratford in 2017 and is being remounted with most of the Stratford cast.

Hennig’s highly anticipated final installment, Mother’s Daughter, will première in Stratford this spring. Tickets are now on sale for the production, which will feature Shannon Taylor as Mary, the daughter of Katherine of Aragon and Henry VIII. The play is set just after the death of Edward VI, when Princess Mary wrests the throne from Edward’s official heir but is haunted by her mother, urging her toward the course that will earn her the nickname of Bloody Mary.

Rehearsals for the Stratford Festival’s 2019 season begin February 1. The season, which begins April 15, features Othello, Billy Elliot the Musical, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Front Page, Private Lives, Little Shop of Horrors, The Neverending Story, The Crucible, Henry VIII, Mother’s Daughter, Nathan the Wise and Birds of a Kind. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.