Monday, October 23, 2023

Much Ado About the Stratford Festival

The Stratford Festival, east of London and two hours west of Toronto, is a classical theatre company with productions spread over four separate locations in Stratford, Ontario and taking place from April to October of each year. They present classics, dramas, musicals but favour the plays of Shakespeare. You can even take a direct bus from Toronto to Stratford for only $34 return (2023 cost).

Stratford Festival Theatre was the first permanent structure opened in 1957 and has 1,800 seats. The newest venue is the Tom Patterson Theatre which opened in 2022, named after the journalist that created the Shakespearean festival in the early 1950s after the railway industry left town.

From the Festival's website, "Drawing inspiration from the Elizabethan apron stage, the ancient Greek amphitheatres and the Roman arenas, the thrust stage designed by Tanya Moiseiwitsch revolutionized the performance of Shakespeare. It comprises a protruding platform, a balcony (now removable), trap-doors, nine acting levels and eight major entrances. Seating surrounds the stage in a semi-circular arc, while two vomitoria, or “voms,” run diagonally from the stage into tunnels under the auditorium."

Festival Theatre

We decided to take in a performance of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare - with seats along the railing of the left side balcony with excellent views of the thrust stage. And we really liked the play - funny, touching and a great adventure with love breaking out even when they didn't want to fall in love. We liked it so much that we will return to the festival for other productions.
Some statues outside the theatre

See more photos after the jump.

The Tom Patterson Theatre
The Avon River passes near the Festival Theatre - this part is in Lake Victoria

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