Past Shakesperience Plays
Billy Elliot - The Musical
A SHOW TO MAKE YOUR SPIRIT SHINE
Dreams don’t come easy in the hardscrabble mining town, riven by a bitter national strike, where eleven-year-old Billy lives with his bereaved family. But Billy’s discovery of his talent for dance awakens in him a passion that will transform his life and win the hearts of his whole community.
With its inspirational story, breathtaking dance numbers and music by pop legend Elton John, this award-winning show – based on the smash-hit movie – will appeal to all.
Book and Lyrics by Lee Hall
Music by Elton John
Originally Directed by Stephen Daldry
Director and Choreographer Donna Feore
Nathan the Wise
WITH FAITH IN HUMANITY, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
In twelfth-century Jerusalem, a wealthy Jew whose daughter loves a Christian faces a dangerous question from the Muslim sultan: which is the one true faith? Nathan responds wisely and well – but subsequent surprising discoveries offer an even more persuasive answer to religious divides.
As moving as it is gently humorous, this rarely seen masterpiece of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment celebrates the common humanity that unites us all.
by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
In a version by Edward Kemp
Director Birgit Schreyer Duarte
WHEN PASSION MEETS POISON
Undeterred by the differences in their backgrounds and life experiences, Othello and Desdemona defy prejudice to be united in marriage. But deadly malice lurks where the newlyweds least expect it, as the one man Othello trusts the most resolves to destroy their happiness at any cost.
Whispers of suspicion feed irrational jealousy in this gripping psychological drama, one of Shakespeare’s greatest and best-known tragedies.
by William Shakespeare
Director Nigel Shawn Williams
THE MAKING OF A KILLER QUEEN
Upon the death of Edward VI, the princess Mary – daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon – easily wrests the throne from Edward’s official heir. But Mary remains haunted by her mother’s ghost, urging her toward the course that will earn her the nickname of Bloody Mary.
Following The Last Wife and The Virgin Trial, this fascinating exploration of women, power and the nature of leadership concludes Hennig’s brilliant Queenmaker Trilogy.
by Kate Hennig
Director Alan Dilworth
World première commissioned by the Stratford Festival
The Merry Wives of Windsor
MISTRESSES OF MISCHIEF
Pursuing two respectably married women at the same time, a would-be seducer fails to anticipate that his targets will, quite literally, compare notes. Nor has he reckoned on the mischievous spirit in which the wives will use their wits and wiles to teach him the error of his ways.
Set in the 1950s, in a town not unlike Stratford, Ontario, this production brings Shakespeare’s rollicking comedy close to home – and close to our hearts.
by William Shakespeare
Director Antoni Cimolino
DEATH OF A MARRIAGE, BIRTH OF AN ERA
Church and state collide when England’s king defies papal authority by seeking to divorce his wife, Katherine of Aragon. The consequences will be epochal for the country – and calamitous for the king’s adviser, Cardinal Wolsey, who has been playing a dangerous game of his own.
Passion, political intrigue and personal faith drive the action as Shakespeare brings vividly to life the thrilling human drama behind a pivotal moment in history.
by William Shakespeare
Director Martha Henry
The Music Man
"A charming but fraudulent salesman arrives in River City to work his usual scam – only to find that a bill of goods can be the real deal. With melodies that include the rousing “Seventy-Six Trombones,” this musical-comedy classic will delight the whole family." - Stratford Festival
Meredith Wilson’s 1957 The Music Man is the second musical Shakesperience participants will get to enjoy.
Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, The Music Man, set in 1912, is the story of a travelling con man who’s game is to convince parents he can teach their children to play any instrument. The performance features a large ensemble cast on the main Festival Theatre stage.
The Comedy of Errors
"Separated in infancy, two pairs of twins are now in the same city, each unaware of the presence of their long-lost counterparts. Hilarity mounts as the look-alikes are repeatedly mistaken for each other – till unexpected reunions bring happy endings for all." - Stratford Festival
One of Shakespeare’s early comedies, The Comedy of Errors plays on the mistaken identities of two sets of twins separated at birth.
Directed by Keira Loughran, performances are held at the Studio Theatre, a smaller but similar stage to the Festival Theatre.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
"It’s the most fun you can have in fishnets! A cult classic for more than forty years, this brilliant pastiche of B-movie horror and sci-fi tropes, with its irresistible rock-and-roll score, invites us to shed our inhibitions and explore our wildest dreams and desires." - Stratford Festival
One of the two musicals Shakesperience participants will watch, The Rocky Horror Show brings the cult classic film to the stage. With book, music, and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, and directed and choreographed by Donna Feore in her 24th season, the performance packs an ensemble cast into the Avon Theatre. As well, Shakesperience participants will have the opportunity to learn a song and dance from the show before viewing the performance.
"Three sisters live in poverty with their ailing father and dissolute, dying brother, jealously guarding the secrets of their disappointed hearts. But desperation drives them to a life-changing choice, as they reveal the literary talents that will win them world-wide fame.This production draws on creative learning and development fostered in the Stratford Festivalʼs Laboratory." - Stratford Festival
A World Without tells the story of the famous Bronte sisters and their rise to literary fame. Directed by Vanessa Porteous, the play was commissioned for the Stratford Festival and was written by Jordi Mand. The play’s world premiere is June 6th, allowing Shakesperience participants to be among the first audiences in the world to see the production.
Jordi Mand is a Toronto-based playwright and a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada. Her first full-length play premiered in 2012 and has been produced internationally. Since then she has had three more plays, including Brontё which was commissioned by the Stratford Festival.
"He’s fearless on the battlefield – but in the pitfall-laden world of politics, he’ s doomed by his contempt for the common people. This stunning production by genre-defying director Robert Lepage explores the age-old tensions that still tear at the heart of democracy." - Stratford Festival
Coriolanus is perhaps one of Shakespeare’s least known plays. Written between 1605 and 1608, the Roman tragedy will be directed by Robert Lepage in his Stratford debut. Shakesperience participants will read Shakespeare’s text before viewing the performance in the Avon Theatre, a proscenium stage. Performances begin just before Shakesperience arrives in Stratford.
"In Shakespeare’s great drama of loss and reconciliation, a long-deposed ruler uses magical arts to bring within her power the enemies who robbed her of her throne and marooned her on a remote island. But what revenge does she mean to take?" - Stratford Festival
Shakespeare’s final single author play The Tempest, was written around 1611. Directed by the festival’s artistic director, Antoni Cimolino, Stratford’s 2018 performance will feature Martha Henry in the lead role of Prospero, the deposed magician. Shakesperience participants will read Shakespeare’s text before viewing the performance in the Festival Theatre, which seeks to replicate the original, bare thrust stage of the playwright’s time.