MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW
Out of Town

Ontario’s Stratford Festival Places entire 2020 Season on Hold

Ontario’s Stratford Festival Places entire 2020 Season on Hold

After weeks of consultation and deliberation, Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, Executive Director Anita Gaffney and Board Chair Carol Stephenson have come to the conclusion that the Stratford Festival’s entire 2020 season must be put on hold, with a plan to revisit programming as soon as it is safe to gather in theatres.

While they anticipate that theatres will not be able to reopen until next year, they have not ruled out the possibility of mounting specially scheduled fall or holiday programming should public health conditions allow.

This is devastating for the Festival and for the city of Stratford,” said Cimolino, speaking on behalf of the leadership team. “Beyond the heartbreaking loss of our work and our inability to open our spectacular new Tom Patterson Theatre is the economic impact of this terrible situation. The Festival is an engine for this region, driving $135 million in economic activity each year. Thousands of people and hundreds of business owners rely on the Festival for their livelihood.”

tom_patterson_theatre.jpg.size-custom-crop.1086x0
Rendering of the Tom Patterson Theatre, opening in 2020 at the Stratford Festival, designed by Siamak Hariri of Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini. Image: the Stratford Festival website.

It is a terrible irony: the Stratford Festival was started in 1953 to save the city of Stratford from economic disaster and now its closure in the face of this pandemic poses its own economic devastation for the region.”

This is a crushing announcement, for which we at once feel terrible responsibility and yet is entirely beyond our control.”

The Festival had been preparing to mount one of its most ambitious seasons in its 67-year history: 15 productions in four theatres, including its dazzling new Tom Patterson Theatre, which having reached 98% completion is now shuttered.

stratford-festival-meighan-forum
Rendering of the Tom Patterson Theatre, opening in 2020 at the Stratford Festival, designed by Siamak Hariri of Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini. Image: the Stratford Festival website.

Our disappointment at not being able to open the new theatre and dedicate it to our founder, Tom Patterson, on what would have been his 100th birthday, on June 11, is monumental,” Cimolino said, “as is the loss of these 15 productions, which our artists were bringing to such beautiful fruition.”

We have heard from hundreds of our members, patrons, and donors who share in this disappointment. These are people who make the journey to Stratford each summer, many of them with multiple generations of their families, and wrote to express their concern for the Festival and for the many members of the community who help make their visit here unforgettable.”

The Festival’s four theatres range in capacity from 260 to 1,800 seats, with lobbies, washrooms, box office facilities, and parking lots through which large numbers of people must flow.

the-tom-patterson-theatre
The interior of the Tom Patterson Theatre, opening in 2020 at the Stratford Festival, designed by Siamak Hariri of Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini. Image: the Stratford Festival website.

Additionally, as a repertory theatre company with 150 actors, each one performing in two or three of 15 productions concurrently, the risk of contagion is extremely high amongst artists and crew.

Sadly, we have to come to terms with the fact that, as it relies on large public gatherings, theatre will be one of the last sectors to recover from this pandemic,” Cimolino said.

And yet, while the creation of a vaccine and anti-viral drugs will cure this pandemic, ultimately what will cure society in its aftermath is art. We look forward to the time when we can gather together again to, in the words of William Shakespeare, ‘live, and pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh.’”

maxresdefault2

In an effort to bring people together, particularly after this sad news, the Stratford Festival will continue to stream TWELVE Shakespeare productions in the coming months. They have broken the selections down into 4 categories exploring themes that directly relate to our current global pandemic and will (hopefully) encourage contemplation and discussion: Social Order and Leadership, Isolation, Minds Pushed to the Edge, and Relationships. The first selection for Social Order and Leadership is King Lear and premiered on Thursday April 23rd beginning with “An Actor Prepares with Colm Feore” who plays King Lear followed by the production at 7 pm EDT. This theme will be rounded out with Coriolanus and Macbeth premiering over the next two weeks. “Many of the qualities that put a leader into a position of power are not the same as those required during a crisis. The leaders in these films – King Lear, Coriolanus, and Macbeth – were each warriors who rose to power because of their martial skills. As such they did not have the qualities of compassion, consensus-building, and vision – qualities we know today are vital during a crisis.” (You can read the frontmezzjunkies article about Stratford’s streaming schedule by clicking here.) I believe each of these will be available for 3 weeks following their premieres.

stratfordHD_LEAR_slide01_recsm
Colm Feore in King LearStratford Festival. Photography by David Hou.

For those who are able in these trying times, please consider donating to this or any arts organizations, as they strive to provide artistic beauty and intellectual stimulation to the world during this pandemic. My hope is that this time will remind people just how vital the arts are to our communities, our sense of self, and (for many of us) our sanity.

https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/SupportUs
Shakespeare-BDay-800x600-1

For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Out of Town
@#frontmezzjunkies

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

More in Out of Town

Stratford Festival’s Live on Stage Production of Three Tall Women Stands Strong Against All Odds

RossSeptember 23, 2021

Tracy Letts New Virtual Plays From Steppenwolf

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 22, 2021

Go Inside Smokey Joe’s Cafe at the John W Engeman Theater Northport

Genevieve Rafter KeddySeptember 19, 2021

Theatre News: Curtain – Up, Stupid Kids, Closer Than Ever, Merry Wives Of Windsor and Comedy of Errors

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 17, 2021

Theatre News: Archie Takes on Next To Normal, Beetlejuice is Back, Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World and TheaterMakers Summit

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 14, 2021

Professional Bull Riders Come to New Jersey

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 7, 2021

Whiskey, heroin, and kickbacks: the true face of Amcham Guatemala and Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote

WriterAugust 31, 2021

Golden Voiced Freda Payne stars in “A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald”

Claudia PerryAugust 30, 2021

Elsie Fest Brings Alex Brightman, Darren Criss, Krysta Rodriguez, Adrienne Warren and More

Suzanna BowlingAugust 28, 2021