Stratford Festival Season begins July 10th

( file photo by Marty Thompson)

Stratford Festival has announced they are set to begin performances July 10th, with about 100 people allowed at each show. A media release says the The Ontario government issued guidance for attendance at outdoor performing arts events, which allows for the opening of the Stratford Festival’s 2021 season.

The Festival will be able to accommodate 100 people,  or 25% capacity, in each of its new outdoor canopies, where shows will run three times a day from July 10 until the end of September.

Three Tall Women, which was to have begun performances in June, has been moved later in the season. It will now be mounted in the Studio Theatre (as it was to have been in 2020) from August 10 to October 9, assuming the province’s successful transition to Phase 3 of its reopening plan. Capacity will be limited to 25 people. The play’s two parts will be presented as separate performances, scheduled to be seen on the same day. Each ticket includes both parts.

“We are thrilled to be able to progress with our 2021 season,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. “A season outdoors under canopies is not only fitting for the current conditions but draws parallels to the Festival’s first season in 1953. As we were then, we are under a canopy – and we are starting the performance season in July, just as we did 68 years ago. A relentless spirit of adventure has guided our efforts over the past several months and we can hardly wait to welcome our audiences back both in person and online, which has become a new Stratford Festival tradition during the pandemic.”

The Festival began outdoor rehearsals earlier this month and will be able to move those indoors very soon.

“Rehearsing outdoors comes with challenges,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, “but to see actors and creative teams back at work is a balm for the soul. As we move towards July 10, we are able to bring more artists on board and get more and more staff back to work. It feels good and we are hopeful that there are even better days ahead.”

The 2021 season features six plays: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, R+J, Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, Serving Elizabeth by Marcia Johnson, and I Am William, with text by Rébecca Déraspe, music by Chloé Lacasse and Benoit Landry, and English translation by Leanna Brodie.

2021 productions will be filmed and made available digitally beginning in September, to allow greater access to the performances.

The current guidelines allow a daily maximum capacity of 600 people, compared to 7,000 when the Festival is fully operational in all four of its theatres.