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The Stratford Festival is one of Canada's premier cultural icons. The countries and eras into which we are born, our status in society, the careers we pursue, our families and friends, the accidents of fate or perhaps the workings of destiny: all these and more contribute to our sense of self. But what ultimately determines who we are? Are our natures and actions shaped only by circumstance – or by some inner essence that we cannot deny to ourselves, however successfully we may conceal it from others? As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s birth as a nation, the Stratford Festival 2017 season explores our sense of identity – as individuals, as compatriots, and as members of the human race.
This year's Stratford Festival playbill (2017)
Guys and Dolls (April 15 to October 29)
Considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy, this dance spectacular travels from Times Square to Havana, Cuba – where all bets are off . Featuring “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”
Treasure Island (April 22 to October 22)
A map from a dead man’s chest, a sinister one-legged seafarer – and a parrot! They’re all here in this new adaptation of the thrilling classic that has inspired every pirate story since.
Romeo and Juliet (May 3 to October 21)
Falling headlong in love, two teenagers defy the long-simmering hatred between their families. But daring to love one’s enemy comes with a terrible cost, as the needless sacrifice of young lives brings this heartbreaking story to its tragic conclusion.
HMS Pinafore (May 4 – October 21)
With witty dialogue, endearing characters, memorable tunes and a hilariously happy ending, these are the silliest shenanigans ever seen aboard a ship! Since its première in 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan’s wildly popular operetta has delighted audiences with its nautical tale of love across class divides.
Timon of Athens (May 8 – September 22)
Timon’s compulsive generosity makes him the most popular man in Athens – until his funds run out. Now, embittered by ingratitude, what will he do when his city comes under attack?
Twelfth Night (May 13 – October 21)
Shipwrecked twins, a lovesick duke and a self-important servant who becomes the ultimate fashion victim: love throws everyone for a loop in a comic riot of misdirected desire.
The School for Scandal (May 15 – October 21)
In a society awash in gossip, rumours and backbiting, an uncle arrives home in disguise to test the worthiness of his nephews – but truth has a way of tumbling out in this hilarious, fast-paced comedy.
The Changeling (May 25 – September 23)
A woman hires a hit man to murder her fiancé, only to become trapped in a web of lust and deceit. All the suspense of a film noir thriller, in a drama by contemporaries of Shakespeare.
Bakkhai (May 27 – September 23)
Awakening savage frenzy in the women of Thebes, the god of wine, ecstasy and fertility lays bare the duality of our natures: that each of us, no matter how civilized, has a wild beast within.
The Virgin Trial (June 7 – September 23)
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, the young princess Elizabeth navigates a labyrinth of political and sexual intrigue in the Tudor court that threatens her freedom – and even her life. Don’t miss this eagerly awaited companion piece to the runaway hit The Last Wife.
The Breathing Hole (July 30 – September 22)
Intersecting with Canada’s history from the moment of First Contact to a future ravaged by climate change, this saga follows the mythic adventures of a polar bear to a profoundly moving conclusion.
Specially commissioned by the Festival to mark Canada 150.
Tartuffe (August 1 – October 13)
Vice becomes virtue in Molière’s hilarious exploration of power and hypocrisy. Falling under the spell of a religious con artist, Orgon risks his wife, his estate and his entire family in this darkly comic classic.
The Madwoman of Chaillot (August 3 – September 24)
If oil were found beneath the streets of Paris, how would civilization fare against the demands of corporate greed? The answer lies with the flamboyantly determined woman whose quirky spirit informs this classic 20th-century comedy, as scathing as it is timely.
The Komagata Maru Incident (August 5 – September 24)
In 1914, a shipload of emigrants from the British Raj were denied entry to Vancouver, then Canada’s most diverse city. The play exposes the cost not only to those newcomers but also to existing minority residents who struggled to find their place amid the systemic racism of the era.
Don’t miss out – Stratford is your theatre destination. Tickets at stratfordfestival.ca or 1-800-567-1600.