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Stratford Festival unveils 2022 season

The Stratford Festival have announced their 2022 season lineup.

In a release, the Stratford Festival announced that the season in 2022 will run from April into October next year with 10 productions in 4 theatres. 2022 will be a milestone year on many fronts, as the festival celebrates its 70th season, the 20th anniversary of the Studio Theatre, the 10th Meighen Forum season and the grand opening of the new Tom Patterson Theatre, which was scheduled to open last year. The $72-million theatre was recently awarded the international Architecture MasterPrize, recognizing it as the “Best of the Best” in cultural architecture.

The new Tom Patterson Theatre is also on a shortlist as a regional finalist for the Civic Trust Award in the U.K., the only Canadian project to be shortlisted.

“For thousands of people, coming to the Stratford Festival is an annual pilgrimage,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “By the time they arrive to see the shows of our 2022 season, it will have been three years since most of them have set foot in one of our theatres. We want their return to be everything they hope for. We want them to feel safe, of course, but we also want to fill the void left by the absence of live theatre and communal activities.

“The plays in the 2022 season contain not only new beginnings but the difficult moral and ethical decisions a new journey entails. What is the best way to start again? How can we avoid the traps of the past? In an imperfect world, what is good?” adds Cimolino.

A full list of planned productions for the Stratford Festival in 2022 are as follows:

FESTIVAL THEATRE PROGRAMMING

HAMLET

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Peter Pasyk

Production support is generously provided by Phyllis & Robert Couzin, by John & Therese Gardner and by The Jentes Family

The Festival stage will be home to Shakespeare’s most famous play: Hamlet. At its helm is Peter Pasyk, who returns after directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream under the Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy this summer.

Prince Hamlet, son of Denmark’s late king, is horrified – and placed in a moral quandary – by the apparition of his father’s ghost. This spectre claims to have been murdered by the brother who now wears his crown – and who, having married the widowed queen, is now not only Hamlet’s uncle but also his stepfather. The ghost demands vengeance ­– but can it be trusted? And can the taking of a life ever be justified? Can this troubled family tolerate any further loss?

CHICAGO

Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse

Lyrics by Fred Ebb

Music by John Kander

Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins

Script adaptation by David Thompson

Directed and Choreographed by Donna Feore

Production support is generously provided by Robert & Mary Ann Gorlin, by Sylvia Soyka, and by Riki Turofsky & Charles Petersen

The Festival has secured the rights to the first major new production of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago outside of New York and London in more than 30 years. The musical, which holds the record for longest running musical revival on Broadway, will be entirely reimagined by director-choreographer Donna Feore.

Aspiring chorus girl Roxie Hart and vaudeville star Velma Kelly, two murderesses as sexy as they are cynical, compete for the skills of shady lawyer Billy Flynn and the media celebrity he has promised them both. Once fame has abandoned them, Roxy and Velma begin a new path forward. But if given the chance to go back in time, would they do anything differently?

With its killer score and knock-’em-dead dance numbers, this deliciously lurid tale of murder, greed, adultery – and all that jazz – packs some serious heat.

THE MISER

By Molière

In a new version by Ranjit Bolt

Directed by Antoni Cimolino

Production support is generously provided by Sylvia D. Chrominska, by The William and Nona Heaslip Foundation, by Dr. Desta Leavine, and by Dr. Robert J. & Roberta Sokol

Antoni Cimolino will direct Molière’s great comedy The Miser. The production will use the translation by Ranjit Bolt, whose modern translation of Tartuffe was such a success in Stratford in 2017 that it moved on to Toronto in 2018.

Siblings Eleanor and Charles know that their widowed father, a paranoid old skinflint named Harper, won’t approve of their romantic choices – and what that’ll mean for their inheritances. And their plights only get worse when Harper announces startling marital plans of his own. Can nothing be done, for love or money? Or is there some way to have both?

TOM PATTERSON THEATRE PROGRAMMING

Support for the 2022 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein & Claire Foerster

RICHARD III

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Antoni Cimolino

Production support is generously provided by Dr. M. Lee Myers, by Martie & Bob Sachs, by The Westaway Charitable Foundation, and by Catherine & David Wilkes

In addition to The Miser, Cimolino will direct this great Shakespearean tragedy, which holds historical significance as the first play ever performed at the Stratford Festival, back in 1953. Similarly, it will open the new Tom Patterson Theatre in 2022.

Charismatic, cunning and utterly ruthless, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is the very embodiment of lethal ambition as he manoeuvres and murders his way to the throne of England. But once one reaches the top, the only way left is down – and in Richard’s growing roster of vengeful enemies, none are more menacing than the ghosts of his past.

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Scott Wentworth

Production support is generously provided by Priscilla Costello, by the Tremain family, and by Jack Whiteside

Alongside Richard III, Cimolino has programmed Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the second play produced in the Festival’s first season in 1953. Scott Wentworth will direct this Shakespearean comedy of heartbreak and deception that indeed works out in the end.

Having made the impossible easy with a miraculous cure that saves the King of France from death, Helena, the orphaned daughter of a doctor, learns that some things are easier than others when she claims the hand of man beyond her social strata.

DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

By Wole Soyinka

Directed by Tawiah M’Carthy

Production support is generously provided by Barbara & John Schubert

Death and the King’s Horseman by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Wole Soyinka will round out the Tom Patterson Theatre’s season in a production directed by Tawiah M’Carthy. The play was workshopped at the Festival between 2019 and 2021 and then earlier this year, Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company partnered with the Festival to première an audio version of the play as part of its “Around the World in 80 Plays” series.

When an individual’s actions shake a world off its axis, how is honour restored? When a Yoruba King dies, the King’s horseman is required by tradition to accompany him into the afterlife. But this sacred ritual is interrupted after the death of King Alafin, resulting in an unforeseen tragedy involving his horseman, Elesin. Based on actual events in British-occupied Nigeria, this is a story of a community striving to uphold its culture in the face of colonial power.

AVON THEATRE PROGRAMMING

Schulich Children’s Plays

LITTLE WOMEN

World première

A Stratford Festival commission

Based on the novels Little Women and Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott

Adapted for the stage by Jordi Mand

Directed by Esther Jun

Next season’s Schulich Children’s Play will be Jordi Mand’s new stage adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic coming-of-age stories Little Women and Good Wives. Esther Jun, who directed this season’s I Am William and recently joined the Festival as the Director of the Langham Directors’ Workshop and Artistic Associate, Planning, will direct the production.

An endearing tale of hardship, love and sisterhood in, Little Women tells the story of the March family. Newly impoverished, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy undertake their journey through life together, bound to each other and their beloved mother by fierce loyalty. From disappointments in love, to the trials of growing up, to exploring life outside the comforting walls of home, to a tragedy that turns their world upside down, it will take an unwavering sisterly bond and all of the girls’ courage to find happiness in the most unexpected places.

STUDIO THEATRE PROGRAMMING

EVERY LITTLE NOOKIE

World première

By Sunny Drake

Directed by ted witzel

Support for the creation of Every Little Nookie is generously provided by The Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program

Sunny Drake’s Every Little Nookie recently won the Chris Tolley & Dharini Woollcombe Comedy Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Having begun its development at the Stratford Festival when Drake was a writer in residence, the play will have its world première on the Studio stage, directed by ted witzel, the Festival’s Director of the Laboratory and Artistic Associate, Research and Development.

A broke millennial artist and her two lovers secretly organize “swingers” parties for middle-aged suburbanites at her boomer parents’ home. When the parents return unexpectedly, a wild ride ensues challenging each and every one of them to question what they know about… pretty much everything. Because it turns out that when you take on sex, you take on the basic unit of a how our world is organized. We’re in a period of remarkable change: from dealing with the pandemic to housing crises to wealth inequality to climate chaos. What would it take for us to work together on these enormous challenges? Every Little Nookie starts this epic question in the home, using a hilarious, scandalous and subversive romp to examine one of our most cherished sites of individualism: relationships.

HAMLET-911

World première

A Stratford Festival commission

By Ann-Marie MacDonald

Based on an idea by Alisa Palmer

Directed by Alisa Palmer

Support for the creation of Hamlet: 911 is generously provided by The Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program

Hamlet-911 is a new play created by playwright/novelist/actor/broadcaster Ann-Marie MacDonald and director Alisa Palmer, Artistic Director of the National Theatre School of Canada, English Section. Developed over almost a decade at Stratford, this play uses the bones of Shakespeare’s great tragedy to tell a story very much about our time and the issues facing young people today.

Guinness Menzies has landed his dream role: he’s playing Hamlet at the Stratford Festival. But just before a matinée performance, he suddenly finds himself in the Underworld, a realm as frightening as it is hilarious, where time is seriously out of joint. Has he gone mad? Is he dreaming? Has he died? Meanwhile, a troubled teenager is wrestling online with his own version of Hamlet’s famous question.

1939

World première

A Stratford Festival commission

By Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan

Directed by Jani Lauzon

Production support is generously provided by Karon Bales & Charles Beall and by M. Fainer.

Support for the creation of 1939 is generously provided by The Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program

Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan’s spirited new play will have its world première in the Studio Theatre, with Jani Lauzon directing.
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