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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Festival receives more than $1 million to support season's productions

April 6, 2013… The Stratford Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of the provincial government through Celebrate Ontario, which has just announced funding of more than $1 million to support the 2013 season’s productions of The Merchant of Venice, Fiddler on the Roof and Tommy.

“Every ticket sold at the Festival generates an additional $270 in spending, for a total of about $140 million in economic activity each year,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. “The investment by Celebrate Ontario in the Festival’s 2013 season will reap great dividends for Stratford and the surrounding communities and will help us to bring our ambitious plans to fruition.”

“I programmed Fiddler on the Roof and The Merchant of Venice with a number of related Forum events as part of my overall plan to entice audiences to stay in the area longer to enjoy an integrated, immersive theatre experience,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Fiddler is one of the great musicals, and, like Shakespeare’s classic play, it addresses the historical experience of Jewish minorities. While The Merchant of Venice explores the predicament of the Jew as outsider, Fiddler on the Roof invites us all to be Jewish. Many of our Forum events related to these productions will explore these ideas along with various aspects of Jewish culture.”

Celebrate Ontario has granted $350,000 to support The Merchant of Venice, directed by Mr. Cimolino, and Fiddler on the Roof, directed and choreographed by Donna Feore. A grant of $700,000 from Celebrate Ontario’s Blockbuster fund will support the production of Tommy, directed by Des McAnuff.

Tommy is the third rock musical produced by the Festival in recent years. Following on the huge success of Evita in 2010, the Festival presented Jesus Christ Superstar in 2011, a production also directed by Mr. McAnuff, which won acclaim around the world and went on to a successful Broadway run the following year.

Tommy will be a huge theatrical event,” says Ms Gaffney. “It is the biggest musical we have ever mounted in Stratford and will attract large numbers of theatregoers, including many who have never made the trip to Stratford before, giving us an opportunity to showcase our theatre and our city to a whole new audience.”

The events of The Forum, similarly, will reach out to new audiences, while also appealing to current theatregoers. There are more than 150 Forum events planned, with relevance to all of the plays on offer this season. Themes related to Fiddler on the Roof and The Merchant of Venice will be explored through the following Forum events:

Shylock, a reading presented as part of Geraint Wyn Davies’s “Wordplay”
Studio Theatre
Saturday, August 24, at 8 p.m.
This play by Arnold Wesker tells the story of The Merchant of Venice from Shylock’s point of view.
Admission: $25.

Marlis Schweitzer: Breaking with Tradition: Fiddler on the Roof and the 1960s Generation Gap
Festival Theatre lobby
Friday, July 12, at 11 a.m.
A talk by Marlis Schweitzer, associate professor of theatre at York University. Free admission.

Alisa Solomon: Fiddler’s Fortunes: The Mighty Afterlife of a Broadway Musical
University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street
Saturday, September 21, at 10 a.m.
Former theatre critic and cultural and political reporter for The Village Voice, Alisa Solomon directs the Arts and Culture concentration in the MA program at Columbia Journalism School. Admission: $10.

Israeli Folk Dancing
Discovery Centre
Sunday, June 23, and Saturday, September 21, at 12:30 p.m.
Created in the early 20th century by settlers in what later became the state of Israel, Israeli folk dancing is now a fixture at Jewish celebrations all over the world. Learn a few of the dances that the grandchildren of the characters in Fiddler on the Roof might have done at their weddings. No observers, please. Admission: $15.

Fiddler on the Roof: Song and Dance
Meet in the Festival Theatre lobby near the box office
Thursday, July 11, and Friday, August 2, at 10:30 a.m.
Find out what it’s like to be in a musical at the Stratford Festival. Company members teach you a song and dance from Fiddler on the Roof. No observers, please. Admission: $30.

Shylock Revisited
Factory 163, 163 King Street
Tuesday, August 13, at 10:30 a.m.
What happens if Shylock is a she? A participatory exploration of the co-mingling of antisemitism, sexism and The Merchant of Venice. Admission: $20.

Shylock Appeals
Studio Theatre
Saturday, October 5, at 10:30 a.m.
Witness the appeal of Shylock’s sentence as argued by prominent lawyers before a court of outstanding Canadian judges. Admission: Free.

Antisemitism and The Merchant of Venice
Studio Theatre
Wednesday, August 21, at 11 a.m.
Len Rudner from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Holocaust historian Frank Bialystok and Shakespeare expert Vivian Rakoff examine the confrontation of synagogue and state in The Merchant of Venice. Admission: $10.

ARC Ensemble: Tradition and the Jewish Composer
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 25 St. Andrew Street
Sunday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m.
The ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) presents a concert introduced by Artistic Director Simon Wynberg. Admission: $35.

Dark Lullabies
University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street
Friday, June 14, at 5:30 p.m.

Canadian filmmaker Irene Lilienheim Angelico reaches for comprehension of the Holocaust through interviews with survivors and their children in Montreal and Israel – and with their contemporaries in Germany. Winner of six international awards, and selected as one of the 50 greatest documentaries of all time at the international Salute to the Documentary, the film will be followed by a chat with Angelico. Admission: $20.

An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill and the Jews
University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street
Wednesday, July 10, at 5:30 p.m.
A powerful documentary examining a neglected aspect of one of world history’s most renowned leaders: Winston Churchill’s relationship to Jews and Jewish issues. Drawing on a treasure trove of interviews featuring Churchill family members, Conrad Black, Alan Dershowitz and others, the film explores the origins, implications and results of this world leader’s commitment to his generation’s most vulnerable people. Join director Barry Avrich and producer Michael Levine for a discussion after the screening. Admission: $20.

Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream
University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street
Sunday, July 14, at 8 p.m.
Based on Neal Gabler’s best-selling book An Empire of Their Own, this award-winning feature-length documentary tells the story of the men who founded Hollywood. All were immigrants, or children of immigrants, who wanted to reinvent themselves as Americans. In the process, they reinvented America. Includes a post-screening chat with director Simcha Jacobovici. Admission: $20.

University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street
Wednesday, August 14, at 2 p.m.

An award-winning documentary about a Palestinian community organizer who united Fatah and Hamas members with Israeli supporters to save his village from destruction. Includes a post-screening chat with producer Ronit Avni. Admission: $20.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season begins on April 23, featuring Romeo and Juliet, Fiddler on the Roof, The Three Musketeers, The Merchant of Venice, Tommy, Blithe Spirit, Othello, Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart, Waiting for Godot, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.


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