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Stratford Festival 2017 playbill

The Stratford Festival 2017 playbill is out.

Riding the momentum of a fabulous 2016 season, news about The Stratford Festival 2017 playbill was just released. It’s the earliest release in recent memory about the next season’s playbill.

Highlights Include:

  • Chris Abraham, to direct Molière’s “Tartuffe.”
  • Stephen Ouimette to direct Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens.”
  • Jackie Maxwell to direct Middleton’s Jacobean tragedy “The Changeling.”
  • Reneltta Arluk to direct “The Breathing Hole,” a new play by Colleen Murphy.
  • Alan Dilworth to direct “The Virgin Trial” a new play by Kate Hennig, which is a companion piece to her 2015 hit “The Last Wife.”

Veteran Directors Handle the Shakespeares

A trio of veteran directors handle the Shakespeares on The Stratford Festival 2017 playbill.

“To direct three great and very different Shakespeare plays, I have turned to three exceptional directors who are also actors who excel at Shakespeare,” said Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino in a release issued by the Festival.

“Scott Wentworth, who has directed Shakespeare across North America and showed such a sense of romanticism in his handling of “Pericles” last season, will direct “Romeo and Juliet;” the extraordinary Martha Henry, who played Viola early in her Stratford career, will direct “Twelfth Night;” and Stephen Ouimette, one of our finest directors, will return to “Timon of Athens,” a play he directed brilliantly in 2004, bringing 13 more years of life experience to it now.”

Stratford Festival playbill 2017, shakespeare, Martha henry, scott wentworth, Stephen Ouimette

Antoni Cimolino

Cimolino will direct “The School for Scandal” himself. “In this age of blogging, tweeting and relentless self-promotion, we need this play more than ever before,” he said.

All of the directors in this season are Canadian. See the complete 2017 playbill below.

Chris Abraham Returns

After an absence in 2016 Chris Abraham returns to direct “Tartuffe,” arguably Molière’s greatest creation.

The Siminovitch Award winning Abraham has demonstrated great range at Stratford, moving effortlessly from a hilarious take on “The Matchmaker” in 2012, to a striking “Othello” in 2013 and more recently his “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 2014 and “Taming of the Shrew” in 2015.

Charles Isherwood, writing in the New York Times, noted that Abraham’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” “ranks among the most purely enchanting I’ve seen, brimming with an appealing insouciance and full of invention and vital comic performances.”


Chris Abraham

Jackie Maxwell, outgoing artistic director at the Shaw Festival, will direct “The Changeling,” a piece she did expertly at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre in 1980.

All Canadian lineup at the Studio Theatre

The Studio Theatre will present an all-Canadian lineup as part of the Stratford Festival 2017 playbill.

“We have three generations of female Canadian playwrights joining us in this anniversary year,” said Cimolino. “Sharon Pollock, one of this country’s great pioneer female playwrights; Colleen Murphy, one of the most accomplished mid-career playwrights; and Kate Hennig, a remarkable emerging writer.”

The Breathing Hole, Reneltta Arluk, stratford festival, 2017 playbill

The Festival has commissioned Colleen Murphy to write “The Breathing Hole,” an epic allegory to mark Canada’s Sesquicentennial, to be directed by Reneltta Arluk.

The Breathing Hole, Reneltta Arluk, stratford festival, 2017 playbill

Reneltta Arluk

This 500-year saga follows a polar bear from its birth in an Inuit community at the time of First Contact, through a startling encounter with the Franklin Expedition, to a profoundly moving conclusion: a meeting with a 21st-century cruise ship navigating the Northwest Passage in a world now ravaged by climate change.

Kate Hennig’s “The Virgin Trial”

A second commission is Kate Hennig’s “The Virgin Trial.”

In her continued re-imagining of the Tudor queens, Hennig has crafted an edge-of-your-seat thriller that sees the young Elizabeth navigate the court intrigues that would deny her the throne.

“This is the eagerly anticipated companion to “The Last Wife,” which was a runaway hit last season,” said Cimolino.

“Once again, Alan Dilworth will direct, bringing a deft hand to the second part of what will soon be a trilogy.”

The “Last Wife” was extended several times during the 2015 season and was sold out for its entire run at the Studio Theatre.

Pollock’s “The Komagata Maru Incident,” will be directed by Keira Loughran.

Written in 1976 it was first play to explore the racist immigration policies that led to the denial of entry to hundreds of emigrants, most of whom were Sikhs, from the British Raj when the Komagata Maru arrived at the Vancouver port in 1914.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an apology for the incident last month.

“Director Keira Loughran, who has been a leader in the creation of new work in Canada, will work with Sharon Pollock to reimagine this piece – integrating and reflecting the diverse community of Vancouver then, and Canadian theatre now – which will bring even greater insight into this remarkable play,” said Cimolino.

The Complete Stratford Festival 2017 Playbill


Romeo and Juliet
May 3rd – October 21st
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Scott Wentworth

Guys and Dolls
April 15th – October 29th
A musical fable of Broadway
Based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling
Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore

Twelfth Night
May 13th – October 21st
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Martha Henry

August 1st – October 13th
By Molière
Directed by Chris Abraham


Treasure Island
April 22nd – October 22nd
By Robert Louis Stevenson
Directed by Mitchell Cushman

HMS Pinafore
May 4th – October 21st
Book and Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Directed by Lezlie Wade
Choreographed by Kerry Gage

The School for Scandal
May 15th – October 21st
By Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Directed by Antoni Cimolino


Timon of Athens
May 8th – September 22nd
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Stephen Ouimette

The Changeling
By Thomas Middleton
Directed by Jackie Maxwell

May 27th – September 23rd
By Euripides
A new version by Anne Carson
Directed by Jillian Keiley

The Madwoman of Chaillot
August 3rd – September 24th
By Jean Giraudoux
Directed by Donna Feore


The Virgin Trial
June 7th – September 23rd
World Première
By Kate Hennig
Directed by Alan Dilworth

The Breathing Hole
July 30th – September 22nd
World Première
By Colleen Murphy
Directed by Reneltta Arluk

The Komagata Maru Incident
August 5th – September 24th
By Sharon Pollock
Directed by Keira Loughran

Tickets for the 2017 season go on sale to Members of the Stratford Festival beginning November 26, and to the public on Friday, January 6 (online) and Saturday, January 7 (by phone).

This story is sponsored by Avery’s Inn Next Door, luxurious suites located a 5 minute walk from the Stratford Festival Theatres.

Stratford Festival 2017 Cast with Photos

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Stratford Festival 2017 playbill

Keith Tomasek
15 June 2016
News and Rumors

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