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Stratford Festival drops Shakespeare & changes logo

Today, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival announced it`s cutting the word “Shakespeare” from its official name.

“‘Stratford Festival’ is the name that we have used for most of our 60 years,” said Antoni Cimolino who officially becomes Artistic Director today. “It is simple and direct, it resonates with people and it carries our legacy of quality and success. The name connects powerfully with audiences and allows us to best convey the breadth and depth of the seasons we are planning to present.

Reaction to the news was widespread with stories across Canada and on US news sites including the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Playbill.

One commenter on the New York Times site posted this bit of verse:

Tune of Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Brush off that “Shakespeare”
Start whiting him out
Brush off that “Shakespeare”
So they’ll know what we’re about

It’s a name that confuses them so, dear
When you want your GODOT to get dough, dear
The Bard’s name is a sure money-killer
When we’re hawking a drama by Schiller
Saying Shakespeare’s absurdist and balmy
When we’re selling our new take on TOMMY

Brush out that “Shakespeare”
And we’ll have more clout
‘Cause there’ll be less doubt

On the Festival`s Facebook page Keith McKee wrote “I have always trusted actions,not words. Antonio Cimolino may have dropped the “Shakespeare,” but he brought back four Shakespearean plays this coming season.“

The Festival also launched a new logo

Reaction to the logo on the Festival`s blog was mixed.

As well as favourable comments, some were critical including this pointed question about the
cost of rebranding, especially after some employees were laid off in 2012:

“I’d be interested to learn where the money has come from to rebrand the Festival yet again! Since this has happened can all assume that the staff that have been laid off are now back to work? If not why should anyone support an organization that can rebrand themselves every few years and not be concerned about their employees and disregarding the massive losses in revenue from the last season?“

The new logo also appears in another form, as an avatar, on the Festival blog. It`s also on the Festival`s Facebook page, but at the time of writing, it isn`t being used on Twitter. The Festival hasn`t indicated if they have plans to switch the Twitter avatar to the new Zorro like, uninspired, capital `S`.

Here`s an image of the new avatar from their blog

Here`s the one currently being used on Twitter, note the Bard`s profile

I always liked the stylized image of Shakespeare, I found it to be a craetive interpretation of the
iconic image. Plus, as seen below, it really lends itself well to a variety of media.

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Stratford Festival drops Shakespeare & changes logo

Keith Tomasek
1 November 2012

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