Toronto’s Shakespeare in High Park, returns to the High Park Amphitheatre for its 35th season, from June 29 to September 3, with a bold, contemporary takes on “King Lear” and “Twelfth Night.”
Stratford and Shaw veteran Robert Persichini is Lear’s Fool and Malvolio in the topsy-turvy comedy of mistaken identity “Twelfth Night,” directed by Tanja Jacobs. No stranger to High Park, Persichini gave memorable performances in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on two occasions: in 1996 and again in 2002’s 20th anniversary production directed by Richard Greenblatt.
Multiple award-winning actor and stage veteran Diane D’Aquila will take on one of the most monumental roles in the history of English drama as Queen Lear in director Alistair Newton’s production of “King Lear” – the first staging of Shakespeare’s family drama in the history of Toronto’s Shakespeare in High Park.
On this anniversary year, D’Aquila revisits Canadian Stage’s outdoor amphitheatre after starring as Titania in the inaugural production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 1983.
Shakespeare in High Park is Canada’s longest-running professional outdoor theatre experience. Each season Shakespeare in High Park presents two alternating productions throughout the summer – one comedy, one tragedy – in bold and innovative takes on Bard classics.
Canadian Stage continues its unique partnership with the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University to integrate undergraduate and graduate talent into the creative team, which also includes York University alumni. Directors Alistair Newton and Tanja Jacobs are both 2017 graduating candidates of the York/Canadian Stage MFA in Stage Direction.
They are working under the mentorship of Peter Hinton, lead Canadian Stage mentor for the MFA program.
Shakespeare in High Park show times & details are below.
Shakespeare in High Park 2017 cast
“King Lear” & “Twelfth Night.”
Countess of Kent (King Lear) / Feste (Twelfth Night)
Jenni Burke is an award-winning actress and has appeared on stage and screen across Canada. Canadian Stage: Little Shop of Horrors. Other credits include: Funny Girl (Segal Centre); Mamma Mia, All Shook Up, Les Misérables, Cinderella (Drayton Entertainment); Mary Poppins, Drowsy Chaperone, Shout Sister (Globe); The Buddy Holly Story (Chemainus), Chicago (Mayfield); Toute Comme Elle (Luminato); Vagina Monologues (Stage West); Bat Boy (Bathurst Theatre); The Miracle Worker (Theatre Aquarius); Ain’t Misbehavin’, A Christmas Carol (Theatre New Brunswick); Bemused. Film and Television credits include: Sensitive Skin, Rookie Blue, If I were You, Da Kink In my Hair, Blues Brothers 2000, Half Baked, Under Cover Brother, The Music Man, and This is Wonderland. Upcoming: the feature film Put Your Lips On and A Christmas Carol at the National Arts Centre.
Earl of Gloucester (King Lear) / Sir Toby (Twelfth Night)
Jason Cadieux is an actor, playwright and a co-founder of The Essential Collective Theatre, a professional theatre in St. Catharines. Canadian Stage credits include Poor Superman (co-pro with MTC). Other theatre credits include: The Wedding Party (Crow’s Theatre), Hosannna (Soulpepper), Wrong for Each Other (Public Theatre of Maine), Reconciliation, Happy & Play Murder (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), Romeo & Juliet and Oedipus (Die in Debt), Leo (Great Canadian Theatre Co). Jason has written and produced two plays which have toured nationally and internationally: 17.5, directed by Sara Garton Stanley, received 4 stars from Time Out Magazine (UK), and Hard Ways (also directed by Stanley) which the Ottawa Citizen called “a rich and fascinating piece of work”.
Edmund (King Lear) / Sebastian (Twelfth Night)
Brett is a graduate of the BFA Acting Program from the University of Alberta and was briefly seen (on film) in Helen Lawrence with Canadian Stage. Other selected acting credits include: The Circle (Alberta Theatre Projects); All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, and Much Ado About Nothing (The Shakespeare Company); A Worthy Opponent (Lunchbox Theatre); What The Thunder Said (One Yellow Rabbit); A Thought in Three Parts, The Birth of Casper G. Schmidt (Theatre Outré); Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare in the Park/Theatre Calgary); The Soul Collector (Catalyst Theatre); pool (no water), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Saint Joan, and The Missionary Position (Studio Theatre). Brett was the 2015 recipient of Theatre Calgary’s Stephen Hair Emerging Actor Award.
Lear (King Lear) / Fabiana (Twelfth Night)
Diane D’Aquila is a multiple award-winning (Gemini, Actra, Jefferson, Emery Battis Award) veteran actress and has appeared on stage and screen throughout North America. D’Aquila played Titania in the premiere production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in High Park. Canadian Stage credits include: Nothing Sacred and St. Carmen Of The Main. Other productions include: Happy Place, Jitters (Soulpepper); Coriolanus (The Shakespeare Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing (Globe Theatre); Her 2 (Nightwood Theatre); The Seagull (Segal Centre), and Elizabeth Rex (Chicago Shakespeare Festival and premiered at Stratford Festival). D’Aquila can next be seen as Mrs. Quenell in the Netflix mini-series Alias Grace.
Oswald, Duke of Burgundy (King Lear) / Sir Andrew (Twelfth Night)
Peter is thrilled to be making his Shakespeare in High Park Debut in King Lear and Twelfth Night. Selected Credits include: Passing Strange (Obsidian/Musical Stage Company); Peter and the Starcatcher (Citadel Theatre); Onegin (Musical Stage Company/National Arts Centre); Alligator Pie (Western Canada Tour); Father Comes Home From The Wars parts 1,2 & 3, The Just, Incident at Vichy, Marat/Sade, The Dybbuk, Spoon River, Tartuffe, Idiot’s Delight, The Crucible (Soulpepper); Are We There Yet? (Concrete); Work Plays (AWHC); Evil Dead: The Musical (Ground Zero, Hit & Myth); The Last Tree of Rapa Nui (MTYP); Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing (Freewill Shakespeare).
Duke of Cornwall (King Lear) / Antonio, Captain (Twelfth Night)
Kristiaan Hansen is a Toronto-based actor and recent graduate of York University’s BFA program in acting. This is his Canadian Stage debut. York University theatre credits include: A Streetcar Named Desire, Alkestis, A Party for Boris, A Dream Play, Ophelia: A Retelling of Hamlet, and Titus Andronicus. Kristiaan is looking forward to a wonderful summer at Shakespeare in High Park.
Duke of Albany (King Lear) / Orsino (Twelfth Night)
Richard Lee is an award-winning actor, fight director and sound designer. His work has garnered him multiple Dora Mavor Moore nominations out of which he has received three: one for his Sound Design work on paper SERIES (Cahoots Theatre Company) and two in performance; Sultans of the Street & Cinderella: A Ratical Retelling (both for Young People’s Theatre). Canadian Stage credits include: Chimerica (co-production with RMTC), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (SiHP 2012), Comedy of Errors (SiHP 2006). Other theatre highlights include: Kim’s Convenience (Soulpepper), Acquiesce (Factory Theatre), Macbeth (Driftwood Theatre). In 2013 he received the infamous Harold Award, which celebrates Toronto theatre mavericks. Upcoming, Richard will be in the Canadian premiere of The Humans (Citadel/Canadian Stage).
Edgar (King Lear) / Valentine (Twelfth Night)
Michael Man is a Toronto-based actor and musician. Canadian Stage credits include: Titus Andronicus, and As You Like It. Other theatre credits include: The Other Shore ??(Gateway Theatre); The Jungle Book (Magnus Theatre); Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing (St. (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Potluck Festival (fu-GEN Theatre). Selected music: The Last Five Years (Music Director, YES Theatre); Les Misérables (Pianist, Sudbury Symphony Orchestra); Goblin Market (Pianist, Theatre Kingston). Michael is a graduate of Queen’s University and George Brown Theatre School.
The Fool (King Lear) / Malvolio (Twelfth Night)
A veteran of the Stratford and Shaw Festivals and most of Canada’s major stages, Robert appeared most recently in The Coal Mine Theatre’s Production of Superior Donuts and Groundling Theatre’s original production of A Winter’s Tale. Previous Canadian Stage credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Weir, Communicating Doors and Arcadia. Recent film and television includes the mini-series Alias Grace for Netflix.
Cordelia (King Lear) / Viola (Twelfth Night)
Amelia Sargisson has performed on stages across Canada, the US and Japan. Select credits include: The Millennial Malcontent (Tarragon); The Watershed & Seeds (Crow’s Theatre/Porte Parole); If We Were Birds (Imago/Centaur – META Nomination for Best Actress); Tender Napalm (SummerWorks); The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh (Carousel); Camping Royale (CORPUS); Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare BASH’D); The Madonna Painter (Centaur); down from heaven (Imago – Cartes Premières Award for Best Actress); The Art of Catching Pigeons by Torchlight (SummerWorks – Spotlight Award); and 5 seasons of Shakespeare in the Park in Montreal. Amelia co-wrote 30 People Watching and recently published in ReView: an anthology of plays committed to social justice (CATR 2017 Patrick O’Neill Award nominee).
Goneril (King Lear) / Olivia (Twelfth Night)
Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (Arts Club). Select credits include 5 seasons with Bard on the Beach (Dream, Tempest, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Othello, Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet); Elektra, Cymbeline (Stratford Festival); The Ugly One (Theatre Smash/Tarragon); Comedy of Errors, Julius Caesar (Canadian Stage); Talking Heads (Precisely Peter); A Room of One’s Own (Bloomsbury Collective); 39 Steps (Persephone); Life Savers (Ruby Slippers); Stupidity (Theatre Conspiracy); Absurd Person Singular (Arts Club); Cat and Mouse/Sheep, The Dissociates (Sea Theatre); Thy Neighbour’s Wife (Theatre North West). Nominated for 6 Jessie Awards, 2 Dora Awards, and SAT Award.
HANNAH WAYNE PHILIPS
Regan (King Lear) / Maria (Twelfth Night)
Hannah Wayne-Phillips is thrilled to be making her Canadian Stage debut in King Lear and Twelfth Night. Recent theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice (Shylock); The Three Sisters (Masha), The Dream Play, Richard II (Henry Bolingbroke), Call Me God, and Alkestis at York University. Hannah recently graduated with an MFA in Acting from York University. She thanks her friends and family for all the love and support.
Shakespeare in High Park
King Lear runs from June 29 to Sept. 2 with performances on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 8 pm.
Twelfth Night runs from June 30 to Sept. 3 with performances on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 8 pm.
High Park Amphitheatre (1873 Bloor St. W). MAP
Gates open at 6 pm.
Each performance is pay-what-you can (suggested $25 contribution).
Premium seats can be reserved online in advance for $25.