The Stratford Festival is launching a streaming film festival, offering 12 Shakespeare productions.
This is the first time the full-length versions of the Stratford Festival On Film series have been available for free.
The Festival is rolling out the films around four themes that are pertinent at this time of pandemic: Isolation, Relationships, Minds Pushed to the Edge, and Social Order.
In an effort to bring people together, each film will debut with a 7 p.m. viewing party that might spark further thought or conversation. This opportunity to gather in a virtual “lobby” is a significant addition to the multitudes of streaming content becoming available these days, much of which neglects the shared experience of live performance.
The Shakespeare Film Festival launches on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, with “King Lear,” directed by artistic director Antoni Cimolino and featuring Colm Feore in the title role.
“At difficult times such as we’re experiencing now, it can be helpful to re-examine the great works of literature,” says Cimolino. “Much has been made recently of the suggestion that when Shakespeare wrote King Lear, in 1606, he was in quarantine because of the plague. In looking at the play, we see that it documents not only the breakdown of an old king and the destruction of two families but also the disruption of an entire country. It seems almost prophetic.”
Here’s the rundown:
Click on the links to read a collection of the show’s reviews.
The films we be available on the Stratford Festival website.
Cimolino and executive director Anita Gaffney launched Stratford Festival On Film series in 2014 as an initiative to film all of Shakespeare’s plays. Each film was captured live with a full audience at the Stratford Festival during a single performance.
The Stratford Festival On Film productions are produced by Barry Avrich through Melbar Entertainment Group.
Stratford Festival On Film is sponsored by Sun Life as part of their Making the Arts More Accessible™ program.
Support for Stratford Festival On Film is generously provided by The John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, the Jenkins Family Foundation, the Henry White Kinnear Foundation, Ophelia & Mike Lazaridis, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Sandra & Jim Pitblado, the Slaight Family Foundation, Robert & Jacqueline Sperandio, and an anonymous donor.