March 1, 2021
Wondering what to expect during The Stratford Festival 2021 season? You’re not alone.
Although the Festival recently announced that it would produce several outdoor productions under two new canopies, it hasn’t offered many specifics.
What we know about the Stratford Festival 2021 season.
- Watch for two new canopies to go up, one at the Festival Theatre and one at the Tom Patterson Theatre.
- Between late June and the end of September, the Festival plans to produce approximately a dozen outdoor productions under these canopies.
- The productions will be a mix of plays and cabarets, running 90 minutes with no intermission.
- For safety reasons, casts will be kept to no more than eight people.
- Each canopy will seat 100 people in socially distanced pods.
- There will be three showtimes a day – 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- The Festival plans to announce titles, dates and casting in the spring.
Speaking at a virtual townhall, artistic director Antoni Cimolino said the Festival Theatre canopy will be located on the upper terrace, overlooking the gardens. It will be a permanent addition to the theatre, making beautiful use of a much underused space.
The other canopy will be behind the new Tom Patterson Theatre, and it will feature a thrust stage.
Writing on the Festival’s website Cimolino note “Our plan is for a variety of Shakespeare, modern classics and new plays, along with cabarets offering plenty of music to feed our souls. We’ll also have some fascinating Forum events to enjoy in person or online.”
“We don’t yet know what the public health environment will allow in terms of live performances come summer,” said executive director Anita Gaffney, “but it is only through significant and thorough advance planning that we can put in place the safety measures that will be essential for any eventuality. We believe outdoor performances offer us the greatest opportunity for a successful season.”
The two canopies are a pragmatic adaptation of the tent in which the Festival first performed in the early 1950s. Eliminating the side panels makes airflow possible, while the big top offers protection from the elements.
“These canopies harken back to our founding but they are also emblems of joyful renewal,” says Cimolino. “Like everyone, we can’t wait to emerge from this pandemic. While we have several months to get through before vaccinations open the world up wide again, this season allows us to build a bridge to 2022 and beyond, when we will be able to return to large-scale productions in our four theatres.”
You’ll find more details published here as they become available.