Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada--2010 preview

Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada…a celebration of theatre

The economy has started to stabilize. It’s time to start thinking of a place to go that is filled with quality entertainment and good food. One surefire answer is The Stratford Festival of Canada which takes place in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

Stratford plays are done in four theatres. This season’s productions are:
‘AS YOU LIKE IT’ (Shakespeare), ‘KISS ME KATE’ (music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Same and Bella Spewack), ‘THE TEMPEST’ (Shakespeare), ‘DANGEROUS LIAISONS’ (Christopher Hampton), ‘EVITA’ (lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber), ‘PETER PAN’ (J. M. Barrie), ‘THE WINTER’S TALE’ (Shakespeare), ‘JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS’ (Eric Blau and Mort Shuman, based on Jacques Brel’s lyrics and commentary), ‘FOR THE PLEASURE OF SEEING HER AGAIN’ (Michael Tremblay), ‘DO NOT GO GENTLE’ (Leon Pownall), ‘THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA’ (Shakespeare), ‘KING OF THIEVES’ (George Walker, songs and music by John Roby, lyrics by George F. Walker

Besides their regularly scheduled plays, the Festival offers stage side chats, the Celebrated Writers Series, Night Music, Table Talks, pre-show lectures, lobby talks, public lectures, the teaching Shakespeare School and The Teachers’ Conference.

What’s the lodging like? Hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts abound to fit any wallet. I enjoy the B&Bs where you get to meet local people who operate the facilities and fellow travelers from around the world. My favorite has been “The Jennie Forbes Cottage” a charming regency cottage erected in 1857 ( It has recently changed hands and been updated, so I’m not sure what to expect when we arrive this year.

Hungry? For moderate cost and high quality, try The Annex Cafe (38 Albert Street). For a relaxed and fairly inexpensive breakfast treat try Demetre’s Family Eatery (1100 Ontario Street). Cleveland theatrical legends Dorothy and Reuben Silver, who are Stratford regulars, recommend The Waterlot Restaurant and Inn (17 Huron Street behind the Royal Bank) in New Hamburg, which is about 20 minutes away “and well worth the trip.”( Also on their favorites list is The Keystone Alley Cafe (34 Brunswick Street) in Stratford ( which has an outdoor patio.

Packages can be arranged by Stratford Escapes (, is an efficient way to make reservations. For individual tickets call 800-567-1600 or go on-line to

Helpful hints: The ride from Cleveland is about six hours through Buffalo. Go on-line to the festival to get directions. (The routings offered by both the AAA and Yahoo maps are confusing and miles longer.) And, to satisfy board requirements carry some official form of identification (passport, or driver’s license with a picture).

Go to Stratford, Canada! Find out what lovely hosts Canadians are, and see some great theatre!