Running each year from April to October, the Stratford Festival is one of North America’s premier theatre festivals, and it is held in the idyllic, English-village-style city of Stratford, Ontario, a two-hour drive west of Toronto.
Formerly known as the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada, the festival is still centred on performances of the works of William Shakespeare, whose hometown lent its name to the charming Perth County community (which even has a river named Avon running through it). Its scope has expanded, however, to include contemporary plays, classic stage musicals, as well as Greek tragedies and work by Shakespeare’s Elizabethan contemporaries and Restoration and 18th Century followers.
Expanding beyond the original, historic Festival Theatre, Festival performances currently take place at four theatres: besides the Festival, these are the Avon, Tom Patterson, and Studio Theatres. From two or three Shakespearean plays in its early years, the Festival has now expanded to twelve separate plays spanning centuries of theatre. Actors both widely renowned and up-and-coming flock to Stratford to hone their craft in theatre classics every summer, and visitors flock to see them.
A welcoming array of comfortable inns, quaint shops, and atmospheric dining establishments have cropped up in the small city to support the out-of-town visitors to the festival. Whether stopping in Stratford for a single night’s performance or for several days or more to soak up the theatrical spectacles and local flair, the Stratford Festival has much to offer the visitor to Southern Ontario or regional resident with an interest in the arts and the town’s unique character and charm.
The 2014 Stratford Festival is well underway, with many of the productions running until the second week of October. Feel free to browse the Festival’s lineup, purchase tickets, and find more information on local attractions and amenities on the official website. If you do decide that the Stratford Festival is a slice of Southern Ontario’s cultural life that you simply cannot miss out on, Global Alliance will be happy to arrange chauffeured transportation to and from Stratford for you.