The Stratford Shakespeare Festival celebrates its 60th season of theatrical innovation and achievement with the opening of a brand new attraction, the Festival Exhibition. The display, entitled Most Rare Visions: 60 Years of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, will open on April 23. It will feature content from each decade of the Festival's history, including costume pieces, props, set models, rare photographs and footage, interactive displays, and a room with rare artefacts dating back to 1953–1956 (the years of the Festival's original tent).
The new space, across from the Avon Theatre, will also be the venue for a series of talks hosted by Festival actors and artists. Each talk, to be held on Saturdays in July and August, will focus on a decade of the Festival's history. In conjunction with the exhibition, a special symposium, "Interpreting Shakespeare Across Settings and Media," will be held on June 2 at the Studio Theatre from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will feature actor Colm Feore, actor, director and producer Norman Lloyd, and Dr. Katherine Rowe.
"Every institution's future is built on the foundations of its past," says Artistic Director Des McAnuff, "and our Festival's vibrant and colourful history, from its adventurous beginning to its current pre-eminence as one of the greatest classical theatres in the world, is simply without parallel on this continent. The Festival Exhibition opens a whole new window on our 60 seasons of accomplishment."
"This exhibition provides an unprecedented opportunity for us to share some of the pivotal moments in our history with the very people who have helped make this Festival such a success: our patrons," says General Director Antoni Cimolino. "We hope it will both reawaken fond memories in all those who have supported us so faithfully during the past six decades, and also provide newcomers and long-time patrons alike with fresh and compelling insights into our work."
"This new exhibition space is a dream come true," says Archives Director Dr. Francesca Marini, "and we are proud to offer a new venue to our patrons, to the Festival company and staff, and to the Stratford community. The display is meant to engage people of all ages, and we are glad to share with the public the joy we experience every day working in our theatre."
Located at 104 Downie Street, kitty-corner from the Avon Theatre, the Festival Exhibition will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is fully accessible. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, HST included. Special pricing is available for groups of 10 or more ($4); free admission for children under the age of five. The exhibition will close a week after the season ends, on November 9.