The Festival welcomes avant-garde Toronto theatre company VideoCabaret's spectacular production The War of 1812 (The History of the Village of the Small Huts: 1812-1815) as part of its 60th season. The show, which has been programmed to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812, begins previews at the Studio Theatre Annex performance space on June 26.
VideoCabaret is one of Canada's most creative and imagiNative Theatre ensembles. The company, which won a Dora Award last night for Outstanding Costume Design and was nominated in four other categories for The Life and Times of MacKenzie King, was founded by Michael Hollingsworth and Deanne Taylor. Since its inception in 1976 VideoCabaret has created many enduring plays, and with renowned designers and actors has devised spectacularly original styles of performance including black-box epics, multi-media cabarets, musicals, opera and masquerades.
The War of 1812 tells the story of a Native confederation led by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh that defends its own territory by joining in the defence of Canada when America declares war on Britain and her empire. After three years of bloodshed on land and lake, the Yankees have burned York, the Yorkees have burNed Washington, and everyone has burned the Natives.
"The History of the Village of the Small Huts is a comedy of manners, satirizing Canada's various colonial periods," says Mr. Hollingsworth, who wrote and directed the play. "It is a historical epic for an audience raised on rock and TV. It is the goons of history in their very own Goon Show. It is the Canadian book of the dead, a merry tale told by ghosts and demons."
The production features performers Greg Campbell, Richard Alan Campbell, Richard Clarkin, Mac Fyfe, Jacob James, Linda Prystawska, Anand Rajaram and Michaela Washburn.
"I have admired Michael Hollingsworth's work since the 1970s," says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. "Michael and I grew up one suburb apart in Scarborough and I am extremely proud of his highly evolved body of work. Not only is VideoCabaret's The History of the Village of the Small Huts a substantial Canadian theatrical achievement, it also represents the life's work of this extraordinary playwright. The War of 1812 is a thrilling account of the famous conflict and a perfect way for us to mark its bicentennial."
"We are delighted to welcome VideoCabaret's exciting production to our newest performance space," says General Director Antoni Cimolino. "The War of 1812 offers an exhilarating look at our country's rich history that will surely spark debate and fuel discussion – an essential byproduct of live theatre."
The artistic team for this production includes Associate Director Deanne Taylor, Set and Lighting Designer Andy Moro, Costume Designer Astrid Janson and Composer Brent Snyder.
The War of 1812 is sponsored by BMO Financial Group.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival's 2012 season runs until October 28, featuring Much Ado About Nothing; 42nd Street, The Matchmaker; Henry V; You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown; The Pirates of Penzance; A Word or Two; Cymbeline; Wanderlust; Elektra; The Best Brothers; Hirsch and The War of 1812.