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Text on the right says "2024". Behind, audience members gather outside the marquee at the Festival Theatre on Opening Night.


To go to the theatre is to go on a journey: to enter an imagined world, resembling our own or fantastically different from it, where we can see anew with beginners’ eyes and gain fresh perspectives on our lives.

Transformative voyages, both literal and metaphorical, pervade our 2024 playbill. “What country, friends, is this?” asks the shipwrecked Viola in Twelfth Night. It’s Illyria, a topsy-turvy realm in which Viola is reunited with her long-lost twin while unexpectedly finding love. These “elsewheres” offer profound insights and closures: the New World of America in Something Rotten!, the Wales to which Imogen flees in Cymbeline, the nightclub in La Cage aux Folles, Neverland in Wendy and Peter Pan.

Travelling to the other side of the world enables the protagonists of Salesman in China to see beyond the cultural assumptions of the “other,” while a sojourn in the country awakens the city sophisticates of London Assurance to the idea of love that reaches beyond oneself.

Journeys can come at a cost too: Like the Jamaican-Canadian family in Get That Hope, who find themselves betwixt the old world and the new, never truly at home in either. And while Morag, in The Diviners, prevails in her struggle to remake herself, others are tragically thwarted. Hedda Gabler rails wittily but vainly against the world in which she is trapped; Romeo and Juliet attempt to create a new one for themselves. In both cases, the result is their tragic undoing.

And at what point is a world elsewhere a world too far? That question is raised, disturbingly, in The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?

For all these playbill choices, comic or tragic, I have brought together extraordinary artists who will offer journeys from which you will return invigorated, full of hope and joy, and eager to embark on your next great adventure. Buon viaggio!

Antoni Cimolino 
Artistic Director


It’s not till you get here that you really understand.

Yes, we can tell you about our four magnificent theatres, and the glorious parklands along the Avon River where two of them are situated. We can tell you about the vibrant downtown setting of our other two venues, with its fine restaurants and boutique shopping. And we can tell you about our richly varied range of theatrical entertainment, from spectacular musicals to Shakespeare plays.

We can tell you all this and more; we can show you photos and videos. But just as a play is only words on a page until people bring it to life on stage, mere descriptions can’t begin to capture the lived experience. I’m always moved by how deeply patrons feel their lives are affected by their visits here. I know this because they tell me.

Last September, for instance, I met a couple who’d come to Stratford for the very first time, all the way from California. They’d discovered our streaming service, Stratfest@Home, during the pandemic, followed us online for a couple of years, then decided to make the long trip east. Enthralled by what they found—the Festival, its repertoire, its environment—they felt they were in theatre Nirvana.

This isn’t just a city; it’s a cultural retreat, a place where people come to connect with their fellow theatre lovers, with our artists and staff at Meighen Forum events, with the local business owners who welcome them back or introduce them
to our community for the first time.

It’s that human connection that makes Stratford so special. That’s what makes people want to linger here; what makes them feel like they’ve stumbled on a magical secret, one that has to be seen to be believed—and one that they can’t wait to share.

Anita Gaffney
Executive Director