by William Shakespeare
Additional text by Erin Shields
Directed by Chris Abraham
“I DO LOVE NOTHING IN THE WORLD SO WELL AS YOU—IS NOT THAT STRANGE?”
The story follows Beatrice and Benedick, two quick-witted and sarcastic individuals who are happily single, but whose friends believe they would make a great romantic match. Set in the Early Modern world, an era of ever-changing attitudes towards marriage and power, the play presents a society at once filled with progressive feminist impulses and countervailing forces rooted in traditional patriarchal values. With his astonishing wit and insight, Shakespeare explores the complexities that underlie these growing social tensions.
Setting: Southern Italy, Elizabethan period.
House Program: Much Ado About Nothing
*Please note that all run times are approximate and can vary frequently during previews. Official run times will be made available after they have been verified.
There will be one 20-minute intermission.
This production includes haze.
Production support is generously provided by Priscilla Costello, by John & Therese Gardner, by the Harkins & Manning families in memory of Jim & Susan Harkins, by The Jentes Family and by Dr. Desta Leavine in memory of Pauline Leavine.
Support for the 2023 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein & Claire Foerster.
Photo credits: From left – Maev Beaty and Graham Abbey. Photo by Ted Belton.
Langham Directors' Workshop, 2015/17
2023: Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. 24th season. Stratford: Claudius (Hamlet), Simon Pilkings (Death and the King's Horseman) Mr. Ford (Merry Wives of Windsor), Aufidius (Coriolanus), Orgon (Tartuffe), Bolingbroke/Henry IV, conceiver, adaptor (Breath of Kings), Iago, Petruchio, Henry V, Macbeth, Romeo, Henry VIII. Elsewhere: Hamlet (Resurgence); Sam Byck (Assassins). TV: Series lead - The Border (CBC). Recent - Under the Banner of Heaven (Disney/Hulu), SkyMed (CBC), Diggstown (CBC). Recurring - Degrassi, Murdoch Mysteries, Covert Affairs, Republic of Doyle. Guest star - Flashpoint, Lost Girl, Remedy, Frontier, Ransom. Film: Delia's Gone, Take This Waltz, Casino Jack, Defendor, Stealing Paradise, Milton's Secret. Awards: Two Dora Awards, Monte Carlo Television nomination. Directing: Stratford - The Front Page, associate director, Breath of Kings, assistant director Twelfth Night, The Alchemist. Elsewhere - The Winter's Tale, Measure for Measure, Lear (Groundling). Et cetera: Artistic Director, Groundling Theatre and The County Stage Company.
2023: Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Annabelle in Wedding Band. Eighth season. Stratford: Gertrude (Hamlet), Jane Pilkings (Death and the King's Horseman), Cookie (The Front Page), Elmire (Tartuffe), Lady Sneerwell (The School for Scandal), Sorrel (Bunny), Kate (The Last Wife), Kate Hardcastle (She Stoops to Conquer), Goneril (King Lear). Elsewhere: August: Osage County, Little Menace: Pinter, La Ronde, Parfumerie (Soulpepper); The De Chardin Project (Passe Muraille); Proud (Michael Healey), Terminus (Outside the March/Mirvish); Wide Awake Hearts (Tarragon); Another Africa (Volcano); The Mill (Theatrefront); Palace of the End (Canadian Stage). Awards: Multiple Dora winner and 14-time nominee. Film/TV:Beau is Afraid (dir. Ari Aster), Mouthpiece (TIFF, dir. Patricia Rozema), Murdoch Mysteries.Online: maevbeaty.com. Et cetera: 21 world premières, including her co-creations Montparnasse, Goblin Market and Secret Life of a Mother (PlaywrightsCanadaPress). For Dorothy and Esmé, the before and the after.
2023: Edmund in King Lear and Don John in Much Ado About Nothing. 10th season. Stratford: Richard III, All's Well, Merry Wives, Tempest, Coriolanus, Napoli Milionaria!, Tartuffe, Macbeth, All My Sons, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Three Musketeers, Merchant of Venice, Much Ado, HenryV, Othello. Elsewhere: Lincoln, Topdog/Underdog (Arts Club); Beast/Prince, Beauty and the Beast (Theatre Aquarius); MLK, Mountaintop (Theatre Kingston); Edmund, King Lear (Theatre Calgary/Bard on the Beach); Simba, The Lion King (Mirvish/Disney); Othello, Othello (Bard on the Beach); Clybourne Park (Citadel); Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet, Eilif, Mother Courage (NAC); Gratiano/Morocco, Merchant of Venice (SITR); Mitch, Spelling Bee (Belfry/Arts Club); Orlando, As You Like It (Soulpepper). Film/TV: Slumberland (Netflix), The Lost Symbol, Private Eyes, The Expanse, Murdoch Mysteries, Degrassi. Training: National Theatre School of Canada, Soulpepper Academy, St. Michael's Choir School.
2023: Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing and Duke of Albany in King Lear. Second season. Stratford: Laertes (Hamlet). Elsewhere: The Royale (Citadel Theatre); Being Here: The Refugee Project, Taking Shakespeare, Spring Awakening (Belfry Theatre); As You Like It (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Beauty and the Beast (Arts Club Theatre); MISS UNDERSTOOD (PuSh Festival); The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Shakespeare in Love, Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter's Tale (Bard on the Beach); MAMMA MIA! (WCT); HAIR (Mayfield Theatre); As You Like It (Citadel Theatre/MTC). Film/TV: Supernatural, Batwoman, The Flash (CW), Colony (USA), The Magicians (SyFy), Narcoleap (CBC/Telus). Radio/Recordings: A Different Stage, Broad-WHAT?, Bring Out Your Geeks (Podcast). Training: The Canadian College of Performing Arts. Awards: Leo Awards 2021 (Narcoleap) Online: @austineckert.
2023: Hero in Much Ado About Nothing, Pierrette Guerin in Les Belles-Soeurs and appears in King Lear. Second season. Stratford: Jo March in Little Women, Diana in All's Well That Ends Well. Elsewhere:Serving Elizabeth (Western Canada Theatre); The Color Purple (Citadel and MTC); School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian and Nightwood); How Black Mothers Say I Love You (Factory Theatre); Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Citadel); Girls Like That (Tarragon); 'Da Kink in My Hair (Theatre Calgary and NAC); Dreamgirls (Grand Theatre). Film/TV:The Handmaid's Tale (MGM/Hulu), Surviving Evil (Cineflix), Black Actress (JungleWild). Audio Drama:Every Minute of Every Day (Factory Theatre), Liming (Expect Theatre). Training: Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance - Sheridan College. Awards: Dora and Toronto Critics Award for School Girls.... Et cetera: I am so grateful for my amazing family, friends and Monika Thomas for their ENDLESS love and support. @alllisonec.
2023: Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing and Doctor in King Lear. Second season. Stratford: Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew and All's Well That Ends Well (2008). Elsewhere: Most recently, Red Velvet and Orphans for the Czar (Crow's Theatre). Shakespeare credits include: Two Gentlemen of Verona (Bard on the Beach), Shrew (CanStage), Alls Well, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, The Winter's Tale, Love's Labour's Lost (National Arts Centre). Shaw Festival: eleven seasons where favourites include, An Octoroon, Astrov in Uncle Vanya, Higgins in Pygmalion, Bernard in Arcadia (with transfer to Royal Alexandra Theatre), and Dunois to Tara Rosling's St Joan (with tour to Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Additionally: Tarragon Theatre (The Realistic Jones, The Message), Mirvish Productions (Lord of the Rings), Segal Center (The Seagull), Blyth Festival (The Outdoor Donnellys), Caravan Farm Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Citadel, Globe Theatre. Film and TV when time and opportunity align.
Birmingham Conservatory 2005
2023: Edgar in King Lear and Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing. Ninth season. Stratford: Richard III, All's Well That Ends Well, The Tempest, Coriolanus, etc. Elsewhere: Recently made his directorial debut with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's Gloria (ARC/Crow's); Julius Caesar (Crow's/Groundling); Glass Menagerie, Sex, An Octoroon, "Master Harold"… and the Boys (Shaw Festival and Obsidian Theatre); Kim's Convenience national tour (Soulpepper); Shakespeare's Nigga, Ruined (Obsidian Theatre); Intimate Apparel (Alberta Theatre Projects, The Grand); Othello, Radio Golf (St. Louis Black Repertory Company). Training: George Brown Theatre School. Awards: Dora Nomination for Outstanding Direction Gloria, My Entertainment World Critics Pick Award - Best Leading Actor, An Octoroon; Toronto Theatre Critics Award and Dora Award - Best Leading Actor, "Master Harold"… and the Boys. Animation: Tiny Louis in Summer Memories, Fins in Sago Mini Friends. Online: Check out his webseries on YouTube called Private Idiots. Twitter: @andresills373. Instagram: @dre373.
2023: Messenger in King Lear and Sexton in Much Ado About Nothing. Second season. Stratford: Richard III, All's Well That Ends Well. Elsewhere (selected): A Thousand Splendid Suns (Arts Club, MTC, The Grand Theatre); Men in White (Arts Club); Long Division (Pi Theatre/Gateway); three seasons at Bard on the Beach (King Lear, Shakespeare's Rebel, Equivocation, Cymbeline, Merry Wives… and King John). The leading role of Amir in The Kite Runner (Theatre Calgary/Citadel, nominated for Best Actor); Much Ado… (Canadian Stage). Film and TV (selected): Another Life, Red Snow, The Predator (2018), The 100, Colony, Prison Break, Death Note, Wisdom of the Crowd, Arctic Air, Rogue, Afghan Luke, Hellcats, Diverted, Fringe, Degrassi and Mayday. He was also a regular on the CBC radio drama Afghanada. Et cetera: Anousha is a graduate of Ryerson Theatre School as well as Dawson College (Dome Theatre) in Montreal.
2023: Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing and Angeline Sauve in Les Belles-Soeurs. Second season. Stratford: Iyaloja in Death and the King's Horseman. Elsewhere (selected): Soulpepper: Pipeline (Nya), A Streetcar Named Desire (Eunice), for colored girls… (Lady in Green), Father Comes Home From The Wars… (Leader/Runaway), The Crucible (Tituba). Obsidian Theatre: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Head Mistress Francis), Venus' Daughters (Venus/Sarah). Stratford/Canadian Stage: Tartuffe (Dorine). Theatre Passe Muraille: The Middle Place (Kaaliha/Dee). Film/TV: Odd Squad, Bitten, Frankie Drake Mysteries, 21 Black Futures, In The Dark, Most Dangerous Game, American Gods, Kim's Convenience (recurring). Training: BFA in Theatre, York University; 2011/2012 Soulpepper Academy. Awards: Cover of NOW Magazine (2016); 2019 Toronto Theatre Critics Award, Best Performer in a Supporting Role - Head Mistress Francis in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play. Online: @akos2030.
2023: Servant in King Lear and understudy in Much Ado About Nothing. Second season. Richard is proud to be the first Certified Fight Instructor with Fight Directors Canada who is Indigenous. Stage combat instructor and resident fight director at Centre for Indigenous Theatre; fight instructor and company member at Rapier Wit Stage and Screen Combat. Stratford: Joseph Summers in 1939; Chorus/Stepfather in Hamlet-911. Elsewhere: Killroy/Tuffnell in Crazy Dave Goes To Town (Centre for Indigenous Theatre); The Old Man in A Christmas Story (Lower Ossington Theatre); Charles in Tapwewin (Weesageechak Festival); Edgar in King Lear (Thorneloe Theatre). Fight direction:Where The Blood Mixes (Soulpepper); This Is How We Got Here (Shaw Festival, Native Earth). Film/TV:Star Wars Battlefront II: Official Rivals (Disney/Lucas Films); Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont (CBC/PMA Biographies). Et cetera: For Mom, Dad, and all my relations. Miigwetch!
2023: Regan in King Lear, Margaret in Much Ado About Nothing and understudy in Les Belles-Soeurs. Fourth season. Stratford: Death and the King's Horseman, The Crucible, Mother's Daughter, An Ideal Husband, Julius Caesar, To Kill a Mockingbird. Elsewhere: Cymbeline (Shakespeare Bash'd); The Penelopiad (Grand Theatre); Antony and Cleopatra, Three Musketeers, Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar (St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival); we could be clouds, Lear, The Laramie Project (National Theatre School of Canada); The Railway Children (Mirvish). Film/TV: Sex/Life (Netflix); Pretty Hard Cases (CBC); Until the Real Thing Comes Along (Quantity Cinema); The Fall of Grace (Triple 7 Films). Training: Earl Haig Claude Watson Arts; National Theatre School of Canada. Online: @dejahdixongreen. Et cetera: Thank you to everyone that has supported me on my journey. Love and light to all.
2023: King of France in King Lear and Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing. Fourth season. Stratford: Horatio in Hamlet, Templar in Nathan the Wise and Eitan in Birds of a Kind. Elsewhere:Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Canadian Stage); Idomeneus (Soulpepper); The Circle (Tarragon); Caught (Theatre Passe Muraille); Offline (writer/director), The Libertine, Gotcha (Talk Is Free); Cockfight (Theatre Brouhaha/Red One); Much Ado About Nothing (Single Thread); Blue Planet, Minotaur (Young People's Theatre). Film/TV: Jakob stars as Miles in the award-winning film, The Drawer Boy. Awards: Nominations for four Dora Awards for his work as an actor. Other: Jakob also works as a director, writer, sound designer and podcaster. Et cetera: For my loves B&B.
Birmingham Conservatory, 2015/16
2023: Mattie in Wedding Band, Linda Lauzon in Les Belles-Soeurs and understudy in Much Ado About Nothing. Eighth season. Stratford (selected): Guildenstern in Hamlet, Co-host of Showstarters, Tituba in The Crucible, Death and the King's Horseman, The Neverending Story, As You Like It, Love's Labour's Lost, Hay Fever. Elsewhere: Death and the King's Horseman Radio Play (Soulpepper); Romeo & Juliet (Spontaneous Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Theatre New Brunswick); five seasons with Shaw Festival including Major Barbara, Serious Money, Ragtime, Born Yesterday; Binti's Journey (Theatre Direct); The Aftermath (Nightwood Theatre); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare in High Park, Canadian Stage). Film/TV: Hamlet (2022), Death and the King's Horseman, Love's Labour's Lost, Hamlet, Macbeth, Timon of Athens (Stratford Festival on Film). Training: Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre; BFA, University of Windsor. Et cetera: All for the love of Jake and Z.
Birmingham Conservatory, 2017/18
2023: Duke of Burgundy in King Lear and understudy in Much Ado About Nothing. Sixth season. Stratford: Jeremy in Hamlet-911, The Boy in Three Tall Women, Sir Henry Guildford in Henry VIII, Eribo, A Bully in The Neverending Story, Harold in An Ideal Husband, appeared in To Kill a Mockingbird and understudied in Julius Caesar. Elsewhere: Atreyu in The Neverending Story (National Arts Centre); Katurian K. Katurian in The Pillowman (Orlando Fringe 2016). Film/TV: Guest star on What We Do in the Shadows season four finale (FX), Reign (CW) and Murder U (Discovery ID). Training: BFA, University of Windsor; Birmingham Conservatory. Instagram: @iles4miles.
2023: Earl of Kent in King Lear and understudy in Much Ado About Nothing. Ninth season. Stratford: Poseidon (Trojan Women), Flores (Fuente Ovejuna), Jud (Oklahoma!), Horatio (Hamlet), Clarence/Richmond (Richard III), Cominius (Coriolanus), Nathaniel (Love's Labour's Lost), DeFlores (The Changeling). Elsewhere: Father Christopher, Children of God (Urban Ink/ Canadian Tour); Singer, Leonard Cohen: The Secret Chord (Soulpepper); Valjean, Les Misérables (WCT); Dad, Billy Elliot (Mirvish); Dennis, Rock of Ages (Mirvish); David, True Love Lies (Factory Theatre); Officer Lockstock, Urinetown (CanStage); Sam, Mamma Mia! (Broadway). Film/TV:10 Truths About Love, Albatross, Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland, Akilla's Escape, Good Witch, Suits, Designated Survivor, Who Killed Jon Benet, Republic of Doyle, Saving Hope, Copper, The Manchurian Candidate. Recordings:Two Houses, Love and Carnage, Gasoline Rainbows: available in the Stratford Festival Shop. Awards: Dora Award- Urinetown (CanStage); Best Actor- Albatross (Austin International Film Festival). Online:davidkeeley.ca.
2023: Curan in King Lear and Verges in Much Ado About Nothing. Ninth season. Stratford: Reynaldo, Hamlet; Mervin, The Miser; Endicott, The Front Page; Walter Cunningham Sr., To Kill a Mockingbird; Caius Ligarius, Julius Caesar; Lt. Brannigan, Guys and Dolls; Apothecary, Romeo and Juliet; Doctor, Macbeth; Oliver, As You Like It; Deuxfois, TheHypochondriac; Marcellus/Fortinbras, Hamlet; Boyet, Love's Labour's Lost; Descartes, Christina, The Girl King; Red Knight/Walrus, Alice Through the Looking-Glass. Elsewhere: Jaques, As You Like It; Cassius, Julius Caesar; Lucio, Measure for Measure (Citadel); Slim, Of Mice and Men (Canadian Stage/Theatre Calgary); Tybalt/Friar Laurence, Romeo and Juliet (Theatre Calgary); Everard, Age of Arousal (ATP); Milan, Rock 'n' Roll (Canadian Stage/Citadel); Kent, King Lear; Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Twelfth Night (Freewill).Training: BFA Acting, University of Alberta. Awards: Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award, Measure for Measure. Et cetera: Former Artistic Director, Freewill Shakespeare Festival. All my love to Breanna, Aidan and Finn.
2023: The Bell Man in Wedding Band and Seacoal in Much Ado About Nothing. Sixth season. Stratford: Barnardo in Hamlet, The Resident in Death and the King's Horseman, Undiscovered Sonnets, Michael, Moloch in Paradise Lost, Sir Thomas Cromwell and Bishop of Lincoln in Henry VIII. Fight Director, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Elsewhere: 12 Angry Men, Death of a Salesman (Drayton); Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Henry V (BOTB); Romeo and Juliet, The Glass Menagerie, Rough Crossing (TC); Death of a Salesman, The Wars (Playhouse); The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Red Priest (Globe); Hedda Gabler (Persephone); The Secret Annex, The Philadelphia Story (MTC); The Drawer Boy, Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Belfry); Aberhart Summer, Respectable, that elusive spark (ATP); Boeing Boeing, The School for Scandal (Arts Club); The Woman in Black (CTF); Guys and Dolls (Gateway); Macbeth (theatre nomad - England/South Africa tour); Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) (BeMe Theatre - Munich, Germany).
(he/him) Birmingham Conservatory, 2012/13
2023: Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing and appears in King Lear. 10th season. Josue is a Métis actor, teaching artist and mask maker from the traditional territory of the Dane-zaa, Treaty 8, Fort St. John, BC. Stratford: Hamlet, Death & the King's Horseman, Merry Wives of Windsor, Front Page, Comedy of Errors, Napoli Milionaria!, Tempest, Timon of Athens, Madwoman of Chaillot, The Changeling, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aeneid, Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, King Lear, Midsummer Night's Dream, Beaux' Stratagem, Mary Stuart, Measure for Measure, Othello. Vancouver: Henry VI: Wars of the Roses, Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Timon of Athens (Bard on the Beach); The Exquisite Hour (Relephant); Wizard of Oz, Seussical (Carousel); The Emperor's New Threads (Axis). Training: Birmingham Conservatory under Director Martha Henry, Studio 58, Canadian National Voice Intensive. Online: Twitter: @josuelaboucane, Instagram: @laboucanej.
Birmingham Conservatory, 2017
2023: Oswald in King Lear and understudy in Much Ado About Nothing. Third season. Stratford: Richard III, All's Well That Ends Well, Comedy of Errors, Paradise Lost, understudy in Long Day's Journey…. Elsewhere: Little Women, A Christmas Carol (Theatre Calgary); The Tempest (The Shakespeare Company); Crime Does Not Pay (Downstage); Liberation Days, Mary Celeste, Nothing Less!, A Midsummer Night's Dream, In This Light, Frankenstein by Fire, The Ruins (Two Planks and A Passion); Naughty...But Nice! (Forte Musical Theatre Guild); Spelling 2-5-5 (Carousel Players); Evangeline (Charlottetown Festival). Film/TV: Principal in It's Not You… (Don McKellar). Training: National Theatre School, Birmingham Conservatory. Awards: Betty Award nominations for Crime Does Not Pay and Naughty...But Nice!, Merritt Award nomination for A Midsummer…. Et cetera: Special thanks to Talent House and lots of love to everyone who has and continues to support me on this journey.
Birmingham Conservatory 2020/21
2023: Shrimp Man in Wedding Band and understudy in Much Ado About Nothing. Fourth season. Stratford: Lord in All's Well That Ends Well, understudy in Little Women, Demetrius, Peter Quince, Mustardseed in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Birmingham Conservatory). Elsewhere: Iago in Othello, Richard in Richard III, Sparkish in The Country Wife, Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art); Paul Bratter in Barefoot in the Park, Paul Verral in Born Yesterday (Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre); Henry Baskerville in Hound of the Baskervilles (Royal Canadian Theatre Co.); Young Sherlock in Sherlock Holmes (Chemainus Theatre Festival). Film/TV:Fragile Seeds (feature film), The Flash, Far Cry 4, Monkey Up, Cascadia, Ollie and Emma. Directing:Julius Caesar, Mr. Burns, LaRonde at New Image College, Vancouver BC. Training: Birmingham Conservatory, LAMDA (Masters with Distinction, Classical Acting).
2023: Member of the Watch in Much Ado About Nothing and understudy in Wedding Band and Les Belles-Soeurs. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: The Royale (Citadel); The Color Purple, As You Like It (Citadel/Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre);The Wolves (Maggie Tree/Citadel); The Fiancée(Persephone); Heaven (Lunchbox); Sister Act, All Shook Up, Soul Sistas (Mayfield); John Ware Reimagined, Tell Us What Happened (Workshop West).Training: MacEwan Theatre Arts Alumnus, RBC Horizon Emerging Artists Program (Citadel). Online: Instagram- jameela_jade. Et cetera: Thank you to my family, friends, and C for all of your love and support. "I am my ancestors' wildest dreams."
2023: Rheauna Bibeau in Les Belles-Soeurs and understudy in Much Ado About Nothing and Wedding Band. Stratford debut. Past credits include: Stage - Cinnamon in Rumspringa Break (NextStage), The Sour Kangaroo in Seussical (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre). Film/TV - Gladys Kravitz in CHUCKY, Agent Orange in Slumberland, Ida Clark in Murdoch Mysteries, and many characters in Baroness Von Sketch. Music - Add "It's All About Christmastime" to your Spotify playlist. You'll be happy you did. Et cetera: Jamillah lives with the sweetest cat in the world, can juggle three small objects and is an alumnus of The Second City Toronto MainStage. Jamillah has dreamed of performing at Stratford since having her mind blown in 1988 while watching The Taming of the Shrew in the Festival Theatre. Thanks Mr.Cal! DREAMS COME TRUE, PEOPLE!
2023: Tuba and recorder (onstage) in Much Ado About Nothing and Festival Theatre fanfares. Third season. Elsewhere: Canadian Opera Company Orchestra; Esprit Orchestra; Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony; Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra; National Ballet of Canada Orchestra; London Symphonia; Hannaford Street Silver Band; Trillium Brass Quintet. Recordings/Films:The Lighthouse, movie soundtrack; Journey in Brass, Hannaford Street Silver Band; Harambee with Dale Sorensen; Views, Reverb Brass; Solo Flight, Canadian Staff Band; Psalm of Praise, Canadian Staff Band; This I Know, London Citadel Band. Training: University of Toronto, Doctorate of Musical Arts; Memorial University, Master of Music; Memorial University, Bachelor of Music. Publications:Solace, Cimarron Music Press; Richmond, Solid Rock, (Experianza Music); Ellers, Turn Your Eyes, Shine on Us (MLB); Move Holy Spirit, Who Is He, Open Wide the Stable Door, Franconia (SP&S). Online:jonathanrowsell.wixsite.com/home, email@example.com.
2023: Percussion and jaw harp (onstage) in Much Ado About Nothing and Festival Theatre fanfares. Second season. Stratford: Monty Python's Spamalot (2020). Elsewhere: Yorkville (Blyth Festival, 2016). Touring and session drummer for over 200 national ad campaigns (Rogers, Interac Panasonic, et cetera) and over 30 full length albums working for various recording artists including JEEN, Julian Taylor, Dayna Manning, Emm Gryner, Maggie's Wake, Thornley, Hawksley Workman, Edwin (I Mother Earth), Sarah Slean to name a few. Stephan has played as a substitute musician at the Stratford Festival in The Who's Tommy. Studied at Etobicoke School of the Arts and Humber College music program.
2023: Lisette de Courval in Les Belles-Soeurs and understudy in King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. Stratford debut. Elsewhere (selected): Pilgrim in 1184 (Phoenix Arts/Aga Khan); Chorus in Wedding at Aulis, Old Major/Poophead in Animal Farm, Ensemble in Alligator Pie, Celia in As You Like It, Lucy in The Threepenny Opera, Mary in The Time of Your Life (Soulpepper); Ladybug in James and the Giant Peach, Fumiko in Hana's Suitcase, Jojo in Seussical, Bird/Mole in A Year With Frog & Toad, Loa in Blue Planet (YPT); Huong in Vietgone, Lady Nijo in Top Girls (RMTC). Voiceover: Narrator in With Love and a Major Organ (Question Mark Exclamation), Noor in Hyperscape (Ubisoft). Training: B.A. Honours - Theatre at University of Winnipeg & Soulpepper Academy. Instagram: @jennifer_villaverde. Et cetera: Many thanks to my agent, Karen, and all my love to Mike and Catie.
2023: The Fool in King Lear and Friar Francis in Much Ado About Nothing. Sixth season. Stratford: Hamlet-911, Every Little Nookie, Mother's Daughter, The Crucible, The Comedy of Errors, Napoli Milionaria!, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Treasure Island, The Breathing Hole. Elsewhere: Edgar, King Lear (NAC); Mooch, Where the Blood Mixes (Theatre NorthWest); Clov, Endgame (Theatre Newfoundland Labrador); Puck, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Stephenville); Titus, The Devil's Disciple (Neptune); Kemp, Vigil (Live Bait Theatre); Velveteen Rabbit, The Velveteen Rabbit (Theatre New Brunswick); Loomis, Our Eliza (Ship's Company Theatre); An Acre of Time (GCTC); Injun Joe/Fred, Dead White Writer on the Floor (Magnus Theatre). Film/TV: Haven, Mr. D, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, New Waterford Girl, Blackfly, Gracie's Choice, Trudeau II, Black Harbour, Charlie Zone, Picnicface. Training: BFA, Memorial University. Et cetera: Wela'lin to my family in Newfoundland, my friends in Nova Scotia, and all my relations on Turtle Island.
2023: Duke of Cornwall in King Lear and Balthasar in Much Ado About Nothing. Eighth season. Stratford (select): Parolles in All's Well…, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, Professor Bhaer in Little Women, Falkor in The Neverending Story, Lucullus in Timon…, Wessex in Shakespeare in Love, Karl Gustav in Christina, The Girl King, White Knight in Alice Through the Looking-Glass. Elsewhere: Lion in Winter (Grand); East of Berlin, The December Man, Shakespeare's Dog (ATP); Am I Not King? (Zone 41); Enron (Theatre Calgary); Beyond the Farm Show (Blyth); The Story (Common Boots); Macbeth, Mother Courage (Caravan Farm); A Doll's House (Globe). Film/TV: Wilfrid, Charity, Homefront, Blue Smoke, The Secret of the Nutcracker, See This Movie. Training: National Theatre School. Awards: John Hirsch Award; Betty Award for Vincent in Brixton and Dora, Montreal Critics' Circle and Evie Award nominations. Et cetera: Much love to my family. Online: Instagram @wilkierylan.
(he/him) Birmingham Conservatory, 2019/21
2023: Nelson Green in Wedding Band and Messenger in Much Ado About Nothing. Fourth season. Stratford: Danny in Hamlet-911 (2022); Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream (2021). Elsewhere: Riley in Is God Is (Obsidian Theatre/Canadian Stage/NAC); Taz in Samantha: A Concept Album, Set to Stage (Greenlight Theatre); Slightly in Peter Pan (Bad Hats Theatre); Dido in Dido, Queen of Carthage, directed by Peter Hinton (York University Theatre). Training: Birmingham Conservatory, 2019, 2021 (Stratford Festival); Acting Conservatory, York University, 2018 (BFA); Michael Gordon Shore, Role Development. Online: Instagram: @micah.woods. Et cetera: "Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations." - Dr. Mae Jemison. Thank you to my family for their love and support.
2023: Director of Much Ado About Nothing. Ninth season. Stratford: Tartuffe, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, The Matchmaker, The Little Years, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again. Elsewhere: Cyrano de Bergerac (Shaw); Winners & Losers (Soho Rep); Uncle Vanya, Julius Caesar, The Boy in the Moon, The Wedding Party, The Watershed, The Seagull, Seeds, Eternal Hydra (Crow's Theatre); I, Claudia (Tarragon); Antigone, The Lesson (Soulpepper). Training: National Theatre School of Canada. Awards: Dora Awards for The Little Years, Eternal Hydra, Easy Lenny Lazmon…; Sterling Award for Frozen (Citadel Theatre); Gemini Award for I, Claudia (CBC/Sienna Films); 2013 Elinor and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. Online:crowstheatre.com. Et cetera: Chris is Artistic Director of Crow's Theatre. He is past Co-Director of the National Theatre School of Canada Directing Program.
Additional text for Much Ado About Nothing.
This is Erin's second season at the Stratford Festival. Her adaptation of Paradise Lost premiered at the Studio Theatre in 2018 and went on to win the Québec Writers' Federation Playwriting Prize. Most of Erin's work highlights the negation or misrepresentation of women in classical texts by adapting those stories through a feminist lens for a contemporary audience. Most recently, Queen Goneril premiered at Soulpepper Theatre in rep with Shakespeare's King Lear. Other plays include: Jane Eyre (Citadel Theatre); Piaf/Dietrich (Mirvish Productions/Segal Centre); Beautiful Man (Factory Theatre); The Lady from the Sea (Shaw Festival); Governor General's Award-winning If We Were Birds, The Millennial Malcontent, and Soliciting Temptation (Tarragon Theatre). Six of her plays have been published by Playwrights Canada Press and you can read more about Erin on her website, www.erinshields.ca. Erin would like to thank Chris Abraham, Maev Beaty, Tim Carroll, Sandy Leggatt and David Prosser for invaluable feedback during the development of this new text.
2023: Designer of Much Ado About Nothing and set designer of Love's Labour's Lost. 14th season. Stratford (selected): The Miser, R + J, Merry Wives of Windsor, Napoli Milionaria!, Tartuffe, School for Scandal, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, Little Years. Elsewhere: Public Enemy, Cosmonaut (Canadian Stage); Uncle Vanya, Wedding Party, Watershed, Seagull, Someone Else, Seeds, I, Claudia (Crow's Theatre); Cyrano (Shaw Festival); Arigato, The Maids, Blasted (Buddies in Bad Times); Faust, The Designated Mourner, Cryptogram (Tarragon); Centaur, Electric Company, Why Not Theatre, Soulpepper, Necessary Angel, Theatre Passe Muraille, Segal Centre, MTC, Citadel. Opera: Volcano. Dance: adelheid, Susanna Hood, Chartier Danse. Training: National Theatre School. Awards: four Dora Awards for set design; Virginia Cooper Award for costume design; META and Sterling Award nominations. Teaching: National Theatre School. Et cetera: In memory of Michael Eagan.
2023: Supervising fight director for the 2023 season. 12th season. Stratford: Supervising Fight Director 2022, Associate: 2013-2020 seasons, Assistant: 2004, 2009 seasons. Elsewhere: Fight director - Bengal Tiger... (Crow's Theatre); Black Drum (Soulpepper); Peter and the Starcatcher, Sweet Charity, Cyrano (Shaw); Don Giovanni, War and Peace (COC). Film/TV Stunts (selected): The Boys (four seasons), See, FUBAR, Jack Reacher, What We Do In The Shadows, The Lost Symbol, Hardy Boys, The Man from Toronto, It Chapter Two, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Schitt's Creek, Murdoch Mysteries, Ginny & Georgia, Jupiter's Legacy, Supergirl, Impulse, I Was Lorena Bobbitt, Save Me, Frankie Drake, Titans, Umbrella Academy, The Expanse, Designated Survivor, Suicide Squad, Dark Matter, Killjoys, 12 Monkeys, Bitten, The Strain, Pompeii, Orphan Black, Total Recall. Training: Supreme Fight Master Elite Level 3. BFA, Ryerson University. Awards: SAG nomination, Best Stunt Ensemble, 2021, 2023 Paddy Crean. Online: @GeoffScovell.
2023: Intimacy Director of Rent, Much Ado About Nothing and Wedding Band. Second season. Stratford: Hamlet (2022). Elsewhere: Intimacy Professional - Civil (Netflix); Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation (Lifetime/MUSE); Fat Lady Sriracha (Sriracha Productions); Sin and Sorrow are Common to All, The Judas Kiss (Talk is Free Theatre); Salome Learns to Dance (7 Veils Productions.); Pomegranate Opera (Buddies in Bad Times); Happily Undead After (Canadian Film Centre). Movement Director: The Monkiest King (CCOC). Director - The Magic Flute, Pirates of Penzance (Opera Lyra/OYA touring productions). Actor - nine seasons at the National Arts Centre (resident actor with the NAC English Theatre, 2012/13); The Cherry Orchard (Modern Times); Like Wolves (GCTC); Better Days (Paragraph Pictures). Recent media credits: Assassins Creed: Odyssey, Valhalla (Ubisoft). Et cetera: Alix's film chemography: a study in light can be found on CBC Gem: Reflections. Online: @alikisideris, alixsideris.com. Gratitude to David, Meagan, Amanda. This one's for you, Richard C.
(they/he) Langham Directors' Workshop 2023
2023: Assistant director of Much Ado About Nothing. Second season. Elsewhere: Assistant director - Cyrano de Bergerac, Everybody, The Doctor's Dilemma, and directed Overruled (Shaw Festival - 2022 Neil Munro Directing Intern). Director - Exhume Me, EMPTY/immediacy, lonelyboy99 (House + Body); KING LEAR @ the baseball diamond (co/Shakespeare in the Ruff). Associate director - DION: A Rock Opera Workshop (Coal Mine Theatre). Workshop Director/Dramaturg - Controlled Damage (bCurrent). As an educator - Christopher has taught and directed at The University of Windsor, Randolph, and Sheridan College. Training: Christopher has extensively trained in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training + Viewpoints with Anne Bogart and SITI Company (New York), Tadashi Suzuki and the Suzuki Company of Toga (Japan). Et cetera: Christopher is the artistic director of House + Body. Instagram: @cmanousos, @houseandbody. Thank you to my incredible network of mentors, friends, and family.
2023: Assistant designer of Much Ado About Nothing and assistant set designer of Love's Labour's Lost. Second season. Stratford: Assistant designer of Richard III. Elsewhere: Writer/Designer/Actor: How to Believe in Anything (Vancouver Fringe Festival, winner of the Cultchivating the Fringe award). Set design: Maps of Utopia, episodes 1 and 2 (the frank theatre); Stiles and Drewe's The Three Little Pigs (Carousel Theatre winner, Ovation Award for Outstanding Set Design); The Pillowman (Untold Wants); The Neverland Night Circus (Geekenders); Amphitruo (United Players); Mx (Off the Corner Productions/The Cultch); Spine (Backbone Theatre Collective); Cariboo Magi (Far From The Tree Productions); Dancing Lessons (Naked Goddess Productions); Alice in Glitterland (Geekenders); Superior Donuts (Ensemble Theatre Company, Jessie Award nomination for Outstanding Set Design - Small Theatre); Tiny Replicas (Rumble Theatre). Training: Studio 58 (2018). Ariel is an associate member of ADC. Online: arielslack.squarespace.com / IG: @arielslack.
2023: Assistant lighting designer of Rent, Much Ado About Nothing and Les Belles-Soeurs. Second season. Stratford: Assistant lighting designer of Chicago, Hamlet, The Miser. Elsewhere: Lighting Design: London Road (MacEwan University); La Boheme, Is He Dead?, Almost Maine, The Underpants, Stupid F***ing Bird, Threads: Impact (University of Wisconsin - Madison); The Drawer Boy (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); Three Sisters (University of Windsor). Associate Lighting Designer: The Rhubarb Festival (Buddies in Bad Times). Assistant Lighting Designer: White Girls In Moccasins (Buddies in Bad Times); Tea (University of Wisconsin - Madison); Old Wives Tale (Port Stanley Festival Theatre). Training: MFA - Theatre and Drama - Lighting Design (University of Wisconsin - Madison); BAH: Drama and Communication Media and Film (University of Windsor).
2023: Stage manager of Much Ado About Nothing and assistant stage manager of King Lear. 23rd season. Stratford: Favourites include Coriolanus, Every Little Nookie, Shakespeare in Love, The Last Wife, Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Into the Woods, Henry V, Christopher Plummer's A Word or Two and Beau Dixon's cabaret, Freedom. Elsewhere: Walter Borden's The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time at the NAC; The Wedding Party, Stars: Together, Julius Caesar (Crow's). Education: Sheridan College (Theatre Arts - Technical Production); University of Waterloo (Social Work). Et cetera: Instructor at University of Windsor, University of Toronto, Sheridan College, National Theatre School. Melissa extends deep gratitude to the arts educators everywhere who continue to inspire and create community.
2023: Assistant stage manager of Much Ado About Nothing and Les Belles-Soeurs. 31st season. Stratford: Production Stage Manager six seasons. Selected productions include Every Little Nookie, Bonjour, là, Bonjour, Private Lives, The Front Page, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Palmer Park, The Trojan Women, Henry IV Part 1, Wingfield's Inferno, Cymbeline, No Exit, The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet, Tempest-Tost, Richard III, Wingfield Unbound, The Boy Friend, Tartuffe, HMS Pinafore, The Gondoliers, The Physicists, The Alchemist, The Matchmaker, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Three Sisters, An Ideal Husband, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Waiting for Godot, Sweet Bird of Youth, Romeo and Juliet, King John, Bacchae, The Merchant of Venice, Uncle Vanya. Elsewhere: Grand Theatre, Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Young People's Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Tarragon Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse and Mirvish.
2023: Apprentice stage manager of Much Ado About Nothing. Stratford debut. Elsewhere: Stage manager - Canada's Wonderland 2022 Season; Simcoe County Theatre Festival (Theatre by the Bay); Steel Magnolias (Mariposa Arts Theatre Foundation); StartUP Theatre Festival (University of Windsor). Assistant stage manager - The Casillis Engagement (University of Windsor); Penelopiad (University of Windsor). Rehearsal assistant - Angel (Opera Atelier). Training: B.A.H. Drama in Education and Community (University of Windsor).
2023: Assistant stage manager of King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. 36th season. Stratford: Festival productions include 23 Shakespearean plays plus Serving Elizabeth, The Front Page, Napoli Milionaria!, The School for Scandal, All My Sons, The Physicists, The Beaux' Stratagem, The Thrill, Wanderlust, The Grapes of Wrath, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Home, Memoir, Les Belles-Soeurs, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Amadeus, Little Women, The Country Wife, Pride and Prejudice, An Ideal Husband, Ghosts, The Lark and a 1998 transfer to New York City of Much Ado About Nothing and The Miser. Elsewhere: Corinne has also worked for the Grand Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, National Arts Centre, Red Barn Theatre, etc. Training: University of Waterloo. Et cetera: Happy to be here doing what I love!
2023: Production stage manager of the Festival Theatre. Ninth season. Stratford: Assistant stage manager of Chicago, The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, Romeo and Juliet, A Chorus Line, As You Like It, Hamlet, The Sound of Music, Crazy for You and Fiddler on the Roof. Elsewhere: Stage manager of Tell Tale Harbour, Anne of Green Gables - The Musical (Charlottetown Festival); The Hockey Sweater (Segal Centre/NAC); The Candidate (Citadel Theatre); Hamlet (Perchance Theatre); Into the Woods (Opera on the Avalon); Glenn, Farther West, Great Expectations, Dirt, Long Day's Journey Into Night, High Life (Soulpepper); The Mill, parts 1 to 4 (Theatrefront); Peter and the Starcatcher, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Western Canada Theatre); It's a Wonderful Life, The Rocky Horror Show (Theatre New Brunswick); Shakespeare in Love, Happy Days (Neptune Theatre); Generous (Tarragon Theatre).
2023: Production stage manager of the Festival Theatre. Eighth season. Stratford: Most recently, Guys and Dolls (2017), As You Like It (2016), Twelfth Night (2011). Elsewhere:& Juliet (Toronto); Come From Away (Winnipeg and Toronto); Kinky Boots (Toronto); The Heart of Robin Hood (Winnipeg and Toronto); Les Misérables (Toronto and Melbourne); The Wizard of Oz (Toronto); War Horse (Toronto). Many theatres across Canada. US tours of Chicago, The King and I.
2023: Festival Theatre production assistant. Stratford debut. Elsewhere:Elf: The Musical (The Grand Theatre); King Henry Five (Driftwood Theatre); RUR: A Torrent of Light (Tapestry Opera); Art in Transit: Luminato on the Go! (Luminato Festival Toronto), Grounds for Goodness (Jumblies Theatre); Finding Home: A Salmon Journey Up the Humber River (Theatre Direct and Animacy Theatre Collective); Life Assignment (Theatre Nidāna). Et cetera: Special thanks to Ana and Manuel Bustamante for their endless love and support!
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