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Shakespeare in the Theatre : The Stratford Festival - Christie Carson

Shakespeare in the Theatre

The Stratford Festival

By: Christie Carson

Hardcover | 11 July 2024

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This analysis of the Stratford Festival examines the full history of one of the largest and oldest dedicated centres for the performance of Shakespeare in North America.

In English Canada, this Festival has become the unofficial national theatre and, as such, it has drawn criticism and complaint as well as praise. This volume divides the history of the Festival into three distinct periods, beginning with the foundation of the company, moving through its middle years of expansion and securing stability and ending with an exploration of staging Shakespeare in the 21st century. Through case studies of productions, covering each Artistic Director from Tyrone Guthrie to Antoni Cimolino, it highlights issues of national identity but also the unique relationship that exists between the actor and the audience on the Festival stage. It not only explores the work of international stars such as Christopher Plummer, but also examines the work of longstanding company members William Hutt and Martha Henry, emphasizing the Festival's collective spirit.

Shakespeare in the Theatre: The Stratford Festival argues that the Stratford Festival holds an influential position in the theatre world generally and in the Shakespeare performance environment specifically. Initially this was because of the innovative thrust stage built for its opening, but increasingly in the 21st century it has been due to the way that this Festival has used Shakespeare's work to articulate complex questions about national identity and used technology to reach new audiences. The work of the British and American artists who have come to the Festival has been significant, but these artists have also been influenced by the collaborative spirit and working methods established by the company. The Festival and its methods grew out of a very particular social and political climate, and when the actors and directors who trained at the Festival took their training elsewhere, they spread its impact.

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