Antoni Cimolino Announces the Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2012-13 Season. Plus comment

by Lynn on July 18, 2012

in The Passionate Playgoer

Artistic Director designate, Antoni Cimolino announced his Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2012-13 line-up of plays yesterday. Comments to follow.

There will be 12 productions playing on four stages next year. The productions are:


Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Tim Carroll

Fiddler on the Roof
Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Book by Joseph Stein
Directed by Donna Feore

The Three Musketeers
By Peter Raby
Adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas
Directed by Miles Potter

The Merchant of Venice
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Antoni Cimolino


Blithe Spirit
By Noël Coward
Directed by Brian Bedford

The Who’s Tommy
By Pete Townsend and Des McAnuff
Based on the album by The Who
Directed by Des McAnuff

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Chris Abraham


Mary Stuart
By Friedrich Schiller
Directed by Antoni Cimolino

Waiting for Godot
By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Jennifer Tarver


Taking Shakespeare
By John Murrell
Directed by Diana Leblanc and starring Martha Henry

The Thrill
By Judith Thompson
Directed by Dean Gabourie


For the most part this is a solid, if familiar playbill. We have seen many of these plays within the last 10 years at Stratford.

The 2013 season of 12 productions is down two productions from this 2012 season of 14.

What is heartening is the number of plays by Shakespeare: four next year, an increase of one over this year. There will be a reduction in the number of musicals next year. This year there were four musicals. Next year there will be two.

The press release announcing the season also quoted Cimolino on his focus for the season and the creation of two new initiatives. “First I will put the actor and the text firmly at the centre of what we do.”

One can only say Hallelujah!

Cimolino’s initiatives are interesting. First the creation of the Forum described in the press release as: “an interactive program of talks, discussions, music and dance, and other ancillary events that will offer a diverse range of perspectives and invite debate on the season’s themes.” It should be interesting to see how The Forum varies with “Meet the Festival” in which members of the cast etc. sit down in front of audience members to discuss their roles etc. When it says ‘invite debate’, could that also mean invite comment that might be critical? One wonders. That would be refreshing.

The second initiative is The Laboratory. ‘The Laboratory will enable playwrights to work on a grander scale, emulating the scope of the classics. It will also provide opportunities to experiment with existing works.” “The Laboratory will be a workshop but also a playground,” explained Mr. Cimolino. “It will enable us to work with artists from other countries and to form partnerships with other disciplines. It will encourage innovative approaches to the great classical texts, so that we can find new ways of telling these familiar stories, and it will also enable us to explore classics with which we are less familiar, so that we may discover the overlooked treasures of other eras and other cultures.”

Interesting. Surely it’s the job of a good dramaturge to discover these lost treasures? And with the Laboratory can we hope that when Stratford wants to do a production requiring an adaptation, (i.e. The Three Musketeers) playwrights of the Laboratory can produce a new, fresh adaptation rather than using the same ones that have been used before? (The Peter Raby adaptation again??)

The 2013 playbill for the most part is solid and the initiatives are encouraging. Casting will be the next anticipated move.

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