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Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Stratford Shakespeare Festival Review
One of the two largest classical repertory companies in the world—England's Royal Shakespeare Company is the other—the Festival presents not only Shakespeare plays, but also works by other dramatists (including new plays) and popular musicals and musical revues in its four theaters.
The 1,800-seat Festival Theatre (55 Queen St.), with its hexagonal wooden thrust stage and permanent wooden stage set, is the largest and the oldest of the Festival's theaters—in its first incarnation in 1953 it was just a stage under a tent. The 1,100-seat Avon Theatre (99 Downie St.) has a traditional proscenium stage. The Tom Patterson Theatre (111 Lakeside Dr.) has a long, runway-style thrust stage and 480 steeply stacked seats. The petite Studio Theatre (34 George St. E), with only 260 seats, is the go-to space for experimental and new works; built in 2002, it has a modern appearance and a hexagonal thrust stage.
Throughout the season, 12 to 16 productions are mounted, and at the height of the festival in July and August you may be able to choose from among eight performances. The Festival also offers numerous concerts, workshops, tours, lectures, and talks, such as Meet the Festival, where the public can ask questions of actors and artists. The festival has both matinees and evening performances (and many visitors do see two plays per day). Theaters are closed most Mondays. For tickets, information, and accommodations, contact the festival office directly.
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