Antoni Cimolino unveils first Stratford Festival

Al Emid

Antoni Cimolino has announced his first season as artistic director of the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival.

It features Romeo and Juliet directed by Tim Carroll, Othello directed by Chris Abraham, Measure for Measure directed by Martha Henry and The Merchant of Venice directed by Cimolino with Brian Bedford as Shylock.

The programme also includes The Three Musketeers directed by Miles Potter, Fiddler on the Roof directed by Donna Feore and The Who’s rock opera Tommy, directed by outgoing artistic director Des McAnuff.

Cimolino said his vision for the theatre includes examining divided communities through works with different outcomes. Merchant of Venice and Fiddler on the Roof provide two different views of the Jewish experience, he explained during an interview with The Stage.

For a look at the individual dealing with the community, he plans the world premiere of a festival commission entitled The Thrill by Judith Thompson and directed by Dean Gabourie. It tells the story of a disabled lawyer confined to a wheelchair who advocates for the rights of the disabled and her encounter with an assisted suicide activist.

Plans for the future include more works from other countries including India and China.

“I also would like to bring in stories – classic stories – from other cultures beyond the British, America and French focus so that we’re telling a wide range of stories,” he said.

The 2013 season starts in mid-April with specific dates and further casting yet to be announced.

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