Founded in 2003 in Prescott Ontario by Deborah Smith, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival is a place where diverse audiences can experience classical productions and programs in a natural outdoor setting.
The mandate of the Festival is to foster the presentation of professional Shakespearean theatre in Eastern Ontario, to entertain, educate and craft a joyful shared experience for all ages, with a high standard of artistic excellence and the greatest possible level of community involvement.
Artists from across Canada, the US and the UK have worked at the festival, including directors Kevin Orr (Ottawa), Sonia Ritter (UK, Royal Shakespeare Company), Molly Lyons (Seattle), Steve Scott (Goodman Theatre, Chicago) and Craig Walker (Theatre Kingston).
Under the artistic directorship of Ian Farthing, the Festival expanded in 2007 to a two-show repertory season in addition to two guest companies presenting a further two plays. Rona Waddington was AD until 2017.
The current director is Richard Sheridan Willis, a British-born theatre veteran who spent three summers acting on the outdoor St. Lawrence stage. For the 2018 festival, called "A Season of Love," he featured two comedies: As You Like It and Taming Of The Shrew running back-to-back. He enlarged and changed the configuration of the amphitheatre so that audiences watch the shows with the St. Lawrence River as the backdrop. Willis also resurrected and modified a St. Lawrence tradition by hosting Monday Night Live, a series of staged readings, music, and magic which takes place at a new storefront theatre in a historical retail space in Prescott. He also organized Tudorfest, a three-day Elizabethan-themed fair, earlier in the season.
Source: Patrick Langston. www.thetheatretimes.com. 16 Aug 18.
Last updated 2018-08-20