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Peer into the Playbill

Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Location: Lazaridis Hall at Tom Patterson Theatre

Cost: From $29

HIV Today, June 8 (Pride Week)

When Princess Diana visited Toronto’s Casey House in 1991, it marked a turning point for how HIV was viewed around the world. Casey House, a specialty hospital in Toronto providing care for those living with, and at risk of, HIV garnered international attention. Canadians have come a long way in our understanding of both the medical and social aspects of HIV, and there is still work to be done. Join Yasser Ismail, Director of Data Strategy and Knowledge at Casey House, Dr. Gord Arbess Clinical Director, HIV Program at the St. Michael’s Hospital Family Health Team and on staff at Casey House, and Doris Peltier, a leader in HIV and Indigenous Health research and advocacy to see how HIV care and attitudes in Canada have evolved.

Sex and Shakespeare, July 6 

Long before Playboy and OnlyFans, Shakespeare knew that sex sells. His works have titillated audiences and academics for centuries. From the failed swearing-off of sex in Love’s Labour’s Lost to Beatrice and Benedick’s lusty banter in Much Ado About Nothing, Maev Beaty moderates this passionate discussion about the conduct of Shakespeare’s characters in courtship and love.

Richard II: The King & the Character, July 13 

Wildly popular in his own time, Shakespeare’s history plays continue to shape our thinking around the famous monarchs he wrote about. But, where does the truth lie, and can fiction and adaptation bring forth deeper truths? Join historians, scholars, and theatre artists as they explore the histories and stories told about Richard II, and learn more about how the Festival is bringing this king back to life.

Beyond Hudson Bay: Women in the Fur Trade, July 27 

From voyagers to the Hudson’s Bay Company, the times of the fur trade might feel like a well-trodden ground in Canadian history — but there’s always more to the story. Join Frances Koncan, playwright of Women of the Fur Trade, and others in an enlightening talk delving into the facts and fiction of this instrumental industry in the colonization of Canada.

The Fine Line of Comedy, August 3

Both Spamalot, and its source material from Monty Python, are known for pushing the limits of humour. A good comedian can use comedy to bring us to the edge of what is acceptable and have a punchline that brings us safely back. But in our rapidly evolving world, how do comedians, writers, and those who laugh navigate the fine line between comedy and inappropriateness? And are different genres of comedy better equipped to do this? Lezlie Wade, director of Monty Python’s Spamalot, and other guests discuss this fine line in a conversation moderated by former Festival Board Chair Dr. David Goldbloom.

The Failures and Successes of Science, August 10

In A Wrinkle In Time, the characters travel to places that punish mistakes, force conformity, and destroy anything that doesn’t meet its narrow definition of success. But without the potential for failure and curiosity, the scientific spirit is unable to follow its natural course. In a conversation with Nobel Prize winning scientist Dr. Donna Strickland and others, consider the “art of science” and the importance of failure.

On Alice Childress, August 17

From her earliest days in the Jim Crow South, to her formative years in New York, Alice Childress sought to present how extraordinary the ordinary could be. As a playwright, novelist, actor, and activist, she worked to represent America as she saw it. In this panel, Sam White (director of Wedding Band) and Kathy Perkins (a colleague of Ms. Childress and the lighting designer of Wedding Band) discuss the life and legacy of one of America’s unsung artists of the twentieth century.

The Magic of Eduardo De Filippo, August 24

Eduardo De Filippo is one of the most influential Italian artists of the 20th century. His comedy, Grand Magic, tells the story of a has-been master illusionist who is reduced to performing magic for money at a seaside resort. However brilliance, not trickery, made Eduardo the icon he is. Learn more with Donato Santeramo, Dramaturge and Translator of Grand Magic and Teresa Lobalsamo, Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto in an engaging conversation moderated by Beck Lloyd.

Artivism: Art as an Agent for Change, August 31

Traditionally, art and artists have walked a fine line between art and politics, often blurring the boundaries to make a point. In the 21st Century, Artivism is taking centre stage as a platform for Artists from all disciplines to make a statement and advocate for change, oftentimes through messages of hope and joy. Join Rodney Diverlus, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Canada, and Thom Allison, director of Rent, for a conversation on joy as activism and the Artivism movement.

Playing King Lear, September 7

The iconic King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s most discussed and debated characters among scholars. But what is it like to be inside the mind of the king? Paul Gross (King Lear) sits down with veteran company member, Seana McKenna for an intimate conversation about playing Shakespeare’s legendary king.

Ethical Medicine, September 14

Since its publication over 200 years ago, Frankenstein has been read as a cautionary tale of the dangers of creation and experimentation. What seems to drive most contemporary critics who invoke “playing God” is a fear of the unintended consequences of scientific discoveries and new technologies. In a conversation moderated by this season’s Mary Shelley, Laura Condlln, joins Dr. Kalina Kamenova from the Canadian Institute for Geonomics and Society and Dr. Brian Goldman host of CBC’s White Coat Black Art to consider the complicated ethics of medicine and science.

Love Languages: from Shakespeare to Today, September 21

Long before the modern notion of “love languages”, Shakespeare’s characters were speaking them. While today we may call them “words of affirmation”, to Shakespeare it was cunning and cleverness, expertly spoken to express love and affection. Perhaps nowhere is this more prevalent than in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Join the Director, Peter Pasyk and others in romantic conversation as we explore love languages – from Shakespeare to today.

Examining Female Friendships, September 28

Girlfriends, galpals, BFF’s, frenemies. Female friendships take many forms and can be both challenging in their complexity and formidable in their power. Those friendships in their various forms take center stage this season in Les Belle-Soeurs and King Lear. Bring your bestie and join Miranda Green-Barteet, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University and others, in a conversation moderated by veteran company member Irene Poole, as we consider female friendships as they exist within a patriarchal society.

Theatrical Superstitions, October 13

Never whistle in the wings. Always leave a ghost light on. And whatever you do, don’t say the M-word! The theatre is rife with unique superstitions, and no one knows them better than Stratford veteran Seana McKenna and Dr. Ross Stuart, Emeritus Professor of Theatre, York University. Join Seana, Ross and others as they take a look into all the beliefs and superstitions that guide actors and theatre crews behind the scenes.




Sep 28 2023


10:30 am - 12:00 pm


Tom Patterson Theatre
111 Lakeside Dr, Stratford, ON N5A 3C1


Stratford Festival