The Stratford Festival is following up on the success of its recent Shakespeare Film Festival with a $10-a-month digital content subscription, Stratfest@Home, offering more Shakespeare and more films, along with new commissions, music, conversation, cooking and comedy. A free film festival, with a theme of Hope Without Hope, will once again be offered on Thursday evenings.
“At this particular moment of pandemic, with social isolation once more upon us, nights growing longer and winter approaching, we need the consolation of community like never before. With these viewing parties and the many related artistic programs in Stratfest@Home, we invite you to enter the warmth of the Festival bubble,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino.
The subscription cost will include:
- access to the 12 Shakespeare films streamed on YouTube this past spring;
- a growing library of Festival-related legacy films, interviews & discussions;
- new content like the filmed-in-Stratford mini-soap opera Leer Estates, holiday specials for Halloween and U.S. Thanksgiving, and video introductions to the young actors currently studying at the Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory;
- coming in 2021, the game show Undiscovered Sonnets and the concert series Up Close and Musical.
The free film festival begins this Thursday on YouTube. Already on the schedule are:
- October 22: The 2011 production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night featuring the late Brian Dennehy (a great version that my wife & I saw in person – it includes cool songs by then-artistic director Des McAnuff, who worked with Pete Townshend on the Broadway version of Tommy);
- October 29: The Stratford Festival Ghost Tours Halloween binge.
- November 5: The 1994 production of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night. This one’s a legendary part of Festival history.
- November 12: The 1992 production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, with a young Antoni Cimolino as Romeo and Anne of Green Gables’ star Megan Follows as Juliet.
- November 19: The 2000 production of Timothy Findley’s Elizabeth Rex, a Festival commission. Playwright Findley was in the acting company with Sir Alec Guinness for the Festival’s inaugural season in 1953.
- November 26: The Early Modern Cooking Show U.S. Thanksgiving binge.
- December 3: The 2010 production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, starring Christopher Plummer. (Another great version that we saw live — and also got Plummer’s autograph on his memoirs!)
- December 10: The 2008 production of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, starring Christopher Plummer.
- December 17: All the Sonnets of Shakespeare, a lecture with readings.
— Rick Krueger