Stage Door News

Stratford: Stratford Festival launches free multimedia study tool for “Romeo and Juliet”

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Stratford Festival is expanding its educational offerings with the release of a unique study tool based on the film of its acclaimed 2017 production of Romeo and Juliet.

PerformancePlus, a groundbreaking digital resource launched by the Festival in 2016, allows for dynamic engagement with Shakespeare’s works by pairing a world-class Stratford production with an expansive toolkit including lesson plans, artist interviews and on-screen text scrolling in sync with the film.

The series, which already includes King Lear, Hamlet and Macbeth, is available free of charge to teachers and students on the Stratford Festival’s website:

In this installment, the Festival’s film of Romeo and Juliet is presented side-by-side with Shakespeare’s text, which is highlighted as it is spoken by the actor, resulting in exceptional clarity. The accompanying toolkit provides insight into the play, its concepts, themes and character development through thought-provoking discussion questions accompanying each act, interviews with the cast and creative team, and step-by-step lesson plans to support teachers in the classroom. New this year, the toolkit also offers curriculum connections and a “Students’ Rehearsal Process” video series that follows students exploring scenes and speeches guided by a director.

Romeo and Juliet is an ideal title for PerformancePlus,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “It’s often thought of as the most famous love story ever told, but deeper examination uncovers themes of mental health, freedom and choice, which are incredibly pertinent topics in our world today – especially for young people. By presenting the play and accompanying resources in the very same media students use to navigate the world around them, the tool offers an accessible experience to learn and explore Shakespeare. We hope it will lead to enriching discussions – both in and out of the classroom.”

PerformancePlus is an ideal tool to support educators in delivering the Grade 7 to 12 curriculum either in the classroom or during individual study on personal devices. It has met with extremely positive reaction from teachers, whose praise includes describing the program as “innovative and comprehensive,” and “informative and insightful.”

For more information on the Festival’s educational offerings, including professional development programs, teaching resources, residences and partnerships, please visit:

PerformancePlus is a key component of the Stratford Festival on Film series, an initiative to capture all of Shakespeare’s plays on film. Romeo and Juliet is one of 12 films released so far. Film director Barry Avrich and stage director Scott Wentworthbring fresh life to the beloved tale of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in this “funny, moving, thrilling” production (National Post), starring Antoine Yared and Sara Farb as the “youthful, impulsive, and vivacious” title characters (Toronto Star). Featuring “a perfect portrait of the Nurse from Seana McKenna” (The Globe and Mail), an “electric Mercutio” in Evan Buliung (National Post), and a “solid ensemble” (Toronto Star), this production is “captivating from start to finish” (Broadway World).

Photo: Antoine Yared and Sara Farb. © 2017 Cylla von Tiedemann.