Stage Door News

Toronto: Shakespeare in High Park runs July 4-September 1 with “Much Ado about Nothing” and “Measure for Measure”

Monday, May 27, 2019

Canadian Stage’s Shakespeare in High Park, one of Toronto’s favourite summer traditions, returns for its 37th season to the High Park Amphitheatre, July 4-September 1. Audiences will enjoy a magical evening of theatre in the great outdoors with two adaptations of Shakespeare’s most popular and enduring works — the comedic tale of love and desire, Much Ado About Nothing, and the timeless story of morality and power, Measure For Measure.

Whether enjoying a performance with family or friends, or a romantic first date with a special someone, each year more than 37,000 people make seeing theatre under the stars a summer staple. A pay-what-you-can event, Canadian Stage’s Shakespeare in High Park is an accessible, unforgettable, and convenient theatre experience just steps from the subway.

“Shakespeare in High Park is a crucial element to Canadian Stage’s mission of bringing excellent theatre to our city and we are proud that we are able to keep this experience accessible,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “We are also thrilled that these two shows highlight the extraordinary talents of our two York University/Canadian Stage MFA in Stage Direction graduates: Liza Balkan and Severn Thompson. It will be a memorable summer in the Park!”

This year Dora Award-winning theatre creators Severn Thompson and Liza Balkan examine themes of gender, misogyny, patriarchy, feminism, deception, power, and politics and their new new significance today with the rise of #MeToo and call-out culture.

Measure for Measure, directed by Severn Thompson, is set in a fictional modern-day Vienna. As a puritanical leader attempts to clean up the city using strict laws and brute force, citizens revolt and devise a plan to expose the leader as a hypocrite. With themes of extreme morality, political corruption, sexual harassment, justice and mercy, this dark comedy written over 400 years ago, is extremely relevant today with the rise of right-wing, hard-line, zero tolerance populist movements.

Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Liza Balkan, weaves stand-up comedy and audience interaction into this romantic comedy about love and war and the war of love. Set in the late 1990s — before social media and the dawn of publicly shaming someone and it “going viral” (i.e. Monica Lewinsky’s public humiliation and vilification for the relationship between herself and President Bill Clinton) — in and around the large waterside home of a wealthy government official, in fictional Messina, Ontario (an area not too far from Muskoka), this play about misunderstandings, love and deception, is filled with humour, sexual tension, gossip, plot twists, and hefty helpings of misogyny, privilege and intrigue.

The stellar cast includes: Rose Napoli, Christopher Morris, Jamie Robinson, Heath V. Salazar, Allan Louis, Emma Ferreira, Richard Lam, Natasha Mumba, Emilio Viera, Nora McLellan, Helen Taylor, Can Komleksiz, Laura Baxter and Richard Feren.

And to celebrate the start of summer, Shakespeare in High Park is supersized for the month of July! On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 6:30 to 7:30 PM, audiences can experience added entertainment with backstage tours, the best buskers in the city (Tuesdays only) and fantastic musical acts (Wednesdays only). Also, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in July, children can enjoy free face-painting and other fun interactive activities in our Kid Zone tent.

Performances run:
Measure For Measure runs July 4 to August 31 with performances on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 PM.

Much Ado About Nothing runs July 5-September 1 with performances on Wednesdays, Fridays andSundays at 8 PM.

Gates to the High Park Amphitheatre open at 6 PM. Each performance is pay-what-you-can. Premium
seats can be reserved in advance online with a $30 donation.

For tickets visit

Follow us on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: @canadianstage.