Stage Door News

Stratford: Stratford Festival offers a free encore streaming of “King Lear” on April 22

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Stratford Festival continues to expand its online offerings as it marks the first anniversary of its Thursday night viewing parties this week with an encore screening of King Lear, and with a specially curated selection of theatrical content newly added to Stratfest@Home, the Festival’s $10-a-month streaming service.

One year ago on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, 2020, the Festival launched a 12-week free film festival with its film of King Lear, directed for the stage by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, and starring Colm Feore in the title role. To mark the anniversary, the Festival will revisit its acclaimed 2014 production with an encore free viewing party this Thursday, April 22, in its usual evening timeslot of 7 p.m. ET, on the Festival’s YouTube channel. The film will be available for free streaming worldwide for 36 hours. It’s also available for Stratfest@Home subscribers anytime.

The Festival has just begun voting for a series of “Audience Choice” viewing parties, offering selections from its Stratford Festival on Film library for free streaming on YouTube for four consecutive Thursday evenings starting May 6. Fifteen of the Festival’s Shakespeare productions will be proposed: 

  • Comedy: The Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night.
  • Tragedy: Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear.
  • Romance: Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Love’s Labour’s Lost.
  • Title Character: Othello, The Adventures of Pericles, Timon of Athens.
  • History: Coriolanus, King John, Antony and Cleopatra

 Fans can vote for their favourites on the Festival’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

On April 29, the Festival will host a special viewing party for “Viral Transmissions,” a project of the Laboratory, the Festival’s research and development arm. Last fall the Festival commissioned five brand-new short works, conceived and specially created for digital platforms, from six creators from across Turtle Island: Carmen Aguirre, Keith Barker, Jeff Ho, Gislina Patterson, Davis Plett and Christine Quintana. Their pieces will be presented as a five-part series during this binge-watch and will also be available individually on Stratfest@Home for free viewing.

Since the launch of its Shakespeare film festival last April, the Festival has been hosting weekly viewing parties for free on its YouTube channel, featuring a mix of its filmed stage productions and original new content. Viewership has now exceeded two million, from 103 countries, bringing the work of the Stratford Festival to a truly global audience.

The Festival recently announced its plans for in-person theatre this summer. The 2021 season will feature six plays and five cabarets, presented from late June through September, in two new outdoor venues. The Festival’s digital offerings will continue to expand as these live productions will also be captured and offered as paid digital events before being added to Stratfest@Home later this year


Stratfest@Home is the Festival’s $10-a-month subscription platform, offering a rich mine of theatrical content, including treasures from its Stratford Festival On Film library, along with concerts, documentaries, panel discussions and interviews, behind-the-scenes videos and brand new original content. To subscribe, please visit

Recent additions to Stratfest@Home:



A Stratfest@Home exclusive

A series of intimate solo cabarets, featuring nine of the Festival’s finest musical performers: Robert Ball, Dan Chameroy, Cynthia Dale, Alexis Gordon, Chilina Kennedy, Robert Markus, Marcus Nance, Vanessa Sears and Kimberly-Ann Truong



A Stratfest@Home exclusive available for free streaming without subscription

Black artists from the Up Close and Musical concert series – Robert Ball, Alexis Gordon, Marcus Nance and Vanessa Sears – join associate director Thom Allison for an inspiring discussion about their experiences of sharing personal stories through the self-revealing medium of cabaret.



A Stratfest@Home exclusive available for free streaming without subscription

BLACK JOY!! is a complex, individual, communal, healing and powerful form of resistance and resilience in which Stratford Festival company members David Collins, Starr Domingue, Ijeoma Emesowum, Monice Peter and E.B. Smith reflect, share, commiserate and celebrate BLACK JOY!!. 



A Stratfest@Home exclusive

In this spontaneous series, everyday couples share their true-life love stories with host Rebecca Northan, while a talented team of Sonneteers – Raoul Bhaneja, Ashley Botting, Ijeoma Emesowum, Bruce Horak, Kevin Kruchkywich, Ellis Lalonde and Lee Smart – race against the clock to scribble original sonnets that capture, exalt and immortalize the couple’s story.



Streaming until May 15

Against the Grain Theatre’s daring new interpretation of Handel’s Messiah is a truly cross-Canada performance – in Arabic, Dene, English, French, Inuktitut, and Southern Tutchone, and accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.



In partnership with National Arts Centre; available for free streaming without subscription

The Transformations Project attempts to answer the question: “What would it take to transform our society for the betterment of all?” The Stratford Festival’s contribution to this national digital series showcases brand-new short works from five Canadian creators:Jody Chan, Marcia Johnson, Joseph Recinos, Andrea Scott and Norman Yeung



Available for free streaming without subscription

A selection of 16 short films celebrating the achievements of Canadian artists, including Brent Carver, Colm Feore, Diana Leblanc, Robert Lepage and William Shatner



A Stratfest@Home exclusive

New episodes have been added to this illuminating series of discussions, including a two-part conversation with playwright and actorKate Henning, and scholar Alexa Alice Joubin of George Washington University. The roster of guests also includes Margaret Atwood, Barry Avrich, Nikki M. James, Des McAnuff and Steven Page.  

For more information, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit

Photo: Colm Feore as King Lear. © 2014 David Hou.