Stage Door News

Stratford: The Stratford Festival’s new digital offering provides powerful arts education resources

Thursday, December 1, 2022

A trusted educational resource and partner, the Stratford Festival is releasing new on-demand programming that speaks to the needs and desires of young people today and the diverse and dynamic curriculums in Canada’s classrooms – all easily streamed from school or home.

Classroom Connect for intermediate, secondary and post-secondary students and teachers launches this month on Stratfest@Home and gives access to the Stratford Festival’s library of digital content, offering a full channel of new and classic plays, including Shakespeare, as well as Indigenous work, Black storytelling, filmed theatre productions, dance performances, audio plays, podcasts, interviews and documentaries – accompanied by lesson plans, study guides and other learning resources.

Students and teachers can also deepen their experiences with Classroom Connect through live, virtual workshops and post-show chats with Stratford Festival teaching artists.

A Theatre for Young Audiences section has also been included in the platform for educators and students in Grades 3 to 8.

The Classroom Connect launch includes the world première of Illuminated Text, in which animation, calligraphy and street art come together to reveal the intricacies of Shakespeare, with actor Amaka Umeh (Hamlet, Death and the King’s Horseman, 2022) serving as both guide and performer. The interactive experience allows students to explore text from Hamlet using the learning style of their choice – rhetoric, imagery or sound and rhythm.

Illuminated Text is made possible by a powerful game engine that builds on the technology behind Netflix’s Bandersnatch, the Black Mirror choose-your-own-adventure series. Created and directed by Rob Myles, the Festival’s new interactive deep dive into Shakespeare’s text features original design and illustration by Alice Mazzilli. The creative team also includes sound editor Thomas Ryder Payne and animator Tamisha Harris, with voiceover by Amaka Umeh. It is produced by Genna Dixon.

Classroom Connect is available now on Stratfest@Home for educators, students, school boards and institutions. Cost for up to 150 users over five months is $180.

Learn more about Classroom Connect at