Stage Door News

Stratford: The Stratford Festival’s 2023 Meighan Forum lineup

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The Stratford Festival’s Meighen Forum returns for its 11th season with new experiences and returning favourites that promise to deepen our 71st season through compelling discussion, intimate performances, workshops, concerts, comedy and more.

New in 2023, we are introducing six themed weeks that will each feature curated performances, celebrated speakers, culinary experiences and timely discussions with artists and experts.

This year’s Meighen Forum begins on June 6 and runs until October 31. Visit www.stratfordfestival.ca to explore the complete season and discover some of the amazing guests, artists, scholars and experts coming to the Meighen Forum. Tickets are on sale now.

Pride Week

June 5 to June 11

Get ready for a series of events programmed around 2SLGBTQ+ topics, history and insightful presentations with artists, scholars and speaking guests ready to share their expertise and experiences as we reflect on this season’s productions of Casey and Diana, Rent and Richard II. Experts from Casey House, a Toronto-based specialty hospital providing care for those living with and at risk of HIV, as well as scholars of Queer history in Canada and prominent 2SLGBTQ+ advocates are some of the voices and perspectives coming to the Meighen Forum. There will also be a very special limited-run performance of The Real Poems, by Robert McQueen, a reflection on his experiences during the AIDS epidemic of the ‘80s and ‘90s, written during the 2020 lockdown.

Another limited-run performance takes Pride celebrations through to mid-June: Agit-Pop!, starring superstar drag comedienne Pearle Harbour, returning by popular demand for performances June 15-17.

Pride Week 2023 events include:

HIV Today

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Thursday, June 8

10:30 a.m. – noon

Caregivers and Advocates

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, June 9

10:30 a.m. – noon

Funny Forum Friday: Tranna Wintour

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, June 9

9 – 10:30 p.m.

Queer History in Canada

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, June 10

10:30 a.m. – noon

Serving Pride: A Dinner and Celebration

Festival Marquee

Saturday, June 10

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

In Conversation with Suzette Mayr

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, June 11

10:30 a.m. – noon

The Real Poems by Robert McQueen

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

June 8 – June 10

Various times

Agit-Pop! Starring Pearle Harbour

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

June 15 – June 17

Various times

2023 Season Deep Dive

July 3 to July 9

Join the Stratford Festival’s Artistic Director, Antoni Cimolino, as he hosts a series of conversations based on the season theme, Duty vs. Desire, and how it resonates within each 2023 production. Meet the directors behind the productions on the 2023 season slate and learn what goes into envisioning and staging performances at the Stratford Festival and across Canada.

Events include:

Up Close with Antoni Cimolino

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, July 7

10:30 a.m. – noon

Meet the Directors

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, July 8

10:30 a.m. – noon

Elizabethan Feast

Festival Marquee

Saturday, July 8

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Artistic Director Insights

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, July 9

10:30 a.m. – noon

Directors All Do It: Cutting Shakespeare

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, July 9

2 – 3:30 p.m.

CBC Ideas Week:

The Shock of the New - The Twentieth Century

July 17 to July 23

Five years in the 20th century, five snapshots of great upheaval: Ideas explores the conflicting ideas that have shaped our world today. This CBC Ideas series, hosted by Nahlah Ayed, explores the remaking of social life, the civil rights movement, the AIDS crisis, new gender roles - and the corrupting effects of power.

Events include:

The Year 1919: Dividing the Spoils

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Wednesday, July 19

10:30 a.m. – noon

The Year 1938: The Winds of War

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Thursday, July 20

10:30 a.m. – noon

The Year 1963: Social Revolutions

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, July 21

10:30 a.m. – noon

The Year 1973: The Dictators

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, July 22

10:30 a.m. – noon

The Year 1989: Uprisings and Downfalls

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, July 23

10:30 a.m. – noon

Forum Academy: Shakespeare Dramaturgy

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, July 23

2 – 3:30 p.m.

Tastes from Turtle Island: An Indigenous Culinary Experience

Festival Marquee

Sunday, July 23

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Global Theatre Week

August 7 to August 13

In this series of conversations with global experts, including Dr. Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ, the idea of language as a vehicle for transmitting knowledge and artistry will be examined through a wide range of perspectives. Join us for an exciting journey as we use the foundational ideas and concepts of language as our point of departure for these exciting events.

Events include:

In Conversation with Dr. Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, August 11

10:30 a.m. – noon

The Art of Translation

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, August 12

10:30 a.m. – noon

A Taste of West Africa

Festival Marquee

Saturday, August 12

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Politics of Recognition: Breaking Down the Colonial Theatre Framework

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, August 13

10:30 a.m. – noon

Readers and Writers Week

August 21 to August 27

Join Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood on a celebration of the written word and storytelling as a craft. The Meighen Forum brings together writers, playwrights and artists to lead conversations on the opportunities and challenges found when navigating the shifting worlds outside of a play’s representation of society.

Events include:

On Creativity: Margaret Atwood with Sam White

Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, August 25

10:30 a.m. – noon

On Gothic Literature: Margaret Atwood with Mona Award and Naomi Alderman

Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, August 26

10:30 a.m. – noon

Un grande pasto italiano (A Grand Italian Meal)

Festival Marquee

Saturday, August 26

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

On Adaptation: Margaret Atwood with Emma Donoghue

Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, August 27

10:30 a.m. – noon

Forum Academy: The Process of a Playwright with Keith Barker

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, August 27

2 – 3:30 p.m.

Scholars and Experts Week

September 11 to September 17

Explore the 2023 playbill alongside scholars, scientists, explorers, journalists and experts from a variety of fields. This series will examine the worlds and characters inside the plays through open and enriching discussion.

Events include:

Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the First Folio

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, September 15

10:30 a.m. – noon

Bestowing Knowledge: The Role of Elders

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, September 16

10:30 a.m. – noon

Franken-Dine Molecular Gastronomy

Festival Marquee

Saturday, September 16

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Searching for Wisdom: Learning vs Living

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, September 17

10:30 a.m. – noon

Forum Academy: Shakespeare’s First Folio

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, September 17

2 – 3:30 p.m.

ALSO AT THE MEIGHEN FORUM

Conversations with Adam Gopnik

The Real Wrinkle in Time: Adam Gopnik with Lee Smolin

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, September 8

10:30 a.m. – noon

A Thousand Small Sanities: Adam Gopnik with Rosalie Abella

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, September 10

10:30 a.m. – noon

Encountering Ukraine: Readings in Solidarity

Curated by Ukrainian-Canadian artist and activist, Andrew Kushnir, this series will explore the best of Ukraine’s theatre and showcase how artists help define and defend the culture of a people. All events take place between September 22 and 24 at Lazaridis Hall in the Tom Patterson Theatre. Featured works are:

Cassandra: A Dramatic Poem by Lesya Ukrainka, translated by Nina Murray

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, September 22

8 – 10 p.m.

Sonata Pathétique by Mykola Kulish, translated by George S.N. and Moira Luckyj

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, September 23

2 – 5 p.m.

Bad Roads by Natal’ya Vorozhbit, translated by Sasha Dugsdale

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, September 23

8 – 10 p.m.

Witnessing War: Ukrainian plays since February 2022

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, September 24

2 – 5 p.m.

There will also be a special panel discussion:

Stepping Out of the Shadow: Ukraine known on its own terms

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, September 23

10:30 a.m. – noon

Special Performances

The Meighen Forum stages intimate performances, readings and creative experiences that enrich the Stratford Festival experience.

Broadway and the Bard

June 28-30 ǀ Tom Patterson Theatre

In Broadway and the Bard, Tony award-winning stage and screen veteran Len Cariou delivers an 80-minute melding of superb soliloquy and memorable song performed by a one-of-a-kind master.

Hey Viola!

Lazaridis Hall ǀ July 26-30

Hey Viola! is a musical exploration of Canadian Civil Rights hero, Viola Desmond and could not be more relevant in this time of Civil Rights, Black Lives Matter, and Women’s Rights movements. Vancouver songstress and actor Krystle Dos Santos, with the support of musicians Mary Ancheta, Chris Davis and Steven Charles, brings the life of Viola Desmond to the stage using the dynamic and inspirational music that filled the home of this trailblazer of the civil rights movement. Using the musical format enriches the telling of her amazing and powerful story, ultimately an important Canadian story.

Wakey, Wakey

Lazaridis Hall ǀ September 27-October 1

With an hour left to live, Guy is on a quest to determine what makes life worth living. Will Eno’s critically acclaimed Wakey, Wakey leads the audience on an irreverent and moving celebration of life, starring Festival favourite Graham Abbey.

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

September 27 – October 1

Various times

GOBLIN:MACBETH

Studio Theatre ǀ October 12-28

Enjoy the Scottish play like never before with Goblin:Macbeth, coming to the Meighen Forum! In a tale of three goblins stumbling upon the complete works of William Shakespeare, Rebecca Northan, Bruce Horak and Ellis Lalonde blend improvisation, fantasy and tragedy in an electrifying and fresh interpretation of the classic play. When goblins come to the Stratford Festival, anything can happen!

Special Concerts

Tom Wilson in Concert

Tom Patterson Theatre

Monday, July 10

7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Dayna Manning in Concert

Tom Patterson Theatre

Monday, July 24

7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Ron Sexsmith in Concert

Tom Patterson Theatre

Monday, August 14

7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Monday Night Music

Join us in Lazaridis Hall for this series of concerts featuring musicians from the Stratford Festival. Mondays, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Larry’s Jazz Guys, Monday, June 26

Where We All Meet: An Authentic Fusion of Music and Culture, Monday, July 17

Bard’s Brew, Monday, July 31

Folk from Home: Making Sound the Destination, Monday, August 28

Songs The Theatre Taught Me, Monday, September 11

Funny Forum Fridays

Tranna Wintour

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, June 9

9 – 10:30 p.m.

Howie Miller

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, July 7

9 – 10:30 p.m.

Matt Wright

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, July 21

9 – 10:30 p.m.

Ron Josol

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, August 11

9 – 10:30 p.m.

Kristeen Von Hagen

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, August 25

9 – 10:30 p.m.

Rarely Played

After a brief introduction to a play written by one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, you’ll be randomly assigned roles to read. Presented in collaboration with Shakespeare BASH’d.

The Dutch Courtesan by John Marston

Festival Marquee

Wednesday, June 28

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Thomas of Woodstock by Anonymous

Festival Marquee

Wednesday, August 16

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The History of King Leir by Anonymous

Festival Marquee

Wednesday, September 27

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

STRATFEST@HOME Film Festival

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre, July 13 - July 16

Stratfest@Home Film Festival Gala Opening featuring a screening of Northern Tracks

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Thursday, July 13

8 – 11 p.m.

A Screening of The Miser

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, July 14

2 – 5 p.m.

Young Filmmakers’ Showcase

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, July 15

10:30 a.m. – noon

A Screening of 1939

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, July 15

2 – 5 p.m.

Double Feature: Just Short of Reality and Leer Estates

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, July 15

8 – 11 p.m.

A Screening of Death and the King's Horseman

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, July 16

2 – 5 p.m.

There’s lots more at the Meighen Forum, including favourites such as Peer into the Playbill and exclusive backstage tours and workshops. This season, we are excited to offer unveil a new, never previously offered, backstage tour of the Festival Theatre. Visit www.stratfordfestival.ca for details.