Stage Door News

Toronto: 2023 marks 40 years of the Dream in High Park

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

This summer, Canadian Stage celebrates 40 magical years of Dream in High Park by bringing back one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. The first play ever presented in the High Park amphitheatre in 1983, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM has long been associated with the time-held tradition of Shakespeare under the stars.

On stage in the enchanting High Park Amphitheatre, nestled amongst the old growth forest of Toronto’s largest park, this anniversary production will be directed by Dream in High Park veteran performer Jamie Robinson and feature a dynamic company of performers including Louisa Zhu, Jadyn Nasato, Megan Legesse, Steven Hao, Ryan G Hinds, Shelly Antony, Stuart Hefford, Frank Chung, Aaron Willis, Julie Tepperman, Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin, and Angel Lo.

2023 marks the 10th time A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM has been produced as part of the Dream.

“It is amazing to be celebrating 40 years of Dream in High Park this year,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “The Dream remains a timeless summer tradition in this city, passed down from generation to generation – for so many Torontonians it is an introduction to live theatre and the beginning of a deeper relationship with the arts community. There is something pure and essential about enjoying live performance outside in the summer that I don’t think will ever stop being magical.”

“When you look back over 40 years of productions in the park, in addition to discovering an incredible archive of live performance, you can also see the evolving story of Canadian Stage and of the theatre community in Toronto itself. So many of the performers that you see on stages across the country today were on the High Park Amphitheatre stage at some point and it is often an important step in a director’s career. The Dream continues to evolve as the theatre community and the city evolve and we look forward to presenting it for years to come.”

The Dream in High Park was first launched in 1983 by Guy Sprung, then Artistic Director of Toronto Free Theatre. Back then, the High Park Amphitheatre was a much simpler affair - actors performed on the grass at the bottom of the hill and there was no structured seating. In 1984, a proper stage was built in and the following year the seating ledges were installed, bringing the amphitheatre closer to what it looks like today. It was in 1987 that CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre merged to form Canadian Stage Company under the rotating leadership of Guy Sprung and Bill Glassco.

Since 1983, 44 Shakespearean productions have been staged, sprinkled with contemporary theatre, dance, music, and more.

Directors who have lead productions in the park include Vikki Anderson, Liza Balkan, Frank Cox-O’Connell, Richard Greenblatt, Peter Hinton, Ray Hogg, Tanya Jacobs, Jeannette Lambermont, Josephine Le Grice, Ahdri Zhina Mandiela, Anand Rajaram, Richard Rose, Estelle Shook, Guy Sprung, Sarah Stanley, David Storch, R.H. Thomson, Nigel Shawn Williams, and ted witzel, among many more.

On stage, some of the countries most celebrated performers have treaded the High Park boards, including: Philip Akin, Cole Alvis, Maev Beaty, Jason Cadieux, Benedict Campbell, Clare Coulter, Henry Czerny, Diane D’Aquila, Oliver Dennis, Beau Dixon, Bren Eastcott, David Ferry, David Fox, Richard Greenblatt, Paul Gross, Kevin Hanchard, Kate Hennig, Christine Horne, Qasim Khan, Germaine Konji, Richard Lee, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Yanna McIntosh, Natasha Mumba, Tamara Podemski, Jordan Pettle, Louise Pitre, Julian Richings, Rick Roberts, Karen Robinson, Heath V. Salazar, Paolo Santalucia, Alison Sealy-Smith, Kate Trotter, Guillermo Verdichia, and hundreds of others. There have also been a couple of four-legged performers over the years including a horse and one very recalcitrant goat.

As previously announced, Dream in High Park 2023 gets underway on July 6 with YOUNG, GIFTED AND JAZZ by Holla Jazz, presented by dance Immersion. Canadian Stage is thrilled to welcome dance Immersion back to High Park from July 6-8, for this Legacy Series Presentation. YOUNG, GIFTED AND JAZZ is an electrifying, immersive experience of true jazz culture, from fashion to dance with live music.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM runs July 21st through September 3rd. Performances take place Tuesday through Sunday at 8:00pm.


Tickets for the 2023 Dream in High Park production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM will go on sale on Monday June 12 at noon. Tickets for YOUNG, GIFTED AND JAZZ are available now at

General Admission tickets for Dream in High Park are $29 plus HST.

Rush Pay-What-You-Wish tickets are available at all performances of Dream in High Park.

Rush tickets are available online at noon the day of the performance, or at the gate beginning 2 hours prior to each performance.

Photo: A Midsummer Night's Dream. © 1983 M. Toma.