Stage Door News

Toronto: Disability dissected in Shakespeare in the Ruff’s “Richard Three” August 17-September 3

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Shakespeare in the Ruff is overjoyed to announce the world premiere of Richard Three by Patricia Allison running from August 19th to September 3rd outdoors in Toronto’s beautiful Withrow Park.

In this new work centred on disability and inspired by Shakespeare, we find ourselves in the winter of our discontent as a multiversal collision brings two ideologically opposing Richards of Gloucester face-to-face. Both Richards must collaborate through this once-in-a-lifetime cosmological event to secure the crown.

Alex Bulmer (Perceptual Archaeology) and Alexia Vassos (Pink Is In) take on the roles of the opposing Richards as they challenge tropes and analyze alternative perspectives in Allison’s piece influenced by the bard’s history play, Richard III and its king’s controversial rise to power.

Sharing the stage with Bulmer and Vassos is multi-award-winner Christine Horne (Things I Know to be True, Three Sisters) in the stratified role of Everyone Else, playing 7 different roles from Queen Margaret to Clarence to Chorus.

“The original inspiration for this piece came out of a desire to see the character of Richard III portrayed by a Disabled actor in a piece that was unapologetically Disabled. By throwing this reimagining of the work into a multiverse, we get not only one but two! In the hands of Alex Bulmer and Alexia Vassos as Richards with Christine Horne playing Everyone Else, this production is a dream come true.”

Creating the multi-dimensional kingdom between the trees are set designer Amelia Blaine, lighting designer Carley Melvin, sound designer Michael Wanless and costume designer Julia Kim.

This disability-centred production marks the second offering by Shakespeare in the Ruff under their new Collective Leadership model run by Patricia Allison, Christine Horne, Pj Prudat and Jeff Yung.

As a Collective they believe that accessibility unlocks everything we do and community can only be built if everyone is welcome. With that in mind, Shakespeare in the Ruff is offering the following accessibility options to any and all audience members:

- Open captions available at every performance

- Pre-show touch tours (booked in advance)

- Street-to-Seat Guides (booked in advance)

- Mobility Device Seating

- PWYCA (Pay-What-You-Can-Afford) ticketing

Richard Three

August 19 - September 03, 2023 Withrow Park, 725 Logan Ave., Toronto, ON

Performance Schedule:

Tuesday - Sunday: 7:30 PM Running Time: Approximately 100 mins

Tickets: PWYCA (Pay What You Can Afford)

Available only through


Shakespeare in the Ruff is a collectively run not-for-profit theatre company building a community & a cultural hub in Toronto’s East End. Underpinning all of their works is the core value of accessibility. Using Shakespeare as a foundation, they re-interpret, re-write, and renew these stories for a contemporary audience. They push the boundaries of what is possible in outdoor theatre. With the support of their engaged community, they’ve been able to take risks in their organization and their art, and they look forward to surprising and delighting their community in ways they can’t even yet imagine, for years to come.