St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival
by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
A number of years ago we were invited to the opening St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival play.
Our first visit to the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, held in Prescott Ontario, was the first of many.
The Festival plays are performed in an “open aired amphitheater“.
High above the theatre are beautiful gardens and an amazing fountain.
The scene overlooking the amphitheatre is of the St. Lawrence River.
Many times you will see large freighters passing by.
The picturesque Prescott Marina abuts the Festival grounds.
Along the river front there is a brick walkway where festival visitors can enjoy the leisurely stroll while admiring the gardens and river.
Before each performance theatre goes line up to collect their tickets.
Once the tickets are collected, the amphitheater quickly fills up.
Everyone is anticipating the start of the play!
Of course, the structure of the amphitheatre stage remains the same, but the stage design changes with each play.
As with most live performances, photographs are not allowed during the play.
With that in mind, one year Judi and I arranged to come to Prescott to experience a rehearsal.
The play they were rehearsing was Shakespeare’s “Hamlet“.
It was amazing to see the “dedication” and “skill” of the actors!
I even “Hammed” it up with the director (Ian Farthing)!
Another year I traveled to Prescott with my grandson, Dylan. Dylan was enroll in theatre camp and I wanted him to experience professional theatre.
After the play, he was able to meet Director Farthing and to talk about the play and the actors.
As I mentioned earlier, photographs cannot be taken during performances. However, the Festival, itself does take photos during dress rehearsal and has provided us with a select for some the plays we have enjoyed.
The first St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival play we enjoyed was “Twelfth Night… If music be the food of love, play on!”
This was the play that “hooked” us on the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival!
The next play we enjoy was “Trouble on Dibble Street“. This original play, written for the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, was based on Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” .
As the introduction to the play said, “If you think you’ve got trouble… you should see what happened on Dibble Street!” “The parson wanted his nephew to marry the shopkeeper’s daughter. The shopkeeper’s wife wanted their daughter to marry the local doctor. But who did the daughter really want to marry? OOOH…!!!… There’s trouble on Dibble Street! ”
The final St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival play we have photos for is Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew“.
Finally, if you love “live open air theatre“, you should definitely experience the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival! You’ll enjoy the St. Lawrence area and have a whole lot of “fun” at the Festival! Maybe we will see you there!
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You can visit the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival’s website at https://www.stlawrenceshakespeare.ca/… it will give you information on upcoming plays and when they start.
The St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival (SLSF) runs annually in Prescott, Ontario in July and August, attracting thousands of audience members each season. SLSF contracts professional actors through Canadian Actors Equity Association, is a member of PACT (the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres), and a member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association.
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