Colm Feore Is Coriolanus at Ontario's Stratford Festival; Cimolino Directs

News   Colm Feore Is Coriolanus at Ontario's Stratford Festival; Cimolino Directs Antoni Cimolino, the actor, director, administrator — and its future general director, to oversee a team of artistic directors in 2008 — directs Coriolanus in 2006.
Promotional art from the Stratford Festival's Coriolanus.
Promotional art from the Stratford Festival's Coriolanus.

Previews of the Shakespeare tragedy begin May 6 at the Festival Theatre, with Colm Feore as the Roman warrior who struggles in the world of politics. The 2006 Stratford season was built with Festival fave Feore in mind: He also plays Fagin in Oliver! and the title role in Moliere's Don Juan.

Martha Henry also stars as Volumnia. Feore is a veteran of stage (Broadway's Julius Caesar), film ("The Sum of All Fears") and TV ("Trudeau," "Slings and Arrows").

Coriolanus "tells the story of a military leader who, for his heroism in defeating an uprising against Rome, is nominated for the office of consul," according to Stratford notes. "The opponents of Coriolanus, however, are quick to seize on his fatal flaw: his refusal to play the political games demanded by the common people. Soon, the man of the hour becomes a hated outcast — and vows terrible revenge."

Designers are Santo Loquasto (sets and costumes), Gil Wechsler (lighting) and Todd Charlton (sound). The composer is Steven Page.

Coriolanus features Graham Abbey as Tullus Aufidius, Sean Baek as Eighth Citizen, Wayne Best as First Senate Officer and First Citizen, Don Carrier as Sicinius, Nicolá Correia-Damude as Virgilia, Ian Deakin as Second Senate Officer, Julian Doucet as Roman Lieutenant and Fifth Citizen, David Francis as Fourth Citizen, Second Volscian Senator and First Servingman, Stephen Gartner as Second Servingman, Second Watch and First Conspirator, Brian Hamman as Second Aedile, Bernard Hopkins as Brutus, Robert King as Third Citizen, Roy Lewis as Titus Lartius, Keira Loughran as Valeria, Mary Ellen Mahoney as Gentlewoman, Shaun McComb as First Aedile, Gareth Potter as Second Conspirator, Gary Reineke as First Volscian Senator, Stephen Roberts as Sixth Citizen, Jean-Louis Roux as First Roman Senator, Brad Rudy as Second Citizen, Stephen Russell as Cominius, Paul Soles as Menenius, Cameron Sprott as Young Martius, Sanjay Talwar as Volscian Lieutenant, Nicolas Van Burek as Seventh Citizen and First Watch, Jeffrey Wetsch as Third Servingman and Barrie Wood as Second Roman Senator and Volscian Citizen. Also featured are Ryan Boyko, Jon de Leon, Aidan deSalaiz, Adrienne Gould and Harry Thomas as Soldiers and Citizens. Riley Woolf is the understudy for Young Martius.

The stage management team includes stage manager Ann Stuart and assistant stage managers Renate Hanson and Alexie Lalonde-Steedman. The production stage manager of the Festival Theatre is Margaret Palmer.

Opening night is May 29. Coriolanus plays in repertory until Sept. 23 at the world-renowned Ontario festival. For tickets and information, visit (800) 567-1600 or www.stratfordfestival.ca.

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Antoni Cimolino, an Italian-Canadian actor who rose to direct plays and be a vital administrator at the Stratford Festival, has been named the world renowned company's new "general director," overseeing a team of artistic directors.

Kelly Meighen, chair of the board of governors at the Stratford Festival of Canada, announced April 18 that "the Festival is moving forward with a new direction in artistic management and leadership."

In an rare setup for a major theatre, Antoni Cimolino has been appointed general director, and will report to the Board and "lead a team of up to four artistic directors."

Cimolino stated, "The new management structure frees up the artistic directors from theatre business, so they can focus solely on delivering our artistic promise. This is how we will build on our historic foundation."

"Antoni Cimolino has the vision, the passion, and the experience to lead the Stratford Festival into an exciting and innovative era," Meighen said. "We have tremendous confidence in Antoni to build a team of the world's most talented artistic directors and artists that captures and expands on the creativity for which the Festival is world-renowned."

"The Stratford Festival is a unique resource in the international theatrical community," Cimolino stated. "This theatre is now in a position to take important steps forward, and to do so we must renew our commitment to the classics, especially Shakespeare, deepen our relationship with the national and international artistic community, and strengthen our commitment to the finest artists in each stage of their career. We are introducing a new structure that will support our achievement of this exciting new direction."

Antoni Cimolino has been the Stratford Festival's executive director since 1998. He has directed many productions. He began his career as an actor and first appeared at Stratford in 1988, later playing such roles as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Laertes in Hamlet.

"This is an outward-looking vision which gives us much needed flexibility," Cimolino added. "We will enrich our theatre community by bringing in outside influences, inviting guest appearances, workshopping more Canadian plays and taking our own plays on the road."

The restructuring follows the announcement last year that current artistic director Richard Monette will retire at the end of 2007 after completing a record 14-year term. The new team, which Cimolino expects to begin announcing in early summer, will be responsible for the festival's 2008 season and beyond.

The internationally acclaimed Stratford Festival, North America's largest classical repertory theatre, presents a six-month season in four venues, "encompassing not only the works of Shakespeare and other great authors of the past but also the best in contemporary drama and musical theatre."