The season, which runs April 21-Oct. 12, will include classics such as King Lear, starring Colm Feore and directed by artistic director Antoni Cimolino; A Midsummer Night's Dream, helmed by Peter Sellars; Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, starring Seana McKenna; Antony and Cleopatra, starring Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh; and A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Chris Abraham and starring Stephen Ouimette, Evan Buliung and Jonathan Goad.
Stratford will also present two musicals: Crazy for You, starring Josh Franklin and Chilina Kennedy and directed by Donna Feore; and Man of La Mancha, starring Kennedy and Tom Rooney.
The season also includes Alice Through the Looking-Glass, starring Trish Lindström and featuring Cynthia Dale as the Red Queen; Lucy Peacock and Cynthia Dale in Noël Coward's Hay Fever; Tom McCamus and Seana McKenna in King John; Colm Feore in the Restoration comedy The Beaux' Stratagem, directed by Cimolino and featuring Martha Henry, Lucy Peacock and Mike Shara; and the world première of the Festival-commissioned English version of Michel Marc Bouchard's Christina, The Girl King, starring Jenny Young.
"Our season's theme encompasses a huge range of dramatic situations, from the craziness of love to the insanity of war," Cimolino said in a statement. "The works on our stages and the Forum events that complement them invite audiences to explore the irrational elements that lie buried deep within us all — primal forces that have shaped the course of human history, both for better and for worse, and that continue to drive us today. This is the very stuff of drama, whether it's the gut-wrenching tragedy of King Lear or the zany comedy of Noël Coward."
Forum speakers include Margaret Trudeau, Muhammad Robert Heft, Romeo Dallaire, Jian Ghomeshi, Izzeldin Abuelaish, John de Chastelain, Camille Paglia and Robert Lepage. The Forum also features Festival company members and special guests like Hawksley Workman, Colin Mochrie, Barbara Budd and Gary Malkin in musical showcases, readings, screenings and other explorations of the theme. A series of events to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare will also be presented. "The Festival experienced huge growth in ticket sales during the 2013 season, and we have been delighted to see that upward trend continue with our advance sales to Members," executive director Anita Gaffney said in a statement. "Now that the box office is open to the public, theatregoers will want to act quickly to take advantage of our many incentives, including an early booking discount, which is valid until the end of January, and two-for-one Tuesdays and Thursdays."
The festival also features child care on weekends and discounted tickets for children, along with the Stratford Direct bus service, which offers twice-daily service from Toronto for $20 round trip. The festival is also introducing a $40 return-trip bus three times a week from Detroit.
Tickets and more information can be obtained by calling (800) 567-1600 or visiting stratfordfestival.ca.