Shakespeare has long been the foundation of the world renowned festival, and the 2004 season brings closer Monette's goal of producing all of Shakespeare's works in his tenure. The 2004 season marks Monette's 10th season as artistic director.
In addition to Shakespeare's Macbeth (directed by John Wood) and Midsummer (which have been seen in the past 10 years at Stratford), playgoers can expect the bard's Cymbeline, King John, Henry VIII and Timon of Athens.
Musicals have long been a big draw for Stratford. Next season's Anything Goes is the Lincoln Center revision of the classic 1930s Cole Porter show. It will be staged on the proscenium Avon Theatre, while Guys and Dolls plays the flagship Festival Theatre.
American audiences flock to musicals there (Stratford is within three hours of Detroit and within five hours of Ohio and western New York). The festival has staged British and Americans musicals and operettas, as well as Canadian written musicals like Dracula, but has not yet produced a Canadian-centric musical, such as Anne of Green Gables.
Brian Bedford, who has long had an artistic home at Stratford as a director and actor, will direct the Michael Frayn farce, Noises Off. A Marshall Borden adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo will be presented at the Avon.
The Stratford Festival — founded by local resident Tom Patterson, who enlisted famed director Tyrone Guthrie to start a festival in the rural Ontario town — now sports four theatres: the 1,824-seat Festival, the Avon, the 487-seat Patterson and the 260-seat Studio.
In 2004, the festival will stage two new Canadian works: the third part of Peter Hinton's Swanne trilogy, titled The Swanne: Queen Victoria (The Seduction of Nemesis), as well as The Elephant Song by Quebec playwright Nicolas Billon.
The latter, directed by Jim Warren, is "an amazing play we've workshopped through our new play development program and the script is a real page-turner," Monette said in his announcement.
Also in the Studio will be The Triumph of Love, the festival's first-ever production of a work by 18th-century French author Pierre Marivaux. Richard Monnette directs.
Tickets for 2004 will go on sale to the general public Jan. 10, 2004; members can buy in advance beginning November 27. Call (800) 567-1600 or online at www.stratfordfestival.ca.