Announcing the Cast of SHAKESPEARE IN HIGH PARK

Canadian Stage is proud to announce the casting details for the 35th season of Shakespeare in High Park, returning to the High Park Amphitheatre from June 29 to September 3 with bold contemporary takes on King Lear and Twelfth Night, or What You Will under the stars.

Multiple award-winning actor and stage veteran Diane D'Aquila will take on one of the most monumental roles in the history of English drama as Queen Lear in director Alistair Newton's production of King Lear - the first staging of Shakespeare's towering family drama in the history of the popular open-air theatre event. On this anniversary year, D'Aquila revisits Canadian Stage's outdoor amphitheatre after starring as Titania in the inaugural production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1983.

She is joined by Stratford and Shaw veteran Robert Persichini as Lear's Fool and Malvolio in the topsy-turvy comedy of mistaken identity and role reversal Twelfth Night, directed by Tanja Jacobs. No stranger to High Park, Persichini gave memorable performances in A Midsummer Night's Dream on two occasions: in 1996 and again in 2002's 20th anniversary production directed by Richard Greenblatt.

Other returning alumni include Richard Lee (Comedy of Errors-06.07/Dream-02.03), Michael Man (As You Like It/Titus Andronicus-14.15) and Naomi Wright (Julius Caesar/Comedy of Errors-15.16), alongside fresh faces Jenni Burke, Jason Cadieux, Brett Dahl, Peter Fernandes, Amelia Sargisson and newcomers Kristiaan Hansen and Hannah Wayne-Phillips, recent graduates of the York University Theatre Program. Sharing a total of 26 roles, the multitalented ensemble will perform King Lear and Twelfth Night in repertory on alternating evenings from Tuesdays to Sundays.

A beloved seasonal event, Canadian Stage's Shakespeare in High Park is Canada's largest and longest-running professional outdoor theatre experience, attracting over 30,000 people each year. Founded as Dream in High Park in 1983, the series evolved into Shakespeare in High Park in 2013, presenting two alternating productions throughout the summer - one comedy, one tragedy - in bold and innovative takes on Bard classics.

Canadian Stage continues its unique partnership with the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University to integrate undergraduate and graduate talent and alumni into the Shakespeare in High Park creative team. Directors Alistair Newton and Tanja Jacobs, 2017 graduating candidates of the York/Canadian Stage MFA in Stage Direction, take the helm under the mentorship of Peter Hinton, lead Canadian Stage mentor for the MFA program.

King Lear runs from June 29 to September 2 with performances on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 8 pm. Opening night will be July 13 with previews June 29, July 1, 4, 6, 8 and 11. Twelfth Night runs from June 30 to September 3 with performances on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 8 pm. Opening night will be July 14 with previews June 30, July 2, 5, 7, 9, and 12. Both performances run at the High Park Amphitheatre (1873 Bloor St. W). Gates open at 6 pm. Each performance is pay-what-you can (suggested $25 contribution) and premium seats can be reserved by donation online in advance for $25.

SHAKESPEARE IN HIGH PARK:
KING LEAR & TWELFTH NIGHT

A Canadian Stage production in collaboration with the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University

CREATIVE TEAM

Director (King Lear) Alistair Newton
Director (Twelfth Night) Tanja Jacobs
Assistant Directors Sadie Epstein-Fine (King Lear), Adam Bromley (Twelfth Night)
Set Designer Claire Hill
Costume Designers Carolyn Smith (King Lear), Victoria Wallace (Twelfth Night)
Lighting Designer Rebecca Picherak
Sound Designer Lyon Smith
Production Stage Manager Elizabeth McDermott
Stage Manager Krista MacIsaac Barclay
Assistant Stage Manager Sandi Becker

CAST
Jenni Burke Countess of Kent (King Lear) / Feste (Twelfth Night)
Jason Cadieux Earl of Gloucester (King Lear) / Sir Toby (Twelfth Night)
Brett Dahl Edmund (King Lear) / Sebastian (Twelfth Night)
Diane D'Aquila Lear (King Lear) / Fabiana (Twelfth Night)
Peter Fernandes Oswald, Duke of Burgundy (King Lear) / Sir Andrew (Twelfth Night)
Kristiaan Hansen Duke of Cornwall (King Lear) / Antonio, Captain (Twelfth Night)
Richard Lee Duke of Albany (King Lear) / Orsino (Twelfth Night)
Michael Man Edgar (King Lear) / Valentine (Twelfth Night)
Robert Persichini The Fool (King Lear) / Malvolio (Twelfth Night)
Amelia Sargisson Cordelia (King Lear) / Viola (Twelfth Night)
Naomi Wright Goneril (King Lear) / Olivia (Twelfth Night)
Hannah Wayne-Phillips Regan (King Lear) / Maria (Twelfth Night)

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