Pride Takes The Spotlight At The Stratford Festival

A Tony award-winning musical and a special series of events programmed around 2SLGBTQ+ topics and histories.

By: May. 28, 2024
Pride Takes The Spotlight At The Stratford Festival
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2SLGBTQ+ stories shine at the Stratford Festival this season. The celebration begins with the May 31 opening of the Tony Award-winning musical La Cage aux Folles and continues with a suite of special events during The Meighen Forum's Pride Week, June 10 through 16, featuring a series of performances, speakers and events that explore 2SLGBTQ+ topics, history and experiences.

La Cage aux Folles has been delighting audiences since its Broadway première in 1983. It follows the story of Georges (Sean Arbuckle), the manager of a drag club in St. Tropez, and Albin (Steve Ross), his life partner and the club's star performer. Georges agrees to “play it straight” to meet the ultra-conservative parents of their son's new fiancé, while Albin is shocked to discover that he is being sidelined. The ensuing clash unravels truth and consequences with heartwarming grace. La Cage aux Folles has its official opening on May 31 and runs until October 26 at the Avon Theatre.

Pride Week at The Meighen Forum

June 10 to 16

The Body Politic: A History of Queer News in the Gay and Lesbian Liberation Era

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, June 14

10:30 a.m. to noon

The Body Politic was Canada's primary queer periodical from 1971 to 1987. It amplified the lives of queer people and helped galvanize the gay and lesbian liberation movement. Join Raegan Swanson, Executive Director of The ArQuives; Nicholas Hrynyk, of Thompson Rivers University; and Tim McCaskell, writer, activist and collective member of The Body Politic, as they delve into the history of queer news in Canada.

Funny Forum Friday: Maggie Cassella with Jeni Walls

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, June 14

9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Join comic, actor, writer, producer, host of Because I Said So and former lawyer Maggie Cassella for an evening of rant-and-rave comedy.

Her comedy has evolved over the years from “ripped from the headlines” to “everyone is exhausted by the headlines it's time to mine your life for jokes to make people happy even if it is at your own expense, so what if they laugh, they're laughing with you not at you. Right? Right!” And that's where we are today.

Maggie's most proud achievement was creating and producing the We're Funny That Way comedy and music festival and The Rainbow Charity Network Foundation. The festival has been running since 1997 as a 100% charitable event. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds have gone to make transformational grants to grassroots 2SLGBTQ+ charities across Canada.

A Queen Prepares with Lemon from Canada's Drag Race

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, June 15

10:30 a.m. to noon

Multifaceted drag performer, model and dancer Lemon makes her Meighen Forum debut in this intimate and up-close conversation with Thom Allison. Lemon talks about her amazing journey from her hometown of Pickering, Ontario, to becoming the break-out star of both Canada's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs the World. The audience gets front-row seats as Lemon transforms into the iconic, glamourous, sweet-never-sour, unstoppable Queen at the top of her game. From her background in conservatory and competitive dance, to discovering the art of drag, now to finding her voice as a musician – Lemon's sparkling journey has just begun and she has big plans to take the world by storm because when life gives you Lemon, Lemon gives you life.

Trans Families: An Interview with Kinley Mochrie, Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, June 16

10:30 a.m. to noon

In this beautiful story of family, identity and acceptance, join Kinley Mochrie and her parents, Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath, as they discuss with moderator Rebecca Northan what it means to be a supportive family, from Kinley's coming out journey to dealing with uninformed relatives and transphobic trolls.

Broadway Sing-Along and Cocktail Party

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Sunday, June 16

7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Stop in Lazaridis Hall for a wonderful evening of cocktails and group singalong, featuring some of your favourite Broadway tunes led by pianist and star of NYC's cabaret scene Franca Vercelloni. This event features a cash bar with themed cocktails and mocktails.

Forum Events to explore 2SLGBTQ+ topics all season long:

Peer Into The Playbill: Fops and Dandies: A Social History of Men's Fashion

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Thursday, July 4

10:30 a.m. to noon

From Harcourt's "foppishness" to Zaza's sequins, men's fashion throughout history has been a source of oppression and an avenue for liberation. Join Nishi Bassi, curator and manager of exhibitions at the Bata Shoe Museum, and others as they discuss the history of men's fashion and societal expectations of gender presentation.

The New York Times at Stratford: Same-Sex Parenting IRL vs La Cage Aux Folles

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Friday, July 19

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Embark on a captivating exploration of same-sex parenting with New York Times chief theatre critic Jesse Green and his husband, Andy Mirer, award-winning author Ann-Marie Macdonald and her wife, theatre director Alisa Palmer, as they draw parallels between their own experiences and what is depicted in the iconic musical La Cage aux Folles. Delving into the challenges, stigma and rewards faced by same-sex couples, from societal expectations to the joyous rewards of unconventional families, this talk promises a dynamic discussion that intertwines theatre and reality.

Edward Albee and the Limits of Tolerance

Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre

Saturday, September 14

10:30 a.m. to noon

Enjoy an engaging panel discussion that delves into the thought-provoking world of Edward Albee and his exploration of tolerance boundaries in the context of his play, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?. The conversation will dissect the intricate layers of Albee's work, focusing on how he challenges conventional norms and navigates the realm of taboo through his unique storytelling lens. Harri Thomas, Cultural and Praxis Consultant for the 2024 production of Edward Albee's The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, and other 2SLGBTQ+ artists and academics will draw connections between the theatrical world and real-life scenarios, discussing with moderator Bob White how the arts can provide a platform for individuals to confront, understand, and ultimately transcend societal boundaries.

Stop by The Meighen Forum throughout the season for discussions, speakers, performances and events that will leave you laughing, crying and reflecting.

Weeks are themed as follows:

  • Pride Week - June 10 to June 16
  • 2024 Season Deep Dive Week - July 8 to July 14
  • CBC Ideas Week: Brave New Worlds - July 15 to July 21
  • Global Theatre Week - August 5 to August 11
  • Readers and Writers Week - August 19 to August 25
  • Scholars and Experts Week - September 16 to September 22

Visit https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/WhatsOn/TheForum for more details.




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