Stratford Festival's COROLANIUS And THE TEMPEST Coming To CBC

The Stratford Festival's newest films are coming to CBC and CBC Gem. Shakespeare's Coriolanus will air on August 25 and The Tempest on September 15, at which time they will also be available on the free CBC Gem streaming series.

These are the latest offerings from Stratford Festival on Film, an initiative launched by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and Executive Director Anita Gaffney to capture all of Shakespeare's plays on film. Directed for the screen by Barry Avrich, these films are also being released internationally.

First to air, on August 25, is Coriolanus, directed by genre-defying theatre artist Robert Lepage. The production was included in the "Best Theatre of 2018" lists in The Washington Post, the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and NOW. The New York Times called it "riveting" and "jaw-dropping." The Chicago Tribune's critic said it was "the greatest contemporary staging of this play that I ever have seen." If you missed the "electric world premiere" (NOW) in Stratford, now's your chance to see this "astonishing" production (Capital Critics Circle).

This "riveting" and "exhilarating" (The New York Times) production of Coriolanus has been called "a landmark production for the Stratford Festival. Maybe for William Shakespeare, too" (The Globe and Mail). The production stars "André Sills, a magnetic and imposing actor" (The New York Times), with a stellar cast delivering "performances that send shivers down the spine" (The Globe and Mail).

Lepage takes the story about the rise and fall of a legendary general who must face off against the angry Roman mob and infuses it with the energy of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. "By resetting dialogue-heavy scenes as talk radio gabfests, and representing the uninformed mob as anonymous voices on social media, Robert Lepage helps clarify Shakespeare's portrait of a world, like ours, overwhelmed with insincerity" (The New York Times). He "wrangles a difficult play into a heart-stopping narrative" (Chicago Tribune), "rendering a clear and cinematic version that's riveting, invigorating and smart" (The Globe and Mail). "Rarely has Lepage's reputation as a cinematic theatremaker been more earned" (Toronto Star).

On September 15, CBC will air Cimolino's production of The Tempest. The stage production was a truly historic event, featuring theatre legend Martha Henry as Prospero, more than five decades after she made her Stratford debut as Miranda in the 1962 production of the play.

The New York Times described it as "an elaborate production with eye-popping costumes" adding, "real magic and grandeur come from Martha Henry as Prospero" She is "one of the true greats," says the Chicago Tribune, giving a performance full of "passion and power" (The Globe and Mail). "She's riveting from her first moments on stage" (Postmedia). "The poetry emerging from her lips is something to behold" (NOW). This "elegant production" (amNewYork) is "embarrassed with fine performances" (Toronto Star).

Befitting the play's origins as the original sci-fi story, the production features "spectacular stagecraft" (Postemedia) and is filled with "giant monsters and sparkling special effects" (The Globe and Mail). "Seeing it is a joy" (Toronto Star). The story is one of loss and reconciliation, in which Prospero, a long-deposed ruler, uses magical arts to summon the enemies who robbed her of her throne and marooned her on a remote island with her young daughter.

Earlier this year the films were released across Canada by Cineplex, one of Canada's leading entertainment and media companies, which brings world-class events and performances to the big screen across Canada.

U.S. and international distribution is through BY Experience, the "live cinema event powerhouse" (Variety) that brings the highest quality international cultural events to more than 2,000 cinemas and performing arts centres in over 70 countries around the world as the Worldwide HD Distribution Representative for The Met: Live in HD series, International (ex-UK) Distribution Representative for the U.K.'s National Theatre Live series, and North American Distributor for the Bolshoi Ballet cinema series.

Stratford Festival on Film is sponsored by Sun Life Financial as part of their Making the Arts More Accessible program.

Support for Stratford Festival on Film is generously provided by The John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, the Jenkins Family Foundation, the Henry White Kinnear Foundation, Ophelia & Mike Lazaridis, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Sandra & Jim Pitblado, the Slaight Family Foundation, Robert & Jacqueline Sperandio, and an anonymous donor.

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