King Lear, directed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and starring Colm Feore, will hit cinemas in February. King John, directed by Tim Carroll and starring Tom McCamus and Seana McKenna, will be released in April. Antony and Cleopatra, directed by Gary Griffin and starring Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh, will have its first screenings in May.
This past March, the Stratford Festival announced an ambitious film and digital media project at its Annual General Meeting, committing to produce films of three productions each season with the ultimate goal of filming all of Shakespeare’s plays. “With these three productions, we launch a project dear to my heart: to create a Canadian collection of the entire Shakespeare canon, which allows us to preserve the performances of our greatest actors and share them with an audience far beyond our borders,” Cimolino said in a press release.
Each production will be filmed live in HD and will be edited before distribution to ensure the best possible representation and include additional behind-the-scenes features. King Lear will be directed for film by Joan Tosoni and captured on Oct. 21. Antony and Cleopatra and King John will be directed for film by Barry Avrich and will be captured on Sept. 25 and 26 respectively.
“The Stratford Festival canon collection will extend the Festival’s reach and heighten its profile around the world,” Executive Director Anita Gaffney said in the release. “It will also serve as a valuable educational resource, allowing students to see Canadian productions of all of Shakespeare’s works, supplemented by online study guides that we will create for each production. We’re forging new territory here in Canada with the filming of a series of our productions and expanding the Festival’s digital footprint."
In addition to distributing the films through cinemas, TV, and online, the Festival plans to use components from the films to inspire a suite of digital products including applications, games, and audio books. "We hope that this expanded digital presence will ultimately entice even more people to visit Stratford and take in the full Festival experience,” Gaffney said.
The films will be produced by Melbar Entertainment Group and Executive Producer Barry Avrich. They will be distributed in Canada through Cineplex Entertainment’s Front Row Centre Events, which specializes in bringing world-class events and performances to the big screen. Distribution in the United States and the rest of the world will be through BY Experience, the Worldwide HD Distribution Representative for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD program and the international distributor (excepting the UK) of Great Britain’s National Theatre Live screenings. The cinema screenings will be followed by a broadcast window on CBC, and then digital and on-demand release.
The Stratford Festival film and digital media project has been made possible by the support of Laura Dinner and Richard Rooney; The Jenkins Family Foundation; Ophelia and Mike Lazaridis; Sandra and Jim Pitblado; the Slaight Family Foundation; and Robert and Jacqueline Sperandio.
September 16, 2014