Wednesday, September 4, 2013

News: (Toronto) Canadian Stage's Summer Shakespeare breaks records (Press release)

Canadian Stage’s Shakespeare in High Park breaks attendance record
Stage Directing MFA program with York U continues success
Toronto, ON – For the second summer in a row, Canadian Stage’s popularShakespeare in High Park has set an all-time high attendance record with more than 32,000 audience members enjoying theatre under the stars at the High Park Amphitheatre. The double-bill featuring Shakespeare’s powerful tragedy, Macbeth, and controversial comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, was on stage from June 28 to September 1.

The details at a glance:
  • Of the 55 scheduled performances, nine were cancelled due to rain. Shakespeare in High Park hasn’t seen such a soggy summer since the 2008 season, when 12 performances were cancelled.
  • This year’s total attendance figure of 32,268 tops the 2012 record high of 29,839 (across 60 performances, four of which were cancelled due to rain).
  • On average, 700 patrons attended per night (versus 530 patrons per night in 2012 for A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
  • Box office revenue for the 2013 pay-what-you-can presentation exceeded 2012 totals by 30 per cent and saw a 21 per cent increase over 2007 (the last highest grossing year).
  • For the first time, theatre-goers had the option to reserve seats in advance or to make a contribution with debit or credit online or at the gate. Over 30 per cent of audience members made contributions in advance.
  • More than $30,000 in ticket subscriptions to Canadian Stage’s 2013.2014 season were sold on site via a satellite box office, most to new subscribers.
In its 31st year, Shakespeare in High Park has proven, without a doubt, it is one of the city’s favourite summer traditions with an incredibly enthusiastic and dedicated audience joining us on the hill night after night,” said Matthew Jocelyn, artistic & general director, Canadian Stage.

We were doubly thrilled to share the directorial talents of Ker Wells and Ted Witzel, the first graduates of York University's MFA Program in Stage Direction in Collaboration with Canadian Stage,” adds Jocelyn. “We look forward to sharing more of their work this fall at the Berkeley Street Theatre.”

Entering the MFA program at York this month are Estelle Shook, former artistic director of the Caravan Farm Theatre and 2011 director of The Winter’s Tale at Shakespeare in High Park for Canadian Stage, and Matjash Mrozewski, an internationally recognized choreographer based in Montreal who trained at the National Ballet School. Program participants will work closely with two incoming mentors, Peter Hinton (Shaw Festival, National Arts Centre) and Chris Abraham (Stratford Festival, Crow’s Theatre). In addition to collaborating regularly with Jocelyn and various artists at Canadian Stage, both candidates will be supported by Birgit Schreyer Duarte, who joins Canadian Stage as artistic and dramaturgical consultant focusing on programming and coordinating the MFA program.
As resident artist at Canadian Stage, award-winning director Kim Collier played a pivotal role in conceptualizing and implementing the company’s participation in the collaborative MFA program. Working tirelessly with Wells and Witzel to support their professional development through involvement in artistic projects at Canadian Stage, Collier was a key contributor to the success of the MFA program in its first two years, making her an invaluable collaborator. As the first graduates complete their degrees in Stage Directing in York's Department of Theatre, Collier concludes her time at Canadian Stage to pursue other projects.

Canadian Stage opens the 2013.2014 theatre season at the Berkeley Street Theatre with two plays by Québécois playwright Sarah BerthiaumeThe Flood Thereafter(September 22 to October 6) and Yukonstyle (October 13 to 27), directed by Wells and Witzel, respectively.

Facebook: Canadian Stage
Twitter: @CanadianStage; #CS1314; #SiHP

For more information or interview requests for Canadian Stage, please contact: 
Ashley Ballantyne, rock-it promotions, 416.656.0707 x111,
Kylie McGregor, rock-it promotions, 416.656.0707 x104,

For more information about York University’s MFA Program in Stage Direction in Collaboration with Canadian Stage, contact:
Amy Stewart, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University, 416.650.8469,

Shakespeare in High Park Presenting Sponsor: BMO Financial Group
Shakespeare in High Park Volunteer Program Sponsor: Manulife Financial

Shows and Tickets: 
Single tickets and subscription packages for the 2013.2014 season are now available with 4-show packages starting at $98 and 10-show packages starting at $272. Single tickets start at $22, with C-Stage Under 30 tickets available for $15 (taxes and fees included). Discount tickets are available thanks to Sun Life Financial, Discount Ticket Programs Sponsor. Subscriptions and tickets may be purchased online by phone at 416.368.3110, in person at Canadian Stage’s Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E.) or Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley St.).

About Canadian Stage:
Founded in 1987, Canadian Stage is one of the country’s leading not-for-profit contemporary theatre companies, with the 2013.2014 season marking the organization’s 26th season. Led by Artistic & General Director Matthew Jocelyn and Managing Director Su Hutchinson, Canadian Stage produces and showcases innovative theatre from Canada and around the world, allowing its audience to encounter daring work guided by a strong directorial vision and a 21st-century aesthetic. The company prides itself on presenting multidisciplinary pieces and work in translation that pushes the boundaries of form and style. Canadian Stage reinforces the presence of Canadian art and artists within an international context through work that mirrors the cultural diversity of Toronto. The company stages an annual season of work at three major venues (the Bluma Appel Theatre, the Berkeley Street Theatre and the High Park Amphitheatre) and runs a series of artist development and education initiatives, as well as youth and community outreach programs. For more information, visit

About  York University’s Master of Fine Arts in Theatre - Stage Direction in Collaboration with Canadian Stage:
York University’s MFA Program in Stage Direction in Collaboration with Canadian Stage brings together one of Canada’s pre-eminent theatre schools and leading not-for-profit contemporary theatre companies to offer highly specialized, advanced training in large-scale theatre directing. The two-year program allows students to develop their creative and technical skills to the highest level within a rigorous academic and professional context.

Lead support of Canadian Stage’s participation in York University’s MFA Program in Stage Direction is provided by BMO Financial Group.

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