Stratford Police sit outside the Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ont., Monday, May 28, 2018. To binge or not to binge will be the question for Shakespeare fans as the renowned Stratford Festival in southwestern Ontario launches its own streaming service. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins

Stratford Police sit outside the Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ont., Monday, May 28, 2018. To binge or not to binge will be the question for Shakespeare fans as the renowned Stratford Festival in southwestern Ontario launches its own streaming service. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins

Stratford Festival launches streaming service with mix of films and original content

New digital subscription series announced

STRATFORD, Ont. — To binge or not to binge will be the question for Shakespeare fans as the renowned Stratford Festival in southwestern Ontario launches its own streaming service.

The repertory theatre company has announced a new digital subscription series that includes not just the usual theatrical fare from the Bard but also music, cooking, conversations and comedy.

The festival is charging $10 per month for Stratfest@Home, which is now up and running with a mix of films featuring festival talent, and brand new artist-driven content.

The film offerings span decades and include a festival production of “The Tempest” starring Christopher Plummer, who can also be seen alongside Nikki M. James in “Caesar and Cleopatra.”

Other titles include the Timothy Findley play “Elizabeth Rex,” starring Diane D’Aquila and Brent Carver, and “Antony and Cleopatra” with Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh.

The new site also promises interviews with artists, new commissions and original content — from Dan Chameroy’s mini soap opera “Leer Estates,” to Roy Lewis’s “Stratford Festival Ghost Tours” and Stratford Festival executive chef Kendrick Prins’ “The Early Modern Cooking Show.”

The festival will add new content weekly and also bring back its Thursday night watch parties on YouTube on Oct. 22.

The festival says it plans to announce its 2021 season in the new year “when there is a clearer understanding of pandemic performance guidelines.”

“With social isolation once more upon us, nights growing longer and winter approaching, we need the consolation of community like never before,” artistic director Antoni Cimolino said Monday in a statement.

“With these viewing parties and the many related artistic programs in Stratfest@Home, we invite you to enter the warmth of the Festival bubble.”

Online: https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/AtHome

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020.

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