Stratford Festival honoured as national historic event

The festival showcasing the largest classical repertory theatre company in North America is being honoured as a national historic event.

On Tuesday, Richard Alway, chair of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, commemorated the national historic significance of the Stratford Festival, which takes place north of London.

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During a special ceremony, a commemorative plaque describing the festival’s launch was unveiled at the Stratford Festival Theatre.

The plaque explains how, in 1953, local reporter Tom Patterson founded the festival to help bolster the town’s economy by offering employment for actors, directors and technicians and also attracting theatregoers from across the country.

It describes how the innovative thrust stage, conceived by artistic director Tyrone Guthrie and designer Tanya Moiseiwitsch, brought new life to Shakespeare’s plays by allowing for more fluid, dynamic performances.

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The plaque also goes on to say the festival’s repertoire has expanded over the years to build a national reputation, “training generations of theatre professionals and launching the careers of some of Canada’s finest actors.”

According to officials, more than 700 performances take place at the festival from May to October, attracting more than 500,000 attendees every year.

Through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the government of Canada recognizes significant people, places and events that shape the country as one way of helping Canadians and youth connect with their past, officials said.

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