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Monday, 19 July 2010

2011 Playbill: Seana McKenna in Shakespeare’s Will

[PRESS RELEASE]  July 19, 2010… The Stratford Shakespeare Festival has added a 12th production to its 2011 playbill. Seana McKenna (right) will present her one-woman show Shakespeare’s Will at the Studio Theatre.

The production, which had a limited and very successful run in 2007, will be directed by Miles Potter, who will also be directing Ms McKenna in Richard III, as previously announced.

Written by Vern Thiessen, the play is set just after the death of William Shakespeare. It is a fictional story in which Shakespeare’s widow, Anne Hathaway, looks back on life with her brilliant but enigmatic husband.

“I am very pleased to be featuring Shakespeare’s Will in 2011, a play Richard Monette first presented here during his final year as artistic director,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “This solo production provides us with an opportunity to showcase Seana McKenna, as we have featured other leading members of our company over the years, including Geraint Wyn Davies in Do Not Go Gentle this season, Brian Dennehy in Krapp’s Last Tape, Brian Bedford in Ever Yours, Oscar, Lucy Peacock in The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead, Domini Blythe in Fanny Kemble and, to look further back, Christopher Plummer in Barrymore in 1996.”

“Shakespeare’s Will was an engrossing night in the theatre when we presented it in 2007,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “It has great appeal for those who are interested in Shakespeare – and our audience is composed of people who are – and quickly became one of the season’s hot tickets. I am delighted that those who were unable to see it then will have an opportunity to see this gem of a production next season. And I’m sure there will be many who are eager to renew their acquaintance with Seana McKenna’s Anne Hathaway, as well.”

Ms McKenna has been dazzling Stratford audiences for 19 seasons, most recently as Paulina in this season’s production of The Winter’s Tale. She is also playing la Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons, which opens August 12.

With more than 100 productions to her credit in Canada and the U.S., Ms McKenna has played 20 of Shakespeare’s leading ladies and in Shakespeare’s Will takes on the role of his wife. She has appeared in 38 Stratford productions with recent credits including the title roles in Phèdre and Medea, as well as Andromache in The Trojan Women. A multiple Dora Award winner, Ms McKenna was recently awarded an honorary Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

Mr. Potter returns to the Festival for his 11th season. An award-winning artist, Mr. Potter has acted and directed at virtually every major Canadian theatre. His Stratford credits include the classics Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew, as well as Medea and Orpheus Descending, which were remounted by Mirvish Productions to further critical acclaim. He was the dramaturge and original director of the hit Canadian play The Drawer Boy, for which he received a Dora Award. He won a Jessie Award for his 2007 production of The Taming of the Shrew for Bard on the Beach in Vancouver.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s 2010 season runs until November 6, featuring As You Like It; Kiss Me, Kate; The Tempest; Dangerous Liaisons; Evita; Peter Pan; The Winter’s Tale; Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris; For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again; Do Not Go Gentle; The Two Gentlemen of Verona; King of Thieves. Tickets are available through the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or by visiting



  1. What I find fascinating about the team of Miles Potter & Seana McKenna is their dedication to studying the original playscript for their understanding of the playwright's intention for the play. Their productions of familiar stories always highlights aspects that seem new to me, but are always grounded in the actual text. And their productions of stories that are new to me, are always clear and easy to understand. Their production of Richard III is sure to be jaw-dropping, and their remount of Shakespeare's Will is sure to draw people who missed this amazing play the first time. They are two great talents on their own; together they are brilliant.

  2. I couldn't have said it better myself, Gloria!

  3. I saw this in the Studio in 2007, and it remains one of the greatest performances I have ever seen at Stratford. Can't wait to see it again! I was completely absorbed the whole time, as Ms. McKenna held the audience in the palm of her hand.


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