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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

More Casting in 2011: Brent Carver, Lucy Peacock, Martha Henry Return

[PRESS RELEASE] Brent Carver, Martha Henry, Lucy Peacock to return for 2011; Darko Tresnjak to direct Titus Andronicus

July 20, 2010… The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is delighted to announce that Brent Carver, Martha Henry and Lucy Peacock will be returning for the 2011 season and that Darko Tresnjak, former artistic director of the Old Globe Shakespeare Festival, will make his Stratford directorial debut in the coming year.


Mr. Tresnjak will direct the 2011 production of Titus Andronicus at the Tom Patterson Theatre. Mr. Tresnjak, a prominent director of theatre and opera, was artistic director of San Diego’s Old Globe Shakespeare Festival from 2004 to 2009. His classical theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice for Theatre for a New Audience and the Royal Shakespeare Company Complete Works Festival; All’s Well That Ends Well for The Public Theatre; and Pericles, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Winter’s Tale for The Old Globe. He has won numerous awards in the U.S., including the Alan Schneider Award for Directing Excellence.


“I've known Darko for several years and have been a great admirer of his work,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “I've been wanting him to come to Stratford from the first year of my appointment and am thrilled that he is finally joining us. He has a staggeringly extensive resume when it comes to directing Elizabethan and Jacobean plays at the highest level; I'm confident he will be a major player in our directorship.”


“The announcements today herald exciting news for our Festival audiences,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “In Martha, Brent and Lucy we have long-time Festival company members who are not only audience favourites in Stratford but also artists who are highly respected internationally. As well, Darko is a great addition to our team of directors. All this news bodes well for a dynamic and much sought after 2011
season.”


Brent Carver is returning for his eighth season to play Merlyn and Pellinore in Camelot, directed by Gary Griffin. He will also play Pontius Pilate in Mr. McAnuff’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Mr. Carver has been delighting audiences with his two stand-out performances this year – as Jaques in As You Like It and Brent in Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.


Among many awards in his career, Mr. Carver won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Molina in Kiss of the Spider Woman and was nominated for his portrayal of Leo Frank in Parade. Mr. Carver’s Stratford credits include Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, the Emcee in Cabaret, the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, Edward Lowenscroft in Elizabeth Rex, the title role in Hamlet, and Edmund Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night.


“Brent Carver has been an important player for Stratford over the years and I am very proud of his work in 2010,” says Mr. McAnuff. “Brent is at the forefront of the acting profession in Canada and beyond, and it is testimony to the great strength of our company that he is joining us again for 2011.”


Martha Henry will play Margaret in Richard III. Ms Henry, who is the director of the Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, is playing Mme de Rosemonde in this season’s production of Dangerous Liaisons. Ms Henry began her Stratford career, which has spanned 36 seasons, playing Miranda to William Hutt’s Prospero and Lady Macduff in Christopher Plummer and Kate Reid’s Macbeth in 1962. More recently, she directed the acclaimed 2009 production of Three Sisters. In 2008 she gave outstanding performances as Hecuba in The Trojan Women and as the Countess of Rossillion in All’s Well That Ends Well, with Brian Dennehy playing the King of France. Ms Henry is the recipient of numerous honours, including the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada.


“As head of the Birmingham Conservatory and one of our leading players, Martha Henry is a major presence in the Stratford company,” says Mr. McAnuff. “In 2010 almost 30% of artists came from the Conservatory; Martha is certainly an artist that leads by example, and I'm thrilled to be able to announce her participation in the 2011 season.”


Lucy Peacock will return for her 23rd season to play Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Frank Galati. She will also play Morgan le Fey in Camelot. Ms Peacock has appeared in more than 55 productions at Stratford. This season she can be seen as the deliciously dim-witted Audrey in As You Like It and will play Nana in For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, which opens on August 11.


In 2007 she gave seven knockout performances in one production, the one-woman show The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead. She is well remembered for her 2008 performances – as Ursla the Pig Woman in Bartholomew Fair and as the gorgeous Masha in Three Sisters. Her classical roles at Stratford include Lady Macbeth, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Rosalind in As You Like It and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her musical credits include Dolly in Hello, Dolly and Anna in The King and I.


“Lucy Peacock has become a mainstay on our stage and we are very excited to have her back centrestage for 2011,” says Mr. McAnuff. “She is not only a great actress but an inspiration and mentor to emerging players in our acting company.”


Evan Buliung, Gareth Potter, Cara Ricketts, Andrea Runge return

Three graduates of the Birmingham Conservatory will return to play leading roles in 2011: Evan Buliung, Gareth Potter and Andrea Runge. Another young member of the company, Cara Ricketts, has also been confirmed.


Evan Buliung will play Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, directed by Mr. Cimolino and Roger in The Little Years, the new John Mighton work commissioned by the Festival. This season Mr. Buliung is playing Mac in King of Thieves, another Festival commission, which opens August 12. This past winter he was seen in the Toronto productions of Cloud 9 and Art. Mr. Buliung, who was a member of the inaugural Conservatory, has been seen on the Stratford stage as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Edgar in King Lear, Rosencrantz in Hamlet and Lucius in Titus Andronicus. 

Gareth Potter will take on the title role in Michel Trembley’s Hosanna, the role that launched the acting career of former artistic director Richard Monette. Mr. Potter will also play Richmond in Richard III. Mr. Potter, a member of the 2003-04 Birmingham Conservatory, can be seen as Ferdinand in The Tempest this season. He is also playing Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which opens August 10. Other recent credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Malcolm in Macbeth and Edgar in King Lear.


Andrea Runge, who can be seen this season as Rosalind in As You Like It, will take on another of Shakespeare’s young heroines, Viola in Twelfth Night. She will also play Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Ms Runge made her Stratford debut in 2009 as Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest. She joined the Birmingham Conservatory after the 2009 season.


Cara Ricketts will return for her third season to play Maria in Twelfth Night and Ruth in The Homecoming. This season Ms Ricketts is appearing as Celia in As You Like It and Perdita in The Winter’s Tale. She made her Stratford debut in 2009, playing Portia in Julius Caesar, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a Weird Sister in Macbeth.

“We have a vibrant and vital echelon of young actors in our company,” says Mr.McAnuff. “Andrea, Cara, Evan and Gareth are part of a vanguard of new leading players that without question will grace our stages for many years to come. Great young actors are the key magnetic force to attracting the young audiences of today and tomorrow. These four actors exemplify the kind of young talent that we are featuring at Stratford today.”


Casting for the 2011 season continues. Details will be announced as they become available.


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 http://www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com/.

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