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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A celebration of the life of Brian Macdonald will be held at the Stratford Festival on May 3

MEDIA RELEASE April 22, 2015… 

Brian Macdonald
The remarkable life and career of director-choreographer Brian Macdonald will be celebrated at the Stratford Festival on May 3, at 1 p.m., in the Festival Theatre, 55 Queen Street, Stratford. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Mr. Macdonald, who died on November 29, 2014, at the age of 86, was one of the most prolific and internationally renowned directors and choreographers Canada has ever produced. He was a member of the Stratford Festival company for 17 seasons, a founding dancer with the National Ballet, and Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Harkness Ballet, Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, as well as a major contributor to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de MontrĂ©al, the National Arts Centre, the Canadian Opera Company, and the CBC.

Remembrances of Mr. Macdonald will be shared by Stratford Festival Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino; actor Richard McMillan; Tamara Ross, the Banff Centre’s director of programming operations; Karen Kain, artistic director of the National Ballet; actor and director Martha Henry; Peter Herrndorf, president and CEO of the National Arts Centre; and principal dancer Annette av Paul, Mr. Macdonald’s widow. 

The celebration will feature a number of excerpts from “Brian’s Greatest Hits” performed by past and present members of the Stratford Festival company, including Matt Alfano, Jacqueline Burtney, Karen Edissi, Alana Hibbert, Mary Jay, Anita Krause, Monique Lund, Mary Pitt, Mari Trainor and guest artist soprano Christiane Riel. 

A Guthrie Award will be established in Mr. Macdonald’s name for Musical Theatre, specifically “for someone who wants to study and research the dances and choreography of musicals old and new, with the potential of becoming a musical theatre choreographer/director.” 

To raise funds for the award, a limited edition of Mr. Macdonald’s book Dancing in Thin Air, about the dance program at the Banff Centre, will be available for sale, along with a small number of Mr. Macdonald’s treasured artifacts. 

Donations to this special award can be made in the lobby at the memorial or sent to: 
Cathy Kemp, Program Administrator 
Stratford Festival 
P.O. Box 520 
Stratford, ON 
N5A 6V2 

Cheques should be made payable to the Stratford Festival and marked “Brian Macdonald Guthrie Award.” 

 -30-

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