"" Writer's Wanderings: The Canadian Stratford On The Avon River

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Canadian Stratford On The Avon River

Many years ago on one of our first visits to England we made a journey from London up to Stratford on Avon to the Anne Hathaway house and the said traditional stomping grounds of Shakespeare. It was beautiful and memorable. We toured the house, looked at some arts and crafts, soaked in the legendary stories and did some rubbings from some raised bronze tablets. I still have them hanging in our family room.

Much to my amazement there is a second Stratford and it's not far away from us. You don't have to cross an ocean to get there. It's also on a river called Avon and it has a tradition of theater albeit not as historical as the town in England. The Canadian Stratford which is in Ontario began its foray into the Shakespearean theater in the mid 1950s.

A journalist, Tom Patterson, and a British director, Tyrone Guthrie, began organizing the Stratford Festival. Construction on a stage and theater was finished in 1953 and the first play opened with legendary actor Alec Guinness. Since then the festival has grown adding a fourth venue in 2002.

Their site lists all sorts of productions from Shakespeare to more modern drama and musicals. There's a $25 bus ride to get to Stratford from Toronto if you are interested in expanding your theatrical experience from the variety offered at the Toronto theaters. You may not find the same quaintness that the original Statford on Avon affords but certainly you won't lack for entertainment.

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