In most professional theatres in North America, a company picks one show and runs it for a set number of weeks — but not at Stratford Festival. At full capacity, the festival has 12 shows on three stages.
Here’s how they make the magic happen.
1. Stratford Festival is a repertory theatre.
That means by the time the summer is in full swing at the beginning of August, there are 12 shows running on three stages.
Most actors are cast in more than one show, and each day, the stages go through two complete transformations, with crews replacing everything from the set and floorboards to swapping out costumes and resetting the lights.
And they do it all, in about 75 minutes.
2. Shows are staggered through the summer
Though five productions open at the end of May, other plays premiere through the summer.
So musicals like Billy Elliott begin rehearsing in January or February, but late openers, such as The Front Page have their first rehearsal at the beginning of June.
In 2018, the Rocky Horror Show became the longest running show in Stratford Festival’s 66-year history, with performances from June to December.
3. No room for coat racks
A pulley system is used to make costume storage at the Festival Theatre more manageable.