Last weekend, Hillsdale’s theatre department took a group of about 25 students and faculty on the trek north to Stratford, Ontario to attend several shows at the prestigious Stratford Festival.
Over the course of four days, they saw five plays: Farquhar’s “The Beaux’ Stratagem,” Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children,” and Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” “King John,” and “King Lear.”
The shows were excellent, by all accounts:
“We ended up seeing a really great lineup of shows,” said junior Catherine Coffey. “The Stratford theatre festival is just pure, quality theatre.”
“King Lear” was met with an extremely positive reception from students.
“Throughout the play I just felt so attached to the characters,” said sophomore Anastasia Dennehy.
“There was a real interesting spirit and energy,” said theater professor James Brandon of the production.
However, the clear favorite was “Mother Courage.”
“This was the most well done production of it I’ve ever seen,” Brandon said. “It was absolutely stellar.”
There were also some twists to the shows. At one point, the cast of “King John” came on stage to do the ALS ice bucket challenge.
“It was completely unexpected, and it was a lot of fun,” Coffey said.
The trip boasted more than just the chance to watch theatre productions, however. Those who went were able to spend time exploring the city, chat about shows, and relax together in a more informal environment than campus.
“It’s something that you can’t do anywhere else, it’s a whole festival devoted to the love of the theatrical,” said Dennehy, who loved having the opportunity “to see the actors off the stage.”
Overall, the trip was a great experience for those who went.
“I will remember a few of the shows for a very long time,” Brandon said.