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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.