This short film depicts how a small Canadian city, bearing the name of Stratford and by a river Avon, created its own renowned Shakespearean theatre. The film tells how the idea grew, how a famous British director, international stars and Canadian talent were recruited, and how the Stratford Shakespearean Festival finally became a triumphant reality.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
This account of the first-ever Stratford Shakespeare Festival almost did not come about because of the cost involved. Eventually it was decided that this was too important of an event in the history of Canada to pass it up. Shot in colour on 35 mm, it required a great deal of planning as the artistic director of the festival refused to let cameras in during rehearsals and performances. Scenes of rehearsal and of the actual performances had to be recreated using the actors and crew! Budgeted at $60,000, it would eventually cost $83,000, mainly due to all the time spent recreating certain key moments. The result, however, was a huge success, playing theatrically in Canada, the U.S.A. and Europe to enthusiastic crowds and eventually earning the film an Oscar® nomination.Albert Ohayon
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