Casting Announcement: Canadian Stage’s Shakespeare in High Park

The cast has been announced for Canadian Stage's Shakespeare in High Park. Photos provided by performers.

Canadian Stage’s Shakespeare in High Park — the country’s longest-running outdoor theatre experience — has announced the cast for its 37th season. Each year there are two alternating productions that take place throughout the summer at High Park Amphitheatre; the productions for 2019 are Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing.

This season’s productions will feature the following actors, with their Measure for Measure roles prior to the slash and their Much Ado About Nothing roles following the slash:  

  • Emma Ferreira (Pygmalion, Guild Festival Theatre) as Juliet/Hero
  • Can Kömleksiz as Abhorson, Froth/Conrad
  • Richard Lam (Peter Pan, Bad Hats/Soulpepper) as Claudio/Borrachio
  • Allan Louis (Baby it’s You, Broadway) as Duke Vincentio/Leonato
  • Nora McLellan (The Matchmaker, Arts Club Vancouver) as Mistress Overdone, Bernadine, Friar Thomas/Dog Berry
  • Christopher Morris (LULU, Buddies in Bad Times) as Angelo/Don Peter
  • Natasha Mumba (Henry V, Shaw Festival) as Isabella/Don John
  • Rose Napoli (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Canadian Stage) as Mariana/Beatrice
  • Jamie Robinson (Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare in High Park) as Provost/Benedick
  • Heath V. Salazar (Shove it Down My Throat, Buddies in Bad Times) as Pompey/Margaret, Verges
  • Helen Taylor (Wrecked, Roseneath Theatre) as Escalus, Sister Francisca/Ursula
  • Emilio Vieira (Tartuffe, Canadian Stage) as Lucio/Claudio

Shakespeare in High Park gives undergraduate and graduate acting, directing, and theatre design students opportunities to work with established theatre practitioners to bring professional outdoor productions to life.

Measure for Measure is directed by actor and three-time Dora Award winner, Severn Thompson who is also currently an MFA candidate at York University in collaboration with Canadian Stage. She has directed plays at the Blythe Festival and Soulpepper, as well as performed in both the Stratford and Shaw Festivals.

Much Ado About Nothing is directed by actor, writer, and Dora Award winner Liza Balkan, who has also directed productions for Buddies in Bad Times, The Royal Conservatory of Music, The COC, The Theatre Centre and many more. She is also an MFA candidate at York University.

Both plays scrutinize and unpack themes of gender, misogyny, patriarchy, feminism, power, deception, and politics; these themes are especially relevant following the rise of the #MeToo movement.

This Measure for Measure staging is set in fictional modern-day Vienna with themes of extreme morality, political corruption, sexual harassment, mercy and justice. While a puritanical leader tries to straighten up the city with brute force and strict laws, citizens of the city devise a plan to expose the leader as hypocrite and revolt with just as much force. Though this play was written 400 years ago, the themes Shakespeare uses are clearly relevant in today’s hard-line, right-wing, zero tolerance populist movements.

This production of Much Ado About Nothing is a romantic comedy that focuses more on themes of love and war as well as the war of love. Weaving in stand-up comedy and audience interaction, the play takes place in the late-1990s, before the rise of the internet, social media culture and the horrific possibility of having something embarrassing go viral. The production — filled with misunderstandings, humour, and plot twists — focuses on the life of a wealthy government official in fictional Messina, Ontario, described as an area not too far from Muskoka. This production explores the themes of misogyny, privilege and intrigue.  

Shakespeare in High Park’s 2019 season runs from July 4 to September 1. For tickets and more information, click here.

The cast for Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing answer the question:

“What do you find most exciting about performing Shakespeare outdoors?”

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Written By

Mariam is Associate Editor at Intermission. Mariam earned her Honours BA in English literature from York University and recently completed a Graduate Certificate program from Centennial College in Book and Magazine Publishing. When she's not busy reading books and plays, she takes pictures of books for her "Bookstagram", watches as many movies and shows as she can, and is a self-proclaimed Chocoholic.