When you come down for a show, try and make time to take in at least one of the behind-the-scenes tours. The tours are $8 per person, or $6 for seniors and students; but please check the schedule on the Stratford Festival website as not every tour is offered every day. Also, because the tours are small and intimate, it would be best if you made reservations for the tour you wish to attend. The tours are all led by enthusiastic volunteers from the “Friends of the Festival”. The tours are usually no more than 1 hour and many are accessible. Please also note that 2 tours are off-site at 350 Douro Street (south of Ontario Street and west of Romeo), 1 tour (the Festival Exhibition) is downtown across from the Avon Theatre, and the last 2 tours are in the gardens or inside of the Festival Theatre.
There are 5 tours to select from:
1. Archives Tours – gives you a chance to learn about the 60 years of the history of the Festival Theatres. You can watch film footage, visit the scenery and props display area – and you can see many of the stage pieces from the previous years' shows. For example, this year, they have a photo op for kids from last year’s production of Charlie Brown – which was a great success, particularly for families. These archives are one of the largest of any performing arts theatres in the world.
2. Festival Theatre Tours – take a walking tour to see and hear from the guides all about the secrets and magic of behind-the-scenes information about current and past productions.
DO NOT forget to bring your camera because at the end of the tour, you get to try on some of the costumes from past productions -- and these photos will be priceless! Here are some pics of Dawna trying on a couple of outfits –not sure where she would wear them, but she had a blast going through the costumes.
So next time you plan to go to a show or simply visit Stratford, take an hour and go to one of the great tours – you’ll have lots of fun and get to learn some of the secrets of the theatre!