Steffane Sherwood

Steffane Sherwood

Modified & Updated: 30 Dec 2023


The Stratford Festival is one of the most prestigious and acclaimed theatre festivals in the world. Founded in 1952, this annual event takes place in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, and attracts millions of theatre enthusiasts from around the globe. With its rich history, breathtaking performances, and world-class productions, the festival has become a cultural landmark and a must-visit destination for theatre lovers.

In this article, we will explore 20 interesting facts about the Stratford Festival. From its humble beginnings to its remarkable growth, we will delve into the fascinating behind-the-scenes details that make this event so special. So, whether you’re a seasoned festival-goer or someone curious about the magic of live theatre, this article will provide you with a deeper understanding of the Stratford Festival and its significant contributions to the world of performing arts.

Table of Contents

The Stratford Festival is held in the charming town of Stratford, Ontario.

Nestled along the Avon River, Stratford is renowned for its picturesque streets and historic architecture, providing the perfect backdrop for this world-class theater event.

The Stratford Festival was founded in 1952 by Tom Patterson.

Patterson’s vision was to create a festival dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare, attracting both local and international audiences.

The festival runs annually from April to October.

During this time, theater enthusiasts from around the globe flock to Stratford to enjoy a diverse lineup of plays, musicals, and other performances.

The Stratford Festival features four theaters.

These include the Festival Theatre, Avon Theatre, Studio Theatre, and Tom Patterson Theatre, each offering unique experiences and seating capacities.

The Festival Theatre is the largest theater in the Stratford Festival.

With its impressive 1,833-seat capacity, the Festival Theatre hosts the most anticipated productions, including Shakespearean classics and contemporary plays.

The Stratford Festival attracts over 500,000 theatergoers each year.

From avid Shakespeare fans to casual theater enthusiasts, people of all ages and backgrounds come together to experience the magic of live performances.

The festival showcases a wide range of productions.

While Shakespeare remains a focal point, the Stratford Festival also stages works by other playwrights, musicals, operas, and even experimental performances.

The Stratford Festival fosters the development of new works.

Through its Laboratory and Studio programs, the festival encourages innovation and provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talent.

The Stratford Festival has a renowned acting company.

Comprising talented actors from Canada and beyond, the company delivers exceptional performances and brings the festival’s productions to life.

The Stratford Festival engages in educational initiatives.

It offers workshops, lectures, and other educational opportunities to connect audiences, students, and artists, fostering a deeper appreciation for theater.

The festival features backstage tours.

Visitors can go behind the scenes and explore the intricacies of theater production, from set design and costume creation to lighting and sound techniques.

Stratford itself is a charming town with plenty to offer.

Besides the festival, visitors can explore local shops, dine in delightful restaurants, and take leisurely strolls along the river to soak up the town’s rich cultural heritage.

The Stratford Festival has launched the careers of numerous actors.

Many renowned performers got their start at the festival and have gone on to achieve international success in the world of theater and film.

The festival entertains visitors with free activities.

From live music performances to outdoor film screenings, Stratford offers a host of free events that complement the festival experience.

The Stratford Festival contributes to the local economy.

With its popularity, the festival has become a significant economic driver for the town, supporting local businesses and creating employment opportunities.

The festival promotes cultural tourism.

Visitors from all over the world come to Stratford specifically for the festival, contributing to the town’s reputation as a must-visit cultural destination.

The Stratford Festival collaborates with international theaters.

Through co-productions and partnerships, the festival actively engages with theater communities worldwide, exchanging artistic ideas and broadening its global reach.

The Stratford Festival embraces diversity.

Whether it’s through gender-blind casting or exploring plays from various cultural perspectives, the festival celebrates inclusivity and promotes representation in the performing arts.

The Stratford Festival offers digital content.

For those unable to attend in person, the festival provides online streams, digital content, and recordings to ensure theater lovers can still enjoy its productions.

The Stratford Festival has a rich legacy.

With over seven decades of history, the festival continues to captivate audiences and contribute to the cultural heritage of Stratford and the world.

With these 20 facts about the Stratford Festival, it’s clear that this annual event holds a special place in the hearts of theater lovers. From its humble beginnings in 1952 to its present-day status as one of the world’s premier theater festivals, the Stratford Festival has undoubtedly made a significant impact on the performing arts landscape.

Whether you’re a fan of Shakespearean classics, contemporary plays, or musicals, the festival’s diverse lineup of productions ensures there’s something for everyone. The renowned acting company, state-of-the-art theaters, and the vibrant town of Stratford itself combine to create an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Additionally, the Stratford Festival’s commitment to education, innovation, and promoting diversity in the arts sets it apart as a true cultural gem. With its rich legacy and continuous dedication to excellence, it’s no wonder that over 500,000 theatergoers flock to Stratford each year to immerse themselves in the magic of the Stratford Festival.

So, whether you’re planning your first visit or are a seasoned festival-goer, don’t miss out on the opportunity to be part of this extraordinary celebration of the performing arts.


The Stratford Festival is a renowned event that has been captivating audiences for over six decades. With its rich history and commitment to showcasing world-class performances, the festival continues to be a cultural hub for theater enthusiasts. The 20 facts about Stratford Festival covered in this article only scratch the surface of what makes this event so special. From its origins in a tent to its impressive lineup of talented actors and the variety of plays performed, the festival offers a unique experience for everyone. So whether you’re a theater aficionado or simply looking for a memorable cultural experience, the Stratford Festival should definitely be on your list of must-visit events.


1. When was the Stratford Festival founded?

The Stratford Festival was founded in 1952.

2. Where is the Stratford Festival located?

The Stratford Festival is located in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

3. How long does the Stratford Festival run?

The festival typically runs from late April to late October.

4. Are there accommodations available near the festival?

Yes, there are various accommodations available in Stratford, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and rental properties.

5. Can I purchase tickets in advance?

Yes, tickets for the Stratford Festival can be purchased in advance online or at the festival’s box office.

6. What types of plays are performed at the festival?

The Stratford Festival offers a wide range of plays, including works by William Shakespeare, contemporary plays, musicals, and classics.

7. Are there any special events or activities during the festival?

Yes, the Stratford Festival hosts special events and activities throughout its season, including backstage tours, workshops, and discussions with actors and directors.

8. Can I bring children to the Stratford Festival?

Yes, the festival offers family-friendly performances and activities specifically designed for children and families.

9. Is there parking available at the festival?

Yes, there is parking available near the festival grounds.

10. Can I bring food and drinks into the theater?

No, outside food and drinks are not allowed in the theater, but concessions and dining options are available on-site.