Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis focuses on the Canadianization and development of Shakespearean theatre at the Stratford Festival. The Festival has developed into a national institution and ranks as one of the best English-speaking theatre companies in the world. I have chosen to study the seven productions of "The Merchant of Venice" in order to explore the chronological development both artistically and administratively of the Festival. The impact of externalities such as the political climate, economic climate, cultural expansion throughout the past 50 years, have had a great impact on the formation of a Canadian theatre style. The Merchant of Venice is unique in the fact that it fuels anti-Semitic controversy every time that it is produced. This is clearly indicative of how anti-Semitic sensitivities in a post-Holocaust audience have influenced artistic interpretations of the play. By comparing the seven productions, it will be clearly evident how artistic development either mirrors or conflicts the mores and anxieties of society at any given time. The development of acting companies and how Canada has established a strong talent base, particularly in classical training will also be discussed. The role that Stratford has played in nurturing this talent and creating a Canadian star- system is relevant not only to the Festival, but to the growth of theatre in Canada as a whole.Canadian classical theatre is of the highest calibre, and this thesis will explore the journey of the artist, of the audience, and of the works of Shakespeare through the Canadian cultural mosaic.
Wardell, Valentina, "The Merchant of Venice: A Study of the Canadianization and Development of Shakespearean Theatre at the Stratford Festival" (2001). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6517.
McMaster University Library