This festival is a huge deal and a lot of the locals I spoke to said they had moved to Stratford simply because they love being able to attend shows on their own time, close to home, whenever they want. Whether they are acting in the shows or are going to watch, this is a largely community based event that takes place for half of the year, while the other half is learning at the local conservatory for actors.
My favorite part of this trip, apart from the shows, was seeing the actors outside living their day-to-day lives just like every other person. Though this festival obviously has an incredible amount of fans (they recently broke a record of over 500,000 people attending), the actors do not treat themselves as high and mighty celebrities. The day after we saw The Tempest, I was walking back to the hotel down Ontario Street and happened to look over and noticed Michael Blake, who played Caliban, having a drink and dinner at Boar’s Head on the patio. I decided not to bother him as he was with someone else. As the days moved on and we saw our first show at the Avon Theatre, which was the incredible Coriolanus, I saw multiple actors exiting the theatre after, jumping on their bikes, and pedaling their ways home. They did not have super luxurious cars, but I am sure some do, and they also did not stand outside and wait to be applauded. They simply went about their business- something I thought was so great.
A few days before the end of our stay in Stratford, I ran into Tom McCamus outside of a locally owned coffee shop. I told him he was amazing in all the roles I’ve seen him play. He had a huge smile on his face, nodded his head, thanked me kindly, and went on about his business. In a world full of Kardashians and famous sports celebrities (I don’t watch sports…don’t ask me names), it was so humbling to meet such down to earth people, recognizing their worth, and not making a big deal out of it.