Antoni Cimolino is the artistic director of the Stratford Festival, which just announced its 2018 lineup.
Antoni Cimolino is the artistic director of the Stratford Festival, which just announced its 2018 lineup.
(© David Hou)

Antoni Cimolino, artistic director of the Stratford Festival, has announced its 2018 season, which will feature 12 plays, all of which, according to him, explore the theme of free will.

"We long for liberty," Cimolino said in a statement, "but with it comes a heavy burden of responsibility. Often we agonize over making tough decisions. Occasionally we try to force our wills on others. Too seldom do we take responsibility for our actions. And there's a fascinating paradox at the heart of this theme. When Christopher Hitchens was asked if he believed in free will, he replied: 'I have no choice.' "

The season will include four Shakespeare productions, one of which will be a production of The Tempest starring Martha Henry as Prospero, and directed by Cimolino himself, at Festival Theatre. Acclaimed Canadian director Robert Lepage will make his festival debut helming a production of Coriolanus at Avon Theatre, while Scott Wentworth will direct Julius Caesar at Festival Theatre, and Keira Loughran will direct The Comedy of Errors tentatively at Studio Theatre.

Donna Feore will direct the two musicals in the 2018 Stratford Festival lineup: Meredith Willson's The Music Man at Festival Theatre, and Richard O'Brien The Rocky Horror Show at Avon Theatre.

Nigel Shawn Williams will direct Christopher Sergel's dramatization of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird at Festival Theatre, while Miles Potter will helm a production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night tentatively at Studio Theatre. Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband will also be part of the season, in a production directed by Lezlie Wade, at Avon Theatre. And Cimolino himself will direct Eduardo De Filippo's Napoli Milionaria, in a new translation by John Murrell, tentatively also at Avon Theatre.

And finally, the season will feature two world premieres: Jordi Mand's Brontë: The World Without, directed by Vanessa Porteous; and Erin Shields's adaptation of John Milton's Paradise Lost, directed by Jackie Maxwell. Both shows will be at Studio Theatre.