St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival presents Othello / A Midsummer Night’s Dream

What better time than summer for a road trip?  Picnics!  Ice cream!  Chip stands!  You’re out of hibernation, so why not explore the plethora of nearby hamlets and villages, starting with beautiful Prescott on the St. Lawrence for the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. This year they present two very different productions - are you in the mood for comedy or tragedy?

St. Lawrence Shakespeare Kinsman Amphitheatre

(Photo credit:

And on the harbourfront in Prescott, on the shores of the St. Lawrence, is the rather picturesque Kinsman amphitheatre, home to the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, and the location of summer Shakespeare since  2002, when Deborah Smith brought a production of Romeo and Juliet into town.  The concept of outdoor summer Shakespeare in Prescott was an instant success and beginning the following year, the festival was born.  Under the direction of Artistic Director Ian Farthing since 2006, the festival now features two full-length plays per season, as well as an educational program.  Their website boasts of a 400% increase in attendance over the last 9 years, making them the largest outdoor professional Shakespeare festival in Ontario. Community support for the company is reflected in their partnerships with the towns of Prescott and Leeds-Greenville, as well as the $48K grant they received from the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture’s Celebrate Ontario fund this spring in honour of the festival’s 10th anniversary.

The festival is an integral part of the town’s revitalization plan and one of the most popular attractions/events on the Prescott Heritage Waterfront Trail.  For those looking to make a day of it, other ‘must-sees’ along the trail are the Fort Wellington National Historic Site, Forwarders’ Museum and the local Farmer’s Market.

Queen Titania, her fairies, and her donkey-headed lover.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:  A magical story in a magical setting, fun for the whole family when lovers, romance, music and meddling fairies combine to create comic confusion in Shakespeare’s most popular play.  The director, Catriona Leger describes her attraction to the piece as follows: “[W]hat really attracts me… is the story of the lengths that people of all ages and demographics will go to for love and how willing they are to look ridiculous in the pursuit of that ultimate goal of that unique, inexplicable, indescribable feeling that seems to promise eternal happiness.”

Catriona Leger and Alix Sideris tell you why you should see A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Trouble with the video? Watch directly on YouTube.

Desdemona pleads with Othello to listen to her.

Othello:  One of Shakespeare’s most gripping tragedies, this production will tie in with the bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812.  It is the story of a man and woman who fall in love; whose love is then torn apart by the malevolent actions of a jealous friend.  The decision to set the play in 1812 was strategic, states director Ian Farthing: “Setting the play against the backdrop of the War of 1812  reveals some interesting parallels with our own community: the way that trade was utterly dependent on the water is something that links Venice, Cyprus and Prescott; the military links that were so prevalent in this region; there was even a black regiment at that time who found their way to Prescott, so the presence of a black general would not be out of place historically.”

Quincy Armorer and Lana Sugarman tell you why you should see Othello:

Trouble with the video? Watch directly on YouTube.

Othello is directed by Ian Farthing, with fight direction by Dorian Foley.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream is directed by Catriona Leger, with Assistant Director Nicholas Alain.  The acting troupe features the talents of Quincy Armorer, Lana Sugarman, Shane Carty, Alix Sideris, Dan Karpenchuk, Kate Smith, Warren Bain, Will Lamond, Ron Klappholz, Brad Long, Dorian Foley, Melissa Morris, Adam Pierre, Zachary Knowles and Allison Hess.

Other Media

The Production Ottawa Review of Othello
Othello by the Sea (Visitorium)
Othello on the St. Lawrence… (Capital Critics Circle)

The Production Ottawa Review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
A Prescott Night’s Dream (Visitorium)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the St. Lawrence… (Capital Critics Circle)

(If you know of any press not listed here, leave us a comment or send us a note.)


All photos taken by Production Ottawa photographer, David Pasho. See the full 44 photo gallery on our Facebook page!

Music direction for both shows by Melissa Morris, with costume design by Roberta Doyland and set design by John Doucet.

Admission is $25 (Adults), $20 (Students), Children 14 and under are free.  More info on tickets here.

The shows run between July 14th and August 18th at the outdoor amphitheatre by the harbour in Prescott, Ontario.


Reena Belford

About Reena Belford

Reena Belford is a sometimes actress with a passion for promoting and supporting Ottawa's local theatre community. She keeps Production Ottawa's calendar (Ottawa's most complete theatre calendar) up-to-date and is a semi-regular contributor and writer.

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