Planning a hybrid or entirely virtual event?
We can bring your event to life online.
From corporate events, non-profit fundraising, employee summits, and community events, we have years of experience with all types of virtual events, live streams and video production.
Hosting an event in Stratford?
Stratford is a city on the Avon River within Perth County in southwestern Ontario, Canada, with a 2016 population of 31,465 in a land area of 28.28 square kilometres (10.92 sq mi). Stratford is the seat of Perth County, which was settled by English, Irish, Scottish and German immigrants, in almost equal numbers, starting in the 1820s but primarily in the 1830s and 1840s. Most became farmers; even today, the area around Stratford is known for mixed farming, dairying and hog production.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival began in 1953 when, on July 13, actor Alec Guinness spoke the first lines of the first play produced by the festival.
The performances during the first four seasons took place in a concrete amphitheatre covered by giant canvas tent on the banks of the River Avon. The first of many years of Stratford Shakespeare Festival production history started with a six-week season, opening on 13 July 1953, with Richard III and then All's Well That Ends Well both starring Alec Guinness. The 1954 season ran for nine weeks and included Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and two Shakespeare plays, Measure for Measure and The Taming of the Shrew. Young actors during the first four seasons included several who went on to great success in subsequent years, Douglas Campbell, Timothy Findley, Don Harron, William Hutt and Douglas Rain.
The new Festival Theatre was dedicated on 30 June 1957, with seating for over 1,800 people; none are more than 65 feet from the thrust stage. Over the years, additional theatrical venues were added: the Avon Theatre, the Tom Patterson Theatre (originally Shakespeare 3 Company) and the Studio Theatre. The annual festival now draws hundreds of thousands of theatre goers and tourists to the area each year. Acclaimed actors including Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, Dame Maggie Smith, William Hutt, Martha Henry and William Shatner have performed at the festival. The Canadian novelist and playwright Timothy Findley performed in the first season, and had an ongoing relationship with the festival, eventually moving to Stratford in 1997.
From 1956 to 1961 and 1971 to 1976, the Stratford Festival also staged the separate Stratford Film Festival, which was credited as one of the first North American film festivals ever to schedule international films. That festival collapsed after the 1976 launch of the Festival of Festivals, now known as the Toronto International Film Festival, impacted both the Stratford Film Festival's funding and its audience.
The Stratford Summer Music Festival has been held for seven seasons and features indoor and outdoor performances by international, classical, and world music artists as well as young Canadian performers around downtown Stratford.
The Stratford Concert Band, a local wind ensemble, was founded as the Grand Trunk Railway Employees Band, and renamed the Canadian National Railway Employees' Band in 1907. The band performs free outdoor concerts at the Kiwanis Pavilion Bandshell in Upper Queen's in the summer.
Since 2018, Stratford has been home to pride festivities during the month of June (for Pride Month). Planned and implemented by Stratford-Perth Pride, pride month in Stratford typically includes a pride parade, drag show and flag raisings.
Numerous visitors arrive in Stratford each week during the May to October Festival season, often by the busload.[3National Geographic Traveler considers the theatres to be "nirvana" and also praises other aspects of the town. "During the festival—which stages everything from Shakespeare to Sondheim to new Canadian plays—you can stay in theater-themed B&Bs, hang out with actors post-show at local bars like Down the Street, go on backstage tours, and attend dozens of other events with other theater-mad folk. Stratford itself is the type of walkable wholesome town Rodgers and Hammerstein might write a musical about."
In addition to the festival, several annual events attract visitors. Stratford Summer Music, in its 17th year, runs for about a month. In 2016, the event, run by the town, offered 85 concerts, a third of them free or "pay what you can". The 2016 budget was $800,000 with funding provided by agencies such as the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. Smaller event are held in other months, including winter and the Swan Weekend in April, to attract off-season visitors.
Fans of Stratford-born musician Justin Bieber frequently visit the town, and Stratford Tourism has produced a "Bieber-iffic Map" showing sites associated with his life in Stratford. In 2018, the Stratford Perth Museum opened "Steps to Stardom," an exhibit documenting Bieber's early career in Stratford.
Stratford is home of the OHA Midwestern Junior B hockey team, the Stratford Warriors. The Warriors have produced notable NHL players such as Ed Olczyk, Craig Hartsburg, Garth Snow, Rob Blake, Chris Pronger, Nelson Emerson, Tim Taylor, Greg de Vries, Jeff Halpern, Rem Murray and Boyd Devereaux and won several Sutherland Cup championships. Stratford hosted Tim Hortons Hockey Day in Canada on January 30, 2010. Stratford used to also have an Intercounty Baseball League Team called the Stratford Nationals, and a soccer team in the Kitchener and District Soccer League. House League sports are also available in the Stratford area. There is the Stratford Rotary Hockey League, Hoops For Fun Basketball, Stratford Minor Baseball, the Stratford Soccer House League and the Stratford Dragon Boat Club. It’s the home of the Stratford Sabrecats, and Stratford is also home to the Black Swans rugby club. The Chess Federation of Canada has its administrative office in Stratford.