Performing Arts
© Mike Keenan



Mother Courage and Her Children begins previews - Stratford Festival

Mother Courage and Her Children begins previews

After her gripping portrayal of Elizabeth I in last season's sold-out production of Mary Stuart, Seana McKenna returns to play the title role in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. This production is directed by one of the Festival's most celebrated artists, Martha Henry, returning for a remarkable 40th Festival season. Previews begin Thursday, May 15, at Stratford's Tom Patterson Theatre.

An iconic figure, Mother Courage is unquestionably one of the greatest female roles in the western dramatic canon.

"We see this huge journey that this phenomenal woman takes," says Ms. Henry: "a woman of astonishing intelligence, with a bitter, biting tongue, and great humour, and great humanity. She's an astounding figure. One does not do this play unless there is an actor capable of playing Mother Courage in the company - and we have Seana McKenna."

Ms. McKenna will be joined in this production by two other exceptional performers: Geraint Wyn Davies as the Cook and Ben Carlson as the Chaplain.

Considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century, Mother Courage and Her Children was written in 1939 as a response to the Nazi invasion of Poland. Set in 17th century Europe and spanning 12 years, the story follows Mother Courage as she struggles to make a living and to protect her three children during the Thirty Years' War. Her pursuit of profit from the very war that robs her of everyone she loves and almost everything she owns makes for a brilliant exploration of this season's theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

"In programming the Tom Patterson Theatre this season, I selected three plays that explore various drivers that push the protagonists to extraordinary places," says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. "Alongside the poignant tales of political ambition in King John and obsessive desire in Antony and Cleopatra, Mother Courage and Her Children explores the need to survive in extreme circumstances and what that does to human nature. It's a very powerful play - a rich mixture of politics, satire and music. I'm thrilled to celebrate Martha's momentous 40th season with this production. I know it will be an unforgettable theatrical experience for all."

This production is the world première of a new translation by British playwright David Edgar.

Artistic credits include Designer John Pennoyer, Lighting Designer Itai Erdal, Composer Keith Thomas, Musical Director Laura Burton, Sound Designer Todd Charlton, Movement Director Shona Morris and Fight Director John Stead.

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