The Taming of the Shrew

Courtship or conquest? The breaking down of a defiant spirit – or a breakthrough that liberates a heart deprived of love? Will you ever see a battle of wills that’s fiercer or funnier – or more hotly controversial?

The Taming of the Shrew

Deborah Hay as Katherina and
Michael Spencer-Davis as Gremio.
Photography by David Hou.

After a quarrel with a troupe of players, a poor and opinionated drunkard named Christopher Sly falls into a stupor. While he is unconscious, the players take the opportunity to play a practical joke on him, and upon his waking they persuade him that he is not who he thinks he is but an aristocratic lord, newly recovered from madness, who for many years has been under the delusion of poverty. To further the pretense, the actors perform a play for Sly’s entertainment.

In the comedy they present, a wealthy widower, Baptista Minola, has two daughters: the highly eligible Bianca and her older sister, Katherina, whose reputation for ill humour has earned her the appellation of “shrew.” To the frustration of Bianca’s three suitors, Lucentio, Gremio and Hortensio, Baptista has decreed that no one can marry her till Katherina has been taken off his hands. But then along comes Petruchio, who is determined to do whatever it takes to make Katherina – his “Kate,” as he calls her – accept him as her husband.

Canadian Screen Awards 2017
WINNER – Best Performing Arts Program
WINNER – Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a dramatic program or limited series – Ben Carlson

“Remarkable pair of performances” – The Globe and Mail

“Brilliant comic performances” – Toronto Star

“Lively, lusty production” – NOW Magazine

“Fully of belly laughs and really great performances” – Postmedia

The Stratford Festival has been a shining star of Canadian theatre since July 13, 1953, when Alec Guinness, in the title role of Richard III, emoted the lines, “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this son of York”.