Stratford Festival presents


A storm at sea brings love into the life of Pericles, Prince of Tyre; another snatches it away. Many years must pass before fate guides the wandering hero to a poignant reunion with the family he thought he had lost forever.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre, has sailed to Antioch to seek the hand of King Antiochus’s daughter. To win her, he must solve a riddle posed by the king – but if he answers incorrectly, his life will be forfeit. Horrified by what the riddle reveals – that the king is guilty of incest – Pericles flees back to Tyre, but soon realizes that Antiochus’s wrath will pursue him there. He travels to Tarsus, where he relieves a famine with supplies from his ship, but is then shipwrecked on the coast of Pentapolis, where he marries Thaisa, daughter of King Simonides. Learning that Antiochus has died, Pericles sets off homeward again with his bride. But their journey is disrupted by a storm at sea, with consequences that will take many years to reach their conclusion

About the Play
The text published in 1609 as Pericles, Prince of Tyre may have been a pirated version, reconstructed from memory; perhaps for that reason, it was not included in the First Folio of 1623. In any case, Shakespeare is believed to have co-written it with another playwright, who contributed at least the first two acts.A leading candidate for that unknown collaborator is George Wilkins, who in 1608 had published a prose work, The Painful Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre, that seems to be what we would now call a “novelization” of the play. This production acknowledges Shakespeare’s probable debt to Wilkins, himself a writer of extraordinary talent.

“It was a stroke of genius on director Scott Wentworth’s part to realize that the best way to encapsulate all the stylistic elements in William Shakespeare’s late romance, The Adventures of Pericles — the coincidences, the melodrama, the strokes of fate, the broad comedy, the heartfelt emotion — was to set it in the world of Charles Dickens.” – Richard Ozounian, Adventurous, Thoughtful Shakespeare, The Toronto Star

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”.

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