First Stage

Tom Patterson - Author
Allan Gould - Author

Today the achievements of the Stratford Festival are recognized around the world. But in small town Canada in the early 1950's, that success was far from certain.

Starting with nothing but a love for their town, Tom Patterson and the determined citizens of Stratford, Ontario, overcame impossible odds to create the first season in 1953. The success of that first year set the stage for all the triumphs that were to follow.

First Stage tells the full story of the birth of the Stratford Festival. How the funds were raised. How the stage was designed and built. And, most amazing of all, how Alec Guinness, Tyrone Guthrie, Irene Worth and Tanya Moiseiwitsch agreed to come to Canada to perform in a tent for little more than expenses.

But First Stage is also the story of Canada at mid-century, a time when anything even having the greatest Shakespearean Festival in the world was within our grasp.