Stratford Festival in Ontario: Three Plays

Hosted by Lou Harry of the Indianapolis Business Journal

July 30-August 3, 2014

Wed / Sun - 5 Days

All of Stratford is a stage during the Canadian town’s annual theater festival, the largest classical repertory theater event in North America. If you count yourself among lovers of the theater, a trip to the Stratford Festival in Ontario is essential! Casual theatergoers, too, have been returning year after year since 1953 (when Alec Guinness played Richard III). This year’s theme of “Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge” looks at the many ways – tragic, fantastical or wildly funny – in which everyday reality can be transformed. Three performances are included, with tours to see the costumes and the props warehouse and behind-the-scenes of the Festival Theatre.

On the way to Ontario spend two nights in Niagara Falls and take a boat tour of the Falls. Enjoy an icewine tasting experience in the charming region of Niagara-on-the-Lake with an optional opportunity to see a production of George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man at the Shaw Festival. Head for Stratford with stops in St. Jacobs and New Hamburg to see the Heritage Waterwheel. On the way home tour the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in suburban Detroit.

Travel to Stratford by deluxe motorcoach with Lou Harry, Arts & Entertainment editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal and, and a weekly contributor to Fox 59-TV and WIBC Radio. A theater critic who spent years as a stand-up comic, and an insightful, accessible arts expert with infectious enthusiasm, Lou will bring to the trip insight gained from covering theater for 30 years. From group discussions and backstage information to one-on-one chats and trivia contests (with prizes!) en route, Lou will surely make this a trip to remember.

Itinerary Hotels Performances

Wed, July 30: Depart Indianapolis for Niagara Falls, Ontario and check into the Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallview for two nights. Dinner at the hotel. (Meal: Dinner)

Thu, July 31: Experience the thundering roar of the Falls with a boat tour on the state-of-the-art Hornblower catamaran, with up close views of the magnificent Great Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the mighty Horseshoe Falls. Spend some time exploring the area before transferring to Niagara-on-the-Lake to learn the process of making icewine and the history of Peller Estates Winery (named Best Canadian Winery of the Year at London’s International Wine & Spirit Competition). Discover why icewine is best when enjoyed with food and the principles behind perfect pairings while sampling delectable combinations. Enjoy some free time with dinner on your own in this quaint community. There is an opportunity for an optional performance at the Shaw Festival to see George Bernard Shaw’s comedy Arms and the Man. (B)

Fri, Aug 1: Head to Stratford with a stop in St. Jacobs, which was settled by Old Order Mennonites from Pennsylvania after the American Revolution. See horse-drawn carriages along village streets that are lined with more than a 100 shops, galleries and boutiques, and a maple syrup museum. In the historic mill town of New Hamburg see the largest operating water wheel in North America. Drive through the hamlet of Shakespeare, founded in 1832 by David Bell from Scotland, before arriving in Stratford to check into The Arden Park Hotel for two nights. Choose from two plays tonight: Shakespeare’s King Lear or Noël Coward’s Hay Fever. Participate in an optional Festival Friday Chat with members of the acting company. (B,D)

Sat, Aug 2: After breakfast at the hotel, take a walking tour to learn about the magic of theater in Stratford. Your guide will share stories and information about the current and past seasons of the Festival, with some behind-the-scenes access. Then, get an up-close look at the work of the Festival’s world-class designers, wardrobe staff and prop-builders during a tour of one of the largest costume warehouses in North America. This afternoon, experience the outstanding production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream followed by some free time to explore the town. Dinner is on your own before seeing the lively Gershwin musical, Crazy for You. The musical features such popular tunes as “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.” (B)

Sun, Aug 3: Check out of the hotel and depart for Michigan for a tour and lunch at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House on the shores of Lake St. Clair outside of Detroit. Edsel was a son of Henry Ford and was appointed president of Ford Motor Company in 1919 at the age of 25. The inspiration for the house was the architecture of the Cotswolds region, with interior paneling and 14th-century stained-glass window medallions imported from England. The estate’s gardens were designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen. After the tour continue to Indianapolis with a dinner stop along the way. (B,L)

Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview, Ontario
Soaring 53 stories above the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the Fallsview hotel is the newest and most refined hotel experience in Niagara Falls. Choose from a guestroom with a city view or upgrade to one with a view of the falls. Highlights: cozy, recently renovated guestrooms • in-room coffee/tea makers • room service • Wi-Fi • five restaurants • three bar/lounges • fitness center • indoor pool • hot tub • sauna • enclosed walkway to the Fallsview Casino Resort.

Arden Park Hotel, Stratford, Ontario
Located just a short walk from the Festival Theatre. Highlights: spacious guestrooms • in-room coffee/tea makers and mini-refrigerators • room service • high-speed Internet available • restaurant • indoor dining porch • bar/lounge • indoor pool and whirlpool • outdoor tennis courts.

Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake (optional play):
Arms and the Man. All's fair in love and war -- or is it? Two opposing soldiers vie for the heart of an idealist girl. While her fiancé is fighting in the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War, Raina helps a Swiss mercenary soldier hide. Her fiancé returns, as does the soldier, who is revealed to know both her fiancé and her father. The fiancé, upon learning that Raina has fallen in love with the soldier, challenges him to a duel. The men avoid fighting, the fiancé expresses his love for the servant girl and Raina proclaims her love for the soldier. The comedy was one of Shaw's most popular and first commercial successes.

Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ontario:
King Lear. Shakespeare's tragic story of an aging king who descends into madness after he divides his kingdom between two of his three daughters, with consequences he little expects. His reason shattered in the storm of violent emotion that ensues, with his very life hanging in the balance, Lear loses everything that has defined him as a king – and thereby discovers the essence of his own humanity. Colm Feore (24, The Borgias, Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) stars as Lear. Feore has appeared at the Stratford Festival since 1984.
Crazy for You. A dynamic musical by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin about love, duty and dreams of success. Sent to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a derelict theatre, banker Bobby Child falls for its owner’s daughter, Polly Baker. Can he reconcile the demands of duty and love – and his own dreams of dancing?
A Midsummer Night's Dream. Love's lunacy reaches its giddiest heights when fairies in the forest manipulate the lives and loves of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors. Threatened with death if she marries against her father’s wishes, Hermia elopes with her lover, Lysander, pursued by rival suitor Demetrius and his spurned admirer, Helena. One of Shakespeare's most popular works.
Hay Fever (alternative choice to King Lear). Noël Coward's hilarious whirlwind of flirtation, outrageous behavior and histrionics when houseguests are invited for a weekend in the country. Stage star Judith Bliss, her novelist husband and their two grown children have each invited houseguests for the weekend. But as the Blisses indulge their artistic eccentricities, the guests begin to wonder if they’ve landed in a madhouse – and if they can survive the weekend with their own wits intact.

Stratford Festival in Ontario: Three Plays Pricing

Per Person*

Complete Package w/ Niagara Falls City View Room

Complete Package w/ Niagara Falls Falls View Room

Double P/P



Triple P/P






Ambassadair Trip #6040

Colm Feore as King Lear / image courtesy of the Stratford Festival, a registered trademark of the Stratford Festival of Canada. Photography by Don Dixon.

Highlights Include

  • Travel with Lou Harry of the Indianapolis Business Journal
  • 3 plays at the Stratford Festival
  • Costume and props warehouse tour
  • Festival Theatre tour
  • Tour and lunch at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
  • Icewine tasting experience
  • Niagara Falls cruise
  • Opportunity to see an optional performance at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Package Includes

  • R/T deluxe motorcoach transportation from Indianapolis
  • 4 nights accommodations
  • Breakfast daily
  • 1 lunch, 2 dinners
  • Sightseeing and admissions per itinerary
  • Hotel baggage handling
  • Escorted from Indianapolis


A passport is now required to travel to this destination and must be valid for at least six months after your return.

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