Internationally Acclaimed Actor in residence with Stratford Festival of Canada Residency (2007)
Brian Bedford was born February 16, 1935, in Morley, Yorkshire, England; son of Arthur (a postman) and Ellen (maiden name, O'Donnell) Bedford. Avocational interests: Traveling, reading, going to the movies and theater. Career: Actor and director. Awards, Honors: Obie Award, for acting,Village Voice, 1964, for The Knack; Drama Desk Award, outstanding performance, 1969, for The Misanthrope; Drama Desk Award, outstanding performance, 1970, for Private Lives; Antoinette Perry Award, best dramatic actor, and Drama Desk award, outstanding performance, 1971, both forThe School for Wives; Drama Desk Award, outstanding performance, 1974, for Jumpers; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best performance by a leading actor in a play, and Drama Desk Award, outstanding performance, 1992, both for Two Shakespearean Actors; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best performance by a leading actor in a dramatic play, 1994, for Timon of Athens; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best performance by a leading actor in aplay, and Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, outstanding performance by an actor, 1995, both for The Moliere Comedies; inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, 1997; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best performance by a leading actor in a play, 1997, for London Assurance.
Michigan State University and Wharton Center for Performing Arts are proud to partner with North America’s largest classical repertory theater, the internationally renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, for a series of annual teaching and performing residencies in East Lansing. The Residency provides students and community members with opportunities to meet professional theater artists, gain insight into the creative process, and explore the works of classic playwrights through master classes and lecture-demonstrations.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival residency expands on Michigan State University and Wharton Center’s tradition of offering a diverse array of educational opportunities to enhance the understanding and appreciation of performing arts. During the residency, teaching artists from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival are integrated into classrooms of several different colleges to discuss topics from the classic works of Shakespeare including historical and cultural perspectives of plays, methods of staged interpretations and careers in theatre. MSU Department of Theatre students have extensive opportunities to learn about and experience stage combat, set design and theme/voice coaching.
That Stratford, Ontario, is the home of the largest classical repertory theater in North America is ultimately attributable to the dream of one man, Stratford-born journalist Tom Patterson. In the early 1950s, seeing the economy of his home town endangered by the withdrawal of the railway industry that had sustained it for nearly 80 years, Patterson conceived the idea of a theater festival devoted to the works of William Shakespeare. His vision won the support not only of Stratford City Council and an enthusiastic committee of citizens but also of the legendary British actor and director Tyrone Guthrie, who agreed to become the proposed festival’s first Artistic Director. The Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada was incorporated as a legal entity on October 31, 1952.
In the years since its first season, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada has set benchmarks for the production not only of Shakespeare, Molière, the ancient Greeks and other great dramatists of the past, but also of such 20th-century masters as Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams. In addition to acclaimed productions of the best in operetta and musical theater, it has also showcased, and in many cases premiered, works by outstanding Canadian and other contemporary playwrights.
Its artists have included the finest actors, directors and designers in Canada, as well as many from abroad. Among the internationally renowned performers who have graced its stages are Alan Bates, Brian Bedford, Douglas Campbell, Len Cariou, Brent Carver, Hume Cronyn, Colm Feore, Megan Follows, Lorne Greene, Paul Gross, Uta Hagen, Julie Harris, Martha Henry, William Hutt, James Mason, Eric McCormack, Loreena McKennitt, Richard Monette, John Neville, Nicholas Pennell, Christopher Plummer, Sarah Polley, Douglas Rain, Kate Reid, Jason Robards, Paul Scofield, William Shatner, Maggie Smith, Jessica Tandy, Peter Ustinov and Al Waxman.
Drawing audiences of more than 500,000 each year, the Festival offers an extensive program of educational and enrichment activities for students, teachers and other patrons, and operates its own in-house school of professional artist development: the Stratford Festival Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training. The Festival is currently building a $50 million Endowment Foundation to ensure that its founder’s dream remains a reality for all time.