Coriolanus

August 21 – September 15 · Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre

Political warfare – and war within a family – drive Shakespeare’s compelling story of the ruthless fighter, Coriolanus, as she fights for honour without compromise. With themes of pride and arrogance at its core, Coriolanus examines what it means to be loyal to a parent, to a leader and to a country – and how those choices can redeem or destroy us.

Bard’s first-ever production of Coriolanus will be directed by Dean Paul Gibson (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014; The Winter’s Tale, 2017).

Barbara Clayden, Costume Designer; Pam Johnson, Set Designer; Alan Brodie, Lighting Designer; Alessandro Juliani, Composer/Sound Designer; Jamie Nesbitt, Projection Designer; Lisa Stevens & Robinson Wilson, Fight Choreographers; Robinson Wilson, Fight Director; Alison Matthews, Head Voice & Text Coach

The Douglas Campbell Theatre presents its two plays back to back in 2019. August 11 is the final performance of All’s Well That Ends Well, followed by the first preview for Coriolanus on August 21. 

Production Sponsor

Photo Credit: Moya O’Connell as Coriolanus Photo & Image Design: Emily Cooper

Tickets on sale now!

View Season Schedule →Buy Tickets

21August Wednesday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
22August Thursday 7:30PM
Preview
Good Availability
Book Now
23August Friday 7:30PM
Preview
Good Availability
Book Now
24August Saturday 7:30PM
Preview
Good Availability
Book Now
25August Sunday 7:30PM
Opening
Sold Out!
27August Tuesday 7:30PM
Limited Availability
Book Now
28August Wednesday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
29August Thursday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
30August Friday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
31August Saturday 2:00PM
Limited Availability
Book Now
31August Saturday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
1September Sunday 2:00PM
Good Availability
Book Now
1September Sunday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
4September Wednesday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
5September Thursday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
6September Friday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
7September Saturday 2:00PM
Limited Availability
Book Now
7September Saturday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
8September Sunday 2:00PM
Good Availability
Book Now
8September Sunday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
11September Wednesday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
12September Thursday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
13September Friday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
14September Saturday 2:00PM
Good Availability
Book Now
14September Saturday 7:30PM
Good Availability
Book Now
15September Sunday 2:00PM
Good Availability
Book Now
15September Sunday 7:30PM
Closing
Good Availability
Book Now

The Story

THE FAMINE
After a terrible famine strikes Rome, the plebeians (common people) rally against the patricians (upper classes) for hoarding grain and inflating food prices during the shortage. In response to protests, the patricians allow the citizens to have five tribunes (representatives) to advocate their case to the Roman state.

THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Menenius, a Roman patrician, tries to calm the rioting citizens. Meanwhile, Caius Martius, a fearless warrior, treats the plebeians with contempt.

CAPTURING CORIOLES
When war breaks out between Rome and the neighbouring Italian region of Volsces, Martius spearheads a campaign in the city of Corioles against the Volscians, who are led by her arch-rival, Tullus Aufidius. Martius is an unstoppable force on the battlefield. She kills with ruthless precision and an utter lack of fear. She almost single-handedly defeats the Volscians, and the Romans capture Corioles.

A NEW NAME
Martius returns to Rome and is renamed “Coriolanus” in honour of her victory in Corioles. She is nominated for political office, but she must be elected by the people. At first, Coriolanus receives their support, but then the people are persuaded to turn against her by Brutus and Sicinius, two tribunes who see her as a threat.

EXILED
Coriolanus lashes out at the people for turning against her, ignoring advice from family and friends to speak cautiously. In turn, the crowd calls her a traitor, and Brutus and Sicinius propose that she be punished for treason. Coriolanus is sentenced to exile and is forced to leave Rome immediately.

MERCY OR REVENGE
In response to her banishment, Coriolanus goes to Aufidius’ home in Antium, and offers to join the Volscian army in its next attack on Rome. Aufidius agrees and the two powerful warriors unite to destroy Coriolanus’ home city. News reaches Rome of Coriolanus’ betrayal, and the citizens begin to panic. Volumnia, Coriolanus’ mother, begs her to reconsider. Will Coriolanus choose mercy or revenge?

Director's Notes

When my collaborator Robinson Wilson came to us at Bard with a pitch for a production of Coriolanus featuring a female in the titular role, I was hooked. With the success of 2018’s Timon of Athens and Lysistrata, it was clear we must continue the practice of bold and creative productions with women at their centre. As we evolve and liberate ourselves from older practices and embrace new ways to tell these deeply human and enduring stories, it is vital that we remain committed to artistic expression that reflects the times we live in now and may live in the future.

So in this season, the Festival’s 30th, I’m delighted to helm the first production of Coriolanus at Bard, with a woman as its main protagonist. Now is the time!

Working together with Robinson and Bard’s resident Voice and Text coach, Alison Matthews, we’ve arrived at a context where this production will allow the major questions of the play – power, politics, pride, democracy, virtue, family – to be investigated, using all the elements required to create a conflicted world, and one where time and place borrow from the past, while also projecting toward an imagined not-too-distant future. The internet and electronic connections we know today are not at play in this world. It is an amalgam of the old, and the imagined.

We have created an environment that can be at once stark, crowded, beautiful, violent, harmonious, discordant, evocative and empty. Contradictory. A representation of a country and its people that are consumed by corrupt, personal and discordant agendas. Flavours of warfare past, along with some very modern political maneuvering, serve to remind us that the division, tribalism and social schism in the original story still resonate hundreds of years later – as if taken from the latest news report. Proving yet again that we are drawn to repeat our transgressions with no thought of our history.

My own association with Bard has reached a personal milestone of 28 years and it remains important to me, and our company, to push our collective stories in new directions. When Christopher Gaze agreed wholeheartedly to program this challenging play with Moya O’Connell at its centre, I knew I was going to grow yet again as a theatre artist. It is my chief motive as practitioner. I’m grateful for the continued confidence Bard has invested in my work; it is a privilege that I’ve never taken lightly. It is indeed my good fortune that I’ve been able to learn, fail and succeed with the help of many great artists, creators, administrators, volunteers and audiences throughout. My experience is also a testament to the Festival’s
dedication to bringing people together and celebrating our collective humanity.

Dean Paul Gibson