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Theatre in Chicago Talks To CASF Fellows About Their Experiences at the Stratford Festival of Ontario

Stratford FestivalBrendan Averett and Ian Novak are two of the 33 Chicago actors who have spent a year or more under the auspices of the Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival (CASF), learning the craft of the classical actor at the renowned Stratford Festival in Ontario.  This week on Talk Theatre in Chicago, Averett and Novak talk about what that experience has meant to them.  Listen to interview Stream or Download MP3

CASF was founded in 1983 by Chicago philanthropist Hope Abelson with the intent of fostering the relationship between the Stratford Festival and Chicago-area theatre artists and audiences.  One of the undertakings of the group is to sponsor the participation of Chicago-area actors in the Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory and Festival Acting Company.  Each of the past 14 years, the prestigious Chicago Associates Fellows Program has sent one or two talented Chicago actors to the Festival, where they have studied classical acting and appeared with the Festival Company.  Past fellows include such Chicago-theatre notables as Kevin Gudahl, who frequently appears with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, David New, who is Associate Artistic Director at Steppenwolf, and Michael Halberstam, who is the Artistic Director at Writers’ Theatre.

Ian Novak was the 2000 Chicago Associates Fellow.  Since returning from Stratford he has appeared with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Goodman Theatre.  He is also a member of the Griffin Theatre Company, and appeared in their acclaimed production of “Letters Home: Voices of American Troops from the Battlefields of Iraq,” which the company will be reviving this fall.

Brendan Averett was the 2003 Chicago Associates Fellow.  Since his return from Stratford, he has played Malvolio in Noble Fool’s production of “Twelfth Night,” and, this past season, starred as Charles in Gift Theatre’s hit production of “Blithe Spirit.”  He will be joining the cast of Sarah Ruhl’s “Passion Play” this fall at Goodman Theatre.

The complete list of past Chicago Associates Fellows can be found at

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