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Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

January 24, 2007

Stratford Festival Leader to Speak at U of G

The University of Guelph is hosting a lecture by the Stratford Festival’s general director Jan. 29 at noon in Room 1714 of the Ontario Veterinary College’s Lifetime Learning Centre. This is the inaugural talk in the Leadership Speaker Series hosted by the Centre for Studies in Leadership and is free and open to the public.

Antoni Cimolino was the Stratford Festival’s executive director prior to his appointment as general director in 2006. He has directed dozens of acclaimed productions, including last year’s Coriolanus with Colm Feore and Martha Henry. Cimolino began his career as an actor, first appearing at Stratford in 1988. He has played lead roles in Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.

“This is a valuable forum to foster and advance the practice of leadership by showcasing the exceptional talent of leadership that is made in Canada,” said Michael Cox, director of the Centre for Studies in Leadership. “The presentation by Antoni Cimolino is an opportunity to learn first-hand about leadership and the arts.”

Cimolino’s talk, “From the Director’s Chair: A Collaborative Vision of Leadership in the Arts,” will discuss the new leadership structure of the Stratford Festival, how leadership in the arts is a form of service to art itself, the importance of a “visionary audit” for arts leadership, techniques of persuading stakeholders to be part of the vision, and how to take the reverence out of the arts experience.

Cimolino guides the Festival's artistic management as well as its administration and finances. Leading a team of three artistic directors, he is responsible for the successful operation of Canada’s largest non-profit arts organization, with more than 1,000 employees and an annual budget of $52 million. During his tenure, the Festival has launched a stability fund and an endowment foundation and has significantly improved its ticket sales and infrastructure.

The talk coincides with “Shakespeare – Made in Canada,” a regional festival organized by the University, the City of Guelph, the Stratford Festival, the Guelph Arts Council and the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (MSAC). The five-month-long festival running from January to May 2007 includes an elaborate exhibit at MSAC, theatrical and musical performances, a speakers' series and children's educational programs.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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