The history of the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival comes alive in a new book

A new commemorative book – Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On – 20 Years of the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival – is available now, with a special performance this Saturday, July 23 at 4:00 p.m. at the Kinsmen Amphitheatre.

The book captures the emergence of theater and its rise to fame in Prescott. The story is told through the heartfelt voices of actors, artistic directors, volunteers, supporters and festival lovers.

“I’m just so thrilled that it’s finished and ready to get into the hands of festival fans,” said longtime supporter Judie Martin, who compiled and wrote parts of it with her husband Peter and former Artistic Director Ian Farthing the book.

Farthing was artistic director of the festival from 2006 to 2014. During his tenure, he was instrumental in expanding audiences and attracting big talent from Ottawa and later from the Stratford and Shaw festivals. “The stories in this book are so funny and worth reading,” said Farthing.

“It was a true labor of love,” said Martin, adding that the festival’s story needs to be told, even if it’s better than it was in its 20th year. “I believe the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival (SLSF) holds a significant place in the history of the city and is worth celebrating.”

Martin and Farthing began work on the book earlier this year and while it seemed an impossible task to complete it for the summer, they had tremendous help from previous artists and the board. Dozens said they would be happy to contribute their memories to the play.

Martin interviewed the festival’s founder, Deborah Smith, and wrote a whole chapter about how it all started. All artistic directors also contributed their stories. A total of 30 people who have been involved in the festival over the past 20 years added their memories.

“The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival brought the community together,” said Martin. “I love what it does for our area in the summer. The actors come to town and life changes a bit. It’s magical, actors have told us they received the best reception in the world in Prescott.”

The book contains all of their stories, photos, season posters and the list of all cast members over the years. The cost is $20.00 with all proceeds going back to the festival.

event on Saturday

When: Saturday, July 23, 2022 at 4:00 p.m

Venue: Kinsmen Amphitheater on the Prescott seafront


4 p.m Public book launch. Panel welcome and introduction: Founding Director Deborah Smith, former Artistic Director Ian Farthing and current Artistic Director Richard Sheridan Willis. The panel discussion will be hosted by Craig Walker, Professor at the DAN School of Drama and Music, Queen’s University. Craig is also a longtime director and actor at SLSF.

5-5:30 p.m Book signing and sale

Books can be picked up at the box office at 206 King Street West, Prescott, on or after July 25, or at the Amphitheater box office before each performance.

Learn more at

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