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Tom Patterson, 1920-2005

Tom Patterson

Photos by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted August, 2010

Tom Patterson

Plaque Location

The County of Perth
The City of Stratford
On the Stratford Festival Theatre grounds
near the statue of William Shakespeare


Coordinates: N 43 22.414 W 80 58.073

Map

Plaque Text

A native of Stratford, Ontario, Tom Patterson grew up during the Great Depression and dreamed of plans that might revitalize his community. After serving in the Second World War and completing university, he worked as an associate editor for a trade publication in Toronto. During the early 1950s, Patterson began discussing plans to establish an internationally renowned Shakespearean festival in his hometown. Although considered a risky venture by some, Patterson gained encouragement from Mayor David Simpson and the local council, and from British Shakespearean director Tyrone Guthrie. Through determination and perseverance, Patterson was able, in less than two years, to turn his dream into reality. The Stratford Shakespearean Festival opened in July 1953 with a production of Richard III, and created a new standard for North American theatre. Remaining with the Festival until 1967, Patterson was also founding director of the Canadian Theatre Centre and founding president of the National Theatre School. He received numerous honours for his work, including Officer of the Order of Canada (1977).

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