Stratford di­rec­tor dies at 73

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES -

Hours af­ter hear­ing about the death of Robin Phillips, An­toni Ci­molino went home and opened a card he had been given years ear­lier from the ven­er­ated Stratford Theatre di­rec­tor com­pli­ment­ing him on his early pro­duc­tion of Shake­speare's Love's Labour's Lost.

It was a full-cir­cle mo­ment for Ci­molino, now him­self artis­tic di­rec­tor of On­tario's premier clas­si­cal theatre fes­ti­val, and who cred­its Phillips with chang­ing his life.

“When I was a kid I watched his pro­duc­tion of Love's Labour's Lost and ... I left ev­ery­thing to go into the theatre,” said Ci­molino. “I ba­si­cally went into the theatre be­cause of the beauty and the qual­ity of what he put on stage.

Phillips died in his sleep at his home out­side Stratford, Ont., on Satur­day morn­ing. He was 73. His hard work, tal­ent and teach­ing are cel­e­brated for at­tract­ing to the stage afi­ciona­dos and new­com­ers alike, as well as shap­ing theatre across Canada and around the world.

“He had a way of mak­ing the clas­sics re­ally speak to the time we're in now; he had a way of mak­ing Shake­speare so clear and so com­pelling,” said Ci­molino.

“He taught so many peo­ple across the coun­try - ac­tors, di­rec­tors, de­sign­ers - about the po­ten­tial for real beauty in the clas­sics.

“I think he prob­a­bly brought a lot of peo­ple to the­atres, and he made those who at­tended the­atres be­lieve in plays and stage­craft in a way they'd never be­lieved it be­fore.”

Phillips was born in Eng­land in 1942 and stud­ied act­ing at the Bristol Old Vic.

He moved to Canada in the mid-1970s to work as artis­tic di­rec­tor at the Stratford Fes­ti­val, a po­si­tion he held un­til his res­ig­na­tion in 1980.

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