Shakespeare festival director
Richard Monette, 64, the longest-serving artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, died Tuesday of a blood clot in the lung at a hospital in London, Ontario, the festival confirmed.
Monette was artistic director at Stratford, the largest repertory theater in North America, from 1994 to 2007. During his tenure, he improved the theater’s economic stability and shepherded it to record levels of attendance.
The son of a French-Canadian father and an Italian mother, Monette was born in Montreal in 1944. He attended Loyola College (now Concordia University) in Montreal before making his professional stage debut as Hamlet in Toronto.
He first landed at Stratford in 1965, when he appeared in “Henry IV,” parts 1 and 2, and in “Julius Caesar.”
From there he went on to perform a multitude of stage roles in Toronto and London, England, returning to Stratford in the early 1970s to take on a variety of classic Shakespearean roles.
He also did television and appeared in the films “Iceman” (1984) and “I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing” (1987).
In 1988, Monette turned to directing, scoring a success with his first major production, “The Taming of the Shrew.” He went on to direct more than 40 festival productions.