a Company of Fools has been delighting audiences all across Canada since 1990 as Ottawa’s original professional Shakespeare company. Inspired by the rogue Elizabethan players that once entertained audiences out of doors and at the Globe theatre, we have built a reputation as a highly physical troupe doing interactive shows both indoors and out. Our award winning shows have toured all across Canada, from Halifax to Vancouver to Yellowknife, (and that one time in China).
We are a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, which means we contract our artists under the Canadian Theatre Agreement and pay them a standard unionized living wage to share their skills and talents with our beloved audience.
The Fools are best known for our Torchlight Shakespeare Series, where 90-minute versions of Shakespeare’s hits are played by a nimble cast of 3-6 performers in a fast-paced, engaging and Foolishly interactive manner, in community parks, praised by critics and audiences alike.
Year after year, the Torchlight Shakespeare in the Park Series is the most accessible arts initiative in the city. Based on the 2015 park schedule and 2011 census data, approximately 753,858 Ottawa residents (85 percent of the population) live within a ten-minute drive of a Torchlight Shakespeare performance. The same data shows that 102,123 of Ottawa residents (12 percent of the population) live within a 10 minute walk of a Torchlight Shakespeare performance. Combined with the fact our summer shows are all pass-the-hat with no tickets required, there’s no excuse not to take in a fun, family friendly night of theatre in your own neighbourhood!
Being Fools, we combine physical theatre techniques of clown, mask and puppetry with the classical text. This unusual mix has earned us critical acclaim. Although known for our performances, the Fools are active in the field of education. We provide workshops and performances for elementary and high school students. We also program professional development workshops for emerging and established artists in the region.
The mandate of the Fools is to produce innovative, entertaining and accessible shows based on the works of William Shakespeare. We produce original works inspired by Shakespeare as well as performing his plays. We are a not-for-profit incorporation and a registered charity.
God bless A Company of Fools. Where would original theatre in Ottawa – that is to say original theatre that is wild, witty, clever, goofy, sometimes dumb and slightly mad – be without them? … outrageous puns, imaginative adaptations… and the most glorious physical comedy this side of Clown School… a comic presence that is nothing short of brilliant… irreverent, entertaining and, most of all, fun.
~The Ottawa Citizen