The List: 10 things Stratford’s new artistic director Antoni Cimolino can’t live without

The List: 10 things Stratford’s new artistic director Antoni Cimolino can’t live without

The List: Antoni Cimolino

1. My heroes
In 1992 I played Romeo opposite Megan Follows. I love this photo from opening night. I really admire the other three men in the picture— Bruno Gerusi, Richard Monette and Colm Feore—who all played Romeo at Stratford before me.

2. My cricket ball
In the fall, there’s a wildly competitive cricket game between the companies of Stratford and Shaw. A few years ago they asked me to throw the ceremonial first bowl, and the Stratford team signed the ball for me. We lost, but it was a great game!

3. My Italian water jug
My parents are from Italy. When I was four years old, I was sent to live in my mother’s village for a year, so my first language is Italian. I bought this water jug on a visit 20 years ago—it reminds me of where I’m from.

4. My good luck charm
My first role at Stratford was in 1988, in a production of All’s Well That Ends Well. When I moved here to do the show, my wife gave me a key chain and told me to use it as long as I was with the company. I haven’t left, so I still use it. I’m superstitious like that.

5. My mask
It’s a 2,000-year-old bronze souvenir from a Roman theatre, given to me by Seymour Schulich, who’s a great supporter of Stratford. He saw it in a New York antique shop and thought I should have it, which was incredibly thoughtful.

The List: Antoni Cimolino

6. My Festival Tent cufflinks
Wilf Gregory, a former Stratford mayor and board president, had them made in 1956. He gave them to me two years ago just before he died.

7. My second home
In 2007, a team from Stratford was invited to Suchitoto, a village in El Salvador, to develop a theatre school as an anti-gang strategy. I’ve gone down every year since—it’s so thrilling to watch young people discover Shakespeare and Molière. Last year I was given a humanitarian award by the El Salvador government.

8. My wedding coat
My wife and I got married 25 years ago. We didn’t have a lot of money, and we wanted to do something fun, so we decided we’d have a ’50s-themed wedding. I bought this jacket from a vintage store—and it still fits.

9. My First Folio
The First Folio is the reason we still know Shakespeare’s work today. I bought my copy when I was just discovering his life’s work—turns out it has become my life’s work, too.

10. My piece of history
In 1997, we renovated the Festival Theatre. The work crew had to replace a small section of the stage. Richard Monette, then the artistic director, inscribed a piece and gave it to me. It’s my piece of the True Cross.

(Images: Daniel Ehrenworth)