The Elizabethan Feast: Reboot, a Stratford Festival Forum event was special in more ways than one. For our culinary palettes, the four-course Elizabethan meal, with delicacies enjoyed by sixteenth century English nobles, showcased the talents of the Stratford Festival culinary team. For our cultural appetites, the evening included the announcement of a $5 million gift by Kelly and Michael Meighen and the T.R. Meighen Family Foundation to the Stratford Festival Forum events.

Elizabethan music

Terry McKenna provides sweet sounds from the Elizabethan era

We arrived at the Paul D. Fleck Marquee at the Festival Theatre to welcoming sounds. Terry McKenna plucked a guitar and the lute, a popular instrument in the Elizabethan era. Like a minstrel in ancient times, his gentle, courtly dance tunes set the scene for what was to come.

The Meighen Forum

The playbill, Elizabethan Feast: Reboot

Elizabethan food

Faux food pastries and hens hinted at the bygone era

Faux food pig

Faux food suckling pig with fruit, vegetables and silver goblets conjured extravagant feasts

Elizabethan table

The Festival Theatre tables awaited us

Ben Jonson poem

Ben Jonson’s poetry invited us to dine

Elizabethan tables ready

And the Elizabethan Feast: Reboot began

Elizabethan herb tart

Herb Tart with an English Garden Salad

Elizabethan menu

Roasted Cornish Hens

Elizabethan fish

Side of Atlantic Salmon in Pastry

Elizabethan dessert

Raspberry Foole with Shortbread Cookie

Elizabethan pear

Wine-Poached Pears with Oat Crumble ready to be garnished with a dollop of Anise Whipped Cream

Chatter rose from the tables. Cutlery clinked and glasses were raised. David Prosser, Master of the Feast, spoke about Elizabethan times. Brian Cowan, Guest Speaker, added details of the social side of gastronomy during Elizabeth I’s era.

As we were indulging in our re-imagined Elizabethan Feast, just one of the events put on by the Stratford Festival Forum each year, Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, excitedly announced the generous gift of the Meighen family.

“The Forum redefines the patron experience in a very positive way,” says Kelly Meighen. “The richness of its programming encourages longer visits to Stratford and unmasks the wealth of knowledge to be found within the Festival environment.” Michael Meighen added, “Stratford will continue to be the jewel in Canada’s artistic crown.” Michael Meighen inherited his love of Shakespeare from his grandfather, former Canadian prime minister Arthur Meighen.

The Meighen Forum VIPs

Kelly & Michael Meighen (centre left) present their endowed gift to Stratford Festival’s Anita Gaffney, Executive Director, Sylvia Chrominska, Chair of the Board of Governors, and Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director

Newly named, The Meighen Forum will expand to offer at least 300 events, allowing for a richer theatre-going experience throughout the entire season, for generations to come. The Forum events include illustrious speakers, panels, play readings, workshops, special meals, concerts, artist Q&As, tours, and special performances.

The next Elizabethan Feast: Reboot will be held August 9, 2019. Information is available at