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Celebrity Death

Stratford Festival Star Marti Maraden’s Illness Leads to Death


Some details related to Stratford Festival actor and artistic director Marti Maraden’s cause of death have been released. She died at the age of 78 on August 31, 2023.

“Marti was a much-loved member of the Canadian Theatre,” Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino in a news release said.

Cimolino continued: “She acted alongside an extraordinary group of talents from Bedford and Smith to Henry and Hutt among many other Festival favourites.

Stratford Festival Star Marti Maraden's Illness Leads to Death

“She was a pioneer as she was among the first women in Canada to work regularly as a director. At the Stratford Festival, her contributions as an actor, director and artistic director will be remembered with great appreciation and affection.

“She was a valued colleague and I’m deeply grateful to her for our work together. My thoughts are with her family and many friends who will miss her dearly.”

Marti Maraden was born on June 22, 1945, in El Centro, California, United States. In 1968, she immigrated to Canada and became a leading actor at the Stratford Festival in the 1970s.

She appeared as Katharine in Love’s Labour’’s Lost and Antiochus’s Daughter in Pericles. With the arrival of Robin Phillips as artistic director, Maraden was given more chances to shine.

During his first two seasons, Maraden’s remarkable talent and versatility were clearly evident, the Festival said.

In 1975, Maraden played Mary Warren in The Crucible; Cecily Cardew in the production of The Importance of Being Earnest, featuring William Hutt as Lady Bracknell; Juliet in Measure for Measure, with Brian Bedford and Martha Henry; and Olivia in Twelfth Night, also with Brian Bedford.

The following year Maraden played Miranda in William Hutt’s Prospero in The Tempest; and Ophelia in Hamlet, playing opposite Nicholas Pennell and Richard Monette.

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Sudden Illness Announced as Marti Maraden’s Cause of Death

Illness was reported as Marti Maraden’s cause of death at the age of 78. She passed away while visiting family in Sweden, having suddenly fallen ill.

She played Irina in John Hirsch’s production of Three Sisters, alongside Martha Henry and Maggie Smith; and she reprised the role of Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest.

The actress played Juliet in Richard Monette’s Rome; Sonya in Uncle Vanya; Perdita in The Winter’s Tale; and Regan in Peter Ustinov’s King Lear.

Stratford Festival Star Marti Maraden's Illness Leads to Death

After the 1979 season, Maraden moved back to the U.S. and pursued work in New York and soon began to teach and direct.

Maraden returned to Canada and became one of the country’s most highly respected directors, equally accomplished in classical and contemporary repertoire.

She returned to Stratford in 1990, directing a dozen productions, including Les Belles-Soeurs, featuring Susan, Janet, and Anne Wright; Homeward Bound by Elliott Hayes; Alice Through the Looking Glass, featuring Sarah Polley; Macbeth, featuring Seana McKenna and Scott Wentworth; and The Merchant of Venice, featuring Douglas Rain.

In 1997, she was appointed Artistic Director of English Theatre for the National Arts Centre, meanwhile, she co-founded the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.

In 2006 Maraden was appointed co-Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, along with Des McAnuff and Don Shipley.

In 2008, she directed All’s Well That Ends Well, featuring Brian Dennehy; and The Trojan Women, featuring Yanna McIntosh, Seana McKenna, Martha Henry, Kelli Fox and Nora McLellan.

Her final production for the Festival was The Winter’s Tale, featuring Ben Carlson and Seana McKenna.

The Stratford Festival will dedicate one of the 2024 Shakespeare productions to Maraden’s memory. Plans for a memorial will be announced at a later date.

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