Tom Patterson biography

Tom Patterson

Deceased Person

1920 – 2005


Who was Tom Patterson?

Harry Thomas "Tom" Patterson, OC, O.Ont was a Stratford, Ontario born journalist who went on to found the Stratford Festival of Canada, the largest theatre festival in Canada.

Patterson was a veteran of World War II and a journalist writing for Maclean's magazine in 1953. From the time that he was a teenager, he had thought that his home town of Stratford, Ontario should be home to performances of Shakespeare's plays. The town was suffering from industrial decline due to the declining fortunes of the rail industry. Patterson, with no experience of the theatre, proposed the idea of a theatre festival. He persuaded the town council to back it, an enthusiastic committee of local citizens to organize it, and most importantly well-known Shakespearean director Tyrone Guthrie to run things. Alec Guinness was persuaded to perform the first year, and the festival has never looked back.

Patterson served as the festival's general manager during the first season and worked in other capacities until 1967.


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Jun 11, 1920
  • Daxko
Feb 23, 2005

on July 23, 2013

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