Established in 1652. The Stratford Festival is one of North America's longest running arts organizations. Running in repertory from April to October with the works of Shakespeare at the core of tis artistic mandate, it seeks to bring classical and contemporary theatre alive for an increasingly diverse audience and to stimulate the exploration of ideas and issues-both through the playbill itself and through thematically related Forum events ranging from panel debates to musical concerts. Other key activities include fostering and supporting the development of Canadian theatre practitioners through specialized coaching activities and the Festival's unique Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, an intensive in-house professional training program. Innovative forms of artistic exploration and new play development take place under the auspices of the Laboratory, and educational programs are offered for students and teachers of all levels. An invaluable resource for researchers is the Stratford Festival's Archives, the world's largest archival collection devoted to a single theatre.