Buying For Someone Else

Within the restrictions explained below, account holders may buy 2 tickets for each of the regular GTLLI courses – Perspectives, Fall, Winter and Spring. 

1. The first ticket must be for the person buying who must have a valid email address.

2. The second ticket can only be for a friend or spouse who also has a GTLLI account. If they do not have an account, one must be created by or for them. 

3. Between June 18 and June 29, when sales are restricted to members, that 2nd ticket can only be for another member. On and after July 2, any account holder may buy for any other account holder.

Before creating an account….. read more.



Watching your Videos

1. Go to Create Account/Log In and Log In so the system knows who you are and what video pass you bought.
Logging in will take you to your account page.

2.Click on Video Passes to see which video passes you bought.

3.Choose the video product that you want to watch.
The first item you see is the link to material provided by lecturers. The material is listed according to the date of the live lecture. Scroll down past that to see the videos that are available to you. If you bought a bundle, it will start with the earliest video and you must scroll down to see the others.

4.Use the control bar across the bottom. If it disappears, click on the bottom area and it will reappear.
Volume control is the multiple vertical bars on the control bar. If that is not loud enough, you can buy the small earphone buds, and plug them into your Laptop/IPad/tablet/phone to give you much better sound.
Size is controlled by the little 4-dot icon on the right on the control bar. Clicking that will make it full screen and easier to see. When you want to get out of the video, you will have to get the control bar back and click on that same 4-dot icon to get out of full screen.
You can stop and start the video and watch it as often as you like. By moving the narrow blue moving line back with your finger or cursor, you can repeat a section.

5. Seeing the video on a TV
If you have a SMART TV, log in to the website on it.
If you don’t have a Smart TV, what you see on your computer/laptop/tablet can be ‘mirrored’ on your TV.
Go to  viewing-gtlli-videos-at-home and follow the blue links.

Sharing a Video
1. You have purchased 2 weeks’ access to a video. You have not bought the video itself.
During that time, you may watch it as often as you like and invite anyone to watch it with you. Remember to notice its expiry date.

Buying a Video Pass

1. Go to Create Account/Log in on the main menu.

2. Log in to your account with your username or email address and your password. 
The system now knows who you are and whether you are a member.

3. Go to Purchase Tickets/Passes on the main menu.
The top part of the screen is general information, and below that is a rough outline of how to buy.
Scroll down to see what is for sale.
Look at what is available to you and decide what you want to buy.
It there is a small lock beside an item, you are not eligible to buy it. For instance, some products can only be bought by members.
Members sometimes get a lower price than the public on video passes.
Perspectives has 3 or 4 videos. The other regular Courses have 6 videos. If you buy the bundle of all lectures in a course, it is cheaper than buying them individually.
Videos are available for 2 weeks only after the live lecture so note when they expire..
Once 2 videos have expired (disappeared), the bundle is not a bargain. Buy them individually.

4.Click on the video pass you want and a more detailed picture will appear.
If you want it, <ADD TO CART>.
If you want another one, <CONTINUE SHOPPING>.
Follow the prompts to pay with your credit card
You can stop your order at any time if you haven’t paid by clicking on the back arrow at the top left.

When you have completed the purchase, you will get an immediate confirmation of your order.
The system will remember who you are and what you bought.

5. To see what you bought – go to My Account on the main menu and look at Video Passes.
You can click on Orders and see every order you ever made on the system.

6. For instructions on how to watch your video, click on watching-your-videos


2018-19 Spring Course – will be available on video


The radio documentary is one of the most powerful genres we have for storytelling, education, and the exploration of ideas. This course will discuss the origin and theory of radio documentaries, how they are made, the different acoustic elements they employ–voice, sound, music, silence–and how those elements can be combined in different ways to produce a range of radio documentary styles. Drawing on both video and audio material, we will listen to and discuss examples of documentaries produced by CBC, BBC, NPR and other public broadcasters.

March 29: Where Ideas Come From

The CBC program Ideas is a mainstay of the long-form radio documentary. This lecture tells the story of the evolution of the program from its beginnings in 1965 and the thinking behind it.

April 5: The Documentary Idea

What is a documentary? John Grierson, the founding head of the National Film Board of Canada, is often credited with having coined the word, “documentary.” Though Grierson was referencing film, his ideas apply in other genres such as radio documentary.

April 12: Composing With Sound

Radio documentaries draw on an infinite symphony of sounds that envelop our lives – sounds we use to navigate the world, talk to each other, entertain ourselves, find our way in the dark – people, cars, planes, music, computers, seagulls, dogs, wind, ocean waves – everything in the built and natural environments.

April 26: Tell Me a Story

Aristotle was the first theorist of dramatic storytelling. In a book called Poetics, he laid out the basic structure of storytelling: every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Aristotle’s ideas still guide our approach to documentary-making.

May 3: The Nuts and Bolts

The lecture is about the strategies documentary makers use to create documentaries and the challenges they face. We discuss the documentary process from gathering interviews and sounds in the field to the management of the raw material to shape it into a compelling documentary story.

May 10: “Contrapuntal Radio”: The Documentaries of Glenn Gould

Between 1967 and 1977, Glenn Gould produced three pioneering radio documentaries under the title, The Solitude Trilogy. The documentaries introduced the idea of “contrapuntal radio,” in which several voices are heard speaking simultaneously. Gould described his approach as, “musically derived.” He was testing the extent to which it is possible to listen to more than one conversation at a time and make sense of the whole.

Bernie Lucht is Distinguished Visiting Professor in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University, where he coaches media production students and leads workshops in audio and video documentary production. He was a long time documentary producer at CBC Radio, and the executive producer of the CBC series Ideas from 1984-2012.

2018-19 Winter Course available on video starting Jan 13


Jan 11: From Nicholas II to Lenin: Russia and the Revolutionary Year of 1917

There is no year like 1917 in all of Russian history as we shift from Tsar Nicholas II to Kerensky to Lenin in a matter of months. But who was Lenin, and was Imperial Russia’s collapse inevitable? We explore these questions and consider the nature of Russian communism at the outset. Where did it come from and what did it promise? We will also consider the stereotypes that so many Canadians bring to any study of Russia and Russians.

Jan 18: Triumph and Devastation: The Stalinist Revolution of the 1930s.

Today we focus on a series of cataclysmic events which profoundly transformed the Soviet Union: collectivization, the terror-famine (mainly in Ukraine), mass industrialization and the great purges. Were these all the work of a mad dictator, the evil Stalin, or was there a popular demand to bring about changes that would leave millions dead? Amazingly, we will consider how there were winners in this decade as well as losers.

Jan 25: Horrific World War, Avoidable (?) Cold War, 1939-1949

No country suffered more during the events of World War II than the Soviet Union. Today we explore the roots of that conflict, the path of destruction it left, and how exactly the Soviet Union survived. Stalin’s role and how ordinary citizens responded to the Nazi invasion will be front and centre. Lastly, we will connect the dots, and see how a tragic World War was transformed into the Cold War. Who was responsible for that turn of events, and why?

Feb 1: From Khrushchev to Brezhnev: The Soviet Union after Stalin, but before Collapse, 1953 – 1985.

This session considers what the last years of Stalin’s rule were like, and what accounts for the immense grief that exploded at his death. We will also describe the major personalities that followed Stalin – Khrushchev and Brezhnev – and how they tried to govern in Stalin’s shadow. Was the Soviet Union in slow motion collapse after Stalin or were these the best of times, or was it a bit of both? Even Dr. Zhivago will make an appearance in this lecture!

Feb 8: The Gorbachev Revolution: From Perestroika to Glasnost to Stunning Collapse, 1985-1991.

Today, decades after the Soviet collapse, Gorbachev remains an extremely unpopular figure in Russia. But why? Who was he, what did he try to accomplish, and why did he fail so miserably (by his own reckoning)? We tackle these difficult questions as we consider both Gorbachev’s personal story and the nature of Soviet society in the 1980s. A good portion of this class will consist of my personal recollections, having lived in Leningrad (St. Petersburg today) at the time with my wife and young family. We’ll talk about high politics, but also how people shopped in local stores and what Soviet kindergartens looked like.

Feb 15: Russian Resurgence: Yeltsin, Putin, and Life after Soviet Collapse, 1991-2017.

We cover today the Russia of today, or at least almost-today. In particular we examine the truly polarizing figures of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. Where on earth did they come from? But more than high society, we also outline the difficult challenges that Russia and Ukraine have faced since the Soviet collapse, set alongside the emergence of Russia’s mega-rich plutocrats. Is there a link between these forces and the nostalgia many still feel for Soviet times? We end our series by considering what the west might want to consider in dealing with Russia today.

Leonard G. Friesen is Professor of History at Wilfrid Laurier University and the author of several books on Russian history. He has been to Russia (and Ukraine) more than 25 times, and lived there with his family during the Gorbachev years. He recently led a Guelph Third Age Learning post-lecture tour to Moscow and St. Petersburg in October of 2017. The child of Soviet refugees, Friesen’s own family history is intimately connected to the topics we will be discussing in this series.

2018-19 Fall Course also available on video


Theatre is a complex collaborative form of art. Any successful theatrical production depends upon the generous contributions of many talented people working together to one end. This is especially so at Canada’s largest theatre, the Stratford Festival. Drawing on the experience and expertise of several Festival artists and educators, this course provides a behind the scenes look at the creative process involved in producing plays at the Festival.

Oct 12: The Art of Theatre at the Stratford Festival

Looking through the lens of the history of the Stratford Festival, this talk provides an overview of the challenges and achievements in the Festival’s remarkable 65 year existence.

Pat Quigley is the retired Director of Education at Stratford Festival. She holds a BA and a BEd from the University of Toronto. She taught secondary school English, Drama and Guidance and later on taught Drama and Guidance Specialist Courses at the Universities of Western Ontario and Toronto. She began a second career in Education at the Stratford Festival initiating and developing education programs and in 2004 was named Director of Education. She became Education Consultant with the Festival when she retired in 2010.

Oct 19: Getting Scripts up on Stage

Drawing on their experience as actors and directors, Seana McKenna and Miles Potter talk about the collaborative process of bringing dramatic scripts to life on stage, at Stratford and elsewhere in Canada. This presentation focuses on the creative challenges facing directors and actors, as they come to terms with specific plays (old and new), the physical features of stages and playhouses, the acting companies, the organizational structures of theatres, and the audiences.

Seana McKenna is one of Canada’s most sought after female actors, who is now making a name for herself playing leading male roles such as Richard III, King Lear, and Julius Caesar. She has played over fifty-four roles in her twenty-seven seasons at the Stratford Festival. She has received three Dora Mavor Moore awards, two for acting and one for directing, a Jessie award for her role in Wit, and a Genie for her role in the film The Hanging Garden. She is also a recipient of an Honorary MFA in acting from ACT in San Francisco, a Doctor of Sacred Letters from Trinity College at the University of Toronto, and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Miles Potter is one of the most respected directors in Canada. He has directed across the country at virtually all of Canada’s major theatres including sixteen productions at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and three commercial shows for Mirvish Productions. He has both acted and directed at Stratford, directing plays on all of the Stratford Festival stages. His directing credits at Stratford include The Physicists, Medea, The Glass Menagerie, and Richard III. He has won several awards for directing: a Dora award for The Drawer Boy, a Jessie award for The Taming of the Shrew, and a Masque award for Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Oct 26: Revising Shakespeare for Stratford Stages

From Shakespeare’s first typesetters, through centuries of editors, to contemporary directors, people have been ‘re-writing’ the bard’s works—correcting, editing, revising, improving, censoring, and up-dating them for their own purposes. This talk focuses on Stratford Festival directors: what text do they start with? how do they change it? and why do they do so?

Ted McGee completed his BA, MA and PhD at The University of Toronto. He is a professor emeritus of the English Department of the University of Waterloo. He regularly taught courses on editing, interpreting, and staging Shakespeare’s plays. His publications on Stratford productions include articles on love at first sight, Juliet’s costumes, Canadian settings for Shakespeare’s stories, and the controversies stirred up by The Merchant of Venice.

Nov 2: Creating the Physical ‘World’ of a Play

Using costumes and other artifacts from the Archives, this talk provides an insight into the role of an archivist and an introduction to the aims, the art and the practicalities of design as it relates to the Stratford theatres.

Liza Giffen has been the Director of Archives at the Stratford Festival since 2014. She holds a PhD from Edinburgh University and has been an archivist at The Women’s Library (London, UK), the Business Archives Council of Scotland, Head of (Special) Collections at the University of Leeds, Strategic Engagement Manager at The National Archives (UK) and Head of Archives at DC Thomson.

Nov 9: Running the Show: The Art of Stage Management

This talk reveals the indispensable work of the person behind the scenes. It will cover what is involved in a career in stage management and how the theater works and sometimes doesn’t.

Nora Polley was Stage Manager of the Stratford Festival for 40 years. She is now in her 54th season with the Festival. After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1969 (Honours BA), she apprenticed in stage management at Stratford. Her career has taken her across Canada and America to Australia, Denmark, Holland, Poland and Russia. After retiring from stage managing in 2009 she now works part-time in the Stratford Festival Archives.

Nov 16: Reviewing the Stratford Festival, Responding to Reception

This presentation explores the role of theatre reviewers and their influence – if any – on Stratford artists and audiences.

David Prosser is the Literary and Editorial Director of the Stratford Festival and former award-winning theatre critic. He holds an MA in English from Queen’s University and an MA in English Literature and Language from the University of Aberdeen. In his former career as a journalist, he won seven national awards for theatre criticism. At the Stratford Festival, in addition to overseeing each season’s publications, he has worked on two commemorative coffee-table books and co-authored former Artistic Director Richard Monette’s 2007 memoir, This Rough Magic. He presents a popular series of Lobby Talks before selected Festival performances.

(In May 2019 a special bus trip to the Stratford Festival will be offered to GTLLI members. Further information will be provided at the first lecture of this series.)