Bard Studio Stage Named for Darlene and Paul Howard

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival has announced today that the stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre tent has been named the Howard Family Stage in honour of Vancouver philanthropists Darlene and Paul Howard.

“We have watched Bard grow, always maintaining a high standard of excellence, and ever increasing its focus on education – both important values to us”, notes Darlene Howard. “We applaud the Festival’s contribution to the cultural fabric ofVancouver and wholeheartedly support it, particularly in its 25th anniversary year!”

Artistic Director Christopher Gaze applauds the naming:  “Darlene and Paul Howard are extremely generous, thoughtful and give of themselves for the betterment of all. They have set the Bard bar high with their gift! Their glorious participation allows us to flourish and sets an example for others to follow.” His comments are echoed by Bard’s Managing Director Claire Sakaki. “We are overwhelmed by the Howard’s tremendous support of Bard, our artists and our future.  Transformational gifts such as these demonstrate a true investment to the arts and our community and we couldn’t be more delighted by the Howards extraordinary generosity.”

The generous financial contribution made by the Howard family will be used to support the Festival’s artistic and educational activities in Vanier Park.The stage’s name is a complement to the name of the tent itself, instituted in 1999 to honour the renowned Shakespearean actor and Bard Company alumni Douglas Campbell (1922-2009).

The Howard family has a long history of supporting Vancouver theatre. Darlene Howard served as a Board member with the Vancouver Playhouse from 2003 to 2005, as its Chair from 2006 to 2010, and as its Past Chair during 2011 and 2012. More recently she was appointed to Bard’s Board of Directors and now chairs its Education Committee. Earlier this year, the Howards generously donated the Playhouse Theatre’s expansive costume collection to Bard. When the Playhouse ceased operations in 2012, the Howards became the custodians of its costumes and they invited the Festival to take over the collection with a mandate to maintain, manage and make it available for rentals to performing arts groups and educational organizations.

The Howard Family Stage will be home this season to two plays performed in repertory. The political drama EQUIVOCATION, by Bill Cain, set in Shakespeare’s era, has its first preview on July 2 following a co-produced run at Victoria’s Belfry Theatre. Appearing with Equivocation in repertory is Shakespeare’s CYMBELINE, starting on July 4.

About Bard on the Beach:

Bard on the Beach is Western Canada’s largest professional Shakespeare company and its Founder and Artistic Director isChristopher Gaze. It has presented its annual summer festival since 1990 in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. Bard’s 25th Anniversary season runs from June 11 – September 20. Productions are staged in repertory in modern theatre tents on the waterfront and play performances run Tuesdays through Sundays; the 25th Anniversary season also features a wide range of special presentations and events. For full details on the Festival and the 2014 season, visitwww.bardonthebeach.org

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