The Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival’s (GVSF) 25th anniversary season begins July 8, with Romeo & Juliet, directed by Christopher Weddell, and Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Britt Small. The plays will be performed in repertory July 8 through August 8, 7:30pm nightly on the Festival’s Camas Stage outdoors at Camosun College’s Lansdowne Christopher Weddell is a founding member of Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach, and in 2005, he received BotB’s Edmund Kean Sword Award. He brings years of experience acting, teaching, and directing Shakespeare world-wide to the GVSF’s Camas Stage. His uncompromising Romeo & Juliet is set in a present-day world where the haves and the have-nots clash. Sarah Jane Pelzer (Ride the Cyclone) and Kiaran McMillan (The Rocky Horror Show) play the title roles in the story that gets better with each retelling.
Britt Small (Atomic Vaudeville, Ride the Cyclone), whose work as a director has received several national awards as well as nine Jessie nominations for My Chernobyl at the Gateway and the Belfry, helms A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in a lush style that takes its inspiration from Julie Taymor and Small’s own work in physical theatre and clowning. Pelzer and Trevor Hinton (Waiting for Godot) play at-odds fairy royalty Titania and Oberon, and local comedian Paul Henry Oppers is the hilariously transformed Nick Bottom. The production includes live music played by cast members.
The GVSF continues its commitment to education and professional standards with hiring of actors Pelzer and Hinton, who as mentor actors will provide teaching and mentorship to the company, which includes professional, student, and community actors. The Company will experience acting in a repertory schedule and receive direct support from the Mentors. “We introduced this layered repertory company last season, and it really raised the bar in terms of artistic risk and quality,” says Karen Lee Pickett, the Festival’s artistic director. “Christopher and Britt are exceptional directors and teachers who bring a unique and superb perspective to the work, and I’m very excited about this season.”