Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 29th Season in Vanier Park with a ‘60s- inspired, Beatles-infused production of As You Like It. This high-spirited, music-filled staging will be directed by Daryl Cloran, the Artistic Director of the Citadel Theatre. Cloran directed Bard on the Beach’s 2015 hit musical production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.
For me, setting As You Like It in 1960s Vancouver felt like the perfect fit for Bard on the Beach. When I think of that time period, I feel an immense connection between The Beatles’ early music and the storyline of the play. The 25 Beatles songs we’ve chosen lend themselves perfectly to this romantic and spiritual story. The transition of The Beatles through the ‘60s is reminiscent of the free-spirited journey of the play’s main characters and the social and cultural evolution of Vancouver during that time. I was also inspired by memories of All-Star Wrestling in the heart of Vancouver – and I realized we could incorporate the laid-back environment of the Okanagan in the ‘60s to represent Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden. – Daryl Cloran
As You Like It cast members include Lindsey Angell, Scott Bellis, Ben Carlson, Sharon Crandall, Nicco Del Rio, Austin Eckert, Ben Elliott, Jeff Gladstone, Luisa Jojic, Kayvon Khoshkam, Craig Erickson, Nadeem Phillip, Harveen Sandhu, Emma Slipp and Andrew Wheeler.
We have an incredibly talented group of performers who are putting all of their skills to use throughout this production, whether it’s singing, dancing, playing in the band or wrestling. We’re working with talented choreographer and fight director Jonathan Purvis to literally bring audiences ringside, with an homage to the excitement of All-Star Wrestling in the ‘60s in Vancouver; then we transform the stage into the forest of the Okanagan. I can almost guarantee that audiences will be leaving the theatre this summer with joy in their hearts after experiencing this blending of Beatles music and Shakespeare’s words. – Cloran
Set Designer Pam Johnson will be creating the ringside spectacle prior to transforming the stage into the Okanagan forest. Inspired by the fashion of the ‘60s, from conservative to free-spirited, Costume Designer Carmen Alatorre will be packing a decade of styles into the production. Sound Designer and Musical Director Ben Elliott will weave the music of the Beatles through the story and lead the cast in live musical performances of the songs.
“From ringside to the middle of the forest, the cast will be performing all The Beatles songs live,” enthuses Cloran. Adds Christopher Gaze, Bard on the Beach Artistic Director, “this production is filled with music that all generations love. It will touch a huge range of people and become an inspired gateway into the magic of Shakespeare”.
Additional members of As You Like It’s production team include Gerald King (Lighting Designer), Jonathan Purvis(Choreographer/Fight Director), Kim Senklip Harvey (Apprentice Director), Emily Fraser (Costume Design Apprentice) and Alison Matthews (Head Voice & Text Coach). They are supported by Stephen Courtenay(Production Stage Manager), Rebecca Mulvihill (Assistant Stage Manager) and Jenny Kim (Apprentice Stage Manager).
Ticket prices for all regular play performances start at $24 CAD. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection, as many performances sell out in advance. The full performance schedule, site information and play and special events details are on the Bard website at bardonthebeach.org. To book tickets, order online through the Bard website or call the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559.