The Merchant of Venice -reviewed

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Bard on the Beach has taken on a modern rendition of The Merchant of Venice this year. Helmed by Nigel Shawn Williams and starring Olivia Hutt (Portia), Charlie Gallant (Bassanio), and Warren Kimmel as Shylock, the Merchant focused on the difficult themes of intolerance and patriarchy over it’s comedic attributes. Continue reading

Bard on the Beach rounds out 2017 season with a test of friendship in Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 28th season with The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Directed by Scott Bellis, Shakespeare’s early romantic comedy is a lively tale of friendship, love and loyalty, with two very funny clowns and a loveable Basset hound that just might steal the show! The Two Gentlemen of Verona plays on the Howard Family Stage from June 29 to September 17. Continue reading

Power and prejudice reigns at Bard on the Beach with The Merchant of Venice in 28th season

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 28th season with a provocative interpretation of The Merchant of Venice. Playing on the Howard Family Stage from June 22 to September 16, the production shines a spotlight on themes that are particularly relevant in 2017, including religious prejudice and discrimination and the use and abuse of power.

Continue reading

Belfry set to open Proud, a wicked new comedy about the Prime Minister

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“Funny and foul-mouthed, yet surprisingly sweet.” Globe & Mail

“Dazzlingly witty, surgically precise and scathingly satirical.” Toronto Star

Victoria, British Columbia…From February 4 – March 9, 2014 the Belfry Theatre will present Proud, Michael Healey’s new comedy about the Prime Minister. Directed by Glynis Leyshon, Proud stars Rick Roberts, Celine Stubel, Charlie Gallant and Kieran Wilson.

Proud re-imagines the 2011 Federal election where instead of the NDP winning 59 seats in Quebec, those seats have gone to the Conservatives, handing them the second largest majority in Canadian history. And an embarrassment of rookie M.P.s, including Jisbella Lyth from the riding of Cormier-Lac Poule.

Using the inexperienced Ms. Lyth as a tool of political skullduggery, the Prime Minister thrusts her into the spotlight with inflammatory private member’s bills. Embracing her role with great vigour, this political Eliza Doolittle takes politics and the Prime Minister to places they’d rather not go, with results they didn’t anticipate.

My entire focus was to get as close to understanding Stephen Harper’s behaviour as possible, and to actually create a sympathetic character. Because I just don’t think it’s interesting to present a demonized version of somebody who I believe cares deeply about the job he’s doing.” Michael Healey

Given the controversial nature of Proud (one company refused to program it on the grounds it was potentially libelous and defamatory –http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/theatre-and-performance/michael-healey-and-his-play-proud/article534494/), this is only the second production of the comedy.

The creative team for Proud includes Set & Costume Designer Pam Johnson, Lighting Designer Luc Prairie, Sound Designer Tobin Stokes and Projection Designer Jamie Nesbitt. Caryn Fehr is the Stage Manager and Ben Cheung is the Assistant Stage Manager.

Engaging Audiences
Prior to and throughout the run of Proud, the Belfry is producing a number of audience engagement events designed to enhance and extend the experience of the play.

B4Play – Saturday, February 1 at 11 am
CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie will host a live talk show featuring artists fromProud and some very special community guests. This free event is at the Belfry Theatre.

Afterplay (February 11 – 15 / February 25 – March 1)
Following selected performances of Proud, we’ll host Afterplay – a facilitated discussion where patrons can share their thoughts with fellow audience members. It’s a chance to “debrief” after the show and hear how other audience members experienced the play.

Library Events
In collaboration with the Greater Victoria Public Library we’ll be hosting Belfry at the Library where we delve into the themes of the show and give people a behind the scenes look at the making of Proud.

We’ll be at the Bruce Hutchinson Branch (4636 Elk Lake Drive, Saanich Commonwealth Place) on Friday, February 14 from 10:30 am to 11:15 amand at the Central Branch (735 Broughton Street) Friday, February 21 from 10:30 am to 11:15 am.

ASL Performance – February 23 at 2pm
An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performance for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Certified interpreters, standing to the left side of the stage, interpret the script and language used by the actors at the same time it is being performed.

VocalEye Performance – March 2 at 2 pm
Audio describers provide descriptions of the visual elements of the show, allowing people with low vision to enjoy the theatrical experience without missing any of the details. Following the performance there is a touch tour of the set.

Ticket Information and Performance Schedule
Tuesday – Saturdays at 8 pm
Wednesday Matinees (February 12 & 19) at 1 pm
Saturday Matinees at 4 pm
Sunday Matinees at 2 pm

Single tickets for the show range from $25 to $40 (plus GST) and can be booked by calling 250-385-6815, or online at www.belfry.bc.ca. Students discounts are available.

Special Thanks
Proud is generously sponsored by Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse and Jane Francis Design.

The Belfry’s Season Sponsors are Thrifty Foods, the Times Colonist, and Cook’s Day Off Fine Foods and Catering. The Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia, the BC Arts Council, CRD Arts and the City of Victoria are government funders.