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

Tickets for Bard on the Beach’s 2017 season are now available!

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Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival begins its 28th season in beautiful Vanier Park on June 1, with an exciting lineup of plays, concerts and special events. All tickets for the Bard on the Beach’s 2017 season, which runs from June 1 to September 23, are now on sale. Check out the full list of events, below!

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Bard on the Beach announces 2017 lineup

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The 28th Bard season, running from June 1 to September 23, 2017, features four Shakespeare plays plus a short-run contemporary drama; together they will take audiences from ancient Greece to modern-day Venice and Vancouver. Opening the Festival on the BMO Mainstage is a new production of an audience favourite, Much Ado About Nothing, set in 1959 Italy and inspired by the era’s extravagantly entertaining Italian films, with John Murphy (Measure For Measure, 2013) directing. Alternating with Much Ado is The Winter’s Tale, a magical and poignant family drama, set in ancient Greece and Bohemia and directed by Bard’s Associate Artistic Director Dean Paul Gibson (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014).

On the Howard Family Stage, award-winning Canadian actor-director Nigel Shawn Williams will direct a provocative new staging of The Merchant of Venice, set in contemporary Italy; it will alternate with a new production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Bard Artistic Associate Scott Bellis (The Comedy of Errors, 2015). Rounding out the 2017 lineup is a short-run production in September to complement The Merchant of Venice. Shylock is a single-hander written by BC’s Mark Leiren-Young and first produced at Bard in 1996. It imagines a modern-day actor playing Shylock, who wrestles with the timely issues of censorship and political correctness.

Updates on Bard on the Beach’s 2017 Festival will be posted regularly at bardonthebeach.org. Advance sales of 2017 Season Packs begin on Monday, Sept 26, 2016, offering a substantial discount on voucher packs for either four or five productions. Single tickets go on sale in April, 2017 through the Bard website or through Bard’s Box Office at 604-739-0559.

Bard on the Beach’s 2015 Season: Reviewed

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This was an inventive and fast paced season for Bard on the Beach. With three comical, crafty plays and one major drama they were certainly off to a good start.

My experience of the season began with a steampunk Comedy of Errors. For such a convoluted play, this was the perfect vessel. The constantly moving set, outlandish costumes, and strange performances easily heightened the absurdity. It’s full of slapstick humour and silly moments, with lots of space for the embellishments that director Scott Bellis used so well. Although not one of Shakespeare’s finest works it was a good start to the season, especially for actors Sereana Malani (Adriana) and Ben Elliott (Antipholus of Syracuse). Malani captured my attention every time she was on stage. Elliott, who has proved himself musically in many other Bard plays, was uproariously funny as the confused newcomer.

King Lear was the second main stage production, and it largely fell flat. This is a massive production to put on but the script can be cumbersome to do without losing audience attention, and unfortunately for some it did just that. At the start, Benedict Campbell fell into the problem of overemphasizing every line, but by the second act he seemed passive and afraid of the madness and anger required of him. The sisters (Jennifer Lines, Regan and Colleen Wheeler, Goneril) kept too many of their Tempest mannerisms for this much more serious play, getting laughs in a play that should not provide them. Michael Blake (Edmund) and Nathan Schmidt (Edgar) had some of the most interesting moments, each providing thoroughly nuanced portraits of their characters.

On the Howard Family Stage, Love’s Labour’s Lost took us on a rollicking, musical 1920s adventure that hit the jazz classics and easily express the character’s emotions. Chicago in the Roaring Twenties bring brilliant costumes and the speakeasy vibe that pairs well with Ben Elliot’s musical direction. Josh Epstein (Berowne) stands out as the king’s friend and lover of Rosaline. His voice is beautifully rich and his emotions are immediately evident. The slight audience interaction is both funny and complementary to the 20’s style, as this play is more an adaptation than a direct reproduction of Shakespeare’s creation.

King Lear’s actors took to the Howard Family Stage for C.C. Humphries novel Shakespeare’s Rebel. Set in Elizabethan London around Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and a potential revolution, John Lawley (Benedict Campbell) must separate himself from his past on the battlefield, help his friend William Shakespeare to write the play Hamlet, and clean himself up to win back his beloved Tess and son Ned. With so many pots and subplots throughout, it was amazing to see this novel put together so masterfully on stage. Although I found Campbell too overwhelming as King Lear, he seemed to find his footing in this production. This is where Jennifer Lines (Tess) and Colleen Wheeler (Queen Elizabeth) shine. Lines is feisty and smart, a clear choice for Lawley to pursue, while Wheeler masters the drama of Elizabeth as I hoped she would have in King Lear. The Bard’s own Christopher Gaze has directed a veritable star for the 2015 season, engaging and funny without overwhelming audiences who are used to Shakespeare’s own writings.

Both of the smaller stage performances were my favourite for the year, drawing my attention back again and again.

King Lear Joins the Bard on the Beach Mainstage Lineup, June 18

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King Lear comes to the BMO Mainstage of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival June 18 to September 20. In collaboration with Theatre Calgary, it is directed by their Artistic Director, Dennis Garnhum. In a tale of family disputes and conspiracies, King Lear tells the story of an aging king and the events that eventually lead to his madness.

King Lear (Benedict Campbell), the King of Britain, has decided to retire and divide his kingdom between his three daughters. When asked how much they love him, his eldest daughters, Goneril (Colleen Wheeler) and Regan (Jennifer Lines), shower him with words of love. His youngest, Cordelia (Andrea Rankin), is banished when she does not follow suit. The Earl of Kent (John Murphy) objects to Lear’s treatment of Cordelia, and is banished as well. The Duke of Burgundy (Chirag Naik) rejects the disinherited daughter and Cordelia is instead married to the King of France (Craig Erickson), who admires her honest nature. Meanwhile, the Earl of Gloucester (David Marr) is told by his illegitimate son, Edmund (Michael Blake), that his older son Edgar (Nathan Schmidt) is plotting to murder him. Edmund persuades Edgar to flee for his life and he goes into hiding as a beggar named “Poor Tom”. Having given up his kingdom, Lear plans to stay with Goneril and Regan for one month at a time. It is then that he learns that his older daughters are conspiring against him with the help of their husbands, the Duke of Albany (Declan O’Reilly) and the Duke of Cornwall (Robert Klein). Distraught, Lear wanders out into a wild storm, where he is led by Kent and his Fool (Scott Bellis) to a hovel where Edgar, as “Poor Tom”, has been hiding. Gloucester is punished for secretly arranging for Lear to be sent to Dover, where Cordelia has landed with the French army to fight on the king’s behalf. As war between England and France looms, Edmund takes advantage of both Goneril and Regan’s growing attraction to him. Lear is finally reunited with Cordelia, but soon all sides must meet on the battlefield. Anousha Alamian (Knight) and Ian Butcher (Oswald) also join the cast for this magnificent tragedy.
Music Designer Dave Pierce’s original score, paired with Pam Johnson’s versatile set design and Gerald King’s powerful lighting, establish the tone for audiences and aid the transition from opulence to a barren wasteland. That transition is accentuated by Deitra Kalyn’s costume design, using colour and texture to illustrate Lear’s journey, while Shari Wattling lends her expertise as the production’s dramaturg. Fight Directors Haysam Kadri and Karl H. Sine have created spectacular fight scenes, set to Pierce’s score. Director Dennis Garnhum, along with apprentice director, Mike Griffin, showcase the play’s heartbreaks, betrayals and bloodshed with a fresh take on this classic. Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay is assisted by Kelly Barker (Assistant Stage Manager) and Alexandra Shewan (Apprentice Stage Manager).

 

Performance details for King Lear are as follows:

  • Previews: June 18, 19, 20, 24; OPENING NIGHT: Thursday, June 25 at 7:30pm
    • Runs Tuesdays through Sundays, June 18 to September 20, on the BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park
    • Plays in repertory with The Comedy of Errors on the BMO Mainstage which begins previews June 4
    Talkback Tuesdays: Tuesday evenings from June 30 to September 1 – Q&A session with members of the cast following the performance
    Wine Wednesdays – an intimate pre-show wine tasting in the Bard Marquee on July 15, August 12 & September 9 @ 6pm

 

Tickets for King Lear and all other Bard plays and events are available now. Ticket prices for 2015 include all applicable fees and taxes and begin at $26. The Global BC Youth Price is also available. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection; many performances sell out in advance. Full pricing information, the performance schedule and site and event details are on the Bard on the Beach website at bardonthebeach.org. To book tickets, call the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or order online through the Bard website.

Join Bard on the Beach for The Comedy of Errors

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival opens its 26th season with The Comedy of Errors. Directed by Bard on the Beach Artistic AssociateScott Bellis, this steampunk rendition of Shakespeare’s lively comedy runs June 4 to September 26 on the BMO Mainstage. Double trouble has never been more delightful! Two sets of long-lost twins meet up unexpectedly, creating hilarious confusion for their friends, loved ones – and most of all themselves.

THE STORY: After a shipwreck that split his family apart many years ago, Egeon (Scott Bellis), a merchant from Syracuse, finds himself facing the death penalty for illegally being in the rival city of Ephesus. Duke Solinus (Jeff Gladstone), moved by Egeon’s story, suspends the death penalty for just one day to give him time to raise the money to pay a fine, setting the plot in motion.

Meanwhile Egeon’s son, Antipholus of Syracuse (Ben Elliott), along with his servant, Dromio of Syracuse (Luisa Jojic), have also just arrived in town with the same family-seeking mission in mind. Things become complicated when they stumble upon the home of their identical twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus (Jay Hindle) and Dromio of Ephesus (Dawn Petten). Of course the locals of Ephesus all mistake the twins for their counterparts, fromAntipholus’ wife Adriana (Sereana Malani) and her sister Luciana (Lindsey Angell), to Angelo the goldsmith (Andrew Cownden), Balthasar the merchant (Andrew McNee) and a Courtesan (Lili Beaudoin), turning the town upside down. When it seems like things could not get any stranger, we meet the mysterious Abbess (Anna Galvin), who has a secret of her own. Adding to the entertaining twists and turns along the way are Daniel Doheny(Maud, The Collections Officer) and Josh Epstein (The Smuggler).

Audiences will be transported into an alternate reality with the help of Malcolm Dow’s imaginative sound design and Gerald King’s lighting, adding to the eye-popping steampunk world that set designer Pam Johnson has created on stage. Costume designer Mara Gottler gives the classical Shakespearean play a full-blown visual makeover, using references to steampunk culture and colour to heighten the confusion, also showcased through choreography by Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay is assisted by Kelly Barker (Assistant Stage Manager) and Alexandra Shewan (Apprentice Stage Manager). Apprentice Director for The Comedy of Errors is Amanda Lockitch.

Performance details for The Comedy of Errors are as follows:
• Previews: June 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13; OPENS: Saturday, June 13 at 7:30pm
• Runs Tuesdays through Sundays, June 4 to September 26, on the BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park
• Plays in repertory with King Lear which begins previews on June 18
Bard-B-Q & Fireworks: July 25, 29 & August 1 @ 5pm (NEW TIME) – See The Comedy of Errors or Shakespeare’s Rebel followed by a delicious salmon barbecue, post-dinner entertainment & a private view of the fireworks. Tickets from $95.
Wine Wednesdays – an intimate pre-show wine tasting in the Bard Marquee on July 15, August 12 & September 9 @ 6pm

 

Ticket prices for 2015 include all applicable fees and taxes and begin at $26. The Global BC Youth Price is also available. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection; many performances sell out in advance. Full pricing information, the performance schedule and site and event details are on the Bard website at bardonthebeach.org. To book tickets, call the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or order online through the Bard website.

 

Bard on the Beach gratefully acknowledges its 2015 Season Sponsor, Goldcorp, and the production sponsor of The Comedy of Errors, RE/MAX.

Tickets for the 26th Season of Bard On The Beach are Here!

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Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival begins its 26th season in Vanier Park on June 4 with an exciting lineup of plays, concerts and special events. All tickets for Bard on the Beach go on sale April 8for the 2015 season, which runs from June 4 to September 26.

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS begins the Festival’s summer long celebration of Shakespeare on the BMO Mainstage with hilarious confusion and Victorian steampunk style. THE COMEDY OF ERRORS is directed by Bard Artistic Associate Scott Bellis. Also on the BMO Mainstage will be the timeless tragedy, KING LEAR, presented in collaboration with Theatre Calgary. The production features Benedict Campbell as King Lear and is directed by Theatre Calgary Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum.

On the Howard Family Stage, an adaptation of LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST will bring a 1920s Chicago feel to the intimate Douglas Campbell Theatre tent, complete with live jazz music. The production is directed by Daryl Cloran, Artistic Director of Western Canada Theatre. Joining LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST is the world stage premiere of SHAKESPEARE’S REBEL. It has been adapted by C.C. Humphreys from his best-selling novel of the same name and is directed by Bard on the Beach Artistic Director Christopher Gaze.

 

Play run dates and Special Events for 2015 are:

  • The Comedy of Errors: June 4 – September 26 (BMO Mainstage) – Opening Night Saturday, June 13
  • King Lear: June 18 – September 20 (BMO Mainstage) – Opening Night Thursday, June 25
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost: June 19 – September 20 (Howard Family Stage) – Opening Night Friday, June 26
  • Shakespeare’s Rebel: July 2 – September 19 (Howard Family Stage) – Opening Night Sunday, July 12
  • Bard-B-Q & Fireworks: Saturday, July 25, Wednesday July 29 & Saturday, August 1 – includes a play, dinner, on-site entertainment & exclusive fireworks viewing. New start time: 5pm. Tickets from $95
  • Chor Leoni: Manely Canadian: Mondays, June 22 & 29 @ 3pm & 8pm. Tickets $15 – $37
  • Wine Wednesdays: July 15, August 12 & September 9 @ 6pm. $20 (must purchase play ticket for same evening).
  • Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: Live At Bard: Mondays, July 13 & 20 @ 7:30pm
  • Opera & Arias: Gilbert & Sullivan!: Mondays, August 24 & 31 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
  • Discovering Shakespeare Talks: Saturdays, June 20 & 27, July 18* & August 8 @ 11:30am – a lively look at each play with Bard’s Education Director, Mary Hartman. (*guest lecturer: Shakespeare’s Rebel playwright C.C. Humphreys)
  • Exploring Shakespeare Talks: Mondays, July 13 & 20, August 10* & 31 @ 7:30pm – delve deeper into each play with SFU’s Paul Budra. (*guest lecturer: Shakespeare’s Rebel playwright C.C. Humphreys)
  • Family Nights at Bard: Tuesday, June 30 & Thursday, August 6 – family package pricing available

Bard on the Beach has Record Breaking 2014 Attendance and Announces 2015 Season

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Bard on the Beach’s 25 anniversary season was a resounding success, with both critics and audiences. Setting an all time attendance high of almost 101,000 patrons to the 2014 season events, it’s a major increase from the previous record set in 2009 of 91,000 attendees.

“We are blessed with so many loyal repeat patrons, while also attracting thousands of locals and tourists to Bard for the first time. Together they fill our houses and this year they’ve given us a remarkable, record-breaking season,” says Christopher Gaze.

The upcoming season will bring back the tragedy that this year left out in the form of King Lear, directed by Theatre Calgary’s Artistic Director, Dennis Garnhum. Opening the season will be the hilarious audience favourite, The Comedy of Errors, directed by Scott Bellis, a respected actor/director and Bard Associate. You’ll have seen him this year as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell tent opens with a world premiere of Shakespeare’s Rebel, a play based on best-selling author C.C. Humphrey’s historical novel and directed by Bard’s Christopher Gaze. Also on this stage is a music-filled Jazz Age rendition of Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by Daryl Cloran of Kamloops’ Western Canada Theatre.

The upcoming season will run from June 4 to September 26, 2015, with tickets going on sale in early April.

 

Bard on the Beach’s THE TEMPEST Opens to a Standing Ovation

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bard-on-the-beach-shakespeareA simple set filled marvellously by colourful costumes and expressive characters, The Tempest creates a magical experience as the second play for Bard on the Beach’s 25th anniversary season.

After a magical storm destroys a ship carrying the King of Naples and his court, everyone is separated assuming the others have perished. The King’s son Ferdinand discovers the island’s inhabitants Prospero and Miranda, immediately falling for her and becoming Prospero’s slave to keep her favour. The King and his followers search for Ferdinand but are subdued by enchantments while two of his party plot the King’s demise. All the while, two women of the King’s court get drunk off the ship’s wine and fall in with Prospero’s slave Caliban who wants power over the island.

ART_Tempest3_2116Everything seemed to come together perfectly for this opening night performance. A stormy afternoon that slowly cleared as the play progressed provided the backdrop audiences saw which mirrored the actions on stage. As in many of Shakespeare’s plays, there is one character at the helm manipulating the rest of the characters. For The Tempest, it is Prospero’s fairy Ariel. Shakespeare’s fairies are some of the most eccentric and interesting characters of all his plays, and Ariel is no different. Jennifer Lines beautifully came to life as the lively and aggressive yet sometimes timid Ariel. She had a spritely singing voice that emanated both her power and her feebleness, depending on the scene.

One of the highlights for me in the play were the two women (Luisa Jojic and Naomi Wright) and their interactions with Caliban (Todd Thomson). They’re synchronized dances and their comedic timing kept everyone laughing and engaged throughout the play.

Bard on the Beach is known for their minimal sets but it inspired imagination in the audience and allowed for the fanciful costumes and props to come to the fore. With quick lighting changes and the musicians on stage throughout the play, The Tempest seemed both intimate and tremendous.

For a very enjoyable evening, I would recommend an outing to see The Tempest. For tickets, go here.

The Tempest joins 25th Anniversary season at Bard on the Beach

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 25th Anniversary season with the magical romance The Tempest. The production is on stage Tuesdays through Sundays on the BMO Mainstage, in Bard’s 733-seat custom-built Mainstage Theatre tent in Vanier Park, from June 12 to September 18, 2014. Director Meg Roe returns to Bard on the Beach with a re-imagining of her hugely-popular 2008 production of the play.

Magic and intrigue are at the heart of this fantastical romance. Prospero, a magician and the exiled Duke of Milan, lives on an enchanted island with his daughter Miranda, the spirit Ariel, and the slave Caliban. Prospero escaped years ago to the island, fleeing from his usurping brother Antonio, and Alonso, King of Naples. Now he’s conjured up a storm that shipwrecks his old enemies on the island’s shores. As Ariel and Prospero weave their magic, new alliances form, murder plots brew, and romance blossoms between Miranda and King Alonso’s son Ferdinand.

The Tempest features Allan Morgan as Prospero and Lili Beaudoin as his daughter Miranda. Jennifer Lines is the spirit Ariel and Todd Thomson plays the mean-spirited Caliban. Those shipwrecked on the island include Ian Butcher as Prospero’s brother Antonio, Scott Bellis as Alonso King of Naples, Bernard Cuffling as Gonzalo, Andrew McNee as Sebastian, and Kyle Rideout as Francisco. Daniel Doheny plays Prince Ferdinand, the love-struck son of Alonso. Adding humour are Luisa Jojic and Naomi Wright as the drunken courtiers Stephana and Trincula, who team up with Caliban. Allan Zinyk is the Boatswain who steers the ship through the storm along with fellow mariners Chirag Naik and John Voth, while Claire Hesselgrave, Sereana Malani and Adele Noronha play the Sprites that inhabit this magical island.

Scenic Designer Pam Johnson takes her inspiration from the sea, and the stage is enveloped with curved edges and crafted with open playing spaces. Costume Designer Christine Reimer dresses the shipwrecked courtiers in Jacobean attire, and has designed fantastical, island-inspired costumes for the Spirits and Shapes. More island magic will be brought to life by Heidi Wilkinson, Head of Properties. Alessandro Juliani has composed an original score for a string quartet, on stage at every performance, to evoke both the supernatural as well as the romantic world of the play. Malcolm Dow is the Sound Design Assistant for this production. The music is performed live on stage by Mark Beaty (bass and musical director), Molly MacKinnon (violin), Isabelle Roland (viola), Marcus Takizawa (viola) and Erin Kathleen Wong (violin). Gerald King’s lighting design heightens the sense of magic and romance, while Movement Choreographer Rob Kitsos and Fight Director Nicholas Harrison oversee the island antics. Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay is assisted by Kelly Barker (Assistant Stage Manager) and Anthony Wade-Cooper (Apprentice Stage Manager). Apprentice Director for The Tempest is Mack Gordon.

Performance details for The Tempest are as follows:
Previews: June 12, 13, 14, 19, 25, 26; OPENS: Friday June 27. ALL evening performances begin at 7:30pm.
Runs Tuesdays through Sundays from June 12 to September 18 – on the BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park.
Bard-B-Q & Fireworks July 30 @ 4:30pm (NEW START TIME). The Tempest plus salmon barbecue, post-dinner entertainment & fireworks viewing. (July 26 & August 2 Bard-B-Q events: performance is A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Plays in repertory with A Midsummer Night’s Dream which begins in previews June 11.
Play ticket prices (adults) include all fees & taxes and are $47 (evenings) and $33 to $35 (previews, matinees and long weekend evenings) with a $27 Global BC Youth Rate (6-25 years, all play performances). Early Bird regular adult tickets are priced at $43 to May 30. Prices for special events, groups and multi-play ticket package discounts can be found on the Bard website. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection (all seats are reserved) and because many performances sell out in advance. The performance schedule and information can be found on the Bard website at http://www.bardonthebeach.org. For more information and tickets, call 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or order online through the Bard website.