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.
Bard on the Beach premiered their second show of the season, The Winter’s Tale, last week on the BMO Mainstage. Set in Sicilia and Bohemia with a large cast of strong characters, a wonderful minimalist set, beautiful costumery, and fantastic puppetry, Bard is showcasing their best.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival begins its 27th season in Vanier Park on June 3, with an exciting lineup of plays, concerts and special events. All tickets for Bard on the Beach are currently on sale for the 2016 season, which runs from June 3 to September 24.
The Festival’s summer-long celebration of Shakespeare starts with ROMEO AND JULIET on the BMO Mainstage, with Kim Collier (Hamlet, 2013) returning to Bard to direct this timeless romantic tragedy. It alternates with Bard’s Jessie Award-winning 2012 production of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. This huge audience favourite is full of high-spirited comedy and live performances of classic 60s popular music. Johnna Wright is back to direct, this time on the BMO Mainstage, along with many of the original actors.
On the Howard Family Stage, in the Douglas Campbell Theatre, two of Bard’s best-known and award-winning actors make their Bard directorial debuts. Bob Frazer directs the tragedy OTHELLO, setting the play’s jealousy and manipulation amidst the racism and violence of the American Civil War. Lois Anderson directs a mythical and exotic setting of PERICLES, Shakespeare’s adventurous tale of a hero’s quest to find love, family and the meaning of life.
Special Events for the 2016 Season:
- Bard-B-Q & Fireworks: Saturday, July 23, Wednesday July 27 & Saturday, July 30 @ 5pm – includes play, dinner, on-site entertainment including a world-champion pipe band, and exclusive fireworks viewing. Tickets from $95
- Chor Leoni: Mane Stage: Mondays, June 20 & 27 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
- Wine Wednesdays: July 13, August 10 & September 7 @ 6pm. $21 (must purchase play ticket for same evening).
- Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Bard: Mondays, July 11 & 18 @ 7:30pm
- Opera & Arias: The Magic Flute: A costumed concert staging; Mondays, August 29 & September 5 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
- Exploring Shakespeare Talks: Delve deeper into each play’s story and background with Simon Fraser University’s Paul Budra. Saturdays, June 11 and 25, July 16 and August 13 @ 11am
- Salon Series: New this season, behind-the-scenes panel discussions. July 18, August 29 and September 5 @ 7pm
- Talkback Tuesdays: free post-show discussions following Tuesday performances in both theatres. July 5 – August 30
- Family Nights: Lively pre-show activities, family package pricing available: July 6, August 3 and August 31 @ 6pm
Tickets for Bard on the Beach’s 27th season are on sale starting April 6. Ticket prices for 2016 include all applicable fees and taxes and begin at $20. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection; note 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.
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and the beginning of his legacy to the world. Craigdarroch Castle and the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival (GVSF) celebrate this historic anniversary with Where There’s a Will, February 17-21 and 24-27 at 8pm.
Where There’s a Will is a celebration of the greatest English dramatist in song, verse and cake. Meet the celebrity superstars of the 15th century, such as Elizabeth I, Christopher Marlowe, Anne Hathaway, and of course, Bill himself. Afterwards, the audience will have an opportunity to recite a favourite line or couplet as part of “We are Shakespeare”, a global video project initiative launched to celebrate the Quadricentenary.
The Castle’s magnificent rooms and landings serve as perfect settings for this historical romp. See the actor who first played Hamlet, Richard Burbage, struggle in rehearsal; hear Shakespeare’s bitter rival, Christopher Marlowe, hurl insults; and witness a special appearance by a Britain’s favourite time traveller and his cohort.
The script is a collaboration between Castle favourite Giggling Iguana Productions founder Ian Case, and GVSF Artistic Director Karen Lee Pickett. “We are thrilled to be back in the Castle! There will be sonnets, songs, and a few surprises,” says Pickett, “and at evening’s end, sweets will be served in the Castle’s magnificent Dining Room – the perfect way to end an anniversary celebration!”
Where There’s a Will features a plethora of artists from the Festival’s talented pool of directors and actors, including Cam Culham (Cock at Theatre Inconnu and two seasons with GVSF), Chris Gabel (“Pick of the Fringe” Award-winning Paper Street Theatre and Atomic Vaudeville), Susie Mullen (August: Osage County for Langham Court and four seasons with GVSF), Griffin Lea (The Rocky Horror Show for RKO productions and Cabaret for Langham Court), and Candace Woodland (Rocky Horror and four seasons with GVSF). The show is directed by Geoffrey Davidson and runs February 17-21 & 24-27 at 8pm at Craigdarroch Castle, 1050 Joan Crescent.
Information and tickets are available online at http://www.thecastle.ca and by phone at 250-592-5323. Reservations are required. Tickets are $30 general admission and $28 for Castle Members (prices include HST) and include coffee, tea and dessert service. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival has announced a 2016 season that will showcase the genius and popular appeal of the great English playwright, in a year of world-wide celebrations marking the 400thanniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The 27th Bard season, sponsored by Goldcorp and running from June 3 toSeptember 24, 2016, will bring two proven audience favourites to the BMO Mainstage. Opening the Festival isRomeo and Juliet, the timeless story of a pair of young star-crossed lovers whose families are bitterly divided; Bard’s powerful and sensuous new production will be directed by Siminovitch Prize winner and past Bard director Kim Collier (Hamlet, 2013). Alternating with Romeo and Juliet is the Jessie Award-winning production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, back by popular demand after a sold-out 2012 Bard run and re-imagined this season for the larger BMO Mainstage. The music-filled production is set in 1968 Windsor, Ontario and will be directed again by Johnna Wright; its production sponsor is Polygon Homes.
On the Howard Family Stage, veteran Bard actor Bob Frazer (Macbeth, 2012) will direct a provocative new staging ofOthello, with its action unfolding during the American Civil War. The production sponsor is Lonetree Cider. Othello will alternate with a new production of Pericles, set in an ancient, mythical pagan kingdom and directed by Lois Anderson, another award-winning veteran of Bard’s acting companies (Kate, The Taming of the Shrew, 2012). Pericles’ production sponsor is BlueShore Financial.
“We go into our 27th season while the world is honouring and celebrating Shakespeare, and this set of plays will showcase his genius,” says Artistic Director Christopher Gaze. “We are fortunate to have engaged such an outstanding team of theatre creators who will bring their visions of these great classics to our Vanier Park stages next season, for what I know will be a memorable year for us.”
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.