Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival has announced its mission for this summer will focus on creating new digitally delivered content and experiences, available to local Festival followers as well as to new audiences around the world online.
The Festival’s 2020 virtual season brings with it a refashioned Bard logo, (designed by Carter Hales Design Lab), featuring the phrase BARD BEYOND THE BEACH and the tag line “Hearts remote, yet not asunder” (William Shakespeare).
The move online comes after Western Canada’s largest Shakespeare theatre festival cancelled its traditional 2020 Season in April, the first break in a 30-year-long annual run in Vancouver’s Vanier Park (Sen’ákw) that has drawn a total of almost 2 million attendees since 1990.
Festival Artistic Director Christopher Gaze explains: “We decided to adopt a proactive new approach once we’d made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 Season. Our focus must be to keep the Festival’s stories and spirit alive in the hearts and minds of Festival followers during this ‘gap year’– and also reach new people who are able to visit our virtual spaces more easily than a physical location. We are truly excited about what we’re creating, and the new opportunities it offers for growth, relevance and inclusion”.
Bard’s new online programming ranges from virtual interactive gatherings that take attendees behind the scenes to discover how production elements and venue spaces are built, to on-demand content showcasing Festival artists and their work in innovative new ways, as well as a range of interactive digital resources for educators and families. And in August the doors to Bard’s new Online Boutique will open, offering Festival-branded merchandise and more.
All Bard’s virtual content can be found at bardonthebeach.org; new elements will be added regularly throughout the summer and fall. Some content is exclusive to Festival Members in recognition of their vital support, but most is available to the general public at no charge. The free access is possible thanks to generous contributions from a range of corporate sponsors and foundations and the three levels of government.
Says Claire Sakaki, Bard’s Executive Director, “We’ve been touched and inspired by the commitment these organizations have made to stay with us this year, despite our Season cancellation and the change in how we are able to acknowledge and celebrate our partnerships. They have stepped up with both financial and moral support. We are proud and grateful to be associated with them.”