Bard On The Beach Announces 2020 Season

As the current, 30th, season of Bard on the Beach adds more shows to the just opened Coriolanus, Artistic Director Christopher Gaze has announced the lineup for the Festival’s 31st Season. 

Running from June 11 to September 26, 2020, under the tents at Vanier Park, the quartet of plays in the 31st Season of Bard on the Beach includes the most popular play in Bard’s history, a thrilling historical drama, a music-filled Jazz Age romance and a provocative contemporary play based on Milton’s  Paradise Lost

On the BMO Mainstage, the beloved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which has delighted audiences around the world and across the ages, plays inrepertory with Shakespeare’s epic historical tale, Henry V. The Howard Family Stage offers two contrasting productions: Love’s Labour’s Lost, a restaging of Bard’s 2015 hit Jazz Age production, alternating with Paradise Lost, a critically acclaimed modern take on the battle between good and evil. Says Gaze: “Our 31st Season is designed to entertain and inspire live theatre lovers of all kinds. It offers tempting choices for one and all, whether you’re a committed Shakespeare fan or you’ve never seen a play at Bard before.”

The 31st Bard on the Beach season includes:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Directed by Scott Bellis (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2017).
BMO Mainstage – June 11 – September 26
Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece is set against a backdrop of early Industrial Revolution, enter into a place where the natural and supernatural worlds have merged, with elves, goblins, and talking trees guiding the way.

Henry V – Directed by Lois Anderson (The Taming of the Shrew, 2019; Lysistrata, 2018).
BMO Mainstage – June 12 – September 20.Set in a mythical realm and inspired by medieval fantasy, Henry V is a sweeping, emotional tale of two kingdoms at war with Kate Besworth (The Taming of the Shrew, 2019) playing King Henry.

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Directed again by Daryl Cloran (As You Like It, 2018; Shakespeare in Love, 2019).
Howard Family Stage – July 3 – September 26. 
This revival of Bard’s 2015 hit makes a joyous return to 1920s Jazz Age Chicago and is filled with live performances of American Songbook classics.

Paradise Lost – by Erin Shields Directed by Anita Rochon (Cymbeline, 2015).
Howard Family Stage – from July 10 – September 20
The battle is on for the souls of Adam and Eve, in this provocative retelling of John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost.  First produced by the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2018, this is the play’s first Western Canadian staging, Jessie Award-winner Colleen Wheeler plays Satan.

The 31st Season will also offer the audience favourite special events, from orchestral and opera concerts to the popular Bard-B-Q & Fireworks nights.

Advance 2020 Bard Season Packs are on sale now, offering a substantial discount on tickets to all four productions. Order Season Packs now at  bardonthebeach.org  or by calling the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559.

Coriolanus blows up Bard on the Beach

The 30th Season of Bard on the Beach hosted its final opening night of the season this weekend as Coriolanus made its debut on the Howard Family Stage. Due to solid early ticket sales, Bard on the Beach has already added 7 more performances to the run, now ending September 21st.

The Company of Coriolanus photo: Tim Matheson

Quite literally fighting its way on to the stage, the drama brings battles to the Bard. One of Shakespeare’s last tragedies, Coriolanus, based on the life of Roman general Caius Marcius Coriolanus deals with the timeless topics of war, peace, family and politics. Dean Paul Gibson (The Winter’s Tale, 2017 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014) returns to the Festival to direct Bard’s first ever production of Coriolanus.

“I am honoured to be directing Coriolanus on the Howard Family Stage, featuring a female protagonist,” says director Dean Paul Gibson. “This production for me is an artistic expression of the times we live in, with the evolution of ancient stories for modern times. This is the first professional presentation of Coriolanus in Vancouver, and there couldn’t be a better time for us to present this work with a strong female lead.”

Coriolanus : Marci T. House & Moya O’Connell photo: Tim Matheson

Gibson has cast Moya O’Connell (Macbeth & Timon of Athens, 2018) as Coriolanus, who carries much of the play on her capable shoulders. The rapid fire dialogue (sometimes so fast it’s hard to keep up) and choreographed fight scenes make the role both physically and verbally taxing. Coriolanus’s mother, Volumnia, played by Colleen Wheeler holds great influence over both her daughter and Rome’s storyline. Rounding out a trifecta of powerful women, rival general Aufidius is played by Marci T. House.

Mirroring present day politics, the male characters in this production are those more concerned with retaining their power by wrapping themselves in the pretense of the good of the people and country. They turn out to be master manipulators and are able to whip citizens into a frenzy that benefits the short term but result in long term tragedy.

Gibson notes, “Flavours of past warfare, along with some very modern political maneuvering, serve to remind us that the original story, with its division, tribalism and social schisms, still resonates hundreds of years later – as if it’s been pulled from the latest news report. It proves yet again that we are drawn to repeat our transgressions with no thought of our history.”

The intimate Howard Family Stage along with Gibson’s direction brings the audience into the action as the players use all angles and levels of the theatre. Pam Johnson’s simple but effective set design along with Alan Brodie’s lighting (note: strobe lights are used often) create the high-drama required of the tragedy. Lisa Stevens and Robinson Wilson choreograph the flights to create the drama of warfare but also the fluidity of dance. Barbara Clayden’s costumes are reminiscent of a Starship Troopers-like dystopian world. The creative team and direction create an onstage civilization that’s as suitably timeless as the story itself.

Coriolanus plays on the Howard Family Stage at Bard on the Beach until September 21, 2019. For tickets and showtimes visit bardonthebeach.org

Bard On The Beach : Shakespeare In Love

Shakespeare in Love Charlie Gallant & Ghazal Azarbad Image: Emily Cooper

Most patrons of Bard On The Beach, have a love for Shakespeare but for the 30th Anniversary season, the Festival has flipped the script to present Shakespeare In Love.

Directed by Daryl Cloran, (director of The Beatles themed As You Like It from Bard’s 2018 season), this adaptation of the 1998 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, Shakespeare In Love takes the audience behind the scenes to look, with creative historical liberties, at a period in Will Shakespeare’s life. Suffering from writer’s block while trying to write his next play, “Romeo & Ethel The Pirates Daughter”, Will must overcome battling producers, actors egos, and noble rivals for the love of his muse. Although Shakespeare In Love is not written by the Bard, Lee Hall has adapted the original screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard into a fast-paced comedy, filled with the familiar tropes and themes found in original works. The play within the play unwraps the script of Romeo & Juliet, as it’s supposedly being written by Will, corresponding with his love affair with muse Viola.

Shakespeare In Love
l-r: Chirag Naik, Jennifer Lines & Paul Moniz de Sá
Photo: Tim Matheson

When remaking a well known and acclaimed work, it can often be difficult to not be compared to the original actors in the source material, but the company of Bard on the Beach makes these characters, both historic and fictitious, their own. Charlie Gallant is charming as befuddled but romantic leading man, Will Shakespeare. In her dual turn as Will’s love interest, Viola de Lessep and her male alter-ego Thomas Kent the actor, Ghazal Azarbad makes you forget about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Best Actress performance. Regal Jennifer Lines channels Dame Judy Dench as her majesty Queen Elizabeth I. Bard vets Scott Bellis, Warren Kimmel, Andrew McNee, Kamyar Pazandeh and Chirag Naik chew up the scenery to provide some great comedic moments in contrast to Will and Viola’s Romeo & Juliet love story.

Ghazal Azarbad & Charlie Gallant Photo: Tim Matheson

Shakespeare In Love incorporates enough of Romeo & Juliet to keep Bard lovers happy while bringing a contemporary take on Shakespeare to the BMO Mainstage at Bard on the Beach.

Shakespeare In Love plays in repertoire with Taming of the Shrew at Bard on the Beach, under the Tents at Vanier Park (behind Museum of Vancouver) until September 18, 2019. Information and tickets are available online at bardonthebeach.org.

Bard On The Beach : Taming Of The Shrew

The 30th Season of Bard on the Beach is underway, with Taming of the Shrew starting the season under the tents at Vanier Park. There are few spots in Vancouver nicer to spend a summer evening, add in a new adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s classic comedies by a brilliant company and it’s a near perfect theatre experience.

Bard on the Beach Taming of the Shrew Image: Emily Cooper

Taming of the Shrew tells the story of the fair Bianca and her sister, foul Katherine (Kate), and their suitors. Lady Baptista, the sister’s mother, has decreed that Bianca may not marry until after the elder Katherine is suitably married, much to the chagrin of Bianca’s many admirers. Seeing mutual benefit from working together, Bianca’s beaus conspire to find a husband for the shrewish Kate. Success comes with the arrival of Petruchio, who, in need of her large dowry, steps up to the challenge. Upon marriage, Petruchio ‘breaks’ Kate with a series of psychological gamesmanship and returns to Padua victorious in his taming of the shrew…or was he?

Shifted from late 16th Century Italy to the late 1800s America West, Director Lois Anderson has created a play that fits well into its new era. Costume Designer Mara Gottler and Set Designer Cory Sincennes have crafted a look straight out of Gunsmoke.

Jennifer Lines & Andrew McNee | Photo: Tim Matheson
Taming Of The Shrew
Jennifer Lines & Andrew McNee
Photo: Tim Matheson

Leading the cast, Jennifer Lines and Andrew McNee play off of each nicely as Kate and Petruchio. Ms Lines’ intense and dramatic Kate contrasts with McNee’s comedic skills and mugging. Kate Besworth’s sweet, giggling Bianca was a contrast to Line’s abrupt character. Kamyar Pazandeh’s Lucentio, stood out amongst Bianca’s many suitors. Portraying his servant Triano, Chirag Naik is always dependable, both the character and actor.

At 2.5 hours, the light comedy is nicely paced to keep the show moving and manages to avoid feeling long. See for yourself why Taming of the Shrew makes for an enjoyable Spaghetti Western / Shakespearean mash-up.

Taming of the Shrew runs, in repertoire with Shakespeare In Love, until September 21, 2019 at Bard on the Beach tents at Vanier Park (behind Museum of Vancouver). Information and tickets are available online at bardonthebeach.org.

Picks of the Week – August 29, 2018

Where did summer go?! While there’s still officially a month left, the Labour Day is the unofficial wrap of the season so let’s make sure the picks of the week are filled with things to do.

Bard on the Beach – As You Like It : Lindsey Angell & Nadeem Phillip

Bard: Catch them while you can, there’s just days left for some of the shows at Bard on the Beach 2018.  Make your picks between a brilliant Beatles themed version of As You Like It,  or the dramatic Macbeth on the Mainstage, and find Timon of Athens or Lysistrata on the Howard Family Stage, all running into September.

Things: The Museum of Vancouver’s exhibit Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives,  brings the great outdoors, indoors to take a look at the relationship between local plants and animals and the people and places in the city, showing until 2019

Lawn: The Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park welcomes Portugal. The Man & Broken Social Scene on September 1st.

Tyrant: Enjoy the August line-up of comedy and jazz at Tyrant Studios Summer Lounge Series: Friday Jazz & The Comic Strip Saturdays

PNE: The final week of the 2018 Fair at the PNE is your last chance to catch those little donuts and so much for before the Fair closed on Labour Day

PNE

Nights: The opening of the PNE also kicks off the Summer Nights Concert Series fan picks between free concerts from Kool & The Gang, Jan Arden, Burton Cummings, Chicago, Village People, and Cyndi Lauper

Balls: The Whitecaps are still striving to make to a playoff position, can they repeat their win over San Jose when they host them on Saturday?

Pop: French indie-pop act Phoenix take to the stage at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Monday evening

Dine: It’s the final week of  Provence Marinaside’s Tomato Festival  bringing the best of the summer’s crop to your plate

Laugh:  Visit one of the best patios in Vancouver, the Neil McRae Bar at the Improv Centre on Granville Island and while you’re there get a good laugh a at Vancouver Theatresports League zany improv antics when you check out the fun at Avocado Toast or stay for the late night show WTF – What The Fun!

Richmond World Festival -Global Village

World: The Richmond World Festival brings the entertainment, food, and fun from around the globe to Minoru Park, for free, Friday and Saturday.

Cabin: Take a trip to the cabin while staying indoors, at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever  an exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view until September 30, 2018

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art examines the deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment, in BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest  an exhibit curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation, until January 2019

Bard on the Beach announces its 30th Season

Before the current season of Bard on the Beach comes to a close on September 28, 2018, Artistic Director Christopher Gaze has announced the lineup for the 2019 Festival’s 30th Anniversary Season.

Running in repertory, from June 5 to September 21, 2019, on Bard’s two stages; BMO MainStage and the Howard Family Stage, the 2019 season’s plays include the return of a record-setting Bard hit, an internationally-popular romantic comedy, a cross-cultural romance and a powerful political drama.

The BMO MainStage features:

The Taming of the Shrew, running June 5 – September 21, 2019.?A revival of the Bard crowd-pleasing, ‘spaghetti western’ from 2007. Set in the Wild West, and staring Jennifer Lines and Andrew McNee as Kate and Petruchio in a battle of wits, wills and gun-slinging, directed by Lois Anderson.

and

Shakespeare in Love, running June 11 – September 18, 2019. ?Based on the Academy Award-winning screenplay by Mark Norman & Tom Stoppard, adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and directed by Citadel Theatre’s Daryl Cloran. The romantic comedy, following a Young Will Shakespeare through the trials and tribulations of writer’s block in a tale of romance, mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and back stage antics.

The Howard Family Stage brings two innovative new productions to the stage:

Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, running June 28 – August 11, 2019.
Co-created and co-directed by Johnna Wright and Rohit Chokhani (Artistic Director, Diwali in BC) the play is set in India during the waning days of British occupation and sparked with south-Asian music and dance.

and

Coriolanus, running August 20 – September 15, 2019?Bard on the Beach’s first production of Coriolanus, directed by Dean Paul Gibson, is a no-holds-barred political tragedy perfectly fitting for our present political climate.

Says Bard Artistic Director Christopher Gaze: “Our 30th Season is designed to be a delight for patrons, old and new. We’ve programmed entertaining options for all, from the most loyal Shakespeare fans to those who’ve never experienced a play at Bard before.”

Advance sales of 2019 Bard Season Packs are now on sale, offering a substantial discount on tickets for all four productions. Just $159 per Pack until September 4, then Season Packs rise to $179. ?Flex Packs will go on sale in November, with single tickets following in early April, 2019.
Order Season Packs online now at bardonthebeach.org or by phone from the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559.

There’s more than just Shakespeare at Bard on the Beach

Last night Chor Leoni’s Mane Event at Bard on the Beach filled the mainstage tent with the sounds of music.

The perfect way to wrap up the Canada Day weekend, the Lions brought to stage a varied selection of songs including a taste of Canadiana including iconic hits by Tragically Hip,  Ian & Sylvia Tyson along with Quebecois and Maritime folk faves and the touching Gimikwenden Ina from the Indigenous musical Children of God. In the second act, the men of Chor Leoni really let loose and ramp up the fun with the pop and Broadway hits.  Rob McAllister’s colourful costumes add to the comedic flare pop and Broadway hits.  Even Bollywood makes a showing too, really highlighting Ariana Barer’s choreography. Meghan Trainor’s Me Too, a Lady Gaga/Madonna mash-up Born To Express Yourself This Way, and Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling brings out the Trolls (not the internet type), to wrap up the feel good show.

This year’s Mane Event was the 25th and final Chor Leoni show at Bard on the Beach but it is just one of the many special events Bard on the Beach hosts each summer.  In addition to the plays in repertoire; Macbeth, As You Like It, Timon of Athens & Lysistrata, this year also features;

Bard-B-Q & Fireworks July 28, August 1 & 4 | 5:30pm & 6pm*
See As You Like It or Timon of Athens* followed by a salmon barbecue from Emelle’s Catering. Visit the PIXSTAR Photobooth, take in the award-winning Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band and more, before enjoying a private view of the spectacular Celebration of Light fireworks.

 Family Nights July 24 & August 21 | 6pm
A perfect night for the whole family! Geared for ages 6 and up, this special evening is filled with family-friendly activities. Arrive at the Village early for the PIXSTAR Photobooth, face painting, food truck, an exclusive pre-show talk designed just for kids and more. Then enjoy a performance of the Bard/Beatles musical-comedy mash-up As You Like It. 

Operas & Arias: Bold and Beautiful August 27 & September 3 | 2pm & 7:30pm (both days)
Join the UBC Opera Ensemble and members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra for a costumed concert performance. Drawn from a set of best-loved operas, the programme will include favourite selections from La TraviataLa BohèmeDie Fledermausand more. Bard Artistic Director Christopher Gaze hosts all performances, presented on the BMO Mainstage. 

For more information on these and all the other special events, education and speakers at Bard On The Beach visit bardonthebeach.org/special-events

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