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

Bard On The Beach 2016 Season on Now

Bard_IMG_9517A sure sign of Summer in the City is when the tents pop up at Vanier Park signalling the start of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival season. Always on the of the best ways to spend a summer evening, Bard on the Beach brings world class Shakespeare performance to the Vancouver waterfront.   The 2016 season is now on with previews of Romeo and Juliet, leading to Opening Night on Friday June 10.

Since 1990 countless performers have taken to the Bard stage and this year will see another troupe of players bringing four more Shakespeare plays to life on the Festival’s two stages; BMO Mainstage and the Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre.

Each stage features two plays in rotation.  Plus throughout the year, Bard On The Beach presents special events and performances.
The 2016 Bard On The Beach Season includes:

BMO Mainstage : 

Romeo & Juliet: directed by Kim Collier, opens June 3
The classic Shakespearian tale of star-crossed lovers from feuding families opens the 2016 Festival

The Merry Wives of Windsor : directed by Johnna Wright, opens June 17
First staged in 2012, The Merry Wives of Windsor returns to the Mainstage bigger and better.  Set in the 1960’s Windsor, Ontario Sir John Falstaff sets out to seduce the Merry Wives to the tune of 60’s popular music.

Howard Family Stage :

Othello : directed by Bob Frazer, opens June 24
Othello tells of battle, betrayal, love and jealousy set amidst the violent upheaval and race relations of the American Civil War.

Pericles : directed by Lois Anderson, opens July 2
The ancient world’s pagan culture finds a tale of family secrets, lost love, new loves and redemption

Special Performances: just some of the special events taking place throughout the season

Talk Back Tuesdays – each Tuesday
Popular free post-performance question and answer sessions with the players

Wine Wednesdays – July 13, August 10, September 7
Intimate pre-show tastings in the Bard Village with a different winemaker each night along with special guests.

Bard-B-Q & Fireworks – July 23, 27 & 30
Enjoy an early performance followed by a salmon bbq and an exclusive view of the Celebration of Lights Fireworks Festival

Choir Leoni – Mane Stages – June 20 & 27 (2 shows each day)
Vancouver’s famed men’s choir takes over the BMO Mainstage on this popular event

Vancouver Symphony at The Bard – July 11 & 18
Enjoy the classic sounds of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under the Bard tents.

Opera and Arias : The Magic Flute – August 29 & September 5 (2 shows each day)
UBC Opera Ensemble bring Mozart’s classic to the Bard stage

Even on regular nights, arrive early and take in all the Bard Village has to offer, browse the shop, grab a glass of wine, explore the history of Bard and enjoy the Vanier Park setting.

For a full line-up of events, showtimes and tickets visit