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.

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.

Chor Leoni brings Mane Event to the tents at Bard

As Bard On The Beach gets underway, Chor Leoni is also readying for its 25th, and final, season performing under the tents at Vanier Park with a new show Mane Event

Chor Leoni Memories of Bard

Mane Event blends the old with the new, folk songs with Broadway, and funk with power ballads in a program guaranteed to thrill you.  At their very first Bard performance, in 1993, the men’s choir premiered a mash-up arrangement by Miles Ramsay that merged Cole Porter’s So In Love with Leonard Bernstein’s Tonight from Westside Story.  For their 25th anniversary this beloved gem returns, along with other favourites culled from their repertoire from years past, including The Impossible Dream, Canadiana MedleyInto the West, and the tongue-twisting Trinque L’amourette. The production isn’t just about looking back at their past, it will include new arrangements including Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes, Try Everything (sung by Shakira in Zootopia), and a high-energy Lady Gaga/Madonna mash up.

Mane Event is the choir’s opportunity to shake out their manes for their 25th and final production at Vancouver’s favourite summer venue. Expect familiar tunes, mind-boggling choreography, over-the-top costumes, and a crackerjack band as the lions close out their season with a wink and a roar.  Add in amazing choreography, fantastic costumes, and a crackerjack band led by Ken Cormier and it’s clear this more than just a concert. 

Chor Leoni Men’s Choir (“choir of lions”) is recognized as one of North America’s premiere ensembles and performs to over 15,000 patrons each year. A local treasure, the choir has been voted Best Local Classical Vocal Ensemble four years in a row by the Georgia Straight readership, and Best Choir in the WestEnder’s Best of City 2017 poll.

MANE EVENT takes place Monday June 25,  and Monday July 2 at 3pm and 8pm in the BMO Mainstage Tent at Bard on the Beach, Vanier Park. Tickets start at $30 online at chorleoni.org

Bard On The Beach supports Young Shakespeareans

With just six weeks until the 2018 Bard on the Beach season opens, registration is open for the return of its annual Young Shakespeareans Summer Theatre Camps and Teen Workshops.  Camp and workshop sessions begin July 3, running through to August 31, 2018, allowing youth from ages 8 to 18 to receive coaching by professional actors from Bard on the Beach, and perform some of Shakespeare’s most beloved works under the famed white tents in Vanier Park.

Shakespeare’s words are read and analyzed in English classrooms around the world, but we often forget a simple fact: These plays were never meant to be studied.” says Mary Hartman, Director of Education. “With Young Shakespeareans we actively and imaginatively introduce growing minds to these plays, giving young people the tools to make these timeless tales their own through performance. It is endlessly inspiring to see the perspective that new generations bring to these stories, and that more than 400 years later, Shakespeare continues to shed light on our lives.”

This season Young Shakespeareans will grow and expand to include The Young Shakespeareans Summer Camps and Workshops consists of 16 distinct sessions, most of which are half-day sessions running for two weeks. This season also introduces, for the first time, full-day options that take participants beyond the world of performance and into production.  The workshops centre around one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays (among 2018 options are HamletRomeo and JulietJulius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and more).  Over the course of the workshop, professional actors from Bard’s company will help participants bring Shakespeare’s words to life through coaching in voice, movement and dialogue, and with activities designed to boost confidence and foster collaborative relationships. Each session culminates with the opportunity for the young thespians to share their work on Bard on the Beach’s Vanier Park stages.

More than simply developing artistic talent and an appreciation of Shakespeare’s work, the summer camps are dedicated to inspiring and nurturing confidence, creativity, and positive social relationships amongst its youth participants. In more than two decades, the program has contributed to the development of thousands of aspiring thespians, including Bard alumni such as Christine Quintana, Rachel Cairns, and Kayla Deorksen.


For registration and full details about Bard on the Beach Young Shakespeareans Summer Theatre Camps and Teen Workshops and its other community initiatives visit:
bardonthebeach.org/education/community/young-shakespeareans.

Bard on the Beach Announces its 2018 Season Line-Up

Bard On The Beach
2017 Bard on the Beach continues until Sep 23

While you still have a few weeks left to get your Shakespeare fix at the 2017 season of Bard on the Beach, continuing until September 23, Artistic Director Christopher Gaze has announced the lineup the Festival’s 2018 season, running from June 6 to September 22, 2018. The 29th season of Vancouver’s Shakespeare festival will include two audience favourites, a provocative reimagining of a rarely-produced drama, as well as a Greek classic, adapted to add a local, contemporary twist.

 The BMO Mainstage hosts an exciting new production of As You Like Itset in Vancouver and filled with Beatles music; on alternate nights a classical production of Shakespeare’s epic drama Macbeth. Across the Bard Village at Vanier Park two new productions will be featured on the Howard Family Stage: Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, redefined with a female-dominated cast, and a Bard-commissioned new adaptation of Lysistrata.

The overviews of the 2018 Bard on the Beach productions are:

As You Like It – It’s the 1960s, and free spirits are escaping from Vancouver to get “back to the land”. This joyful celebration of love features 20 classic Beatles songs from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to “All You Need is Love”. You’ll leave the theatre with a song in your heart and a belief in our shared humanity! Directed by Daryl Cloran, who helmed Bard’s 2015 hit musical production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Macbeth – On a blasted heath in medieval Scotland, three women tell a General that he is fated to be the King of Scotland. The image takes hold in his mind, and so begins a chain of events that leads to the murder of Kings, friends, mothers and their children. Shakespeare’s great study of power and corruption is both terrifying and sublime – and has never been more relevant. Starring leading Canadian actors Ben Carlson and Moya O’Connell and directed by Crow’s Theatre Artistic Director Chris Abraham.

Timon of Athens – Colleen Wheeler stars as Timon, leading an outstanding ensemble of actors in Shakespeare’s exploration of power and greed. A parable for our times, the story is a powerful indictment of capitalism and nihilism. Meg Roe (The Tempest, 2014) directs a production that invites us to think about our place in a shallow world, and to look beyond the wealth of the pocketbook towards the wealth of the heart.

Lysistrata – It is 2018. An environmental threat hangs over Vancouver’s coastline. A company of actors respond by staging Lysistrata, Aristophanes’ outrageous comedic story of the first-ever female strike. First staged in 411 BC, this brand-new adaptation is a glorious, bawdy romp that investigates how humour and art can take their place in the political arena. Directed by Lois Anderson, whose Pericles for Bard in 2016 won her a Jessie Award for Outstanding Direction (Large Theatre).

Season tickets for the 2018 Season of Bard on the Beach are on sale now, with individual tickets and other packages going on sale later in the year.
Visit bardonthebeach.org to purchase or for updates on tickets.

Celebrate Salmon at Pink Salmon Festival – August 27, 2017

Join the Pacific Salmon Foundation for its fifth biennial Pink Salmon Festival this Sunday, August 27th.

Part of the FraserFest series of events celebrating the Fraser watershed this summer, Pink Salmon Festival happens from 12 noon to 4:00pm in Hadden Park across from the Maritime Museum.

Pink salmon are the most sustainable salmon species, yet are traditionally undervalued by the public.  Canadian Fishing Company (CANFISCO) has donated 2000 pounds of pink salmon and executive chefs Robert Clark of The Fish Counter, Garrett Schack from Vista 18 Restaurant in Victoria and barbeque specialist Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk will create a delicious barbeque for everyone to sample the sustainable salmon.

Barbeque will be available by donation with all proceeds supporting wild salmon conservation in British Columbia.  In addition to the barbeque, Pink Salmon Festival will include music, interactive storytelling, educational displays and plenty of free family-friendly activities.  Also join in the English Bay Paddle, $20 per person but no canoe experience is necessary to join in a unique guided paddle around English Bay with 7-16 others on a 34′ Voyageur canoe.

Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Pink Salmon Festival
When: Sunday August 27, noon until 4pm
Where: Hadden Park
Admission: Free to attend, Barbeque by donations, $20 per person for English Bay Paddle.