We are a month away from the opening of the 34th season of Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vanier Park! This summer sees the return of the ‘60s- inspired, Beatles-infused production of As You Like It coming back to the Mainstage. Enjoy Shakespeare blended with The Beatles hits in this romantic comedy conceived and directed by Daryl Cloran (As You Like It, Shakespeare in Love). This record-breaking production was a hit at the Bard box office in 2018 as well as on tour around North America.
“We are delighted to bring back the most successful production in Bard’s history,” says Christopher Gaze, Bard on the Beach Artistic Director. “This glorious musical is filled with tunes beloved of all generations. It will touch a vast range of people and become an inspired gateway into the magic of Shakespeare.”
“From ringside to the middle of the forest, the cast will be performing all The Beatles songs live,” enthuses director Daryl Cloran, who also adapted the work to incorporate the Beatles’ music. “The songs we’ve chosen lend themselves perfectly to the Shakespearean text. The evolution of The Beatles through the ‘60s is reminiscent of the free-spirited journey of the play’s main characters and the social and cultural evolution of Vancouver during that time. Touring this production across Canada and the United States has been incredible but I’m thrilled to return to Vancouver with this hilarious production, where audiences will feel a real connection to the Okanagan.”
As You Like It cast members, returning and new actors, include Henry Beasly, Scott Bellis, Sharon Crandall, Oscar Derkx, Ben Elliott, Alexandra Lainfiesta, Jennifer Lines, Matthew MacDonald-Bain, Andrew McNee, Naomi Ngebulana, Evan Rein, Chelsea Rose, Emma Slipp, Marco Walker-Ng, Andrew Wheeler, and Sally Zori. Understudies for As You Like It are Jennifer Copping, Andrew Cownden, Olivia Hutt, and Matthew Ip-Shaw.
“We have an incredibly talented group of performers who are putting all of their skills to use throughout this production, whether it’s singing, dancing, playing in the band or wrestling” says Cloran. “We’re working with choreographer and fight director Jonathan Purvis to literally bring audiences ringside, with an homage to the excitement of All-Star Wrestling in the ‘60s in Vancouver, including a pre-show wrestling match; then we transform the stage into the forest of the Okanagan. I can almost guarantee that audiences will be leaving the theatre this summer with joy in their hearts after experiencing this blending of Beatles music and Shakespeare’s words.”
Bard on the Beach also has a line up of special events planned for As You Like It, including;
· June 24: Bard Pride Night returns for its second year, which includes early site access for special activities to celebrate Pride with the Bard Family.
· July 1, 2pm: Matinee Patrons seeking a less structured experience are invited to join us for a Relaxed Performance of As You Like It, this performance is also “Pay As You Like.”
· July 16 & August 20: Special pricing and kids’ activities for two matinee performances of As You Like It designated as Family Days, to help encourage a new generation of young theatre patrons to discover Shakespeare and the Sen?á?w/Vanier Park festival experience.
· July 22, 26 & 29 – The Bard Fireworks nights, patrons can enjoy a performance of As You Like It followed by a catered picnic dinner, a performance by Coastal Wolf Pack, and guaranteed, spectacular views of the Celebration of Light.
In addition to As You Like It, the Bard 2023 season features;
Julius Caesar : June 15 – September 24 on the BMO Mainstage
Henry V : June 28 – August 13 on the Howard Family Stage
Goblin: MacBeth : August 19 – September 17 on the Howard Family Stage
Ticket prices for all regular play performances start at $30 CAD and are available now. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection, as many performances sell out in advance. The full performance schedule and event details are on the Bard website at bardonthebeach.org. To book tickets, order online at bardonthebeach.org or by phone at the Bard Box Office at (toll free) 1-877-739-0559.