Romeo and Juliet
August 3 – September 24 · Howard Family Stage
Shakespeare spins a tragic and timeless story of two young people who fall deeply in love, in spite of a bitter feud that divides their families. Their passion – and Juliet’s courage – never fail to move and inspire us. And today more than ever, the play’s “two households alike in dignity” are a powerful reminder that with love, even the world’s greatest wounds can be healed. This production, in a classical setting, casts new light on Juliet’s experience.
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” – Juliet
Directed by Anita Rochon (Cymbeline, 2014)
Photo Credit: Daniel Fong as Romeo & Ghazal Azarbad as Juliet Photo & Image Design: Emily Cooper
Note: Cast assignments subject to change
Cinematography & Video Editing by The Art Left
The play begins as Juliet Capulet wakes up from a deep, drugged sleep. She is in a burial vault and her beloved Romeo is dead. She pieces together the events that have led to this moment, and we experience what has happened through her eyes…
The action begins in Verona where two families, the Capulets and the Montagues, are deeply divided. A street fight breaks out between the two households’ servants. The Prince arrives and declares that the punishment for any further fighting will be death. This same Prince, named Paris, wants to marry Juliet. He tells her mother, Lady Capulet, and she invites him to a party at their house that evening to meet her daughter.
The Montagues have a son, Romeo. Romeo tells his cousin Benvolio that he’s terribly sad because he’s in love with a young woman named Rosaline, who does not love him back. Romeo and Benvolio know about the Capulet party and that Rosaline is going to be there. They aren’t invited but they decide to go anyway; since it’s a masked party, they won’t be recognized as Montagues.
Romeo gets into the party, sees Juliet, and they instantly fall in love. But then Juliet’s cousin Tybalt recognizes Romeo and is furious that a Montague is at a Capulet party. Lady Capulet stops Tybalt from starting a fight, but Tybalt vows revenge on Romeo. Romeo slips away from the party and hides in the Capulet family orchard. He sees Juliet looking out from a high window. They declare their love and agree to get married the next day.
The couple plans their secret wedding. Romeo gets help from Friar Laurence, and Juliet’s Nurse helps her. Just after the ceremony, Tybalt sees Romeo again and challenges him to a fight. Romeo says no: since he and Juliet are now married, he sees Tybalt as family. But Mercutio decides to fight Tybalt in Romeo’s place. Romeo tries to stop the fight, but Tybalt kills Mercutio. In a rage, Romeo immediately fights and kills Tybalt. Prince Paris arrives on the scene and banishes Romeo from Verona.
Romeo and Juliet say goodbye and Romeo leaves Verona. Then Juliet’s mother tells her that she has to marry Prince Paris in just a few days. When Juliet refuses, Lady Capulet threatens to disown her. Juliet asks for help from Friar Laurence, who gives her a potion that causes a deep sleep that looks like death. The plan is simple: Juliet will take the potion, appear dead, and be placed in the family tomb. Friar Laurence will write to Romeo so that Romeo can be there when Juliet wakes up, and the couple can run away to Mantua to wait until a time when everyone will welcome them back.
Juliet takes the potion and is placed into the tomb, and we are back where the play began.
Many of you attending this performance today are already aware that Juliet and Romeo die at the end of the play. And if you didn’t know that going into the show, you will find out within the first few lines: “A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life”. What opportunity is created when staging such a well-known play that reveals its famous ending before the audience has even gotten settled in? This question led me towards a telling of the story that begins at the end. We find Juliet in the tomb, awakening from a poisoned stupor, only to discover that her secret plan has gone horribly awry. She then reassembles the events that led her to this moment, so we are seeing all the action through her eyes – moments she remembers and incidents she would have heard about. The crypt and the things that fill it are the backdrop for her imaginings.
Experiencing this familiar story from Juliet’s perspective puts some things into sharper focus – like her relationship with her family – and asks us to consider what it would be like to be a young woman in this society. We broaden the scope of who-plays-what on stage in the representation of love in many forms: between a parent and their child, between childhood friends, between a mentor and a pupil, between a young woman and her nurse and, of course, between two young people who just met. The original script is still our map, but sometimes we will take a different path to get where the story is going.
I am grateful to work alongside this group of artists, administrators and technicians in this season that sees us back in the tents after a long absence. Some of the finest actors in Canada work at Bard on the Beach and this production intentionally puts the focus on the versatility of the performers. Live singing and overt theatricality mark this return to the stage.
The past few years of living under the shadow of death make us strange bedfellows with the characters in this play. We know how their story ends, and in a way, we know how all our stories will end. The way we get there is where the mystery begins.
– Anita Rochon, Director | April 2022
Critics & Patrons Say
“Anita Rochon’s directing genius presents a riveting performance, that keeps the audience enthralled throughout. The acting is captivating, adding fresh, natural lines and behaviours that really connect in their realism with the audience.”Christian Steckler, Review Vancouver
“Spectacular staging of Romeo and Juliet. A most enjoyable evening. 5 STARS all the way.”Barrie Mowatt, Founder and Director, Vancouver Biennale
“The offstage star of this production is Joelysa Pankanea whose ‘music’ makes this production remarkable. Scene changes are rung in with characters ringing hand bells – like the school bells of yore, and hand chimes that look a little like bongs and sound like a cross between a bell and an organ. It is simply beautiful – simple and beautiful. Solemn. Contemplative. Meditative. Zen.”Jo Ledingham Theatre Reviews
“Sunday matinee’s production of Romeo and Juliet was the best production I’ve seen in recent memory. The staging, the bells, and certainly the delivery were outstanding. I wept several times, so moved by the beautiful lines feelingly delivered.”Rebecca, Bard Patron
“Whether you’ve seen a version of Romeo and Juliet once or dozens of times, this production at Bard on the Beach will surely be at the top of your list of favourites.”On The List (Jayminter.com)
Cast & Creative Team
Anita is returning to Bard on the Beach after directing Cymbeline in 2014. She co-artistic directs The Chop in Vancouver with Emelia Symington Fedy, a company that produces original work and tours nationally and internationally. Anita has directed at The Shaw Festival, Electric Company Theatre, Theatre Replacement, Belfry Theatre, Globe Theatre and Vancouver opera. She is a recipient of the Ray Michal Prize, the Siminovitch Protégé prize and a Mayor’s Arts Award.
Born in Mashhad, Iran and raised in Vancouver, Ghazal is an actor and creator whose select theatre credits include Bunny (The Search Party); East Van Panto (Theatre Replacement); Being Here: The Refugee Story (Belfry); The Seagull and Innocence Lost (Soulpepper); Shakespeare in Love (Bard); and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Arts Club). TV/Film credits include Float (Lionsgate); Charmed (CW); and Kim’s Convenience (CBC). She is the writer/creator of Dear Konstantin (Spotify) and Tãrof (currently in process).
Daniel is a Chinese/Ukrainian performer born and raised in Moh-kíns-tsis (Calgary) in the Treaty 7 region of Alberta and he is thrilled to make his Bard on the Beach debut. Select stage credits: A Christmas Carol (Theatre Calgary); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Rosebud Theatre); US (The Globe); The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Fortune Falls, and The Circle (Alberta Theatre Projects). Daniel got married during the rehearsals of Romeo and Juliet and it had a much nicer ending!
This is Jennifer’s twentieth season with Bard and was last seen as Kate and Queen Elizabeth I. Raised on a ranch in Midway, BC, she received her BFA in Acting from UVic. A Jessie Award recipient, her theatre work has taken her across Canada, the USA, Scotland and Israel. Vancouver is her home with her husband, Haig Sutherland, and her son, Stuart. She is grateful to have spent much of her career under the tents at Vanier Park doing what she loves, acting and gardening.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Andrew has been working in theatre, film and television for the past 20 years. Theatre has taken him across Canada, to Europe and the UK. Some recent theatre credits include Buffoon, Noises Off, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Boeing-Boeing, One Man, Two Guvnors, Misery, and Mustard. Select film and television credits include being murdered and blown up in all sorts of locally filmed shows and movies. Your kids may have heard him as some pony, robot or alien in one of their cartoons. Andrew is a graduate of Studio 58.
Ishan is an actor and writer from India. He currently resides on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories belonging to the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. He is a graduate of UBC's BFA Acting and BA Economics program. Selected theatre credits: Men Express Their Feelings (Zee Zee); The Triumph of Love (Western Gold Theatre); Commedia Dell’arte, The Wars, and The Changeling (UBC); and The Here and This and Now (United Players).
Sara is excited to be back at Bard for their second season. As an award-winning multidisciplinary queer artist, Sara works as a performer, singer-songwriter, sound designer, producer, creator and writer. Select acting credits include Coriolanus (Bard on the Beach); Fun Home (Arts Club); Poly Queer Love Ballad (co-created with Anais West); Circle Game (Firehall Arts Centre); and Love Bomb (shameless hussy productions). Sara was given the 2020 CAEA Stage West - Equity Emerging Theatre Artist Award. saravickruck.ca
Angus is a Hong Konger-Canadian artist based in Vancouver, BC, on the unceded traditional Indigenous territories. He graduated from Studio 58 this spring and is incredibly excited and grateful to be working with the Bard family for the first time. Some recent acting credits include East Van Panto: Alice in Wonderland (Theatre Replacement) and The Rocky Horror Show (Studio 58). Special thanks to his dearest Mama, little hater, and friends. Glory to God!
Third season. Bard: Shakespeare in Love, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Elsewhere: Productions with Green Thumb, Pi, Carousel, Electric Company, ITSAZOO, Kokoro, Citadel, Banff Centre, Blue Bridge, Chemainus Theatre, Theatre NorthWest, Belfry, Persephone, Patrick Street, Kaleidoscope, SNAFU, 21 cabarets with Atomic Vaudeville and three seasons at the Stratford Festival. Film and TV: Lost Ollie, Supernatural, Siren, Reboot: The Guardian Code, Raf (TIFF 2019 Premiere) and two seasons of Android Employed. Voiceover: Mikko the Yeti in Flash Party.
Anita is happy to join Bard for the first time in this beautiful story. She has performed for many theatres including the Arts Club, The Belfry, Thousand Islands Playhouse (Ontario), Western Canada Theatre, Theatre Northwest, Chemainus Theatre Festival, Center Theatre (Chicago), Stage One and Kentucky Shakespeare Festival (Louisville, KY). Most recently: Mother of the Maid (Pacific Theatre, 2020 Jessie Award nominee) and White Noise (Firehall/Savage Society). Recent TV: Riverdale, Supergirl, The Good Doctor. For C.
Pam started with Bard in 1998 and was instrumental in designing the Bard Village and entranceway. Bard credits include Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, King John, Richard II, Titus Andronicus, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Richard III, As You Like It, All’s Well that Ends Well, Coriolanus, and Done/Undone. Pam has received several Jessie Awards, as well as a GVPTA Career Achievement Award.
Originally from Mexico, Carmen is a Latinx artist who earned her MFA degree in Theatre Design at UBC (2010) and has lived in the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver) since 2006. Some of her recent design credits were seen in companies such as the Arts Club, Bard on the Beach, Globe Theatre Regina, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Citadel, Electric Company, Milwaukee Rep, and Chicago Shakespeare. Carmen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria. She is also a recipient of three Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. carmenalatorre.com
Sophie is an award-winning lighting and set designer working in theatre, opera and dance. She has worked with companies including Stratford Festival, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Electric Company Theatre, Arts Club Theatre, Bard on the Beach, Citadel Theatre, Theatre Replacement, and more. Recent credits: Do you mind if I sit here? (Theatre Replacement); Being Here: The Refugee Project (Belfry Theatre); The Rez Sisters (Stratford Festival); and At the Statue of Venus (City Opera). www.sophieyufeitang.com
Composer & Musical Director
Originally from Kenya, East Africa, Joelysa is a multi-award-winning composer based in Vancouver, BC, and a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in composition, musical direction and sound design. Her music has been featured in multiple theatre productions, short and feature films, as well as chamber orchestras and choirs. In the realm of theatre, Joelysa has composed dozens of theatre shows, multiple large-scale musicals and sound designs. www.joelysa.com.
Jonathan Hawley Purvis
Jonathan is a fight director, actor, choreographer and stunt performer. Select fight direction credits include As You Like It, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, and Shakespeare in Love (Bard on the Beach); As You Like It (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Milwaukee Rep); Antony and Cleopatra, The Three Musketeers, Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet (St. Lawrence Shakespeare); The Silver Arrow, Shakespeare In Love, West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet, The Penelopiad, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Citadel Theatre); and I Am For You (Concrete Theatre). www.jonathanpurvis.com
Lisa is honoured to be joining Bard this year as a committed advocate for equity, safety and consent-based work from rehearsal hall to the stage. Lisa apprenticed with Intimacy Directors International before completing her certification with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators. Her Intimacy work has appeared at Pacific Theatre, Firehall Arts Centre, Urban Ink and Gateway Theatre. Lisa also works as an actor, choreographer and producer. She is a graduate of Studio 58.
Head Voice & Text Coach
Bard’s Head Voice & Text Coach, Alison has coached over forty productions for the festival since 2007. She is a voice specialist in the Drama Department at the University of Alberta, and she taught for five years with the Citadel Banff Professional Theatre Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts. As a speech trainer, she has worked with academics at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, and with immigrant and refugee women at the Vancouver Chapter of The Shoe Project. With three decades of professional acting experience, Alison has numerous film and television credits, and is a well-known voiceover artist. She holds a M.F.A. in Theatre from the University of British Columbia, and Associate Diploma in Drama & Speech from Trinity College London. www.alisonmatthews.com
Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg
This is Tara’s ninth collaboration with Bard. An award-winning creator, choreographer, performer and Artistic Director of Tara Cheyenne Performance, Tara is known for her unique hybrid of dance, comedy and theatre. When not creating innovative movement for theatre companies, she performs full-length solos and ensemble works internationally, including Body Parts, bANGER, Goggles, Highgate, Porno Death Cult, and How to Be. Originally from Calgary, Tara now lives here with her family, on the unceded territory of the xwməθkwəəm, səl̓ ílwətaʔɬ, and Swwú7mesh Úxwumixw. taracheyenne.com
Jenny's previous credits at Bard include Coriolanus (Rehearsal ASM), As you Like it, Macbeth, Shylock (App.SM). Recent Stage Management credits: The Mountaintop (Pacific Theatre), No Child (Arts Club), Act of Faith, SEQUENCE (Realwheels Production), and I Cannot Lie To The Stars That Made Me (Frank Theatre), Assistant Stage Management credits: Bad Parent (vAct, Soulpepper Theatre, PTE), Cipher, SWEAT (Arts Club), Peter Pan (CTYP), China Doll (Gateway Theatre), and Circle Game: Reimagining the Music of Joni Mitchell (Arts Club/Firehall Arts Centre). She graduated from UBC with a BFA Theatre Production & Design. Love and thanks to her family and friends for their everlasting support.
Assistant Stage Manager
Jenn has had the pleasure of working in a range of backstage roles: ASM, Production Manager and Technical Director. She has done multiple seasons with Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto and at Caravan Farm Theatre, and several shows with Electric Company. This is Jenn’s eighth season with Bard on the Beach. She studied at Studio 58 and just completed her Masters degree at UBC. She is a member of CAEA.
Apprentice Stage Manager
Jessica is very excited to be joining the Bard team this year with Romeo and Juliet. Since graduating from Bishop’s University with a degree in drama and business management in 2020, Jessica was the apprentice stage manager for The Twelve Dates of Christmas and Made in Italy (Arts Club), and stage manager for Quelqu’un t’aime Monsieur Hatch (Axis Theatre). She’d like to thank her friends and family for their constant support, and hopes you enjoy the show!
Lighting Design Assistant
Harika is a lighting and projection designer, graduated from UBC’s Theatre Design and Production Program. Lighting designs include Tuck Everlasting (Arts Umbrella); Mom’s the Word (Theatre NorthWest); So Damn Proud (Holy Crow Arts); Done/Undone (Bard on the Beach); and Madama Butterfly (Burnaby Lyric Opera). Assistant lighting design: Bad Parent (vAct, LD: Gerald King). Projection designs: Irreparable Harm? (Heart of the City Festival); and Chimerica and ENRON (United Players). harikaxu.com
Set Design Assistant
Ryan is returning for his second season at Bard. He is a graduate of the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University and later studied set and costume design at the National Theatre School of Canada. Design credits include A Shakesperience (Bard on the Beach); Mr. Burns (DSDM); If/Then and Bring It On! (QMT); and Christina, The Girl King (5th Co). Assistant Designer: Done/Undone (Bard on the Beach), Kinky Boots (Arts Club), and Actually and The Great Divide (Harold Green/Obsidian).
Costume Design Assistant
Alaia is a theatre designer and artist located in Vancouver, BC. Recent projects include costume design on HMS Pinafore and Carmen: Up Close and Personal (Vancouver Opera); Beneath Springhill, The Birds and the Bees, and assistant costume design for Sweat and The Humans (Arts Club); and assistant costume design for Coriolanus, The Taming of the Shrew, and Macbeth (Bard on the Beach). Alaia is a graduate of the UBC Theatre Design program in 2017 and holds an English Literature degree from 2012.
Born in the Fiji Islands and raised in Coquitlam, Sereana received her BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta. Select credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pericles, and The Winter’s Tale (Bard on the Beach); You Will Remember Me (Ruby Slippers); Valley Song (Gateway); Clybourne Park (Citadel); and Gross Misconduct (SpeakEasy). Most recently she assistant directed Hey Viola! (WCT), which is currently touring across Canada. When not onstage she is a full time Mum to Eli and Tevita.
Kelsey Kanatan Wavey
Kelsey (they/them) is a theatre artist currently based in so-called Vancouver, from Treaty 1 Winnipeg, and member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation. Kelsey attended Studio 58 and has been working primarily as an actor since graduation, but is also a playwright, director and associate producer at Savage Society.