Directed by Nigel Shawn Williams • June 22 – September 16 • Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre
A deeply fascinating study in contrasts, Shakespeare’s timeless drama, set this season in modern-day Venice, exposes the consequences of how we treat outsiders in our midst. Portia and Bassanio discover true love but the merchant Antonio and the moneylender Shylock are driven by prejudice and the craving for revenge, as they move ever closer to a devastating judgement day.
Advisory: Contains disturbing content.
The Merchant of Venice is approximately 2hrs 30mins including intermission.
Photo & Image Design: David Cooper and Emily Cooper
View Season Schedule →Upcoming Performances
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Videos & Photos
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
Directed by Nigel Shawn Williams
© Bard on the Beach. Not for public download.
Video: Bombshelter Productions
Sound: Patrick Pennefather
More info at bardonthebeach.org
Critics & Patrons Say
This is an intelligent, moving production. See it, consider it, discuss it.Tova Kornfeld, Jewish Independent
I have lived here for 25 years and always wanted to come to Bard. My 16 year old daughter asked to go this year, we saw Merchant of Venice last Sunday and now we are hooked.Bard patron
This production is set in present-day Venice. At a street café in the Rialto, Bassanio, heir to a textile company, confides to his friend, Antonio, that he is broke. He wants to marry Portia, a wealthy heiress, and hopes to borrow some money so he can properly woo her. Antonio, a successful merchant, explains his fortune is tied up in offshore ventures. He suggests Bassanio approach Shylock, a local moneylender, and offers to secure the bond.
Bassanio and Antonio meet with Shylock, who agrees to a three-month loan with one condition: if the bond is not repaid on time, Antonio will owe Shylock a pound of his flesh. Antonio agrees to the terms.
At her Belmont home, Portia talks with Nerissa, her chief of staff, about her predicament; she is obligated to marry the man who succeeds in a high-stakes task ordered by her deceased father. A messenger reports that a suitor from Venice is making his way to Belmont. Nerissa secretly hopes it is Bassanio.
Back in Venice, Bassanio prepares to leave for Belmont with his friend, Gratiano. Meanwhile, Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, runs away from home with her father’s jewels and money to elope with Lorenzo, a man she knows Shylock would reject as a husband.
In Belmont, Portia entertains two princes at her residence. Each fails the required assignment. Bassanio arrives at Portia’s home and successfully completes the task, thus winning her hand. They soon fall in love and marry. Gratiano and Nerissa also have feelings for each other and get married. Portia and Nerissa give their husbands rings as bonds of their love; the men vow never to give the rings away.
Lorenzo, Jessica and their friend, Saleria, appear at Belmont with news that Antonio has defaulted on Shylock’s bond. Bassanio and Gratiano immediately set out for Venice with money from Portia to repay the loan. Portia and Nerissa follow without their husbands’ knowledge, leaving Lorenzo and Jessica behind to mind the estate.
At the courthouse in Venice, the Duke of Venice presides over Shylock’s case against Antonio. Portia and Nerissa enter the courtroom disguised as Balthazar, a young lawyer, and his clerk. As Balthazar, Portia uncovers loopholes in Shylock’s case and proves he has no legal standing to claim his penalty.
Prejudice, the strangle hold of patriarchy, and the impact of one’s choices come face to face as this story concludes. Truths are revealed and all must face the consequences of their actions.
Cast & Creative Team
Kate BesworthSolania | Beatrice
Solania | Beatrice
Hello everyone! During the past 28 years, I’ve played a Childlike Empress (YPT/Roseneath), a teenaged genius (Shaw Festival/Mirvish), the alive and deceased Emily Webb (Shaw Festival), and Macduff (Utah Shakespearean Festival), just to name my favourites. I heartily anticipate adding a gossipy stockbroker (The Merchant of Venice) and a daring damsel in drag (The Two Gentlemen of Verona) to my list after Bard this year. Thank you for coming to see theatre!
This is Andrew’s third season with Bard on the Beach. Recent credits include Roderigo, Othello and Costard, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Bard on the Beach); Alfie, One Man, Two Guvnors and Patsy, Spamalot (Arts Club); Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Centipede, James and the Giant Peach (Carousel Theatre). He is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts. @AndrewCownden
Edward is proud and excited to be joining the Company for the 2017 season. Film & TV credits include Zoo; Once Upon a Time; Supernatural; The Killing; and Super Monsters. Stage credits include The Country Wife (ETC); The Kursk (Matrix); and Beauty and the Beast (Empire). He has trained and performed on stage and screen internationally and is a graduate of the University of Southern Queensland. Thanks to family, friends and Railtown.
Delighted to talk about himself in the third person, Charlie is thrilled to return for his fifth season at Bard. Most recently seen in Toronto’s new, award-winning Shakespeare company, Groundling Theatre, Charlie also starred at the Shaw Festival for four seasons and has performed across Canada at The Winter Garden, RMTC, Citadel, Vancouver Playhouse, Arts Club, and Belfry. Charlie moonlights as a musician, dancer, writer, director, filmmaker, and has several Film/TV credits. He is a graduate of Studio 58.
This is Olivia’s first season at Bard and she is thrilled to be joining the company. Credits: Jill, Elbow Room Café: The Musical (Zee Zee Theatre/The Cultch) and Nina, Still/Falling, a Jessie Award–winning play on its third North American tour (Green Thumb Theatre/Young People’s Theatre). Awards and nominations: Jessie Award nominee for Outstanding Performance in TYA for Nina, Still/Falling; Antony Holland Scholarship recipient (Studio 58); and nominee for The Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Beginners Artist Grant. Training: Studio 58.
This is Luisa’s seventh season with Bard. Favourite roles: Emilia, Othello; Marina, Pericles; Dromio of Syracuse, The Comedy of Errors; Rosaline, Love’s Labour’s Lost; Trincula, The Tempest; and Celia, As You Like It. Luisa is a Senior Bard Teaching Artist, and is Program Director of the True Voice Theatre Project, a community theatre program in the DTES, for which she was nominated for a 2016 YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Award in Arts, Culture and Design.
Warren was born in South Africa and trained at the RADA in London. He has performed extensively in the UK, Europe, and South Africa. Warren has performed locally as Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof; Dad, Billy Elliot; Javert, Les Misérables; Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady; Mr. Banks, Mary Poppins; Dan, Next to Normal; and as Mitch, Tuesdays with Morrie. Warren is thrilled to be making his debut with Bard. More about Warren than anyone requires is at warrenkimmel.com.
Paul Moniz de SáBalthazar | Prince of Aragon | Tubal
Paul Moniz de Sá
Balthazar | Prince of Aragon | Tubal
Bard credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, Macbeth and Pericles. Paul is a Jessie Award–winner for his work in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Overcoat. On-camera credits include the role of the evil giant, Meatdripper, in Spielberg’s The BFG; Timeless; Shut Eye; The Flash; Once Upon a Time in Wonderland; Motive; and The Killing. Paul is the Artistic Director of Theatre and Music at Arts Umbrella and is a graduate of Studio 58.
Chirag NaikLorenzo | Messenger
Lorenzo | Messenger
Chirag is a Vancouver-based actor who has worked with theatre companies across Canada. He is thrilled to be back with Bard for his third season! Recently he has expanded into film work in Vancouver which inspired him to work on writing, producing, and eventually acting in his own web series Life is a Dream. Chirag is a graduate of Studio 58 where he received the Sydney J. Risk Award for Outstanding Skills in Acting.
Born and raised in India, Adele has worked in various capacities with a number of theatre companies throughout Vancouver. Recent stage credits include Brothel #9 (Touchstone Theatre); Walt Whitman’s Secret (frank theatre); The Dining Room (Western Gold); Jabber (Manitoba Theatre for Young People); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest (Bard). TV credits include The Flash, Supernatural, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, iZombie and Minority Report.
Kamyar was born and raised in Vancouver. Recent credits include Tom, The Piano Teacher and Tony, The Men in White (Arts Club); Pericles, Pericles and Lodovico, Othello (Bard); Ernest Simpson, Diamond, Bertie, and Espil, The Duchess (Ruby Slippers); Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet; and Jud Fry, Oklahoma! (Studio 58, Ovation Award–winner - Best Supporting Actor). He is the recipient of the Lloyd Nicholson Memorial Scholarship and the Koerner Arts Award. Kamyar is a graduate of Studio 58.
Nadeem PhillipPrince of Morocco | Duke of Venice
Prince of Morocco | Duke of Venice
Nadeem attended Ryerson Theatre School where he trained with Ian Watson of the Stratford Conservatory. His first acting job was with The Classical Theatre Project, touring Shakespeare for teen audiences across North America. Selected theatre: The Men in White (Arts Club); My Ocean (Vancouver Fringe); Movements No. 1&2 (Babelle); Never The Last (Delinquent); Doost (Neworld); and Cock (Rumble). Film/TV: Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg), Americanistan (Landed Entertainments), and Android Employed (TELUS). www.nadeemphillip.com
Carmela SisonLeonarda | Jessica
Leonarda | Jessica
Carmela was born in Manila and raised on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. Select theatre credits: Sultans of the Street (Carousel); Dead Metaphor (Firehall); Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Calgary); Are We There Yet? (Concrete); Jailbait (NLT); and Cowboy Versus Samurai (Chromatic). Select TV: The Flash, iZombie (CW), and Zoo (CBS). Carmela is a graduate of the BFA Acting program, UofA. Gratitude to family, friends, Nigel, Scott, and Chris. @rapsberryshake
Nigel Shawn WilliamsDirector
Nigel Shawn Williams
Nigel is a four-time Dora Mavor Moore Award– winner as an actor and director, with numerous nominations for MECCA and Betty Mitchell Awards. His theatre credits include five seasons at Stratford and four seasons at Shaw, as well as performances in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. Nigel is also heavily involved in new play development and has helped develop over 40 new plays in Canada. He is also an educator, having worked at the National Theatre School, York University and the University of Windsor. He has been, and continues to mentor young and emerging artist through the difficult transition from training schools to professional life.
Drew FaceyCostume Designer
Drew has been designing sets and costumes for opera and theatre over the past 10 years. Recent highlights include Me & My Girl (Shaw Festival); The Marriage of Figaro (Vancouver Opera); Bonjour, la, Bonjour (Théâtre la Seizième); The Comedy of Errors (Western Canada); Onegin (Arts Club); Das Ding (Can Stage); and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Bard). Drew is the recipient of 13 Jessie Awards for Outstanding Design and 28 nominations. He is a graduate of Studio 58. www.drewfacey.com
Marshall McMahenScenic Designer
Marshall is returning for his second season with Bard, after designing Love’s Labour’s Lost and Shakespeare’s Rebel in 2015. His sets have also been seen at Urban Ink, Arts Club, Electric Company, Pacific Opera Victoria, Theatre Replacement, Gateway, Western Canada, Carousel, Green Thumb, and Caravan Farm Theatre. He is the recipient of a 2014 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, a Jessie Award, and three Ovation Awards. He is a graduate of UBC, and a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.
Adrian MuirLighting Designer
Adrian returns for his sixth season at Bard. Recent local credits: The Men in White and Good People (Arts Club Theatre); Brothel #9 and How to Survive an Apocalypse (Touchstone Theatre); East Van Pantos: Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood (Theatre Replacement/The Cultch). Adrian is honoured to have received multiple Jessie Awards for Lighting Design and is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada. He also teaches in the Production program at Studio 58.
Patrick PennefatherSound Designer
This is Patrick’s fifth production designing sound for Bard. He is an award-winning composer and designer and has worked on over 500 productions in Canada, the USA, China and Europe. He continues to design sound for live theatre, and teaches and facilitates workshops at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, Canada.
Conor MooreProjection Designer
Conor is a Vancouver-based lighting, set, and projection designer with a Design MFA from UBC. Credits include Hamlet, Falstaff, Henry VI, and Richard III (Bard on the Beach); Bakersfield Mist, Peter and the Starcatcher, Armstrong’s War, and The Patron Saint of Stanley Park (Arts Club Theatre); La Bohème (Vancouver Opera); Señora Carrar’s Rifles and Fourplay (Shaw Festival); and Penelope and Indian Arm (Rumble Theatre). He is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada. www.conormooredesign.ca
Alison MatthewsHead Voice & Text Coach
Head Voice & Text Coach
Alison has been the Voice & Text Coach at Bard since 2009. She teaches at the Citadel Banff Professional Theatre Program and the Arts Club Actor’s Intensive, and adjudicates competitive speech festivals across Western Canada. A professional actor for over 20 years, Alison works in radio, television, and film. Alison holds a MFA (specializing in Voice) from the University of British Columbia, and an Associate Diploma in Drama & Speech from Trinity College London. www.alisonmatthews.com
Josh ReynoldsFight Director
Josh, a graduate of the UBC BFA Acting Program, is an actor, fight director, writer and artist. He has worked for theatre companies: Bard, Carousel, Chemainus, Green Thumb, Rumble, and most recently, Classic Chic Productions. Josh wrote and produced the two- time Jessie Award–nominated play From Parts Unknown…, and has been nominated for two Jessie Awards and a Dora Award for performance and fight direction. Josh also creates multi- disciplinary art under the pseudonym HLFÅS for his website Heelfacade.com.
Joanne P.B. SmithStage Manager
Joanne P.B. Smith
This is Joanne’s sixteenth season with Bard. Stage managing credits include Brothel #9, Demon Voice (Touchstone Theatre); The Rivals, All That Fall (Blackbird Theatre); The Highest Step in the World (Ghost River Theatre); Tiny Music (Jump Current); Any Night (Dual Minds); Moonlight and Magnolias, Copenhagen (Vancouver Playhouse). Nationally toured plays include Where The Blood Mixes (Playhouse/Belfry); Blackbird (Rumble/Theatre Conspiracy); The Black Rider (November Theatre); Revenge (Felix Culpa); The Monument (Felix Culpa/Rumble); Recovery, Soulless, and Hedda Gabler (Rumble).
Ruth BruhnAssistant Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Ruth is a Vancouver-based Stage Manager and graduate of Studio 58. She has worked for companies across Vancouver including Theatre Replacement, Green Thumb Theatre, Neworld, Full Circle: First Nations, Carousel Theatre for Young People, and Gateway Theatre. Ruth was also awarded the 2016 Mayors Arts Award for Emerging Theatre Artist by Jan Hodgson. Ruth would like to thank Joanne, Jenn and Zac for their ongoing kindness and support.
Jennifer StewartApprentice Stage Manager
Apprentice Stage Manager
Jenn has had the pleasure of working in a range of roles: Wardrobe Coordinator, Studies in Motion (Electric Company); Production Manager (Caravan Farm Theatre); Set Designer, Of Mice and Men (Hardline), Selfie (Seizième) and The Competition is Fierce (ITSAZOO); and Props Designer for The Whipping Man (Pacific) and Elbow Room Café: The Musical (Zee Zee). This is her fourth season at Bard. She studied at Studio 58, UBC and the University of Edinburgh.
Wendy BollardDirecting Apprentice
Wendy is a director, producer, jazz vocalist and actor. In 2015 she travelled to London to obtain her Masters in Directing. While there she was chosen to assist on two plays at RADA and to work with Improbable, the world-renowned theatre company. Wendy will spend the summer of 2017 as an apprentice director at Bard on the Beach and direct a newly commissioned play for her theatre company Peninsula Productions to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.