To our Bard Family, Friends, Supporters and the Community at Large

April 6, 2020

Bard on the Beach has been presenting theatre in Vancouver’s Vanier Park for thirty summers, where we’ve welcomed almost 2 million patrons since 1990. In recent months we had become increasingly excited about launching our plans for our 31st Season.

But then we entered into these unpredictable and unprecedented times. Our Bard team actively shifted its focus to explore any and all ways our 2020 Festival might be safely presented in a world that has been so deeply disrupted by COVID-19.

It became clear to us that if we staged a Festival in the Park this summer, we couldn’t confidently ensure the health and well-being of our community – our patrons, artistic Company, staff and seasonal workers, volunteers, partners and more – in short, the more than 100,000 people who would gather together at our site and in turn, be in contact with the greater community. Our first and constant priority must be a safe and healthy space for all.

Because of this, we made the difficult and distressing decision to cancel our 31st Season.

It hurts to think about the lost opportunities for our theatre artists and administrative and production teams, and the loss of the Festival environment that brings so much joy to our patrons, followers and friends. But we believe we have made the most responsible choice under the circumstances.

Here is Christopher Gaze, the founder and Artistic Director of our organization, with his thoughts on the decision and what comes next.

If you have purchased 2020 tickets, Season and Flex Packs: you can choose from a range of options including 2021 credits, donation opportunities and refunds; full details are here. We know that the cancellation of our season will strike a significant blow to Bard’s financial health. We hope you will decide to support our organization in these troubled times, to help ensure we can bring you entertaining and powerful theatre in our 2021 Season and beyond.

Bard on the Beach in 2021

For our 2021 Season, we’re pleased to be able to tell you that we intend to bring you the plays we’d programmed for our 2020 Festival: they are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Paradise Lost by Erin Shields. Each production is based on a unique and original vision and we’re committed to bringing those visions to life next summer. We’ll bring you more details about our 2021 programming in the months to come.

We’re also excited about the innovative new ways we’ll be entertaining and connecting with you in the meantime; be sure to visit our website often and subscribe to our E-News for details on upcoming Education programs and opportunities, exclusive virtual events and activities for our Members, online content to take you behind the scenes of the Festival and all things Shakespeare, and more.

For now, we salute and say thank you to all the organizations and individuals who have been working alongside us to present a 2020 Season. They include our sponsors, donors, business partners, and all our valued supporters including the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council and the City of Vancouver Cultural Services, as well as the Vancouver International Wine Festival which is our charitable benefactor.

And to all those who value and love our Festival; we pledge to bring you a vibrant and exciting season in 2021. We will all work together to bring it to life, for the benefit and joy of us all, as Bard’s tents return to Vanier Park next summer and beyond.