Bard on the Beach strives to be a more welcoming space where patrons visiting our Festival site at Sen̓áḵw/Vanier Park have more equal access to our productions. We recognize the urgency in addressing the barriers our community faces to full access, respect and representation and are committed to reviewing our programming, physical infrastructure, site, training, and event planning.
We recognize that increasing accessibility is an ongoing process. As we continue to make changes and expand services, we welcome your requests, suggestions, and feedback. Please email us at [email protected].
Physical Access Needs
We’ve taken the following steps to help address physical access barriers to our site and theatres:
We’ve partnered with VocalEye, a Vancouver non-profit that provides live-audio description of the visual elements of a performance. The description is delivered through handheld receivers and headsets to patrons who are blind or have low vision. Contact the Box Office by phone at 604-739-0559 to receive special VocalEye pricing. Our 2023 Performances that include VocalEye are:
As You Like It
Friday, August 11 at 7:30pm
Sunday, August 27 at 2pm*
Wednesday, September 27 at 7:30pm
*With a special post-show touch tour!
Sunday, September 10 at 2pm
Access for Wheelchair and Mobility Aid Users
Both of our tents are accessible by patrons using wheelchairs and mobility aids. If you or anyone in your group have limited mobility, please contact the Box Office at 604-739-0559 to talk to one of our team members about your access needs and to book your seats. Handrails have been installed in our theatre tents, more accessible seating options added to our Village and we have established a Box Office window accessible for patrons who use a wheelchair or a mobility aid.
Both of our tents welcome certified service dogs. Please contact the Box Office at 604-739-0559 to talk to one of our team members to book your seat for yourself and the service dog.
Navigating our Site at Sen̓áḵw/Vanier Park
We’ve widened our site pathways to accommodate patrons using wheelchairs and mobility aids. As well, we’ve installed handrails in our theatre tents, added more accessible seating options to our Village and established a wheelchair accessible Box Office window.
- Note that there is a hill bump as you arrive at our site.
Vancouver Archives Parking Lot, the closest lot to our entrance, is reserved for accessible parking only. Visit Your Festival Experience for more information.
We have 4 accessible portable washrooms and an accessible hand wash station.
Hearing Assistive Listening Systems
Hearing assists are an FM frequency system that enhances the actors’ speech on stage. Any regular (low impedance mono) earphones/headphones can be plugged into the receiver. Please note that our current devices are not compatible with wireless headphones. Neck loops are available for hearing aids that connect to telecoil. All hearing assists include a single wired earbud.
We have 10 hearing assistive devices: six (6) for the BMO Mainstage and four (4) for the Howard Family Stage. If you’d like to borrow one, please ask at the Audience Services desk on the night of your performance. Hearing assists are loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis.
Easy Exit Seats
If you can climb stairs but anticipate that you may need to stand periodically or leave the theatre, you can book an Easy Exit Seat in the Mainstage Theatre Tent. These seats are near the back of the house with a great view of the stage and easy access to an exit. They are marked with an “S” on each performance’s seating plan. These seats can be booked online or over the phone with our Box Office at 604-739-0559.
Our Theatre Seats
Chairs in our accessible seating areas are single chairs without armrests and with seats that do not fold up. Chairs in the rest of the theatre have arm rests and seats that fold up automatically. All the chairs are lightly padded with foam.
Dimensions for both single and interlocking chairs (without armrests):
- Width: 49.5 cm / 19.5 inches
- Top of back to floor: 78.5 cm / 31 inches
- Seat to floor: 45.5 cm / 18 inches
- Our seats can hold up to 272 kg / 600 lbs.
Booster Seats: We have a limited number of booster seats to help with sightlines for any patrons. Please note that these are intended to be used to help with sightlines and may not be effective for easing back pain or for other purposes. If you experience discomfort in your seat during a performance, speak with the Front of House Manager.
A Relaxed Performance offers a more casual environment and approach to live theatre for patrons who may need to move, make noise or exit/enter the theatre during a performance. House capacity is also reduced. A Relaxed Performance may offer a good introductory experience if you’re attending Bard for the first time. Our Relaxed Performance offers Pay-As-You-Like ticket options for reserved seating*.
As You Like It
Saturday, July 1 at 2pm
*Pay-As-You-Like ticket options available for this performance only.
If you need to step out, we have a calm, noise-free space with noise-cancelling headphones available. Please exit out to the Village if you’re feeling distressed or in need of a break and the Front of House Manager will assist you.
Family Days are the perfect opportunity to bring children of any age to the theatre as we do not admit children under the age of 6 to any other performances. The Village will open at 12:30pm, and we offer an array of family-friendly activities such as facepainting, storytelling and more. We embrace a more relaxed approach to the performance on Family Days: audience members who need to move, make noise or exit/enter the theatre are welcome to do so. Contact the Box Office by phone at 604-739-0559 or by email at [email protected] to receive special Family Day pricing for children five (5) years old and younger.
As You Like It
Sunday, July 16 at 2pm
Sunday, August 20 at 2pm
For our Bard Fireworks, we offer an accessible seating area on the dining lawn with reserved tables and front of line access for all patrons who require assistance or consideration. To reserve your accessible table, please inform our Box Office by phone at 604-739-0559 or by email at [email protected].
Community Access Program
We partner with community organizations in order to provide complimentary tickets to groups whose members face barriers to attending our Festival. To learn more about the program and to submit a request, please visit our Community Access Tickets page.
Established by Bard Volunteers in 2009, the Bursary Fund is dedicated to covering the costs of our education programming for those who need support. You can donate to the Bursary or apply for support here. Bursaries are available for individuals and families, and subsidies are available for schools and community organizations.
Additional Educational Initiatives
We welcome participants of all ages, cultural backgrounds, genders, abilities and personalities to be creative, collaborative and courageous as they express themselves through Shakespeare. When registering for programs, you will have the chance to let the Bard Education team know how we can support your access needs. If you have questions, please email our Education team at [email protected]. We will be happy to assist!
Community Access Rentals
Subject to availability, we provide free rentals of our rehearsal halls to many small local non-profit societies, artists, and other organizations facing financial barriers. Our current company in residence is Realwheels Theatre, a professional theatre company based in Vancouver with a mission to create and produce performances that deepen understandings of the disability experience. If interested, please contact us at [email protected] or 604-737-0625.
Access is about options. Learn more about Bard, our site and Village in Sen̓áḵw/Vanier Park and our recommended options to come to the Festival with our Visual Stories.
Access our 2023 Site Visual Story on our website, in a PDF file, or a Word Document at the buttons below.
|Word Document (screen reader friendly)
Access our As You Like It Visual Story in a PDF file or a Word Document at the buttons below.
|Word Document (screen reader friendly)
Working or Volunteering
Bard is committed to providing a safer, more accessible, inclusive and diverse environment. We respect, value and celebrate the diverse experiences of each person and actively encourage everyone to consider joining our team. You can find employment and volunteer opportunities below.
If you have access needs in the application process, please email [email protected] and let us know how we can accommodate them.