You’re in Athens, Greece circa 487 BC, where you and thousands of other citizens journey to a magnificent amphitheatre to celebrate Dionysus: the God of the grape harvest, wine-making and wine. The theatre festival is free although seating is determined by your social standing. The play you’re watching is not as good as you’d hoped so what do you do? Pick up a stone, food or any nearby object and hurl it the stage! Oh, and feel free to boo and hiss – it’s totally encouraged if the performance is sub-par!
Jumping ahead now some 2000 odd years you’re now in London, England. You don’t have much money but you desperately want to see a play by the hottest playwright in town, a young buck by the name of William Shakespeare. Turns out you can get in with just one penny and stand in the ‘pit’ at the base of the stage. Because of the boisterous, common nature of the crowd, you might want to watch your back; the wealthier patrons, seated above you in the ‘Wooden O’, have been drinking wine merrily and as the evening wears on, have a tendency to dump their full goblets on your poor head. It sucks to be a groundling, but at least you got to see the show!
Fast-forward to the present day and you’ve hopped across the water to a little country called Canada. Word on the street is that theatre festivals, Shakespeare and celebrating wine are all still happening on the west coast in Vancouver! Etiquette has changed a little since your earlier theatre going days: throwing objects at the stage will get you removed from the theatre and dumping a goblet of wine on an unsuspecting fellow patron will… well, let’s just say you wouldn’t try it. The sun is shining, your social-status no longer determines your seat and you sit down to enjoy one of the longest-running relationships in history: wine and theatre!