Our patrons support Bard on the Beach in many different ways – from buying tickets, to volunteering, to becoming a Member. We are grateful that so many have made Bard a part of their lives. A tangible way of supporting Bard is to dedicate a chair in one of our theatres, affixed with a plaque engraved with a special message on the selected chair. Patrons choose to dedicate their chairs for many reasons – remembering a loved one, celebrating an anniversary or honouring a specific person.
We caught up with a couple of people who have dedicated chairs to find out why they support Bard in this unique way.
Audience member since 1994, Member since 1998, Volunteer since 2002
Bard: Tell us a little bit about the chair dedications you’ve made?
When the new Mainstage and chairs arrived, I decided that I wanted to dedicate a chair to the memory of my brother Robert, as well as a chair to the cast and crew of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2006 – my favourite live theatre production. I have attended theatre in many places including London, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver, and that production still remains my very favourite production, ever!
I also have a chair dedicated to my late husband in the old Mainstage, and one more that has my own name on it.
Bard: Tell us about your first trip to Bard.
I first attended a Bard performance in July 1994, a Fireworks performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor with Christopher Gaze starring in the role of Falstaff. During the dinner break Christopher, in full costume, wandered through the crowd greeting people and making everyone feel welcome. (That’s when I became “hopelessly infatuated” with Christopher Gaze – he knows it, Jennifer knows it, his mum and sister know it – we all know it!) I have not missed a summer since then, seeing at least one Bard show.
Bard: Why do you choose to support Bard?
Why do I support Bard? Let me count the ways. A festival that adds immensely to the cultural fabric of the City of Vancouver’s summer – and in fact all year. The bard actors who live and work in this city are an incredibly talented group, and the employment at Bard allows them to be able to stay and work in this city; the Bard ‘gig’ is a long and steady gig, which is important for actors to be able to practise their craft.
The excellence of the productions that are presented during the summer – from set, to costumes, to the quality of live theatre: professional in every sense of the word. It is a joy to see the delight on the faces of our audiences as they come out of the tents from viewing a comedy, or the patrons who talk about the serious dramas and how much they are enjoying what they are seeing.
A production crew that is superb, a Front of House staff and volunteers that become family over the season, and at the head of it all, Christopher and his dedication to this Festival he has created, and a vision that has brought us to where we are today. Encouraging and developing the educational aspects of Shakespeare – developing a new audience every year, encouraging and developing local talent – providing stability and excellence in Vancouver, and now reaching out with co-productions with theatre companies in other cities.
Audience Member for over 20 years, Member for 15 years, Board Member
Bard: How long have you been coming to Bard?
We’ve been Bard attendees and fans since our boys were young (they’re now 30 & 33). I found every way I could to extend their education, and Bard on the Beach was (and still is!) accessible, educational, and fun.
Bard: Tell us a little bit about the chair dedications you’ve made.
We’ve dedicated four chairs, each with one of our names. But one is specifically dedicated to Christopher Gaze, whose vision and bigger-picture dedication to the arts, the environment and the City of Vancouver, have made Bard the success it is today. His gracious consideration of his audiences, as a whole and as individuals, is legendary. He is to be applauded again and again! Bard’s “Staging Our Future” capital campaign closed successfully in July, and its final step to completing the Douglas Campbell Tent was to install comfortable seating – YES! So I have 2 reasons for dedicating chairs; as a token of our continued support of Bard, and as a small thank-you for all they do for their audiences.
Bard: Why do you choose to support Bard?
I have been a strong supporter of the arts for over 20 years with my main criteria being excellence, education, and philanthropy (by the arts organization). Bard excels in all three! As one example, research shows less discrimination, higher tolerance for differences and more empathy in children who are educated in the arts. Bard on the Beach educates not only adults through their season, and artists in the Company, but provides one of the most outstanding, affordable year-round education programs for youth aged 8-21 I’ve seen both in and out of the classroom. It’s easy to support an organization who walks the talk!
Find out more about how you can dedicate a chair by clicking here.