Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival Announces its 2020 Season Lineup: Love, Wit, Warfare & More!
AUGUST 21, 2019, VANCOUVER, B.C. – While the 30th season of Bard on the Beach continues until September 21, Artistic Director Christopher Gaze has just announced the lineup for the Festival’s 31st Season, which will run from June 11 to September 26, 2020. It includes the most popular play in Bard’s history, plus a thrilling historical drama, a music-filled Jazz Age romance and a provocative contemporary play based on Milton’s Paradise Lost.
On the BMO Mainstage, the beloved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which has delighted audiences around the world and across the ages, plays in repertory with Shakespeare’s epic historical tale, Henry V. The Howard Family Stage offers two contrasting productions: Love’s Labour’s Lost, a restaging of Bard’s 2015 hit Jazz Age production, alternating with Paradise Lost, a critically acclaimed modern take on the battle between good and evil. Says Gaze: “Our 31st Season is designed to entertain and inspire live theatre lovers of all kinds. It offers tempting choices for one and all, whether you’re a committed Shakespeare fan or you’ve never seen a play at Bard before.”
Here are the plays, in short:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece follows four desperate lovers and a troupe of stumbling actors through enchanted woods, on a journey of discovery to find out who they are, who they love, and why it matters. Set against a backdrop of early Industrial Revolution, enter into a place where the natural and supernatural worlds have merged, with elves, goblins, and talking trees guiding the way. Come see what lies beyond the ordinary – and lose yourself in the magic!
Directed by Scott Bellis (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2017). Runs from June 11 – September 26.
Henry V – Set in a mythical realm and inspired by medieval fantasy, Henry V is a sweeping, emotional tale of two kingdoms at war. Young King Hal moves from innocence to hard-won experience as he leads his country into battle, struggling against the advice of his senior counsellors, his own doubts, and the spectres of two powerful paternal figures: his father, Henry IV, and the trickster Falstaff. This riveting story explores what burden is placed on our young leaders when they face conflict, what price they will pay, and how much blood will be on their hands?
Kate Besworth (The Taming of the Shrew, 2019) plays King Henry. Directed by Lois Anderson (The Taming of the Shrew, 2019; Lysistrata, 2018). Runs from June 12 – September 20.
Love’s Labour’s Lost – It’s the Jazz Age, the music is live and the party is in full swing, but a rum-running kingpin and his pals have chosen to turn their backs on the liquor and the ladies. They intend to follow a simpler, scholarly life – but can their resolve hold fast against the temptations of three beautiful, witty women? This revival of Bard’s 2015 hit makes a joyous return to 1920s Chicago and is filled with live performances of American Songbook classics.
“Thou canst expect a rip-roaring, speakeasy-happy time.” Georgia Straight (2015)
Directed again by Daryl Cloran (As You Like It, 2018; Shakespeare in Love, 2019). Runs from July 3 – September 26.
Paradise Lost – by Erin Shields
The battle is on for the souls of Adam and Eve, in this provocative retelling of John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. Satan has been kicked out of Heaven and is bent on revenge. She learns of a new creation – “humans” – and escapes from Hell, determined to undo what God has created. In a time when we’re asking ourselves fundamental questions about the nature of humanity, playwright Erin Shields takes us beyond traditional ideas of good and evil to look deep into our own souls. First produced by the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2018, this is the play’s first Western Canadian staging.
“Brilliant. Irreverent, extremely funny and stingingly contemporary.” Toronto Star (2018)
Jessie Award-winner Colleen Wheeler plays Satan. Directed by Anita Rochon (Cymbeline, 2015). Runs from July 10 – September 20.
The 31st Season will also offer a variety of special events, from orchestral and opera concerts to the popular Bard-B-Q & Fireworks nights. Updates on the 2020 Festival will be posted regularly at bardonthebeach.org.
Tickets and packages: Advance sales of 2020 Bard Season Packs begin Wednesday August 21, 2019 and offer a substantial discount on tickets to all four productions. The lowest Season Pack price of the year – $167 – will be in effect until September 3, after which the price of the voucher package will rise. Flex Packs go on sale in November, and single tickets in early April 2020. Order Season Packs now through the Bard website or by calling the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559.
NOTE: All run dates and casting are subject to change.